Choosing your domain name is the first step in getting started on Domain of One’s Own. Your domain name is really just a unique Web address that can be used to build out your own digital presence. As you make your choice, there are a few considerations to keep in mind:
Your Domain Name Must Be Available: Domain names must be unique, which means in order for you to claim your own, you need to be sure that it is currently available (and not being used by any one else or any company or organization). There are lots of tools to check on domain availability, and when you sign up on Domain of One’s Own, we’ll actually check the availability of your choice for you. If you’d like to spend some time thinking about your choice and checking availability before you actually sign-up, we recommend using whois.net.
You Must Choose a “Top Level Domain” (TLD): The TLD is the suffix (or ending part) of your domain name. On Domain of One’s Own, we only allow you to choose from four TLDs:
You must choose which one you want to use (and the availability of your domain may depend upon the TLD you choose). Historically, .com domains were meant for businesses and commercial entities. On the other hand, .org domains were usually used by non-profit organizations. The .net domain was mean to be used by internet service providers.
All of that said, the “historic” uses of these TLDs means very little anymore. You may find that .com domains are easier for people to remember, or you may like the “non-commercial” message of using a .org. The bottom line is that your choice of a TLD is entirely personal: just make sure that you choose one of the TLDs allowed by Domain of One’s Own.
Choose a Domain You Can Live With: UMW will host your domain as long as you are associated with the University. Upon leaving UMW, you’ll be able to decide if you wish to take over payment for your domain and take it with you. Therefore, you should choose a domain name that you feel you can live with for quite some time. You should pick something that you won’t find embarrassing in the future. A good rule of thumb is to pick a domain that you would be comfortable putting on a future job application.
You May Wish to Include Your Name in Your Domain: There is no requirement that your domain reflect your specific identity in the form of your first and last name. However, choosing a domain name that includes your name may make it easier for you to achieve higher rankings in search engines when someone queries your real name.
Pick a Domain You Like: At the end of the day, your domain should reflect you. Pick a domain you like and are proud of. It can reflect your interests, sports you play, or your hobby. Or it could just be your name. The “right” domain for you is the one you’re comfortable with.