DomainsA domain name is your unique internet address (URL), acting as a simple identification label for your website and e-mail addresses on the internet. Put more technically, an important purpose of domain names is to provide easily recognisable and memorisable names to numerically addressed internet resources.

A common misconception that exists in many businesses is that the domain name corresponding to their business name or trademark is automatically assigned to them. This is unfortunately not true - anyone can register a domain name not yet assigned to someone else. Such registrations are done on a first-come-first-serve basis, regardless of who the applicant may be. Once registered by someone, a domain name can only be obtained by negotiating (or buying) ownership from the registered user, or by waiting on the odd chance that the current registrants do not renew their registration and allow the domain name to become available for registration again.

It is also important to note that the registration of a domain name with a registrar does not confer any legal ownership of the domain name, only an exclusive right of use. This usage right can laps and be reserved by someone else, should the registration not be renewed on the anniversary date.

 A domain names consists of one or more parts, technically called labels, that are conventionally concatenated, and delimited by dots, such as www.example.com.

The right-most label contains the top-level domain, for example the domain name www.example.com belongs to the top-level domain com. These are the highest level of domain names on the internet. Domain names were initially divided into two main groups of domains. The country code top level domains were primarily based on the two-character territory codes of ISO-3166 country abbreviations. Examples of country codes is co.za which refers to South Africa and co.uk referring to the United Kingdom. In addition, a second group of seven generic top-level domains was implemented to represent a set of categories of names and multi-organisations. These were the domains gov, edu, com, mil, org, net, and int. A new process of top-level domain naming policy was since introduced, creating the opportunity for various new top-level domains to be registered.

Domain NameFor practical purposes AccessWeb deals primarily with co.za for local organisations and com registrations for businesses with a requirement for a more international image.

The next label, to the left of the top-level domain, is called a second-level domain name. This is the label commonly used to identify the business or organisation, and usually consists of some variation of the company's name.

The combination of the top-level and second-level domain names is what we commonly refer to as your domain name, for example yourcompanyname.com or yourcompanyname.co.za.

The next domain name component is used to designate a particular host server or function. This enables the splitting of functions across multiple servers and sites, with the annotation www commonly referring to the website, mail to the e-mail server and ftp to an FTP server. These functions, as well as the functions for multiple domain names, can be configured to reside on one server.

Even should you elect to not have a website, you can register a domain name to be used for your business' e-mail addresses. This will enable you to have e-mail addresses in the format yourname @ yourcompanyname.co.za.

The combination of both your website address and e-mail addresses using your domain name, assists in projecting a more professional image of the business, while making it easier for customers to remember your e-mail address and contacting you again for repeat business.

Registering and annually renewing domain names are inexpensive, with many clients opting to register multiple names all pointing to their one website or e-mail service. This option is especially popular for businesses with various brands or known by several names in the market place, as well as customers wishing to gain more marketing from registering their product name as a domain. Think of a pen-manufacturing business called "ABC Pens" registering the domain ABC.co.za as well as Pens.co.za to both direct to their default website. The possibilities are endless and all for a very low annual fee.