9 ways to use an ENS name
With over 2 million unique names currently registered, ENS domains, short for Ethereum Name Service, are best known for replacing long, complex wallet addresses. However, unlike traditional web2 usernames, ENS domains are much more versatile. They can become your social identity, redirect to websites, or be used to create a blog. So whether you’re a newcomer or blockchain veteran, this list will provide popular ways to use an ENS (sub)name.
What can you do with an ENS name?
Easily send and receive money
We’re starting off this list with a no-brainer, given one of the main selling points for ENS names is simplifying crypto transactions. Those familiar with crypto wallets are well aware of how easy it is to send money to the wrong wallet address. There is no undo button. Your money is gone forever. So, instead of giving friends a ridiculously long wallet address like
and hoping they copy it exactly right, you can give them an ENS name instead, for example,
which is much easier to send to (and check it is written correctly).
Create a social profile
Owning an ENS name means owning a username and a social profile. Coltron.eth’s profile beautifully illustrates the amount of information you can add to your name. Think of an ENS profile as a public user profile you carry with you everywhere on the blockchain.
Let's get a little more technical and learn how to fill one out.
To create a profile, you need to edit your ENS name’s text record. Every ENS name has a text record; its job is to store information you want attached to a name. Some people choose to display their socials, some select an avatar, and some include other wallet addresses on other blockchains. Text records can also store information that points to websites (which we’ll discuss later).
An important factor to consider when editing your text record is gas fees. So if you wish to edit your text record, do so in as few transactions as possible to avoid unnecessary fees.
If you own a gasless subdomain, gas fees do not apply to you. Learn more here.
Head to the official ENS app and connect your wallet to get started.
Redirect to any website
ENS names can point to any website of your choice, whether you own it or not. For instance, https://kinglear.eth.limo/ uses the kinglear.eth domain name along with a limo proxy to redirect to Shakespeare’s King Lear (fun, right?).
To get your ENS name redirecting to the website of your choice, ENSRedirect is the tool for the job. The best part? It’s free.
Create a decentralized “link in bio”
If you’ve been around social sites like Instagram for a while, you may already be familiar with “link in bio” Linktrees—a link to a website displaying other relevant links. Turns out, the link in bio can be your ENS name, like yourname.eth.limo. sadaf.eth’s link in bio was built by 1W3, a decentralized linktree builder.
Interested in making your own? 1W3 is the first step.
Message with an ENS username
An ENS name as your messaging username—it’s the perfect fit. With a plethora of chat apps racing to integrate ENS, .eth owners have their pick of the crop when choosing their preferred way of messaging friends.
nftychat is an example of a web3 Discord, which uses your ENS name to chat the moment you sign in, relieving you of creating another username and profile.
Other messaging apps like Coinbase Wallet, ConverseApp, and Lenster use XMTP (Extensible Message Transport Protocol) a protocol that allows users to “find their messages and contacts in every other app within the XMTP network.” This means your conversations are owned by you, and you carry them wherever you go in the XMTP network with your wallet.
If you can chat with your ENS name, it sure makes sense that you could email too. Whether you’re a brand seeking means of communication with on-chain clients or someone simply seeking to attach their .eth name to an email, Mailchain lets you send emails with your ENS name. Mailchain is an email and messaging platform that “gives you the ability to check for messages sent to any of your blockchain addresses through your unified inbox.”
Start a decentralized blog or website
It takes two main ingredients to make a truly decentralized website or blog: IPFS and your ENS name.
What’s a decentralized website? Unlike most of today’s websites, which rely on centralized servers to host content, decentralized websites use peer-to-peer networking to host content on multiple nodes or computers. IPFS is the tech behind this peer-to-peer system of file sharing. This makes them more resistant to censorship, since decentralized websites have no single server vulnerable to attack.
To make a blog or website, we recommend using Planet, a native macOS app for building blogs and websites on IPFS and ENS. With Planet, you can create a site and access it on your .eth name. Here’s an example of a photography blog.
Set your primary name
ENS names you own will always resolve to the address that claimed them, but without a primary name, you won’t see your favorite .eth name as your username when signing in to dapps. Setting a primary name fixes that. In more technical terms, a primary name is an ENS name that points to your wallet address and vice versa. When you set a primary name, it appears as your username on SIWE integrated apps. Check out this article on how to set a primary name.
Create shared identity with subnames
Subnames (or subdomains) are created from parent domain names and can be distributed to other wallets. tim.wassies.eth is an example of a subdomain, where tim is added to the domain wassies.eth. If you own an ENS name, there’s really no limit to the number of subnames you can create, as long as you have the gas to manage them. Unlimited names mean unlimited possibilities for who receives them. Plus, subnames are a cheaper alternative to registering several standard .eth names.
Unlike traditional domain names, subnames can exist on-chain or off-chain. If they exist off-chain, creating and editing them will cost no gas fees. Projects like PoolTogether and Wassies have given their entire community access to gasless subnames.
Among other benefits, gasless subnames can create a shared identity among a business’s consumers. If you’re interested in learning more about issuing gasless subdomains, check out NameStone.