Before you start learning how to manage an internet domain of your own, you face the step of choosing a name for what will be a shorthand for the “street address” on the internet.

Remember that like a home address, the real internet address of your site is a numerical assigned number, representing the location of your domain host, e.g. 24.67.198.30. The domain names we usually see, are shorthands for this addresses.

If you are setting up a full domain of you own, this will be the word to the left of the dot of a Top Level Domain (TLD) often original ones such as .com, .net, .org, or country domain such as .es, .it, .jp, .ca, .mx. In other situations, the name you choose will be to the left of an existing  two level domain name such as stateu.org, coventry.domains, etc.

The part you are choosing is the word just to left of a dot in these various domain structures. It will be unique to the domain, so there can only be one domain such as coolkit.stateu.org, but there can also be a coolkit.com or a coolkit.es.

Any other dots to the left belong to you, as we will see ;later when we build subdomains.

But what is in that name?

Some people stick with something close to or based on their real name, so it clearly identifies all their web sites, as a personal brand, for example balimaha.me (Maha Bali, an educator from American University Cairo) or johnjohnston.info (John Johnston, an educator from Glasgow, Scotland). Others are fortunate and clever enough to obtain a domain that is actually their name, also known as a domain hack! For example WordPress founder Matt Mullenweg has the tidy domain of ma.tt  (.tt is the top level domain for the nation of Trinidad and Tobago).

Others chose domain names that are more thematic, a play on words, a reference to interests or just a playful attitude. Australian educator Kate Bowles writes from musicfordeckchairs.com.  Educational Technologist Tom Woodward owns bionicteaching.com. Tannis Morgan, open educator, owns the domain homonym.ca. There is generally a story behind all these names, and if you visit the sites, there is likely an explanation written there.

There is no “correct” answer whether you should use your own name or not (but plenty of search result suggestions)- it’s a matter of what fits better for your personality, and as long as you are creating and sharing at that address. It’s your address, and you get to pick it.

If you have a domain name, what was the thinking behind your domain name?  If you do not have one yet, what kinds of name might you want to have?

Share your story at a link or in response form below.

Example for "What’s In a Domain Name?":
https://cogdogblog.com/2003/04/i-blog/

I Blog Therefore I am…

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2 Guides for this Kit

  • Choosing Your Subdomain Name (Coventry.Domains)
    shared by Coventry.Domains

    Suggestions for choosing domain names from Coventry University

  • How to Choose a Domain Name (Moz)
    shared by Alan Levine

    More suggestions for considering domain names, a bit aimed towards commercial efforts, but useful advice for all naming.

Creative Commons License
This work by Alan Levine as part of the EduHack project is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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