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Domain Names

If you want to have a site, this implies that you need a domain. A domain is an easy-to-remember name that you type in your browser's location bar when you want to reach a given web site.

Why Do You Need a Domain Name?

This is a topic I introduce due to the fact that one week ago my boss brought forth the idea of building a website for our new project. That itself is not an issue, the issue is that he wants a web site, but has not decided yet what it should look like, what it should contain, etc. All that he revealed to me was the name of the site - its domain. So, we now have a web address for a yet-to-be-launched site and nothing else.

The Domain Name

Each website is located on a physical machine. That physical machine has its own physical address, known also as an Internet Protocol address. Reaching a website by writing the IP of the server in your browser, however, is not the best and most suitable thing to do, so that was how and why domain names came into being. Therefore, a domain name pertains to an IP address on the World Wide Web. After it has been registered, that is.

Registering a Domain

To register a domain, you first have to choose a domain registration provider. FreeHostia.com has an optimal solution for my current and prospective projects - they provide a Domain Manager plan, which can be effortlessly upgraded to a web hosting plan later on - when my boss eventually decides what purpose the web site will have.

Hence, to register a domain name, you have to select a name for your site. Then, you have to select a Top-Level Domain - this is what comes after the dot. For instance, in 'ask.com', '.com' is the Top-Level Domain (TLD). Clearly, '.com' signifies 'company', '.net' signifies 'network', '.org' signifies 'organization', and so on and so forth.

Once you've picked your domain and your future registrar, you have to examine whether the domain name you want to register is available for registration, since someone else might have snatched it before you, no matter how annoying it might be. Each domain name registration supplier, including FreeHostia.com, has a search functionality at their signup page, which checks the availability of a particular domain name. To go on with the registration of a domain, you have to fill out certain domain registrant info - the name, the physical address, the mail address and the telephone number of the registrant of the domain name.

You've Registered a Domain Name... Now What?

I registered .com, .net, .biz and .name domain names for our project, as per the wish of my still-unsure-about-the-function-of-the-future-site boss. I tried out the domain name administration dashboard FreeHostia.com is offering and found it extremely easy to use - everything is logically arranged and, from what I noticed in the hosting Control Panel demo at their website, after we upgrade to a cheap web hosting package, it will stay the same, just with many more functionalities. This, thank goodness, will save me quite a bit of discomfort from having to manage my domain and web site hosting account separately. So, while waiting for the boss to make a decision about at least what the website should include, I was happy to discover that the domain administration dashboard includes DNS administration and domain renewal options, and - a very useful feature (!) - a parked domain name template, which I used in order to set up a "Coming Soon" page for our domain names.

Country-Code Top-Level Domain Names

I was rather pleased to discover that FreeHostia.com is offering a lot of country-code Top-Level Domains, since the project the site is meant for is multinational. Country-specific Top-Level Domains are delegated to local registry operators, which permit domain name registration suppliers to register domain names, usually at rates that are cheaper than those offered to the end customers. There are many country-code domains: .co.uk for the UK, .it for Italy, .es for Spain, .us for the United States, .ca for Canada, .com.au for Australia, etc. This, I assume, will please my boss because we will be able to create a local version of the site for each country where the project will be introduced.