Domains names are more than just a useful address for storing and showing business or personal information on the internet, they can bee the difference between a successful and non successful business.
Selecting the right domain name, hosting provider and website design, plus website development is not a small job.
The domain name market
A study of internet businesses showed that most of them spend less than 2 hours choosing their domain name, web hosting providers or doing a detailed plan of their website requirements. This can only lead to problem later on in the website development process and could cost you a lot of money.
The report also said that 45% of those businesses thought that they had chosen the wrong domain name and could increase sale with a better name. No surprise there when they are putting less time into the decision than they do deciding on the venue for the office xmas party. Using domain names that are complex and too long for your customers to remember and you will miss out on traffic and valuable business emails.
Although there is much controversy around the whole domain name business one thing is for sure…can you really afford to let someone else capitalize on your company domain name or names. The number of domain names is increasing with most of them linked to geographical locations such as .nl for Holland, .de for Germany and .FR for France.
These local TLD’s or Top Level Domains help to categories the internet and help the customer find a supplier in their own country.
Every country in the world has been supplied with a Top Level Domain and so you can imagine the choice of TLD’s is vast. There are also continental TLD’s that are now available such as .eu and .asia, again this allows you to have a presence in a specific area of the globe.
There are other TLD’s that are Global such as .com and .net and these tend to bee used by people or businesses who require a global presence. Of course this will also make them very sort after and extremely valuable.
There are constantly new TLD’s coming online all the time for example we now have .mobi domain that are primarily for mobile devices .xxx for the adult industry.
Many other domain names are in the pipeline and I’m sure will eventually cover most categories from .clothes to .cars. This idea is generally to help make addresses more relevant.
How Domain Names Work
Domain names are a shortcut to a designated Internet address. The internet works by giving every device that is connected to it a unique identification number called an IP address and packets of data sent to and from that device are marked with that ip address.
IP addresses are not the most friendly of address to remember and can bee up to 12 digits long so the number is converted into something we all understand, “domain names” They are used as direct links to web and e-mail servers. If you Type 126.96.36.199 into your browser you will find that this takes you to yahoo.com as a good example.
The domain names and IP Addresses that are relevant to your searches are stored in a domain name server or (DNS). So when you type the URL you want to find into your web browser, your computer sends a request to the DNS at your Internet service provider in order to find the IP address of the web server.
Once it has the correct address it can talk directly to the web server and you can search the site for as requested. I quick way to find the ip address of any web site is to use the ping command. Go to Start – Run and type, for example ping yahoo.com into the box.
A small window will appear with the IP address of the web server. There are also many great domains that supply this service and more, try ip-address.com and see what I mean. Knowing this can help you understand why you will get delays when you register a new domain name and web site or any changes you make to an existing web sites dns settings.
The DNS information need to propagate correctly and this can take up to 24 hours for all the DNS servers globally to update and list your new domain setting that hold your website.
Who Controls Domain Names?
Domain Names are controlled by an organization called the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers or ICANN. They are responsible for deciding how the internet TLD structure should look and what TLD’s should be used.
ICANN is a non-profit organization acting under the authority of the US Government, Department of Commerce.
Although ICANN make the big decisions on what TLDs are available, each TLD or country has its own domain registry.
Nominet for instants looks after all .uk domains and decides on the structure and release of the UK’s second level domains. Second level domains can be useful for a country and can include many variables such as .co.uk, .sch.uk and .me.uk.
Registering A Domain Name?
To register a domain name, there a few thing you need to know. First need to check that the domain name you want is still available.
The easiest way to do this is to just go to the top of this page and use the domain name search box supplied. Anyone can register a domain name within the framework of allowed suffixes provided it isn’t already taken.
There are some restrictions on TLD’s such as .eu, .us and .Asia requiring to registrar to reside within a specific geographical location. But be careful in your choice of domain name, although there a few restriction on registering a domain name this does now mean that someone may not consider they hold title of the name.
This could result in a person or company taking action against you through the disputes tribuneral in order to protect their names and trademarks or worse still take over your domain name. This is known as cyber squatting – where an individual as registered a domain name purely in the hope they can sell it on or cause disruption or brand damage to the rightful owner.
If the domain name you want is not available it’s still possible you may bee able to buy it. If the domain name does not have a web site you can find out who owns it and contact them about the possibility of purchasing the name from them. There is nothing stopping you doing this and it is perfectly legal to do so as long as both parties are in agreement.
To find out who owns a domain name you can do a search on websites like whois.net A search with Whois will show you details on who registered that domain, their name, address and contact details. Once you have decided on your domain name or names you need to contact a domain registrar. Domain registrars are approved companies that can register domains on your behalf.
It pays to shop around when choosing your domain registrar and often several are needed depending on amount and type of TLD’s you wish to purchase. Prices can vary widely due to the global nature of the web. It doesn’t really matter where the domain company is based and big saving can be found by selecting a registrar based overseas.
Once you have successfully acquired your domain name you will want to setup your web site, before you can do this you need to research web hosting providers. They will supply you with a web hosting and email hosting package. This basically means that you have hired web space on that companies web servers.
The beauty of owning your own domain and setting up a web hosting account is that it will give you full control of how you want you domain structure and control over the email for that web site and domain name.
Web hosting providers and the services they supply could be a whole article in itself but I will not go into to much detail here. Basic web hosting packages supply you with about 50MB of space and usually there will bee bandwidth restriction on the amount of data you can downloaded per month.
You need to spend a little time working out exactly what your site will be doing and what kind of services you require. It’s no use paying $100 a month for a dedicated server just to run a word blog that’s updated once a month.
New category-based TLDs are coming online all the time and available for the general public to register. When a new TLD becomes available, there is a period of time where businesses get the chance to apply for domains to register that they consider as their trademarks ahead of the general public.
The .asia TLD is going through this process now. During this ‘Sunrise’ period, companies and individuals have the chance to apply for specific names or trademarks before the general public. The sunrise period lasts for four months and names that are not allocated in this period are opened up to the general public on a first come first serve basis.
There is now an entire industry setup to help you get your name from these situation and it is called the pre-registration scheme. For an extra fee you can be top of that companies attempt to secure your name. Depending on the name and amount of interest this process can be a good way of ensuring your domain name or names.
Some companies use a slightly different approach and start a pre or post auction on the domain name they manage to acquire. Great business when you think of it, if they manage to register hosting.eu or hosting.asia for $15 then auction it to the highest bidder they can make themselves a lot of money for very little work.
This in itself is a very contentious issue but until the different governing bodies get their act together you have little choice to play the game. If you do find a company that will pre-register your domain name for a fee make sure they ensure a full refund of all fees if they are not successful in registering your chosen name.
The pre-registration service is not officially recognized by the domain registration organizations and so you have no rights to that name until it is fully registered.
Brian Harrison is a writer for Bee Ltd a domain acquisition and development company that has many years experience in the domain name and internet market. You will find many useful articles and advice on all manner of subjects associated with domains names, SEO and web development at our site: Bee.eu
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