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What is a domain name?

What is a domain name?

Whilst you may not wish to become a technical wizard (that’s what we’re here for) having a basic understanding of your requirements will assist you in making the right choices for your online services. Here are some answers to commonly asked questions:

What is a domain name?
A domain name is the unique name you use to identify and access websites or resources on the Internet. It is also how you describe the name that follows the @ sign in an email address. For example, hostaway.net.au is the domain name for this website, and support@hostaway.net.au is an email address which uses our domain name. By registering a domain name you can have your own customised email address like you@yourbusinessname.com.au and your own webpage at www.yourbusinessname.com.au. There are many domain name extensions available (such as .com, .com.au, .net, .org, .biz, for a larger list click here) so there are many chances to secure the domain name you want.

Registering a domain name is the first step to having an online presence however you will also require hosting if you wish to receive emails or make a website available using your domain name. Your email and website hosting relies on your domain name to function which is why it is important to always renew your domain name on time. In addition to our invoice and invoice reminder mailers, HostAway will always endeavour to contact clients prior to a domain expiry to ensure unwarranted downtime does not occur.

If you have received an invoice for domain name registration from HostAway you may notice your domain has a ‘dr-‘ in front of it. You can ignore this as it is merely something our billing software uses to differentiate domain registrations from hosting accounts.

Why is my domain registration for two years?
If you have a .au domain name (.com.au, .net.au, .org.au, .asn.au, .edu.au) the only registration period available is two years (biennial). For most other domain extensions (e.g. .com, .net, etc) a yearly renewal period is available in addition to longer options such as 5 or 10 years.

What is hosting?
In order to have your website visible and/or email functioning on the Internet you need a hosting package (in addition to the domain name registration mentioned above). As a hosting company we provide space on our servers to host websites of individuals, associations and business of all sizes. Varying billing periods are available for your hosting package. Choosing a hosting package will depend on how much disk space and bandwidth your site will use and/or how many email addresses will be used.

We have a number of different hosting packages available depending on your requirements. Review our packages here for more information or give us a call on 9249 3646. You can choose to have email hosting only, or web hosting only, but most people choose to combine the two. Our most popular package is the Professional Linux hosting which costs $137.50 per year. This allows 150MB of disk space plus 10 mailboxes.

In summary, and to make a poor analogy, registering a domain name is like registering a vehicle – you still need a car (your website) and a road (the hosting package) if you want to get anywhere.

What if I want more than one domain name?
We have two services for secondary domain names: Mirror hosting and Redirect hosting. Both services essentially perform the same function but have a slightly different outcome.

Mirror hosting: If someone types in your mirrored domain name then the internet browser will display the exact same website as the primary domain and the URL (address) will remain the same as what was typed. For example, our primary site is hostaway.NET.au. We have a Mirror for hostaway.COM.au which points to our primary domain. If you type in hostaway.COM.au it will display the normal website and the address bar will continue to display hostaway.COM.au.

Redirect hosting: If someone types in your redirected domain name then the internet browser will change the URL to the primary domain instead of keeping this hidden. A Redirect can also be used to divert a secondary domain name to a specific page on another website. For example, http://help.hostaway.net.au redirects to https://www.hostaway.net.au/support/remote-support/.

Mirror Hosting will also work for email, i.e. if someone sends an email to user@secondarydomain.com.au it will be delivered to the same mailbox for user@primarydomain.com.au. This can save you from needing to setup multiple email accounts on your computer.