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Domains > How to choose a domain ?

How to choose a Domain Name?

A Domain name can contain the numbers 0-9, the letters a-z and the hyphen character ("-"). Note however that Domain names cannot begin or end with a hyphen. You can use UPPERCASE or lowercase letters when registering a Domain name, but you may occasionally run into problems if you mix cASes, depending on the exact configuration of the web server that will be hosting your website. The easiest way to make sure your Domain name will not cause you any problems later is to register it using all lowercase letters.

A Domain name can contain up to 67 characters, although some Domain registrars have still not reconfigured their services to accommodate these longer Domain names (Domain names used to be limited to 26 characters until mid-1999).

This 67 character limit includes the "." (dot) and the top level Domain. So in the case of a ".com" name, for instance, you'll be able to specify up to 63 characters yourself.

Some top Domains from specific countries have additional limitations on length and on the number of characters in a Domain. Some even specify a minimum length for a Domain name, such as 3 characters or more.

There are many different ways to research Domain names and to find inspiration for new Domain names to register. The way you research Domain names will be colored to a large extent by the intended use for the Domain name i.e. is it being registered for a new or existing site, for investment purposes or to "protect" an established brand or trademark.

1. You're looking for a Domain name for a new website

Start by noting down what the site will be about, in a paragraph or two. Then boil down this description into a maximum of 2 sentences. Don't worry about covering all the details - just make sure you're addressing the essentials of what the site will be about.

Now take your short description, and underline all the "key" words that describe your site. Let's take a specific (fictional) example:-

"Our website will be the leading source of information on weaving and knitting, providing knitting patterns and design ideas, an introduction to weaving, a guide to selecting and caring for looms, and a store for people to buy wool, yarn and books."

Now try to come up with a Domain name that either addresses the one fundamental concept of the site, or that marries two or more key concepts in a single name.

In our example:,,,, etc.

Once you've drawn up a short-list of Domain names to "test" for availability, it's time to fire up your favorite Domain name search engine.

If you're having difficulty coming up with useful Domain name combinations from your keywords, try a single keyword and add prefixes or suffixes. Not all prefixes and suffixes are appropriate in all situations - use your judgment when deciding which to add.

Common Prefixes e, e-, my, i, i-, the, online, net, web, internet, hot, cool, our, your

Common Suffixes world, links, site, web, net, resource, business, company, corp, inc, shop, store, mall, search, directory, guide

2. You're looking for a Domain name for an existing website

In the case that you're looking to buy a Domain name for a website that is already up and running, your options will be more limited than if you're starting from scratch.

First, have you already been operating the site under a clearly-recognizable "name" or "title"? Even if your site is hosted on cheap space at an ISP, or on a free host, you may have given it a short title in large letters (or in a logo). This is the obvious place to start when looking for a Domain name.

If your site's name (as given in its title) is very generic, you may well find one (or many) other sites already using it - and the corresponding Domain name(s) long since gone. In that case, you have to decide whether you will make a bid to buy the Domain name you want from its current owner, look for an alternative extension or use the brainstorming tricks outlined earlier in this article to find a suitable alternative. You can also consult the guide to choosing the right Domain name for more help.