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Domain Registration Basics

A domain is an alphanumeric address that points to your online presence. Domains are regulated by a central control group and sold to the public by various retailers called domain registrars. A domain registrar allows you to search for and register domain names that have not been already purchased. Your domain name should be an easy to remember, intuitive combination of letters, numbers, and/or words that will be easy for end-users to recall from memory

The Domain Registrar

There are many domain registrars available. Some popular options are GoDaddy and Network Solutions. These companies allow you to create an account that you can use to register multiple domains. It is important for you to register your own domains or have your web services provider set up a registrar account on your behalf. It is not a good idea to allow your web services provider to control all aspects of your online presence.

The Domain Registration Process

Once you have an account established, you may begin purchasing domains. Registrars will attempt to up-sell many additional services such as private registration, auto-renewal, and others. Generally speaking, these services are not needed for the majority of people. Once the registrar confirms that your domain name is available, you will need to decide how long you would like to have the domain registered. It is almost habit for people to choose 1 year duration because it is the cheapest. If you plan on having your site around for a while, go ahead and register for 5 years or more. It is very easy to forget to renew your domain name every year which can lead to disruptions in service. Simply pay for the number of years you selected and as long as there is not a conflict (very rare), the domain will belong to you.

Name Server Configuration

The main functions of a domain registrar account is the ability to register domains and the ability to specify nameservers. Nameservers are like internet phone books. They are a giant listing of domains names associated to IP addresses, much like a name attached to a phone number. Most web services providers will either log in for you and configure your nameservers, or specify which nameservers you should enter into the control panel. Nameserver editing is generally straightforward and easy to accomplish.