Domain names are words or phrases that are combined with a domain TLD to access a website through a browser. In simple terms, the domain name is just the name of your web site. It is important to note that it is possible to have several domain names pointing to the same web site through the process of URL forwarding.
It is also possible to own a domain name without associating it with a web site; when this is done it is called a “parked” domain, as it is not yet being used.
Registering a domain is usually a simple process, and most people can do so without assistance. However, if you're having trouble understanding the domain name registration process, then you may want to consider the following information.
Where to Buy Domain Names
Domain names are sold by domain registrars that have access to the DNS database. Many web hosting companies are also domain name registrars, and some even offer package deals that include discounts for hosting plans and domain names bundled together. In fact, some web hosts offer free domain names with certain hosting plans. Often times you can receive a discount when purchasing multiple domain extensions simultaneously.
Aside from standard domain registrars, it is also possible to purchase aged domains from domain auction sites. Purchasing an aged domain has many benefits, including better search engine optimization attributes with no effort.
During the domain name registration, there are a variety of options to choose from, some of which can be confusing to the novice webmaster. The following information may help you make the best decisions during the registration process.
Domain Name Extensions
The first option you'll need to consider is the domain name extension, which is basically the letters that appear after the last dot. For example, .com is a domain name extension. While most people tend to choose a .com domain, it may be best to research the meaning of each extension before choosing one that is suitable for your web site. There are now an abundance of extensions, such as .org, .net, .co, .tv, and a plethora of country-specific domain extensions.
The domain extension is the main factor that will affect the cost of the domain registration. Dot com domains tend to cost the most, with a yearly registration costing about $10 from most domain registrars. The cheapest domain extension other than free domains is .info, which usually only costs about $1 per year. Free domain names include .tk and .cc, however, it is important to note that these domains generally have a harder time ranking higher in the search engine results.
When registering a domain, you have the option of choosing how long you would like to lease the domain. Usually, the typical time periods available are 1 year, 3 years, 5 years, and 10 years. Most professional business owners register domains for 10 years at a time, as this will prevent any unnecessary expiration and/or loss of the domain. However, if you don't want to spare the additional expense of registering the domain for long periods of time, then it should be noted that adequate notification is usually issued by the domain registrar before the domain registration expires.
Another important option to consider during the registration is whether or not you would like the domain ownership details to be private. When you register a domain name, by default, the contact and billing information for the domain are stored in a publicly viewable database known as the WHOIS database.
Contrary to popular belief, this database is often used by marketers (including telemarketers) to send harassing advertisements. The information can also be used for legal disputes or personal vendettas as well. If you don't want your name, address, phone number and other personal information available to the public, then you may want to consider private domain registration. The option for private registration is offered by most domain registrars, and it usually only costs about $10 extra per year.
You'll also have the option of certifying the domain as an official business entity, which offers a variety of advantages. Certifying a domain usually only costs about $2- $5, depending upon the particular registrar. Having a certified domain will mean that you can legally prove ownership in court using a printed certificate of the domain registration. If you plan on using your web site to operate an official business, then you may want to consider the benefits of certifying your domain name during the registration process.