What is a domain?
A domain is part of an internet address following the ‘@’ sign or the ‘www.’ It can be part of your email or web address, or both. A domain name corresponds to a series of numbers that serve as routing addresses on the internet. Special electronic lists match up your domain name with a real location on a computer that is permanently connected to the internet. We create settings within those lists to send and receive your email and to enable people to find your website.
How can I use a domain?
You can use a domain for your website address and your email address. Our domain, for example, is Duport.co.uk. Based on that domain, we have a website at “www.duport.co.uk” and email addresses such as “firstname.lastname@example.org”.
What makes a good domain name?
A good domain name is easy to say, short, relevant and memorable. Preferably with no hyphens or underscoring.
What is the best domain suffix for a new business?
The most commonly known domain suffixes are .com and .co.uk. For easy recognition and branding, you would normally want to use one of these. For UK businesses, we would generally recommend using .co.uk whereas if you are intending to trade overseas and don’t want to be considered as primarily a UK company we would suggest that you pick a .com. Other common suffixes include.net, .org, .org.uk, me.uk, .biz and .info. You might want to consider getting several domain names – eg .net and .org.uk and .info to prevent someone else stopping you expanding to this in the future.
I can’t get the .co.uk domain to match my company name – what can I do?
There is a reserved domain type for registered companies and, if you have a limited company (Ltd) you can be quite sure that the domain name yourcompany.ltd.uk is available. This domain type was specifically created to put right the damage caused by insufficient control in the early days of domain registrations. The domain type .co.uk was intended for businesses but no checks were made on the nature of the people who were registering. If you register a .ltd.uk domain it must be made in the name of your company and the application will not be allowed until it has been checked against Companies House records. When you see a domain ending in .ltd.uk you can be sure that it is a legally registered company. For public limited companies a similar option exists, with the same rules and controls. The option in this case is .plc.uk.
Should I register a name now for use at a later date?
Yes you should, before someone else takes it.
What is the best domain suffix for a non-profit organisation?
We would recommend that you try to register an .org (or an .org.uk). This domain type suggests that you are not a commercial organisation and your information may be considered less biased.
Can I register more than one suffix with my domain name?
Yes you can. For companies with large ambitions, we recommend that you register at least .com and .co.uk. This will protect you from having another site trading off your success, and if the domain is available to register today, it may be cheaper in the long run then having to buy it back off a dealer.
Can I register variations on my domain name?
If you intend to make use internet as a primary means of trading you may do well to register variations on your domain and have them forward traffic to your main domain/website. For instance, you may choose to register an obvious misspelling, jonsmith.co.uk may find it useful to register johnsmith.co.uk so that people who type the wrong name still come to the right website. If requested, Duport will set up website and email forwarding for such alternative domains without extra charge.
Can I use any name?
You may use any combination of letters and numbers adjoined by hyphens and underscores in your domain name. You can use a maximum of 67 characters (including the suffix), though you should consider how easy it will be for your customers, clients, partners, staff or friends to remember. You will find that a lot of the most obvious (and desirable) domains are already taken, but you can be imaginative and find a creative and memorable alternative.
Can I get in trouble for intellectual property or copyright infringement?
Yes, you can, but these matters are usually solved quickly as long as you can prove that there is no attempt to mislead people into believing your site is affiliated with an established site, brand or company. If you happen to have a similar name to another business, but are not in competition with them, there is little likelihood of problems. If you try to “pass off” your company or brand by registering a name specifically to take business from someone else, you can expect to be caught out.
What characters should I avoid?
Where possible, try to avoid using underscores in your domain name. They are harder for your customers to remember, and not very easy for search engines to understand. Remember that email addresses and website addresses are often underlined in text, and your underscore will be invisible against the underline.
Can I register any name I want, if it is available
No. There are restrictions on the characters that may be used in a domain name. More particularly, if you register a domain name that can be proved to breach a registered trademark, you could be legally compelled to give it up (see above).
Do I have to have both email addresses and a website?
No, you can have both or just one or even neither of them. You can even just register a domain and “point” it to another one. Larger companies often do this to help customers who might mistype the proper domain name. i.e. largecompany.com may point to largecompany.co.uk.
Is my domain registration unique?
Yes. Each type of domain registration suffix is controlled by a registration authority for the related area. For instance, domains ending in .co.uk are controlled by the UK central registration authority (known as Nominet). These registration authorities allow only name one registration for each domain type.
How can I check domain registrations?
