Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Choosing and Registering a Domain Name

The internet houses a wide array of businesses. It has become necessary for nearly any business to have a website, but with so many new terms to familiarize yourself with, where does one start?
One great starting place is the domain name. A domain name could also be called the “address” of a website. Take Google for example: google.com is the address as well as the domain name. Domain names are essentially how people find the website they are looking for.
Most domains are divided into three categories:
  1. Generic domains- .com, .net, .org, .edu, .gov, .mil, .biz, and .coop
  2. Country code domains- . uk, .au, .co (and so on)
  3. Infrastructure domains- .arpa, .root
Your business or organization, though, is most likely to use one of the many generic domains available. If you wish to have the right website, you have to have the right domain, and while that may sound difficult, it is really easier than you think.

Making the Right Selection

Formatting your domain name is not a difficult task. First, there are a few general rules to keep in mind.
  • A domain name must between two and 63 characters in length, and may consist of any combination of numbers, letters and hyphens.
  • Hyphens may not be used on the first or last character.
  • No special characters such as %, &, or * are allowed.
  • Domain names are not case sensitive, so it does not matter if you capitalize a letter in the middle of the domain name. For example, newyork.com is the same as NewYork.com.
Choose a domain that truly represents your company or organization. If possible, pick something that is short. If you have a particular brand you specialize in, most experts suggest brand domain names are better than generics. Be careful, though, as using trademarks as your domain is not a good idea. Finally, be sure to ask others what they think of your selection. Your customers and coworkers may have some valuable input into the subject.

Registering Your Domain Name

Once you have chosen your domain name, you must have it registered with ICANN, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, before you can use it. Your registrar will be the hosting company or the company you bought the domain from. The length of time you choose to have your domain registered can vary from one to ten years, and it is renewable after the period has ended. Keep in mind that should you fail to renew, someone else can purchase your domain name.
As you register, expect to be asked for quite a bit of information, as the record of your domain name will be available to the general public in the “whois” database, which is maintained and mandated by ICANN. You will need to provide both technical and administrative contacts for your site in case difficulties or legal issues arise concerning your website. This process, though, is not something to be feared. Your registrar will walk you through it carefully to ensure that nothing is missed.
Having the perfect domain is essential to your business, so choose wisely.

Domain Levels

In addition to simply choosing a name for the site itself, the domain levels must be considered. There are three levels of domains. Domains on the top level are most commonly used.
These domains are divided into three categories: 
  • Generic
  • Country code
  • Infrastructure
Generic top-level domains are the domains that you would normally see when surfing the internet. These consist of:
  • .com- used by commercial organizations, available to the public
  • .net- used by sites related to the internet, available to the public
  • .org- used for non profit organizations, available to the public
  • .edu- used by educational organizations, not available to the public
  • .gov- reserved for government agencies, not available to the public
  • .mil- reserved for the US military, not available to the public
  • .biz- used only by businesses, not available to the general public
  • .coop- reserved for cooperative organizations, not available to the general public
  • .name- reserved for individuals, available to the public
Country code domains are used to designate a country. For example: you may see .uk at the end of a domain name. This is used to represent the United Kingdom.
Infrastructure domains are limited to .arpa. This domain is used exclusively by the government agency that developed the internet The United States Department of Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or ARPA.
Second level domains come right after the dot in the top level domains. Examples of second level domains are .co.uk, .edu.uk, .org.au, and .net.uk.
Third level domains come prior to first level domains. These are usually sub domains like: www.johndoe.hostname.com. These are generally used on free hosting packages.
Here’s a quick breakdown of http://johndoe.tripod.com.uk:
  1. john doe- third level or sub domain
  2. Tripod- first level domain
  3. com.uk- second level domain
In short, a domain name is what distinguishes one website from another. Make sure that the name you choose is not too complicated to spell or remember. Also, be sure that this name cannot be mistaken for anything questionable. Understanding domain names is the key to choosing the right one for your business or organization.

Find and Compare Different Domain Name Registrars

The purpose of this web site is to compare the top domain registrars and provide reviews to help you make the best choice and find the lowest price possible. Click here to compare the top domain name providers.

What is a Domain?: Domain Name Basics

All computers have a unique Internet Protocol, or IP, address. Essentially, this is a number that is given to each and every computer. It is like both a home address and a fingerprint. No two IP addresses are exactly the same.
An IP address is presented in decimal format with numbers ranging from 0 to 255. To better identify the IP address, a person must know what to look for. An IP address looks like this:
Essentially, a domain name is identical to an IP address. IP addresses are domain names that people can easily read and comprehend. For instance, Google.com is far easier to remember than
All domain names are a combination of numbers, letters and/or hyphens. Special characters such as &, $ or * are not allowed. If a person or business wants to create a site, he/she must have a domain name to get started. When a person registers his/her domain, it will directly correspond to their own personal IP address.

Domain Name Glossary: Learn About Domains

.com- domain for commercial businesses
.edu- domain for colleges and universities
.mil- domain reserved for US military
.net- domain originally designated for network service providers
.org- domain originally reserved for non-profit groups.
.US- country code for the United States

- A -

Account holder- A person or company responsible for a domain name.
Account number- The number issued to account holder to access the account.
Administrative Contact/Agent- Any person who is authorized to access the account other than the account holder.
Appraising- The process of determining the market value of a specific domain name.
Authentication- Verification method to obtain proof of the identity of the account holder.
Authorization- This happens when permission is required in order to access the account.

- B -

Bandwidth- The amount of data space that users have available to them when registering the domain name.

