What is a domain name and how can I buy one?

A domain name is a human-friendly address, sometimes called a URL (Uniform Resource Locator). The internet works on IP (Internet Protocol) addresses. These are numbers, much like a telephone number. However, most people find it much easier to remember names rather than strings of numbers. Like all companies, 123 Reg choose to publicise their domain name (https://www.123-reg.co.uk) rather than their IP address (

Your domain name is unique to you. When someone types it into an Internet browser (e.g. Internet Explorer or Mozilla FireFox) they’ll be taken directly to your space on the Internet where they can view your site or files.

Domain names also have other uses. For instance, when choosing an email address, rather than having joe.bloggs.384574@myisp.com you could have joe@mydomain.com. This is far more memorable, and also means that if you decide to change your ISP you won’t have to send out emails telling people your address has changed.

How do I buy a Domain Name?

Step 1 of 7

The easiest way to buy a domain name from the 123 Reg home page is by using our domain search feature. Simply enter your search term and we will show you what domain names and extensions are available for you.

Tip: Check out our article on choosing your new domain name for some top tips on selecting the best domain name to suit your needs.

Step 2 of 7

Our search tool will show you a range of potential domain names based on your search term; we’ll show you our current best deals and promos, popular domain types, and if you are looking for a more specific domain type, domain names based on location or industry.

Step 3 of 7

Once you’ve got all the domain names you want in your basket, click on the Go To Checkout option.

Step 4 of 7

Now you need to Login. If you are an existing customer, you can login with your existing account. If you are a new customer, you can create an account straight away.

Step 5 of 7

Once you have confirmed your details, you have the option to add some extras to your domain name purchase. For example, if you want to set up an email address for your new domain name, you can add one of our mailbox options. If you’re looking to create a website you can add one of our site building package Website Builder.

Step 6 of 7

Once you have everything you need in your basket, click on the Continue to basket option.

Step 7 of 7
  • There is a range of payment methods available to you. Select your preferred method and follow the on screen instructions to complete your purchase.

Can I change my Domain Name after I've ordered it?

There is no way to change a domain name once you have ordered it, you will need to buy a new domain name. This is not a 123 Reg rule, but rather down to the way the domain registration works.

When will the Domain Name I want be back on the Open Market?

The overall decision of when a particular domain is back on the market will depend on the Internet Registry for the domain name extension, for .uk this would be Nominet; for a top level domain such as .com, .net, .biz etc. this would be Tucows; for a domain name such as .uk.com, .eu.com etc. this would be CentralNic.

What are domain name extensions?

When you register a domain name for your site, you can buy just one or several domain extensions based on location or maybe on the type of website you’re running. For instance, our domain extension is .co.uk, which translates to having an international location. Aside from .com which is the most popular extension, you can also choose from other extensions such as .uk or .london. This tutorial gives you all the information on business domain extensions and when you finish watching it you’ll know what alternative domain extensions you can go with depending on your business.

Understanding domain names

This series of videos has been created to help you learn about domain names and understand why a domain name plays such an important role in the way we use websites. If you’re looking to set up a website, watch the videos to learn about domain registration and see how simple and hassle-free the process of registering a domain is on 123 Reg. If you want to know more about domain names and how to choose the perfect one for your website, go ahead and click play. With our short, to the point tutorials, you will become a domain name wizard in no time!

What is a gTLD?

Generic Top Level domain names (gTLDs) are domain extensions that are alternatives to the traditional .com, .co.uk and .de domain extensions that will be launching over the next two years. These domain extensions vary from practical extensions such as .web or .tech, to location-based domain names such as .london or .wales, and even wacky extensions such as .ninja or .xyz.

There are also extensions that are restricted to people or entities that fulfil certain criteria, for example, .bank.

Businesses have applied to ICANN (the organisation which oversees domain names) to operate these gTLDs. Individual new gTLD applicants are permitted to set their own criteria and restrictions for being able to register domains in their new gTLD space.

These domains will be launched gradually, starting at the end of this October 2013, running through to the end of 2015.