Domain registration services became a retail business sometime in 1996. .com domains are the most popular domain types. The domain name system root for .com domains is managed by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) which licenses registrars to provide domain names to the general public for a fee. The registration of domain names starts by searching for particular names. To make the process simpler, domain registrars provide the choice to search by ending (also known as Top Level Domain or TLD for short) such as .com, .net, .org and more. When choosing a domain name it is advisable that the name reflect the brand of your business. This can be a challenge in case the name of your business is shared by others elsewhere. However, you can try to modify your proposed domain name to reflect the uniqueness of your business, including where it is located.
Some domain registrars like DivisionX will provide you with consultancy to choose the best domain names for your particular business. There are many benefits of getting a domain name, the most important of which is now you can have a web presence that is advertising your business and building your brand on the web, instead of someone else’s. You should be aware that free hosting providers entice you to use their domain name for your business instead of your own so you end up helping build their brand instead of yours.
You temporarily own or rent a domain name, the domain name remains your property as long as you renew your subscription. The domain name gives your business or brand credibility especially with potential customers when they do online research intending to learn more about your products or services. Domain name registration also helps in branding the business as long as the business name is similar to the domain name. Registering a domain name is the process of reserving and registering a name with the agency in charge of the TLD, such as ICANN, through retailing partners called domain name registrars.
The primary purpose of a domain name is however to use it to host your web site and emails. A domain name allows people to easily visit your website by typing in the domain name into the address bar of a web browser. Otherwise people would be forced to remember a long string of random numbers to access your web site and that would not be very useful to potential customers.
1. Finding your domain
The first step is to find an available domain name that fits your business. To do this, you can visit a domain registrar website and begin your search using what is called the Whois facility. Whois is a standard way of finding out if a domain name is already registered or not, and who owns the domain.
Once you find a domain name that is available, you will need a mode of payment online to pay for the name from the domain registrar. Typical costs for registering or renewing a domain name are a few tens of dollars. You can also try and buy premium or speciality domain names that are highly sought after and these can cost anything from a few hundred to millions of dollars. Once you purchase the domain, the domain registrar will send you an email confirming you are the new owner and you can perform a Whois search on any reputable registrar’s web site and confirm your ownership. The domain registrar will also assign you with their default nameservers. We will explain what these are in next section.
3. Primary/Secondary Name servers
When you decide to use your domain name to host your web site you will need what are called primary and secondary nameservers. Nameservers allow your web hosting service provider to point your domain name to the correct place so that when someone enters your domain name into a web browser, a response is received from the nameservers pointing to the server on which the website is hosted. Nameservers essentially work like the telephone exchange at a large corporation. Just as when you call a telephone exchange and ask for a particular person, and they connect you with the right person, nameservers can connect incoming requests from web browsers to the correct location where your web site is hosted. Different hosting providers have different nameservers. Whichever webhosting service you choose should provide you with help with assigning and configuring your domain’s nameservers.