August 3, 2013

Give your website / blog an independent domain name

This post is part of a series on web hosting and related matters. We keep updating these posts. This posts deals exclusively with website domain names. The term 'website' includes all types of sites including blogs.

How to create a website? How do I maintain a self-hosted blog? How can I have a blog with a name independent of suffixes like .wordpress.com? Can I change my existing website? I am stuck with a blog on a free platform, what do I do? We keep encountering such questions. Hope, at the end of this series, you will have answers to all such questions.


What is a domain name?


The domain name is the name by which a website is known. It is the website's address on the vast network called the World Wide Web or the web. The domain name of ITB website is www.indiantopblogs.com.

As we all have unique addresses of our homes and offices, all websites have a unique domain name.

My blog is on Blogger and has domain name xyz.blogspot.com. Am I right?

xyz is a sub-domain. Your blog is part of a big domain blogspot.com. It is like a flat (that belongs to you) in a big residential tower (that is not owned by you).

I’ve got an address where people can visit my blog, and I’m happy with it. Why discuss this technical issue?

Having an independent identity [xyz.com instead of xyz.wordpress.com or xyz.blogspot.com] helps in many ways, most important being its reputation. You’ll agree that the address ‘XYZ Towers’ is much more impressive than ‘xyz, flat 23, Wordpress Tower’. It thus gets your website a better visibility on the web.

How do I get my own domain? Is the service free?

When you make a blog on Wordpress or Blogger platform, they give you the address free. There are many more sites that give you a free address [=sub-domain] under their domain. But if you want your own domain, you have to buy it from a domain name registrar.

How much is the charge? Is it one-time cost?

On the net, you will find many domain name registrars. Wordpress and Blogger help you register your domain and list many registrars [more on it in subsequent posts].

Registrars will charge differently for different types of domains. .com and .org are usually costlier than country-specific domains. You can get names for as little as $2 per year. Some registrars bundle it with other services and do the registration at even lower rates. 

The domain name has to be renewed at the end of the term (say, one year), otherwise it lapses and is available to others to buy / register it.

What if I forget to renew the domain name registration when due?

You should not allow that to happen. You must contact your registrar at the earliest opportunity so that he can check if the domain is still in his possession and he can give it back to you.

What domain name suits my website the best?


The domain name is very important for your website, and you must choose it with a lot of consideration.

  • You must see that the domain name best reflects the theme / main content / business of your website.
  • It should not be too long.
  • It should be easy to remember.
  • Don’t use long abbreviations that do not make sense to others, e.g. ‘htmfaip’ for ‘How to make friends and influence people’.

You should make a list of domain names suitable to your website and check their availability with a registrar [e.g. GoDaddy] to select the best available name. Please note that a domain name cannot have spaces and symbols.
How are the .com etc extensions relevant? How do I determine which extension I should go for?

.com is among the most popular extension. You can look for extensions like .org [for organizations: associations, NGOs], .biz [for business], .net [for net services], .info [for primary web resources], etc if you so like. You can also think of national extension relating to your location [e.g. Indians can go for .in]. But do not go for an extension only because you find it interesting or respectful; see that it is relevant for you. Many new extensions are being added to the list, e.g. .guru, .photography, .ninja

I already have a website with an independent domain name but I want to change it.

There are many ways to do that. One way is to register a new domain and import the older website into it. The other is to redirect traffic from the old domain to the new one. Since both these often lead to a loss of viewership and technical goof-ups, you can simply stick to the old domain and give to it more appropriate title, description and tags.

If you have a blog on Blogger or Wordpress (free blogging platforms), you can easily map the existing blog to the new domain name, as given in the last post in this series.

PS: xyz.com and xyz.[wordpress/blogspot].com have been used as examples to illustrate certain points and do not refer to a particular website with this name.

All posts in this series:
First post: domain names (present one)
Second post: web hosting
Third post: Selecting blog host and domain registrar and upgrading a .wordpress or .blogspot blog to an independent identity