Domain name registration is very important. You should register you own domain name, if possible. Before discussing domain name registration let us first explain what a domain name is, and how it works to bring visitors to your web site. This will later help you better understand domain name registration and why it needs to be done correctly.
WHAT IS A DOMAIN NAME?
The simple answer is a domain name is the human-friendly name you type into a web browser when you want to visit a website. For example, to visit this website you could have typed PrettyPleasePassiveIncome.com.
However, a more technical answer is that a domain name is the unique numeric Internet Protocol Address (IP Address) that is assigned to a web site. So an IP address is similar to a street address that uses a unique number to find a specific location.
But unlike a street address, an IP address is expressed only with digits such as 18.104.22.168, and not with words. In fact, you can type in a website’s IP address into a web browser to visit the website. Computer devices such as laptop computers and smartphones generally identify and communicate with each other using numeric digits. So the numeric IP address allows these computer devices to seamlessly communicate with each other within the massive IP network.
In summary, a domain name is a human-friendly version of a numeric IP address. People want their domain names to be easily remembered. If internet users had to remember the IP addresses for all of their favorite websites it would be an impersonal experience instead of a pleasant experience. Hence, human-friendly domain names were created to make finding web sites less tedious.
DIFFERENCES BETWEEN REGISTERING A DOMAIN NAME, and HOSTING A WEB SITE
Web hosting companies provide you with space on their computer servers for you to upload your web site's files so your visitors can see your website. A computer server is simply a place for your web site's files and not your actual web site. Your web site has to be built with the many products and services available for this purpose and then uploaded to the servers..
If you do not provide your web site's files to a hosting company, it would be similar to your customers going to your physical office and seeing only an empty room void of merchandise, and furniture. When you visit a website and see an “Under Construction” notice, that could mean that the web site’s files have not been uploaded to the hosting company’s servers.
So, just because you have registered your domain name does not mean you automatically have an online web site, you have to take the additional steps of finding a web hosting company; and then uploading your web site's files. To make your life easier, some domain registration companies can sell you web hosting usually for an additional cost. But you can choose to use a different company for web hosting. The cost is normally is paid at a monthly or annual rate depending on the web hosting company. Hosting can be affordable or expensive based on your needs.
DIFFERENCES between URL and DOMAIN NAME
The domain name is what you paid for when you registered your domain name. The Uniform Resource Locator (URL) provides web browsers with information to find the web visitor's specific requested web page, PDF, video, etc.
As with the IP Address, the URL can be expressed in numeric digits. The URL points the appropriate servers to where the specific requested information can be found on the internet within a web site.
The basic structure of an URL is: Protocol://second-level domain name.top-level domain/path. According to www.webopedia.com, “HTTP is short for HyperText Transfer Protocol. HTTP is the underlying protocol used by the World Wide Web and this protocol defines how messages are formatted and transmitted, and what actions Web servers and browsers should take in response to various commands.”
Therefore, to find the blog archive page for this website the URL is https://prettypleasepassiveincome.com/blog-archive/
This URL can be explained as:
- Protocol: HTTP
- Second-level domain name: prettypleasepassiveincome.com
- Top-level domain name: com
- Path: /blog-archive/
If you entered just the second-level domain name it would only take you to the web site's Home Page. But as you can see, the URL points to specific page within the web site.
RELATIONSHIP between DOMAIN NAME and an EMAIL ACCOUNT
You know from your personal experiences that an email account depends on a domain name for proper delivery of your email (for example, @Yahoo.com, @Gmail.com, @Hotmail.com). After you have registered your own domain name and have paid for web hosting services, the hosting package typically allows you set up your email account using your web site’s control panel. This will allow you to receive email based on your registered domain name (for example @yourdomain.com). Thus, it allows you to brand your company.
The main issues for email accounts are: (1.) how many email addresses you can have based on a single email account (for example: email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org, etc.); and, (2.) whether the email system can support your future growth.
DOMAIN NAME REGISTRATION PROCESS: THE PLAYERS and SYSTEMS
Below are important names and terms you must know to understand domain name registration, and how to make good decisions to protect your domain name.
- Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN): an U. S. based non-profit organization with the global duty of overseeing and coordinating domain name registration and the assignment of IP addresses.
- Domain Name System (DNS): a massive database that translates human-friendly domain names into their unique numeric IP addresses so that computers can seamlessly communicate with each other.
- Name Server: a specialized server that is a component of DNS and handles questions about domain names and translates domain names into numeric IP addresses. Each domain name has at least two nameservers, just in case one fails.
- Registry: the authoritative master database of registered domain names.
- Registrar: an organization accredited by ICANN to process domain registration.
- Registrant: the person or organization that registers a domain name with a registrar or reseller.
- Reseller: a third-party company or affiliate that works with an accredited ICANN registrar to offer domain name registration services. A reseller often offers additional services such as web hosting. A reseller does not have a contractual relationship with ICANN. Further, registrar is the sponsor of the domain name registration.
- WHOIS: a publicly available database that provides information about registered domain names and IP addresses. Such information include domain name ownership, date registered, expiration date, and assigned name servers.
- If you have a complaint, dispute about a domain name or registrar, visit this Inter-NIC page. This page has a wide range of useful information.
A good understanding of the above information will help you when you are ready to register a domain name. Also, it can help you when selecting a web hosting company.
WHAT IS DOMAIN NAME REGISTRATION?
The domain name registration is a process that allows a registrant to reserve a domain name for a period of time, typically a year. The cost of domain registration can start at around $10.00 based on the prices set by the registrar. The registrant does not own the domain name but is “leasing” the domain name. The registrant can lease the domain name as long as the domain name is timely renewed by the registrant. If the domain name registration expires, someone else can register it.
