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Domains and Names

Domains

Unless you have already registered one, you will need a Domain Name for your website. That's the bit after the www. in a website address. You can choose a Top Level Domain such as .com, .net or .biz, or (and usually cheaper) a second level domain such as .co.uk, or .org.uk. If your organisation expects business or traffic from more than one country, then a top level domain might be important, but better exposure in a single country will be achieved with a country-specific domain such as .co.uk.

Note that the new .uk domain names are only available if you also own the .co.uk version.

Domain Names

Most single words and common names have already been registered, and you may need to find a suitable name which is still free, or combine names as with this website address. If your chosen name is available with, for example, a .org.uk domain, but a site already exists with the same name under a .org domain, it is best to avoid confusion by choosing a different name.
Check here to find if a name has already been registered.

Registration

minim can register at low cost your preferred domain name (renewable after 2 years). Unlike some companies, we will register the domain in your name and with your contact details so that you are the official owner (registrant) of the domain.

There are very good reasons why it is important to have your own domain name and not use something provided via a free hosting account. See Things to Avoid

Domain Registrars

All UK domains are ultimately registered with Nominet which is the officially authorised body holding UK domain registrations, just like the DVLA is the body for vehicle licences. However Nominet do not wish to handle individual registrations and charge £80 + VAT for direct registrations. For bulk registrations Nominet have licensed a large number of member registrars to do this for them, and for .co.uk or .org.uk domain charge these registrars just £7.50+VAT for 2 years (wholesale price) - so use a registrar such as GoDaddy, LCN, 123-Reg or 1&1.

If you see a registrar charging more than £20 for a .co.uk or .org.uk domain, you can see that they are making a fair profit on each registration!

DNS

Sometimes when you try to access a website you may see "DNS Error", and wonder what this means! DNS is Domain Name System and is the way that a website address (URL) is looked up to find the IP Address of the computer hosting that website (IP = Internet Protocol).

When you enter a website address in your browser, the initial look-up is carried out at a server at your own Internet Service Provider (ISP), for example Plus Net, BT Internet or Virgin Media. Sometimes there is an error in the tables of information stored at the ISP's server or at other DNS servers on the internet, and this can mean you cannot see a website even though others can. Usually these errors are resolved within a few hours.

If a domain has just been configured to "point" at a website, it can take 24 hours or so for the information to "propagate" across the internet and for everyone to be able to see the website.