A domain name is a name like which you can use to refer to your website. Domain names are used to identify one or more IP addresses. For example, the domain name microsoft.com represents about a dozen IP addresses. Domain names are used in URLs to identify particular Web pages. For example, in the URL http://www.google.com, the domain name is google.com.
Every domain name has a suffix that indicates which top level domain (TLD) it belongs to. There are only a limited number of such domains. For example: gov – Government agencies edu – Educational institutions org – Organizations (nonprofit)
mil – Military com – commercial business net – Network organizations ca – Canada
th – Thailand. Because the Internet is based on IP addresses, not domain names, every Web server requires a Domain Name System (DNS) server to translate domain names into IP addresses.
Features of a domain name
-IP address locates an Internet address for “totalbaseball.com” at Internet point 188.8.131.52 and a particular host server named “www.”
-The “com” part of the domain name reflects the purpose of the organization or entity (in this example, “commercial”) and is called the top-level domain name.
-The “totalbaseball” part of the domain name defines the organization or entity and together with the top-level is called the second-level domain name.
-The second-level domain name maps to and can be thought of as the “readable” version of the Internet address.
Importance of a Domain Name
There are a number of good reasons for having a domain name:
If you ever change your web host, your domain name goes with you. Your regular visitors or customers who knew your site name as www.thesitewizard.com (for example) would not have to be informed about a change of web address (also known as “URL”). They would simply type your domain name and they’d be brought to your new site.
If you are a business, a domain name gives you credibility. Few people will be willing to do business with a company that does not have its own domain name. If you get a domain name that describes your company’s business or name, people can remember the name easily and can return to your site without having to consult their documents.
In fact, if you get a good name that describes your product or service, you might even get people who were trying their luck by typing “www.yourproductname.com” in their browser. If you want good sponsors (advertisers) for your website, a domain name is usually helpful. It tends to give your website an aura of respectibility.
Getting a domain name involves registering the name you want with an organisation called ICANN through a domain name registrar. For example, if you choose a name like “example.com”, you will have to go to a registrar, pay a registration fee that costs around US$10 to US$40 for that name. That will give you the right to the name for a year, and you will have to renew it annually for (usually) the same amount per annum.
Some web hosts will register it and pay for the name for free (usually only the commercial web hosts), while others will do it for you but you’ll have to foot the registrar fees. You can register the name directly with a domain name registrar rather than through a web host. Registering with a domain name registrar allows you to make sure that you registered the administrative and technical contacts as the owner. Being the owner is vital — if someone else places himself as the owner (such as your web host), he can always decide to charge you some exorbitant fee for the use of the name later, and there is little you can do.
The various other contacts are less vital, but may still play important roles, depending on your registrar. For example, for some registrars, the administrative contact’s approval is required before a domain name is transferred out of a web host (or at least, it used to be). If he/she cannot be contacted, the technical contact is used.
Domain names disappear extremely fast. Most good domain names that are descriptive of products and services have been taken. If you want a domain name for your site, I suggest you act now, or face the anguish of having lost that name later. After all, US$10 (more or less) for a year’s ownership of the name is pretty cheap when you realise that you’re cornering a good name for your website.
Step By Step Instructions
If you want to register a domain name, here’s what you need to do. Please read it all before acting. Think of a few good domain names that you’d like to use. It won’t do to think of only one — it might already be taken.
You will need a credit card, an online payment site or a PayPal account to pay for the domain. This is a requirement of most if not all registrars. It will allow you to claim and get the domain name immediately on application. Unfortunately, this is not an option.
If you already have a web host, obtain from them the names of their primary and secondary nameservers. Don’t worry if you don’t understand what these things mean. Just save the information somewhere. The information can usually be obtained from their FAQs or other documentation on their site, usually under a category like “domain name” or “DNS” or “domain name transfer” and the likes. If you can’t find it, email them. You’ll need the information to point your domain name to your website after you buy your domain.
If you do not have a web host, you can always allow the registrar to park your domain name at a temporary website specially set up for you. This way you can quickly secure your domain name before it’s too late and still take your time to set up the other aspects of your site.
Most registrars (or probably all) automatically park your domain by default whether you ask them to or not, so if this is your situation, you probably don’t have to do anything special to get it done. Some of those registrars also provide you with a free email address at your own domain name while it is parked at their site, like firstname.lastname@example.org (where “example.com” is your domain).
List of Domain Name Registrars
There are numerous domain name registrars. Listed below are just a few.
1. World’s Largest Registrar – GoDaddy.com
This extremely popular registrar (possibly the biggest today) offers .com domain names. They have a web interface to manage your domains, free web redirection (where people who visit your domain will get transferred to another web address of your choice), free starter web page, free parked page or free “for sale” page, and an optional private domain registration where your domain is registered in the name of a proxy company. They offer .com, .us, .biz, .info, .net, .org, .ws, .name, .tv, .co.uk, .me.uk and .org.uk, etc.
Note that (as with all registrars) the exact price varies depending on which domain you are registering (for example some domain suffixes are more expensive than others). Both credit card and PayPal payments are accepted.
This company provides .com domains. Along with your domain, you get free email forwarding, free web redirection (where anyone going to your domain is automatically directed to another address of your choice), free domain name parking, etc. For the first year (or at least, at the time I checked their prices), you can also have their WhoisGuard (where your particulars are masked from public view) for free. They have a wide variety of domain name extensions available, including .net, .org, .biz, .info, .us, .co.uk, .co, .de, etc. You can use either a credit card or PayPal for your purchases.
3. 1&1 Internet
This is primarily a large web host that is also a domain name registrar. You are charged for .com, .org, .net, .us domains. They also offer .info domains and .biz. The fee includes private domain registration, which means that your particulars are hidden from public view (done by registering the domain in the name of a proxy company). You also get a free email account, DNS management, domain forwarding and masking, and a starter website with each domain. Both credit card and PayPal
payments are accepted by this registrar.
This fairly popular registrar provides fairly cheap domain prices, a convenient web interface to manage your domains, an optional privacy facility where your domain name is registered in the name of a proxy company, etc. They offer .com, .net, .org, .biz, .info, .us, .ca, .tv, .name, .cc, .de, .sr, .md, .co.uk, .us.com domains, etc. The price is even cheaper if you’re transferring a domain here from other registrars. Both credit card and PayPal payments are accepted here.
In addition, as mentioned earlier, a number of commercial web hosts will give you a free domain name if you are hosting with them, as will many (if not all) of the registrars above. After You Register Your Domain Name.
How do I decide on a domain name?
This particular question has been covered in a lot of detail. But basically, you want a name with these characteristics:
Short: The maximum allowed size is 63 characters, but keep the name as short a possible. That’s easier to type and remember.
Memorable: Names with special characters like hyphens and underbars are harder to describe to customers over the phone.
Visitors aren’t as used to them either and you may inadvertently send customers to your competitors if they have similar names without special characters!
Descriptive: Use your company name or a description of your product instead of company initials. People would instantly know what a site called “NeverPayElectricityBillsAgain” is about (although they might be suspicious). The full title is much more descriptive than the acronym “NPEBA.”
Once you’ve decided, you should not procrastinate. If you have a web site, you should seriously consider registering your own domain name. Note that you do not have to be a company or organisation to register a domain name. Any individual can do it too.