- C -

Country code- A two letter abbreviation used to distinguish a country.
Cyber squatter- A person who buys domain names, and holds them with the intent of making a profit from the selling of the domain name. Cyber squatters often buy enormous quantities or sought after domain names and try to sell them for profit.

- D -

Deactivation- Term used when a domain name is not functional on the internet.
Deletion- Term used when a domain name is taken out of the database of records. The deleted domain name goes back into the pool of available domain names.
Digital Signature- Data attached to an electronic file which is the digital equivalent of a written signature.
Domain- A division of the space which holds domain names which is indicated by the domain name.
Domain name- The name used to identify a location of a website.
Domain name disputes- A dispute over the right to register a domain name, most often when the name is similar to a registered brand or trademark
Domain name system (DNS)- The informational system used to translate domain names into IP addresses.
Domain Parking- Every time a domain name is registered, registries require the use of hosts. Most people do not have their own private servers, so many servers offer domain parking. It is a way to hold a domain name for a long period of time.

- E -

Email- The electronic way to send mail from one person to another. A message goes from the senders outbox to the recipients inbox.
Encrypted Password- Method of mixing up a password to ensure privacy for he account holder.
Encryption- A high security way of protecting personal information. Encryption scrambles information so only authorized users can read it.
Escrow- A protective measure to ensure protection to the buyer and seller when a payment is made for registration.

- F -

File Transfer Protocol- The method by which data is transferred from one computer to another. It also stores files that can be obtained when accessing from a different computer. Security measures are placed to ensure that only authorized people are allowed to access the information.
Forwarding- The process by which email is directed from one inbox to another, also known as email forwarding. This term is also used to describe traffic that is sent from one website address to another, known as URL forwarding.
Fully Qualified Host Name- The name given to the computer that hosts your domain name.

- H -

Hold Status- Term used when a domain name has not been registered by the owner. It is on hold because it is no longer in the available domain name pool.
Hypertext Markup Language (HTML)- The way a website is stored, in a way that the web browser can read is known as HTML language.
Host- The group of computers that establish domain names for IP addresses.

- I -

IP Address- A unique number given to represent each host and network.
Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA)- The organization which overlooks the internet infrastructure management parameters, which include port assignments.
Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN)- The non profit organization who is responsible for managing domain name systems.
Internet Service Provider (ISP)- A business that supplies internet capabilities to consumers.
Name server- The computer system that establishes domain names to IP addresses Name servers are also known as hosts.
Name Service- The service that supplies domain names to IP addresses by making the hardware, software, and information available.
NIC fee- When registering a domain name, you must pay a fee known as the NIC fee.

- P -

PGP Public Key Server- A searchable database of information used to find a the public key of an individual.
Private Key Encryption- The method in which both the sender and recipient of a message share a single key that is used to encrypt and decrypt messages.
Public Key Encryption- The method which is intended to work with private key encryption. It is a method that uses a key ring. The key ring uses both private and public keys.

- R -

Registrant- A group or individual who registers a specific domain name. They alone hold the rights to that domain for the time agreed on.
Registration- A process by which a person sets up a domain name, and pays the fees.
Registry- The unit responsible for distributing IP addresses.
Root- The top of the domain name system, known as the “dot”.
Root server- A system by which a person locates name servers that contain information for the top level domains.

- S -

Second level domain- The next level of the domain name system underneath the top level domain.
Secure Sockets Layer (SSL)- The protocol developed to handle confidential information such as credit card, or social security numbers. These addresses usually begin with https.
Subdomain- The individual web address built within another domain name.

- T -

Top level domain- The highest level of the domain name system which is the most often used.
Trademark- A business uses a word, phrase, image or symbol to represent themselves.

- W -

Web page- The document that contains pictures and text and is accessed by the web address.
Web site- A collaboration of many web pages within a web address.
Web host- A business that shares servers with clients. The clients are allowed to access these at any time. It usually refers to a computer that stores the files for a website. 

- Z -

Zone- The division of the domain name, which is characterized by the data, which is stored on a certain server.
Zone file- The file in which the data of the domain name is stored.

What Are The Parts of a Domain Name?

On the Web, the domain name is that part of the Uniform Resource Locator (URL) that tells a domain name server using the domain name system (DNS) where to forward a request for a Web page. For example, the domain name www.onlinepersonalssites.com locates an IP address for "onlinepersonalssites.com" at Internet point The “www” refers to the host server. The file extension ".com" refers to the purpose of the company (in this example, "commercial"). It is known as the top-level domain name. The "onlinepersonalssites" part of the domain name defines the company and, together with the top-level file extension, is called the second-level domain name. The second-level domain name, what Web users are most used to, can be thought of as the "readable" version of the Internet address.
Further variance and additions can be used but are not required. A third level can be used to identify a particular host server at the Internet address if needed. For example, where "www" is the name of the server that handles Internet requests, a second server might be called "www2. Sub-domain levels can also be used. For example, you could have "www.yahoo.onlinepersonalssites.com” to lead a user to a specific subdivision on your site.
Second-level domain names (Remember: these are the “readable” versions of Internet addresses) must be unique on the Internet and registered with one of the ICANN-accredited registrars for the COM, NET, and ORG top-level domains. A top-level domain name can be geographic, but to register a U. S. geographic domain name or a domain name under a country code, you must see an appropriate registrar.
To allow multiple individuals, businesses, and organizations to have separate Internet identities while sharing the same Internet server more than one domain name can be mapped to the same Internet address.
An even higher level of domain exists than the top-level domain. It is the highest level known as the root domain. If the dot for the root domain were shown in the URL (which it is not) it would be to the right of the top-level domain name. However, the dot is assumed to be present, never shown.

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