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What is a domain name?

A domain name is a group of letters (and perhaps numbers and hyphens) that provides an easy to remember, unique address on the Internet.

Domain names have a "top-level" ending which is typically one of the generic endings (.com, .net or .org) or else a country code ending (such as .au for Australia or .hk for Hong Kong). You can choose which ending is the most appropriate for your purposes, subject to meeting the requirements that apply to each domain name type.

Domain names are often used to represent organisations (or individuals) on the Internet. A domain name can be used to customise your web site address as well as your email address(es).

A domain name can also be "parked", or registered but not put to active use. This is useful when you may want to protect your business name in markets you may not be currently operating in or if you're not quite ready for a full Internet presence.

Why do I need a domain name?

A domain name that describes your type of business, or your company name, provides you with a recognisable identity on the Internet. Customers, suppliers and members of the public can find you more readily (ideally even by just guessing your address). A domain name is vastly more memorable when compared to normal ISP web site and email addresses. It also conveys a much more professional image and lets people know you have a commitment to the Internet.

Domain names also convey a certain sense of scale: even a small business can be made all the more professional with customised email addresses. For instance, you can use multiple addresses under your new domain name - maybe one for each staff person, or even for a "one-man" business you can advertise different addresses for "sales", "info", "webmaster" and so on.

Domains are also permanent and transportable. Provided you meet the terms and conditions for domain name registration and pay any applicable ongoing license fees, your domain name is a stable address for your business. It's like a post box or phone number that is not only personalised, but can also follow you literally wherever you go.

What characters can I have in my domain name?

Domain names can contain the letters A to Z, numbers, and the hyphen (but the hyphen cannot be the first or last character of a domain name).

All other characters cannot occur in a domain name, so you can't have spaces, exclamation marks (!), question marks (?) or underscores (_).

Domain names are NOT case sensitive, so GoDomains.com.au, GODOMAINS.com.au and GoDoMaInS.CoM.Au are all one and the same.

These general rules apply to all domain names due to technical standards. Some domain name types have policies that further restrict the patterns of characters you can use in your domain name. For example, with a .com.au name you can only use letters that appear in the license holder's registered Australian business or company name.

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