Imagine walking through a bustling city filled with numerous shops, but none of them have names, addresses, or any identification. Sounds chaotic, right? This is the virtual world of the internet without domain names.
A domain name gives your website its identity, making it recognizable and accessible. Just as you wouldn’t open a brick-and-mortar store without an address, you shouldn’t create a website without a domain name.
In this chapter, we’ll guide you through the process of choosing and securing the perfect domain name for your online venture.
1. What Is a Domain Name?
In simple terms, a domain name is the address of your website on the internet. When someone types in this address in their browser, they’re directed to your website. For example, www.example.com is a domain name.
Technically speaking, every device connected to the internet has an IP address (a series of numbers separated by dots). However, remembering numerical addresses for every website would be impractical. That’s where domain names come in; they’re a human-friendly way to point browsers to specific servers where websites are hosted.
2. Factors to Consider When Choosing a Domain Name
- Brandability: Your domain should resonate with your brand. Avoid numbers and hyphens as they can cause confusion.
- Simplicity: Keep it short, simple, and memorable. The easier it is to spell and remember, the better.
- Relevance: Ensure your domain name gives an idea about what the website is about. For instance, bestbooks.com immediately suggests a site about top-rated books.
- Extension: While .com remains the most popular and recommended, there are numerous other extensions like .net, .org, .blog, and even ones related to specific industries like .photography or .app.
- Avoid Trademarks: Research to make sure your chosen name isn’t trademarked or copyrighted to avoid legal complications.
3. Registering Your Domain Name
1) Registrar Selection: Pick a well-regarded domain registrar. While there are many out there, let’s use Namecheap as an example in this guide.
2) Availability Reconnaissance:
Go to Namecheap’s website.
In the search bar, type your desired domain name and hit the search button.
If your preferred domain is available, you’ll see an option to add it to your cart. If not, Namecheap will provide similar suggestions.
Click on “Add to Cart” next to your chosen domain.
Proceed to checkout.
You’ll need to sign in or create an account if you don’t already have one.
Complete the purchase by providing the necessary details and payment.
4) Tenure Choices:
During the checkout process, you can choose how long you want to register your domain. Typically, domains are anchored annually, but multi-year options abound.
5) Opt for Anonymity:
Consider adding Namecheap’s WhoisGuard (their version of domain privacy) to your cart. It’s often offered for free and ensures your registration details remain private.
4. Pointing Domain to Your VPS Using Cloudflare
Cloudflare isn’t just a pivotal tool for website protection and speed optimization; it also offers an intuitive process for DNS management. By using Cloudflare, you can enhance your website’s performance and security, while also making the process of pointing your domain to your VPS smooth and efficient. Let’s dive in!
1) Sign Up with Cloudflare:
If you haven’t already, head over to Cloudflare’s website.
Sign up for a free account. They do offer paid plans with additional features, but for most users, the free plan provides immense value.
2) Add Your Domain:
Once inside your Cloudflare dashboard, you’ll find an option to add a site. Enter your domain name.
Cloudflare will scan and import existing DNS records. This step might take a few minutes.
3) Point to Your VPS:
After scanning, ensure you add an A Record.
For Type, select “A”.
Under Name, enter @.
For the IPv4 address, enter your VPS’s IP address.
Leave the TTL (Time to Live) as automatic and ensure the cloud icon is orange (this enables Cloudflare’s features).
4) Update Namecheap Nameservers:
Once Cloudflare processes your site, it will provide you with two nameservers.
Now, head back to Namecheap and log in.
Navigate to your domain list and click “Manage” next to your domain.
In the “Nameservers” section, select “Custom DNS”.
Enter the two nameservers provided by Cloudflare.
Save your changes.
Please be patient, as DNS changes can take a while to propagate across the globe. Typically, it’s a few hours, but occasionally it may stretch up to 48 hours.
5) Finalize Cloudflare Settings:
Return to Cloudflare and finish any pending steps.
You can now explore the array of options they offer, from caching to security settings, to fine-tune your site’s performance.
A domain name is more than just an address; it’s a powerful branding tool and an integral part of your online identity. By thoughtfully selecting and registering your domain, you’re laying the foundation for a successful online presence.
Stay tuned for the next chapter, where we’ll guide you through setting up WordPress on your TinyCP dashboard, breathing life into your new online address!