A domain name is a unique address that allows your customers to find your business’s front door on the internet.
All computers on the internet are identified by a unique IP address (expressed as a string of numbers). So we don’t have to remember a string of numbers, domain names were developed. Domain names are automatically translated into their corresponding IP addresses, allowing computers on the internet to communicate with each other.
A domain name is made up of several levels, separated with a full stop. Top Level Domains are normally represented by a country code, for example New Zealand is represented by “.nz”. The second level generally represents specific uses, for example .co.nz for commercial organisations, .org.nz for non-profit organisations, .school.nz for schools. The third level is generally based on the name of a company, product or service.
So if we were to break down the domain name CheekyMonkeyHosting.co.nz:
CheekyMonkeyHosting: Third level, description of company, product or service
.co: Second level, commercial organisation
.nz: Top level, New Zealand
Selecting the domain name extension for your business
If your website is setup to target New Zealand business or New Zealanders, then .co.nz becomes the obvious domain extension.
.com (short for commercial) is intended for global business use and is now the most common domain extension on the internet.
To capture a bigger audience and to secure your brand, the use of both .co.nz and .com domain extensions is most effective.
Rules and restrictions
Rules differ depending on the domain name extension, but these are the rules that apply to the registration of a .co.nz domain:
- Domains are registered on a first come, first served basis
- Use only letters, numbers or hyphens
- Name segments may not begin or end with a hyphen
- Length cannot exceed 63 characters (not including extension)
- Must have at least 2 characters
- Domain names are not case sensitive
- Domain names cannot include spaces
As the registrant of a domain name, be aware that you and your business’s contact details are available publicly on the domain name registry.
And lastly, don’t forget that a domain registration is for a set period of time, so don’t forget to renew it before expiry. The last thing you want is for your brand and business name to be released back to the public pool of domain names for a competitor to snatch!