Choosing your domain name is the first step in getting started with staking your claim on the web. Your domain name is a unique Web address that can be used to build out your own digital presence. As you select your domain name, there are a few considerations to keep in mind:

Your Domain Name Must Be Available
Domain names must be unique, which means in order for you to claim your own, you need to be sure that it is currently available (and not being used by any one else or any company or organization). There are lots of tools to check on domain availability, and when you sign up on domains.stanford.edu, we’ll check the availability of your choice. If you’d like to spend some time thinking about your choice and checking availability before you sign-up, we recommend using whois.net.

You Must Choose a “Top Level Domain” or TLD.
The TLD is the suffix (or ending part) of your domain name. On domains.stanford.edu, you have the choice among multiple TLDs. You must choose which one you want to use (and the availability of your domain may depend upon the TLD you choose). Historically, .com domains were meant for businesses and commercial entities. On the other hand, .org domains were usually used by non-profit organizations. The .net domain was mean to be used by internet service providers. All of that said, the “historic” uses of these TLDs means very little anymore. You may find that .com domains are easier for people to remember, or you may like the “non-commercial” message of using a .org. The bottom line is that your choice of a TLD is entirely personal: just make sure that you choose one of the TLDs allowed by domains.stanford.edu.

You May Wish to Include Your Name in Your Domain
There is no requirement that your domain reflect your specific identity in the form of your first and last name. However, choosing a domain name that includes your name may make it easier for you to achieve higher rankings in search engines when someone queries your real name.

Pick a Domain you Like
At the end of the day, your domain should reflect you. Pick a domain you like and are proud of. It can reflect your interests, sports you play, or your hobby. Or it could just be your name. The “right” domain for you is the one you’re comfortable with.