Domain Names

  1. Choosing the right name
  2. The different types of domain names available
  3. Email addresses
  4. Cost
  5. How to register a domain

Choosing the right name

The name of your website should be chosen carefully. It should be easily understandable when named on a poor-quality mobile phone or in a noisy pub, without having to explain yourself (you'll soon regret that!). Don't bother using dashes or underscores in domain names any more, as in or - nowadays people are used to the idea of a website being "alloneword", and having dashes makes telling people a real pain.

Sadly many domain names are now cyber-squatted by people just sitting on popular words in the hope that someone will offer them $$$ to buy them. It's not advisable to use online domain-checking WHOIS services, as some are known to be corrupt and will then steal the very domain you're interested in, to ensnare your custom! Similarly, many evil ISPs sell the 404 traffic generated by requests for unreachable website to unscrupulous squatters, so even typing a domain name into a browser to see if it already exists is a bad idea. The best plan is to simply try and register the domain (or better still, ask us to do so). If it's already taken, try another name, until you find the right one.

Don't make any definite plans for a domain name until you've been assured it belongs to you, as it may have already been taken.

The different types of domain names available

Here's a rough idea of what the various top level domain suffixes are for:

If you have customers/readers in other countries, then go for .com but we would suggest also having that then automatically redirects to the .com site, in case someone types in by mistake. We do the opposite with redirecting to since .com is easier to say and remember, and therefore just points to the real site. Having a UK domain tells people you're in the UK. People may wish to search only within .uk domains to narrow down their search to local businesses. Alternatively, a more global organisation may be limited by a domain - it depends on your business. Unless your customers are abroad, a domain is often preferable, as it's pointless offering massage services to Americans unless your action-at-a-distance skills are really neat.

Email addresses

You can have an unlimited number of email addresses at your domain, set up in different ways:

  1. The simplest way is to just have any email sent to automatically forwarded to your regular email address. You'd then ideally edit your email program settings to change the From: address in your replies.
  2. Alternatively you can set your email program to collect mail directly from your website's servers.
  3. A combination of the above.


Costs are minimal and shouldn't affect your decision. All of our own websites are hosted by Mythic Beasts based in Cambridge. Their small yet dedicated team of gurus provide exemplary service, such as answering emails at 10pm on Christmas Eve, and they're a pleasure to work with. We register all domains through them, as it is much simpler and hassle-free to keep everything in-house, and billing is all kept together. You can see their prices for various domain services; billing for the website hosting is also dealt with through them. We merely charge an hourly rate for the (not much) time spent sorting this out in addition to designing and maintaining your site. You may be able to find cheaper deals elsewhere on the web, but remember that you get what you pay for, and the uptime and service your website provides is not something to skimp on. Transferring later on costs time and money.

How to register a domain

In order to register a domain for you, we will need:

  1. your full name and postal address - whatever name is on your bank account (perhaps your company name if you have a business bank account), that's what's needed for the Billing Details
  2. any email address(es) that you want mail sent to forwarding to
  3. whether or not you'd like these details disclosed on the public internet via WHOIS records - some domains (ending in .uk) allow you to remain anonymous, but others (.com) insist on a contact name and address
  4. the domain name itself, preferably with some alternatives in order of preference, in case of unavailability
  5. how long to register the site for: 2 years, 5 years or 10 years?
  6. details of any website you'd like set up there

It's often best to register a domain name for as long as possible, if you're confident the site will last that long. You save a tiny bit of money for 10-year registration and don't have to remember to renew it so often. Remember that even if a company is no longer actively trading, people may still want to find out about it, chase you for unpaid bills while you sip cocktails in Rio, etc.