Domaining For Beginners, Part 4: Domaining Terms, Explained

Welcome to Domaining for Beginners, where we’ll focus on the basics of domains and look at everything from how to choose a good domain name to how new top-level domains are affecting the industry.

45% of NamesCon attendees in 2016 and 2017 were first-timers, so we’ve created this “Domains 101” content series to help newcomers make sense of our exciting industry.

Part 4 of Domaining for Beginners will look at some domaining terms.

In Part 3 of Domaining for Beginners, we explored important SEO practices when it comes to selecting a domain. Now that you have a better understanding of SEO, we’ll take a step back and define a list of general domaining terms that you need to know.


Authorization Code Transfer
A type of domain name transfer used to transfer a domain from one registrar into another. The original owner of the domain will receive a special and unique authorization code (also referred to as an EPP code; see EPP code) from their current registrar that they will then share with the new owner. The new owner will then request the transfer of this particular domain from his or her own registrar of choice. He or she will use the code provided by the original owner to complete the transfer.

Despite this being a more lengthy process than, for example, push transfer (see push transfer), ACTs are more secure forms of transferring domains as it requires that extra layer of security. This is crucial when moving a domain name from one registrar to a different registrar. ACTs are similar to when someone sends you an electronic transfer: he or she will send you a password (EPP code) so that you can then deposit the money into whichever bank you use (registrar), as long as you have the password.

Brandable
A domain name that also functions as a marketing tool, i.e. one that can also be used as a brand name or vice versa. These domains are usally short and easily readable. Brandability may affects the value of a domain. Example: coca-cola.com. For more on what makes an effective domain name, visit our previous Domaining For Beginners instalment.

Country Code Top-Level Domain (ccTLD)
Domains that use special TLDs (see below) that correspond with a country. Example: .US, .CA.

Cybersquatting/cybersquatter
Cybersquatting, also known as domain squatting, is the act of using a domain (registering, trafficking, etc.) in spite of the existence of a trademark. This is often done to profit from others. Example: A cybersquatter purchasing, for example, Nike.com, if the site hadn’t yet existed. He or she aims to sell the domain to the company for a profit, or use the domain to draw traffic.

Domain Name
A string of numbers used to find and identify computers on the Internet in place of Internet Protocol (IP) addresses. For more on domain names, read this.

Domain Name Server (DNS)
A naming system that provides addresses to web servers and pages. Also commonly known as the “Phonebook of the Internet.” For more on DNS, read this.

Domainer
An individual who buys and sells domain names, usually for profit. Also sometimes known as publishers, domain name speculators, domain investors, or commercial registrants.

Drop Catch
When an individual registers a newly-expired domain. This opportunity arises when the original owner forgets to renew the domain, or purposefully allows their domain to expire. Someone may then take advantage of the opportunity and register it under their own account. This is considered to be a controversial practice in the industry.

Extensible Provisioning Protocol (EPP) Authorization Key
An added layer of security that protects domain name transfers from one registrar to another.

Flipping Domains
The process of purchasing a domain name with the intent of selling it as soon as possible for a profit.

Generic Top-Level Domains (gTLD)
An internet domain name extension with three or more characters. It is one of the categories of TLDs in the DNS. Example: .com.

Geo Domain
A domain name that refers to a specific geographical location, often containing a city or a country name. These are often used for local marketing purposes. Example: canada.ca.

Host
The entity that provides the servers used to map domains to a web hosting environment.

Hyper-Text Transfer Protocol (HTTP)
The common protocol for distributed information that defines how messages are formatted and transmitted, and what actions servers and browsers should take in response to various commands. Often found at the beginning of any URL.

HTTPS
An extension of HTTP. Provides secure communication over any given network. In HTTPS, the communication protocol is encrypted using Transport Layer Security (TLS).

Internationalized Domain Name (IDN)
Domain names that use non-English language scripts, such as Chinese or Arabic. IDNs are encoded by Unicode standard and used as allowed by IDN protocols.

Keyword Domain
A domain that contains an exact match or phrase keyword string, and is valued for its SEO benefits. Learn more about why SEO is important for domains here.

Masked Forwarding
A service that refers to when a registrar forwards a domain to another, while keeping the original domain name using hidden frames.

Nameserver
(See DNS)

Namespace
The entire potential list of domain names under any specific TLD.

Parking
The registration of a domain name that is not associated with any services, such as a website. It can be classified as monetized (through advertisements) or non-monetized (“Coming Soon!”).

Push Transfer
A type of domain transfer used to transfer a domain within the same registrar. The current domain owner would require the new owner’s account number and/or email to “push” the domain into his or her account. Once this, or any other attempted push transfers, appears on the new owner’s account they can either accept or decline the transfer into their own account. This type of transfer can only be done within the same registrar, and is akin to transferring money from one account to another account within the same bank.

Registrar
A credited organization, such a
s GoDaddy, that manages the reservation of domain names.

Registrant
An individual or entity who owns or holds a domain name.

Registry
An organization that manages top-level domain names and create domain name extensions, set the rules for that domain name, and work with registrars to sell domain names to the public.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
The practice of getting increased quality traffic to your website through organic search engine results. For more on SEO, read this.

Second-Level Domain (SLD)
The portion of a website address to the left of the top-level domain. This is chosen during registration. Example: namescon.com. For more on SLDs, read this.

Top-Level Domain (TLD)
The portion of a website address to the right of the second-level domain. Example: com, net, org. For more on TLDs, read this.

Uniform Resource Locator (URL)
The term for the entire web address. Example: www.namescon.com.

WHOIS
A protocol used to query a database for information on the registered owners of a given domain name or IP address.


Now that you have a stronger grasp on basic domaining terms, stay tuned for the next instalment of Domaining for Beginners, which will look at the importance of branding.

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