One of the first steps in setting up an online business or blog is to domain name registration your domain name. It’s very easy to do, as long as you know where to go and understand the terminology, make sure your domain name has not been registered by someone else by doing a “whois” search. Most domain registration sites maintain a whois database, but I generally use paylessdomains, enter the domain name you want to check into the online form, some “whois” Search forms make you enter a code contained in an on-screen graphic. This is to prevent overuse of the system by automated systems. If you are asked for the code, enter it.
The results of the whois search will tell you if anyone already owns the name. If the name is taken, you will have to select another one. If it is unregistered, you can proceed. The most common types of domain names are hostnames that provide more memorable names to stand in for numeric IP addresses. They allow for any service to move to a different location in the topology of the Internet (or an intranet), which would then have a different IP address.
Hostnames are restricted to the ASCII letters “a” through “z” (case-insensitive), the digits “0″ through “9″, and the hyphen, with some other restrictions. Registrars restrict the domains to valid hostnames, since; otherwise, they would be useless. The Internationalized domain name (IDN) system has been developed to bypass the restrictions on character allowances in hostnames, making it easier for users of non-English alphabets to use the Internet.
There are four types of contacts the registrant or owner, technical, billing, and administrative. You may use the same name for all if you wish, if your registrar offers you the option; select a private or public registration. A private registration costs more, but will protect your identity and may cut down on the amount of SPAM you receive, point your new domain to a Web server or “park” the domain.
If you have not yet built a Web site, you should park the name with the registrar. If you have built a site, you must tell the registrar on which Web server the site is located. This information is provided by your Web host. At this point, you are probably done, It may take up to 4 to 8 hours for .com and .net domains to become active and about 24-48 hours for other domain extensions.
Getting a domain name involves registering the name you want with paylessdomains a domain name registrar. For example, if you choose a name like “mypersonalsite.com”, you will have to go to domain name registration, pay a registration fee that ranges between US$10 to US$35 for that name. That will give you the right to the name for a year, and you will have to renew it annually for (usually) the same amount per annum.
My personal preference is to register the name myself, so that I can be sure that I am registered as the owner, the administrative and technical contacts. Being the owner is vital if someone else places himself as the owner (such as your web host), he can always decide to charge you for the use of the name later, and there is little you can do. The various contacts are less vital, but still play important roles. For example, the administrative contact’s approval is required before a domain name is transferred out of a web host. If he/she cannot be contacted, the technical contact is used.
Although many web hosts suggest that you put them as the technical contact, you may prefer to keep yourself as one, so that when you want to transfer your name to a new web host, you don’t have to wait for your old host to approve the transfer (apparently some have been known to take some time to do this, while unscrupulous ones have actually refused to do it) domain names disappear extremely fast.
Many people claim that all the good domain names are gone. I doubt that – but it is probably true that most good domain names that are descriptive of products and services have been taken. If you want a domain name for your site, I suggest you act now, or face the anguish of having lost that name later. After all, US$35 (the price charged by the most expensive registrars) for a year’s ownership of the name is pretty cheap when you realize that you’re cornering a good name for your website.