Master of my Domain (Name)
Master of my Domain (Name) avatar

One topic that always comes up when talking with customers about starting a new website is what to call it.  In Web Developer terms, this is called assigning the site a Domain Name.  The Domain Name is the www address that appears in the address bar of your Web browser.

Hello, my name is

I suppose assigning names to websites is an extension of our natural impulse to name things (children, puppies, the pet hamster).  Giving each website a unique name also makes it relatively easy to distinguish, identify and remember.

If it weren’t for Domain Names, each website address would consist of a long series numbers and dots.  While this system works great for computers, it’s not a very human-friendly approach.

So, what’s in a name?

When you’re considering a name for your new website, there are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Domain Names can consist of letters, numbers and dashes (-), but the name can’t begin or end with a dash.
  • Domain Names are case insensitive, meaning is the same as
  • There are limits on how long an address can be, but it’s not something you need to worry about because the limit is WAY longer than you’ll ever need….unless you’re creating a website for your Welsh village:
  • When selecting a name you must also choose a domain extension. The domain extension is the dot and series of letters following your name (as in –  “.com” being the domain extension).  There are roughly 19 ‘generic’ extensions, and about 255 County Code extensions to choose from (although in most cases you need to be a resident or citizen of the country in question).

To abbreviate, or not abbreviate

Sometimes selecting a Domain Name can be tricky.  Especially if the name of your business or organization is very long, or consists of several words. 

Take the Greater Peterborough Area Economic Development Corporation for instance.  Rather than subject visitors to the torture of typing ‘greaterpeterboroughareaeconomicdevelopmentcorporation’, a decision was made to shorten this to gpaedc.  The actual address for this organization was for many years.  If you visit the site today, you will notice the Domain Name has been changed to  This sort of change isn’t uncommon, and I suspect the reason for the change was twofold:

  1. abbreviations are hard to remember
  2. a descriptive Domain Name will do better in searches than a Domain Name consisting of an abbreviation

So – as a rule of thumb – abbreviate if you must, but bear in mind that descriptive names are more human and search-friendly than abbreviations.

How can I find out what Domain Names are available?

This is the easy and fun part.  I recommend finding a reputable domain registrar (there are plenty of them!) and using their Domain Name search tool to search for available Domain Names.  The domain registrar we use is  (I like Namespro because I find their site easy to use, and their customer service is top notch.)  Just plunk a name into the search input box (just the name, don’t include the www or the extension), and click “Search”.  The search results will tell you if the Domain Name (and the associated extensions) is available or taken.

How many Domain Names can I register…and is there an advantage in registering more than one?

You can register as many Domain Names as you like, and can afford.  Domain Names vary in price but are typically under $20 per Domain Name, per year.

You only need to register one Domain Name to set up your website.  Owning a Domain Name with multiple extensions is a good idea if you are concerned that potential visitors might type the wrong extension (like .ca instead of .com). 

Some businesses and organizations register multiple Domain Names if it’s a name that is likely to be misspelled.  For example, The Coca-Cola Company owns and, and both addresses direct website traffic to the real Domain Name

Bear in mind that if you plan to register multiple addresses for your website, you will need to select a single top level domain; the one that all of your other Domain Names resolve to.

If you want some help being the master of your own Domain Name, give us a call at 1-705-927-2308, or send an email message to .  We’re happy to help.