When building a new website that you want to be publicly available, you need two things: (1) a domain name (e.g., undead.institute or 8wordstories.com) and (2) a place to host it and put it on the web so people can access it.
Domain names must be unique and come in all shapes and sizes. The top level domain (TLD) name is the last part of a domain: .com, .net, .org—and with the recent expansion of TLDs can get .institute, .kitchen, .blue, .xyz, or even .ninja among many others.
Picking a domain can be tricky. Of course, you want something that describes you and your human resistance cell, but someone (probably a zombie) may have already picked the cool name you set your heart on. This is why it’s important to come up with a few options both for the TLD and for the domain itself. Make sure the TLD is consistent with the kind of site you plan to create. undead.institute tells you something about what content you’ll find there. Putting the same content under undead.garden or undead.blue probably wouldn’t make sense, but undead.academy or zombie.institute or zombie.academy might work. The most important thing is to have something people can remember and easily type. Like an email address from the late nineties, if you have to add numbers after it, it’s probably going to be looked down on.
Pick something as unique, memorable, and as applicable to your business as possible.
Anatomy of a URL
The slash between .com and folder is a pivot point. To the left and to the right of the slash, we get more specific. To the left, we go from the top-level domain (the largest bucket) to the second level domain to the third level domain, etc. (there’s nothing preventing four or five levels, but it’s uncommon and unruly.) To the right, it also gets more specific because you go into one or more folders, and finally to a file.
.com: This is the top-level domain name (e.g. .com, .net, .us, .tv, .institute, .xyz, etc.)
Periods (.) separate levels of domain names and also separate file names from file extensions.
Example: The second-level domain name is the part of a domain name you purchase or lease (you can buy it for a year at a time). It must be unique in relation to the top-level domain name (e.g., you can have example.com and example.net, but you can’t have two names example.com).
www: The tertiary-level domain (also called a subdomain) can designate a particular server (zombiebob.example.com or zombieceleste.example.com) or a particular service/protocol (www.example.com or ftp.example.com).
https://: The schema is usually a protocol (http, https, ftp, smtp, etc.) that defines how and what kind of information is sent and received.
Folder: This is a sort of bucket into which you can put other files and folders. (Sometimes a URL will end with a folder name (e.g., https://www.example.com/folder/). While no file is within the URL, it still goes to a file. The server will see if the folder has a file it recognizes to display. Most often, this is index.html or index.php, but the server software may have its own list of files to check, or the system administrator may set a custom list.
file.html: the file name and extension of the web page or other file you’re accessing.