Everything you need to know about URLs and how to get one.
Before getting a website, it is important to understand what a URL is and why you need one. As this is the first basic step that you need to do before you can get a website, understanding the terminology will make the process much less confusing.
In this post, we’ll explain what a URL is, what it entails, and why you need one before you can get a website. We’ll also explain the difference between a .co.za domain name and a .com domain name so that you can make the right decision when it comes to purchasing one. Lastly, we’ll explain why an SSL certificate is essential, how it fits in with your URL and how you can get one for your domain name. Without any hesitation let’s get started.
What is a URL?
The most commonly asked question is “what is a URL?”. But first, let’s take a look at the technical aspects of a URL. A URL is defined as a Universal Resource Locator. It is the text that you type into your browser’s address bar which you’ll find at the top of the page. Think of it as an address to your house. You have a house number, a street name, and a postal code. A URL contains three basic parts: the protocol (https:// or http://) the domain name (website name) and the path (.co.za or .com). Put together your URL will look like this: https://www.websitename.co.za.
When you type a URL into your browser’s address bar it will point to a server where that address (domain name) is hosted.
But, where do you use a URL, and why do you need one?
You can use a URL for an image or even a PDF document, but the most common use of a URL is for accessing a website. We use URLs in our everyday lives. You’ll see the URL in the browser’s top navigation bar when you go onto Instagram via Google, for example. The same goes for Facebook or any website that you visit. You need a URL if you want a website and if you want people to access your website via the world wide web. Again, very much the same as the address to your house, or to a friend’s house. If you do not know your destination address, there is no way to get there.
Why is a URL important?
A URL is one of the first things people search for when they want to know more about your company. That’s why it is important for your business to buy a domain name – the middle part of the URL, for instance, https://www.domainname.co.za. A URL should reflect the purpose it is for. If it is the home of your business, it should have your business’s name in it. Some people become very creative with their URL names, to show the purpose the website is for. For instance, take a look at All4Women, or Huisgenoot. The world is moving more and more towards digital every day, and people are accessing websites via their mobile phones at a rate far exceeding desktop browsing. If they want a service from you and can’t find you on the internet, they’ll probably click on the first available website that pops up on Google, so it is best to make sure that you feature – we’ll cover more about that in our SEO section later.
How do I get a URL?
Now that you know what a URL is, we can start with how you can get one. If you want a website, you’ll have to buy a domain name first so that it’s personalized to your company’s name. The first step would be to check if your domain is available for registration. You can do this by going to co.za and checking if the URL is available for any co.za domain. If you want to check more international domain extensions you can visit https://www.whois.com. It is as easy as typing your business name or desired domain name into the search bar and click on search. This will tell you if your domain is available for registration. If it’s not available you’ll have to choose another domain name. The key here is to keep your domain name short and easy, and related to your business because once you bought your domain name, you can’t change it unless you buy another one.
There are a lot of companies in South Africa where you can buy a domain name, but mostly it is best if it is purchased with your hosting to make sure your URL and hosting sit on the same platform, ensuring an easy link. . Once you have successfully bought your domain, you’ll have a complete URL for your website.
The difference between a .com and a .co.za.
How do you know if you should buy a .com domain or a.co.za domain? Well, it’s simple, a .com domain is usually used for international purposes, where a .co.za domain is used for local business purposes. For a business with an international audience, it would be best to get a .com domain.
For the best results, we suggest buying the .co.za domain as well as the .com domain – because we believe in you, and we know you can take on the world!
What is an SSL certificate and how do you link that to your URL?
Now this is the important part, especially when you want to run a website where purchases will be made on your website by customers. The difference between “http” and “https” is that the “s” in “https”, which indicates that the site is secured.
It’s a secured connection between the web server and the user’s browser, meaning that the traffic between your web server and the user’s browser is encrypted and cannot be read. This is important if you want to sell products on your website, and also plays an important role when it comes to Google rating your website. In fact, to find out just how important an SSL certificate is for Google, have a read on their Google Domains section, here (https://support.google.com/domains/answer/7630973?hl=en).
Most hosting companies, when buying a domain, will activate an SSL certificate for you, but it is important to find out from your hosting company if they do in fact supply this for free, as some South African hosts cost this separately. Most good hosts will have this included in their hosting packages as a standard free product.
Through understanding the terminology behind a URL, what it entails, how you can get one, and why it is important, we believe that you are now ready to get going with your website. Do you think you’ll purchase a .com or .co.za domain? Let us know in the comment sections below.