Domain Name Registration Rules and Best Practices
Every single day, there are hundred thousands of domains registered on average, and this shows no signs of slowing down. Registering a domain name might seem easy, but there are more to it than you realise. There are some rules and regulations, which we need to follow when it comes to the domain name’s format. Also, we will be sharing with you some of the best practices and things to take note of when you register a new domain name. These are some of the things that people often overlook, and we believe you should be aware of.
The Rules of Registering a Domain Name
Before we start discussing the rules, we would like to make it clear that these rules apply to the label of the domain name. A label of the domain name is also known as the second-level domain (SLD) of a domain name. Let’s take a look at some sample domain names:
In our samples above, “.cc”, “.org” and “.com” are top-level domains (TLD), whereas “webnic”, “wikipedia” and “google” are SLD, also known as the label of a domain name. The rules we are about to discuss apply to the label/SLD.
What is Allowed
The label of a domain name allows only letters, numbers and hyphens. The letters part is a no-brainer, and we all know very well that they are the core component of a domain name. It is also recommended that a good domain name consists of only letters, as they are more intuitive and has a higher level of memorability.
Numbers are allowed, too! However, it is not recommended to use numbers for your domain name, and they are typically avoided because they can cause some confusion. People are unsure whether the numbers in a domain name use the single-digit number, or the spelled-out version of the number (for example, “7” vs “seven”). If you truly want to register for a domain name that consists of numbers, then the best practice is to register both versions, the single-digit version and the spelled-out version (for example, “blue3” and “bluethree”). After you register them, you can easily set up a redirect from the incorrect domain to the correct domain. This best practice helps to minimise traffic lost for your website due to the incorrect domain. However, one thing we find interesting is that in China region, numbers in domains seem to be quite popular. Therefore, we think having numbers in the domain name is quite a subjective topic, and it really depends on your needs.
Hyphens are allowed, too, but there is a catch! Hyphens can be added in any part of the domain name, except at the beginning or end of the domain name. For example, “done-for-you” is allowed, whereas “-doneforyou” or “doneforyou-“ is not allowed. Two continuous hyphens are not allowed, too (eg. “done–foryou”). With all that said, hyphens are also typically avoided like numbers, as they increase the complexity and obstacles for users. It may be more difficult for users to find a site if there are dashes in the domain name, and traffic might be lost. After all, “done-for-you” and “doneforyou” are very different when users search these domain names. The best practice is to leave out hyphens completely and use alternatives, unless it helps with clarity significantly.
What is not Allowed
Periods/dots are not allowed when registering a domain name. They are only allowed after registering a domain name, and then configuring the hosting settings. Usually, when a website uses subdomains, which have a URL structure such as “r.webnic.cc”, it is used to separate a website’s contents under the same hosting. Under these circumstances, “r.webnic” is an allowed domain name label, but this can only be done after registering for a domain name and configuring the hosting.
Spaces, symbols and special characters are not allowed. Special characters include all the following,
! @ # $ % ^ & * ( ) ; : , ? / \ = + < >
my awesome website.com (Not allowed)
my@wesome website!.com (Not allowed)
myawe s()me*web*site?.com (Not allowed)
If you are trying to be creative with your domain names by using spaces, symbols and special characters, just forget about it!
Other General Domain Name Rules to Take Note of
Apart from what is allowed and what is not allowed above, the following are some of the general rules for SLD that you can keep in mind, too.
1. SLDs that are registered can no longer be registered again.
2. SLD is not case-sensitive. Typing in “Google.com” or any fancy styles such as “gOOgle.com”, “GooGle.com”, “GoOgLe.com” will still lead you to the same “google.com”.
3. SLD has a 63-character limit. TLD is not counted in the character limit. However, the best practice is to always try to use shorter domain names as they are typically easier to remember and type.
4. Consider the word difficulty and its spelling difficulty. This is more of a best practice advise rather than a rule. Do try to use simple terms instead of bombastic words which might cause users confusion. For example, use “drinks” instead of “beverage”.
5. It is strongly advised not to register any domain names that might infringe the trademark of a brand or any domain names that imitate a brand. Legal action can be taken by the brands against you.
We hope that you now have a better idea and a deeper understanding of the domain name rules. With this in mind, you are now better equipped when registering for a domain name. You now know clearer what is allowed and not allowed, and it can be useful to you in your domain name registration journey. WebNIC has more than 20 years of experience in the domain wholesale and reseller service, and we are here to help you enjoy a smoother experience in your domain name registration journey. Sign up as our reseller now!
WebNIC is an accredited registrar for ICANN, and various countries including Asia, Europe, America, Australasia, and Africa. With offices in Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Beijing, Taipei and Jakarta, we serve 5,000+ active resellers over 70 countries. To join us and become a reseller, live chat with us or email us at [email protected].