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 a browser such as Chrome or 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, plus it means that, if you ever 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?

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.

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’re looking for a more specific domain type, domain names based on location or industry.

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, so 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 that particular extension.

  • For .uk domains, this would be Nominet.
  • For .biz domains, this would be GoDaddy Registry.
  • For top-level domains like .com or .net, this would be Verisign.
  • For second-level domain names like .uk.com or .eu.com, 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. You can also choose from other, country-specific extensions such as .uk or .london, with .com being the most popular extension. Alternatively, you could opt for a professional, businesslike extension like .co or .ltd.

What is a gTLD?

Generic Top-Level domain names (gTLDs) are domain extensions that are alternatives to the traditional .com and .co.uk or country-specific domains like .de and .in. 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, such as .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.