A domain name is simply the address of the website. For example to get to this site you can visit www.church123.com (church123.com is our domain name). You may have noticed that domain names can have a number of different endings. You can also get to this site by visiting www.church123.net or www.church123.org. Note: the information provided here is applicable to both churches and Christian organisations.
As a church you will probably only want one ending (you have to pay for each ending you have). The main endings are .com, .org, .net and, for those in the UK, .co.uk and .org.uk. Technically .com addresses are for companies (.co.uk if in the UK), .net addresses indicate you provide Internet services, and .org (.org.uk if in the UK) shows that you are an organisation. However these endings are not strictly adhered to so to an extent the ending you chose is down to personal preference, but we would recommend .org or .org.uk.
If you don't already have a domain name then Church123 can register domain names and handle all the technical setup. If you already have a domain it can be made to work with a site built using the church123 web builder.
Successful domain names are short and memorable. Get this right and you won't go far wrong.
Short: Your domain name will end up featuring on all your church publicity, so you won't want it to take up lots of space. Also, you don't want to put off people from typing it into their web browser.
Memorable: Having seen your website address on a notice board (or wherever) you want to help people remember it so they can visit the church website later.
This immediately helps us choose a domain name for, say, St. Daniel's Church, Littletown. One option, st-daniels-church-littletown.org , is simply too long, whereas an abbreviated version, stdachli.org, is both hard to remember and fails to make an obvious link with the church. Far better options would be stdaniels.org or stdanielslittletown.org. Please note a lot of domain names are already registered by churches, so you may have to think laterally. Use our church domain name checker to confirm availability.
Incidentally, it is best not to use hyphens in your church domain name if you can help it. They make it harder for people to type the address, so shorten the-church-name.org to thechurchname.org. This can make the domain name harder to read, but this is not usually a problem if you restrict the domain name to contain only two words (or three at most).
If your church is trying to reach a particular local community or area (and presumably it is) then one further option is to choose a domain name related to your community. This can be a really good idea.
For example, St Daniel's Church, Littletown could do well to get a domain such as littletown.com, littletownlife.org, littletownonline.com, or littletownchurch.org.
Not only does this provide a domain name which is short and memorable, it gives you a website address which is immediately attractive and interesting to the very people you are trying to reach. It also opens up the possibility that you could make the church website just one part of a larger community website.
Creating a true community website can take a lot of work, but is a great idea. Have a look at our community website page for more information.