Domain Names Guide

June 1, 2012 / Web Hosting

A domain name is what your visitors will type into their web browser to access your website making it one of the most important components of your website; choosing a domain name can be a tricky task if the one that you are looking to register has already been purchased by someone else, but there are multiple ways in which you can identify another domain that is both suitable for your website and available for registration.

DNS servers power the backend of domain names by translating requests for specific DNS records under a certain domain name into the IP address of the server that hosts that specific service or portion of website.

DNS hosting should be provided as part of any standard domain registration package, with it being something that is a complete must with web hosting plans as otherwise you won’t be able to use your web hosting plan properly.

Any good web hosting provider or domain registrar will provide a wide range of domain registration tools; these range from facilities to register domains of different TLDs (Top Level Domains) and ccTLDs (country-code Top Level Domains) to the transferring of domains between providers – some providers will also be able to offer you additional suggestions for domain names during the registration process.

The price that you pay for a domain name is something that can be a deciding factor for some businesses, even though a majority of the popular TLDs and ccTLDs allow you register domains fairly cheaply; if you decide to use a more obscure ccTLD then you can expect to lay out more for your website address than you would have to if you were to choose a more common domain extension.

Domains can be purchased singularly or as part of a web hosting plan and in most cases by registering a domain name with a web hosting plan you will save some money.

Domain Name Registration, Transfer and Renewal

These are the three processes related to domain names that you should familiarize yourself with since you are probably going to be performing them fairly regularly; they will affect you in the following ways:

  • Registration – you will require a domain name to be able to use a web hosting plan properly, whether that web hosting plan be a low-cost shared web hosting plan or a high-end dedicated server – when purchasing a web hosting plan you will usually be offered the option to register a new domain name, transfer an existing one or point an existing one towards the name servers for your new web hosting plan as by doing this a web hosting company will be able to guarantee that you are able to make the most of not only your web hosting plan but also the domains that you have assigned to it.
  • Transfer – in some cases you may have domains spread across several different domain registrars or web hosting providers and this can cause issues when it comes to managing them all because if you have many domains to control, it is quite easy to lose track of where each individual domain name is hosted – domain transfers are secure because you need to unlock the domain and obtain a code known as an EPP code from the existing registrar in order to initiate a transfer – the transfer process will depend on the TLD or ccTLD of the domain being transferred, because .uk domains for example use a tag system with which you only need to change a domain’s registar tag in order to associate it with a new web hosting provider and have it transferred.
  • Renewal – as you can only register a domain for a finite amount of time, there will come a time when you will need to renew your domain names so that you can continue to use them – most domain hosting companies are able to offer their customers a facility that will allow you to have your domains renewed automatically when they are nearing the end of their current registration, therefore removing an extra responsibility from you since this task will be completed without the need for any interaction from yourself.

Whois Information

Every domain has a WhoIs record attached to it; a WhoIs record is a publicly accessible contact record for a domain so that the owner of a domain can be contacted if necessary. Companies have many good reasons to contact the owners of domains, namely brands that own the trademarks to certain names but don’t necessarily own the associated domains may find themselves having to contact domain owners in order to request that the ownership be transferred due to trademark infringement.

Another good example of when WhoIs information may be of use is when a domain is being used to send out abusive emails or spam. The cause of this could be any number of issues as if the website itself is legitimate then there may be the chance that the hosting server has been hacked and the webmaster or server administrator is not aware of this and what their domain is being used for. In this case the WhoIs information could be used to contact the owner of the domain name owner to make them aware.

Domain Name Marketplaces

The trade of domains is commonplace in the web hosting industry with there being dedicated domain marketplaces available for those that wish to auction off their domain names as opposed to performing a direct sale.

The benefit of domain name marketplaces is that when selling a domain name, you have the opportunity to demand a higher premium for the web address and reach a wider audience of potentially interested parties.

In conclusion, domain names are the basis of any website these days and in order to make your website memorable for visitors you need to choose a good domain name as this is what will be their first interaction with your web presence before they have even seen your website. As well as being available through web hosting providers and domain registrars, you can also purchase domain names through auctions in domain name marketplaces.

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