Check the database of uk domain names and accredited registrars on the Nominet website www.nomnet.org.uk Search the list of Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN)accredited registrars on the InterNIC website www.nic.uk and www.internic.net Check European(. Eu) domain name accredited registrars on the EURid website www.eurid.eu
How do I register my domain name?
Your registration agent will register your domain name – make sure this is in either the name of your business or your own name. This ensures you are the domain name holder and gives you the authority to make subsequent changes to the registration. You will also have to give specific contact information, including administration, billing and technical details for the domain name. Initial registration is one year and, currently the maximum registration period is 10 years. You will be the holder or registrant if the domain is registered in your name, and you therefore have certain rights for the specified period of time. For example you have
- First rights on the domain’s renewal – as long as done within specified times
- Right to claim sole ownership – except if challenged by recognised dispute resolution procedures or court action.
Can domain names be similar to each other?
Yes. The same word might be used as a domain name in France (with a .fr suffix) and in the UK (with a .co.uk suffix). And the same word may be registered as a .com or a .biz domain. Many brand-conscious companies cover themselves by registering their domains in several versions to make sure their competitors don’t lock them out of possible future areas of trading.
How can I find my way through all the confusing jargon?
Speak to Duport Associates. We know how frustrating it can be when people use complicated jargon, so we just keep it simple and guide you through.
How do I send email as email@example.com?
To do this, you will need a “pop3” mail box. This means that email is stored for you on a special type of computer, called an email server, by whoever hosts your domain. You will then enter some special settings into a mail program on your computer such as Microsoft Outlook or Microsoft Outlook Express (there are others as well, but there are too many types to mention them all). This is called your mail client, and will be the program you use to send and receive your email.
Can I have people send mail to firstname.lastname@example.org, and receive it in my hotmail or yahoo mail?
Yes, this is called forwarding. It is a bit like giving the post office a mail forwarding address. Mail will be automatically and instantly forwarded to the mail account you choose. The limitation with this arrangement is that you cannot send or reply to mail as email@example.com, it would instead be sent from firstname.lastname@example.org for instance.
Can I use more than one pop3 mail box?
It is quite common for smaller companies to have many mail addresses such as email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com. This gives your customers the impression that you are a larger organisation than you actually might be, and is particularly useful when used on a website. You may have these as separate pop3 mailboxes, or you might have some of them as forwarders. The prefixes you use (i.e. sales, enquiries etc…) are entirely up to you. There is no reasonable limit to the number of pop3 mailboxes you may have.
What is email forwarding?
Email forwarding is the electronic equivalent of a PO Box. Someone may send mail to you at an address that does not have full email facilities (pop3) but does have a re-routing instruction (forwarding) that sends the message on to another email address. Email forwarding is free with domains registered through Duport Associates.
How do I set up the email address in my computer?
We have also created online tutorials to help you with two of the most popular email programs. But if you have a friend or relation who understands these things, you may do well to have them sit with you and explain it. Unfortunately, because everyone’s computers and set ups are different, Duport cannot offer individual advice or support in connection with settings on your computer.
When I buy a domain, does that mean I will also have a website?
No, a website must be designed for your domain and must be ‘hosted’ on a web server (a special type of computer that is permanently connected to the internet). Duport does now offer a free simple web page for your domain, but if you are looking for a designed or customised website, you would need to employ the skills of a professional website designer (service available).If you are feeling brave or have the experience, you may want to have a go yourself using programs such as Macromedia Dreamweaver or Microsoft Frontpage. If you choose Duport’s web hosting package, you will be able to select the option of a foolproof, easy-to-use DIY Web Builder system.
When I have got my website, how does it appear on the internet?
You will also need to find a web server to host your website. There are many companies who offer this service, with varying degrees of quality. Choose your hosting company carefully, as an apparently cheap deal may not prove to be quite what it seems. Try to find a host with a good reputation for service, or your website may not be available online all the time. This will be quite unpopular with your customers and search engines. Make sure you are not restricted to small amounts of web space, as this may inhibit the number of pages your website can have. Finally, check to see how much bandwidth and download you can have, you can very easily be stung with extra costs if you site becomes successful.
My ISP provides free webspace – can’t I use that?
Of course you can use that. In fact, if you are developing your business ideas from scratch, your free webspace may be a good place to start. However, free webspace is primarily designed for personal websites and does not offer the features and reliability you may eventually need for a business. Most of all, your free website will be housed on the same server as thousands of other personal websites, and their traffic may cause your website to runs slowly and frustrate your potential customers. Once you have your ideas together, a business website is best housed with a professional web hosting service.