Information needed to register a domain name include the registrant’s name, mailing address, email address, phone number, administrative and technical information. After a domain name is registered, the information about registrant is made public for .com domains. Although there are other categories of top-level domain names, .com is the one that suggests that your company is of quality.
Available domain names can be registered with an ICANN accredited registrar (or with its resellers). The ICANN registrars will check to make sure the name is available (meaning it has not already been previously registered). The ICANN registrar will create a WHOIS record consisting of the registrant’s information.
Domain registration is not a requirement to have a web site, or an email account. Some companies allow you to have a subdomain based their domain name. The downside to this is that you are not building your own company brand. Also, you are limited to the rules of that company. So if you can afford it, you should register your own domain name.
CHOOSING a DOMAIN NAME REGISTRAR
It is important that you choose an ethical, financially sound registrar with excellent customer service and that will give you hands-on, direct access to your domain name and related components (the nameservers, WHOIS records, domain name transfer locks, mail exchangers and more.) You want to be sure that you have full control over your domain name.
Also you want to register with an accredited ICANN registrar (or the registrar's reseller). Here a link to the list of accredited ICANN registrars: The Accredited Registrar Directory. When registering a domain name, select domain locking in your control panel to prevent it from being transferred without your permission.
After you have registered your domain, conduct a WHOIS search at https://whois.icann.org/en. You want to see what is being reported. If you are a novice, limit your first domain name registration to only one year so you can easily move your domain name if needed.
For an additional cost, some registrars offer Privacy Protection to prevent the registrant’s information from becoming publicly available. The main issue with Privacy Protection is that the person or organization shown in the WHOIS record is considered the legal owner of the domain name. That means in a legal conflict the registrar likely would be considered the legal owner of the domain name you registered.
If you choose Privacy Protection, it becomes especially important for you to choose an experienced, ethical, financially sound registrar avoid losing control of your domain name. Consider using EasyDNS.com which has a good reputation concerning domain registration and privacy protection.
Some companies will allow you to register a domain name for multiple years. If you choose this option, check the online registry to make sure the registrar reports the exact number of years for which you paid.
4 STEPS to REGISTER a DOMAIN NAME
Here are important steps to register a domain name:
- Conduct research to determine if you want to base your domain name on your company brand, a long tail keyword, or something else. If you base your domain name on a long tail keyword, conduct keyword research on the estimated traffic, etc. to determine the amount of free organic traffic the keyword could bring. This will be discussed in detail in the PrettyPleasePassiveIncome.com training classes.
- Once you have some domain names you like, do a Google.com search to see if there are any exact or similar domain names that could cause conflict. Enter various spellings and word orders in your Google.com search. If you think there might be a conflict, choose another domain name.
- Conduct a free basic trademark search with the United States Patent and Trademark Office at https://www.uspto.gov/. You are just checking to see if there is an exact match or similar domain names. Again, if there is then choose another domain name to avoid conflict. Contact an attorney if you think it is necessary.
- Once you have a domain name you feel is your best choice based on the above steps, then go to the web site of a domain name registrar with an excellent reputation. Enter your domain name in the search box to see if it is available. If so, follow the registrar’s instructions to register the domain name.
As you conduct your own research, feel free to add to this checklist. Make notes so that it will be easier the next time you register a domain name.
DOMAIN NAME REGISTRATION CHECKLIST
Use the checklist below as a guide. Feel free to add to it if you like:
__Registrar/Reseller Information: Make sure they have a solid history of providing ethical services. Research them for litigation history concerning protecting domain names, claiming ownership of Privacy Protected domain names, etc.
__Independent Reviews: Read reviews about what knowledgeable professionals are saying about a registrar or reseller.
__Register Your Domain Name Yourself: Register you domain name yourself so you know who is listed as the owner, administrative, and technical contacts and whether you have full control of your domain name. Do not let anyone, or any company register your domain name.
__Private Protection: If you choose to use privacy protection, perhaps limit it to one year so you can transfer your domain name if you feel that it is necessary. Again, consider using EasyDNS.com which has a good reputation domain registration and privacy protection.
__Multiple Years Registration: If you pay for more that one year, check to make sure all years are being reported to the registry.
__Lock Transfer of Domain Name: make sure that your domain name cannot be transferred to someone else without your permission.
__No Free Lunches? Be weary of extraordinary free services, or for services that last for long periods free or at low costs. You should always read the fine print, but especially before accepting such services.
__Cheap Web Hosting: Register with the best registrar that you can afford for one year so that you can move to another registrar if needed. It is probably good idea to avoid a price that is too low to be believed. Again, read the fine print.
__Free Web Hosting: If your web site is to help build your business brand, you probably do not want free web hosting because you need you own web site to promote your own domain name and not the name of the company providing free web hosting. Most likely your domain name will be a subdomain name (for example. subdomain.biggecompanie.com)
__Renew Before Expiration Date: Renew about a two months before your expiration date to avoid losing your domain name.
__Use Different Companies for Domain Name Registration, Web Hosting, and Email Accounts: It is never a good idea to put all your eggs in one basket. Companies do get sold, go out of business, etc. If you are just starting use the email account that comes with your hosting package. Otherwise, use the best email account you can afford to avoid outgrowing the email system.
Domain names, email accounts, URLs, and web hosting are closely related topics to understand before registering your domain name. As you now know, domain name registration requires thoughtful research. Take the time to educate yourself so that you can make correct choices. It will be time well-spent.