a domain name
A domain name is your main Internet address. If you look at your browser's* address bar right now, the domain is "cynergi.com". The initial "http://" is the same for all Web sites. What is between the "//" and the next "/" is called the FQDN* which includes the computer name within that domain (Web servers/computers are usually called "www") followed by a dot and the domain name, followed by another dot and the TLD* where the domain is registered.
Where each color means:
- Computer name
- Domain name
- TLD (top level domain)
It is also common to call domain name to "cynergi.com". The TLD may include dots as in "co.uk".
From this description is becomes obvious you can't use dots just anywhere in your domain name. In fact, according to RFCs 965, 1035 and 1123 that describe domain names, you can only use the following characters in your domain name:
in a maximum of 63 characters and without starting or ending with an hyphen.
- numeric digits from 0 to 9
- letters from A to Z (without accents and case-insensitive)
- hyphens ("-")
The most obvious limitation of this standard is the impossibility of using accents or international characters. To address this need we now have IDNs which stand for Internationalized Domain Names. Unfortunately, in order for them to work, most browsers need to have additional software installed and even in the recent Internet Explorer 7 the IDNs might not be shown with the proper characters, which limits their practical commercial use.
It is also obvious that you cannot choose an arbitrary TLD for your domain, and need to choose from one of the existing TLDs. Because each TLD is assigned to a different responsible organization (most of these, specially the 2-letter TLDs are assigned to countries or geographical regions) the rules of who can register which domains varies from TLD to TLD.
Some TLDs define what is called "second level domains" (and some still "third level domains") under which you can register. For instance, in the ".com" TLD you can register directly in the second level, like "cynergi.com". In the United Kingdom's TLD (".uk"), for instance, this is not possible. Companies can register under ".co.uk" (e.g.: "astonmartin.co.uk"), but schools for instance should register under ".region.sch.uk" (e.g.: "millfield.somerset.sch.uk"). Each TLD is therefore a specific case.
How to pick
a domain name
Choose in which TLDs (from the ones shown to the left) you prefer to have your domain name. Pay attention to the issues mentioned to the right to know if it really fits your purposes.
Then choose which name you wish to use inside that TLD. A name should be short and easy to remember. It should be easy to spell if someone tells you the name verbally or you hear it on the radio. It should be easy to read without confusing the letters if you read it at a glance in a street advertisement.
But it should have something to do with your project. It should be the company's name or an abbreviation of it, or it should be the name of a product or service that represents your business.
When the names you want are already taken, you cannot register them. But try several variations of the names you want. Abbreviate some and leave others unabbreviated. Use hyphens to separate the names. Or add generic words such as "-online".
Start searching for available names right now, before they're taken by others, using the search system on your left!
Since the rules of each TLD are different, under which TLD should you register your domain name?
The answer is both simple and complex. Simple because you can register the domain under any TLD whose rules allow you to – there is no significant technical or speed difference between the multiple TLDs.
Complex because there are several reasons to select one TLD over the other. First of all is how easy will it be for your users to memorize it. For instance, Internet companies are usually called "the .com companies" because ".com" is one of the oldest TLDs. It's unquestionably one of the easiest to memorize exactly for that reason, and paradoxically, it's one of the least expensive. On the other hand, some TLDs happen to have a name that has a second meaning and that meaning has commercial value. For instance, Tuvalu's TLDs is ".tv" which is an obvious hint for that media. The TLD of the Federated States of Micronesia is ".fm" which is usually part of the names of radio stations. The TLD of Antigua and Barbuda, ".ag", is the suffix used by German and Austrian companies. The TLD of the Tonga islands is ".to", allowing for domains like "welcome.to". And like these there are numerous others.
Another reason is obviously cost. Since no other TLD reached the popularity of ".com", it also didn't reach its sales level and cannot offer the same discounts. Most other TLDs are more expensive than ".com".
Yet another reason is to exhibit a local presence. Since most TLDs are specific to a country or geographical region, you may want to say you "belong to the group" or "belong to the culture" represented by that TLD.
The choice of a TLD is therefore up to you. Don't forget that if you end up choosing a TLD where Cynergi doesn't register domains, you can still setup your hosting with us.
The most valuable
Your domain name is probably the most valuable property you will ever own, and paradoxically, one of the least expensive. When you launch your Internet project, you'll be spending lots of time and money making people knowing and remembering your domain name. For that very same reason your domain name is very valuable to hackers and spammers*. If you lose it, all that investment will be lost and you will have to start over.
When you register domains with Cynergi, the WHOIS* public records will show your name and not ours. This guarantees that if you ever have your domain name involved in a legal dispute, you can prove your ownership.
Because the WHOIS records are public, there are many attempts at stealing the domains by fooling the owners into transferring the domain to other registrars. Cynergi has two levels of protection of our clients against those attempts.
First, we can optionally register the domains in your name, but with our contacts, thereby filtering spam* and theft attempts.
Second, we block the domains we register so that they cannot be transferred to other registrars without our authorization. And we will not provide authorization unless you tell us to.