Web Name Registration
How to Register a Domain Name
Any small business, dedicated fan or insightful blogger will eventually find themselves needing to purchase a domain name. A domain name is the address that is entered at the top of any web browser in order to direct visitors to a specific site. Domain name registration is run and monitored by ICANN, an organization which parcels out domain names and creates new domains in order to provide users with more options and accurate naming. For example, the domain .com has largely been filled because it is so popular, whereas the domains .net and .org remain relatively underused.
Domain name registration is simple, quick and easy. In the old days, it was necessary to file with ICANN directly, via mail, fax or e-mail, and wait for an application to return as available. Many popular domain names were applied for en-masse, with little regard for who was buying them, why, and for how long. This led to problems when persons who were less than scrupulous, or who were so-called “domain squatters” who hoped to sell the domains for big money to major corporations, took on a large amount of domains. Domains are now sold almost entirely through trusted registration services offered by companies such as GoDaddy, Network Solutions and Regsiter.com. There are also corporations which permit users to host their work for free which enable them to later upgrade to an account with their own domain name. Many web-hosting services also permit persons who purchase server space to also purchase a domain name.
Domain name registration requires that the purchaser agree to only own the domain for a set period, usually stipulated in the contract. They must also provide a legitimate address, name and phone number so that they may be contacted in the event that there is a legal question or concern regarding their site. This most commonly occurs when persons use their website to upload pirated or unlawful materials. It is also used to confirm the owner and primary source of content on a website in a legal context. This registration information is stored in the “WHOIS” database, which is linked to each domain name. Legal authorities using a WHOIS search can quickly find and contact persons should they need to. The information stored in the WHOIS database is also used by ICANN and approved corporations to notify a website’s owner that they need to renew their site registration. It is therefore important for site owners to keep this information up-to-date.
The registration of new or “blank” domains that have never existed usually costs around ten dollars per domain per year. The most commonly used domain is .com, and other popular domains such as .net and .org. Many sites offer package deals in which a person can register a domain name across many domains for a single reduced fee. This is attractive to large corporations or organizations who may need to eliminate squatters and potentially malicious sites which will “camp” on domain names similar to popular domains. There are often reduced fees for less used domains, such as those assigned to small nations. Some domains, such as .tk, are even given away for free by the nations that own them in exchange for certain agreements. These agreements generally involve promoting the country or purchasing server space from one of their local corporations, helping to increase that country’s presence on the web. Southeastern Asia is famous for this, since many small islands receive much more bandwidth than they will ever need since they serve as waypoints for trans-pacific fiber optic cables.
Persons interested in domain name registration should first see if their current service provider or web host provides a domain, and if they can register it in exchange for a small fee. Domain name registration is often offered for free or at a reduced rate by hosting agencies as an incentive to purchase server space with them. Many free hosting and blogging services also permit users to upgrade to their own domain name in exchange for a fee, or in exchange for permitting advertisements to run on the site. Free domains names are usually from less used domains, but they are nonetheless functional and an excellent option for the budget conscious.
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