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What is a domain name?
The domain name is a unique name that identifies a web site. All domain names have 2 or more parts and are organized hierarchically with the more generic parts to the right. The domain hierarchy is presented by dots found in the domain name. The part of the domain found after the last dot is known as domain extension (.com, .net, .org, .ca, etc.). There can be many different names with one and the same extension, but all of them have to be unique (asp-hosting.ca, jobagencies.ca, etc.).
Do I need a domain name?
If you plan to have an online presence, then yes. The purpose of having a domain name is to identify you (personal domain name), your company (business domain name) for the Internet users. Usually you can get a free domain name like my-name.my-internet-service-provider-name.com, but there are 2 cons if you do that. The first one is that no one will remember your domain name, because it is too long and it can’t be associated with you easily. Consider having the JoesGarage.com domain name, compared to JoesGarage.Something-long-and-hard-to-remember.com. The second problem is that, nobody will take your online presence seriously if you don’t have your own top-level domain name.
Where can I get a domain name?
Now that you’re convinced that you need your own domain name, where do you get one? You can buy your domain name from any domain registrar that offer the domain extension you need. For example you might be a Canadian citizen looking to buy a .CA domain, but because not all domain registrars offer Canadian domain names, you’ll have to find a domain registrar that does. You can buy your domain directly from your hosting company and if you do that the company might give you discount on your hosting package.
I’ve just got my new domain name, now what?
The next stepping after buying your domain is to find a web hosting provider and to purchase a web hosting plan. You can learn how to choose a good web hosting provider from the Web Hosting Company - Choosing a web hosting provider article.