What is a Domain Name?
A domain name is what you type in the browser's address bar to go to a specific website. For example www.google.com when you wish to do a search using the Google search engine.
Websites are located (or hosted) on computer servers. The location of a website in a server is specified by a series of numbers, called the IP address (for example: 22.214.171.124).
However, this would be too hard to remember. The inventor of the Internet took this into account and created domain names. Domain names act like an address forwarding service that directs the Internet user to the server.
Now you simply need to type in easy to remember domain names such as e.g. facebook.com or twitter.com instead of complex sets of numbers for each website. You are immediately forwarded to the website. The process of looking up the IP address for a domain name is totally transparent to you.
What are Top Level and Second Level Domain Names?
The .com in the Google example above is known as a domain name extension. Originally, .com extensions were intended for commercial ventures while .net extensions were intended for use by Internet Service Providers. The .org extensions were intended for use by non-profit organizations or groups. This is no longer true and anybody can register a domain name with these extensions.
Nowadays in addition to the above, you will find a host of new extensions like .biz, .name, .me etc as well as country level domains (like .us for the US, .my for Malaysia and so on.)
Top level domains include any that contain only one suffix – for example .net, .info, .biz, .my etc. Second level domains are domain names containing another level after the .com or .net suffix. For example; .com.my is a second level domain style as it contains an additional suffix after the .com that shows the website originates in Malaysia.
How do I register a domain name?
Domain names are registered on-line through domain registrars that are accredited by ICANN or Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers. There are thousands of companies that offer domain registration services. Not all are equal. Some are more reliable than others, offer better customer service or provide a more user-friendly interface.
My favorite and who is the largest domain registrar is
You can find out if a domain name is available by typing in the name you want in the search box on the webpage of any accredited registrar. The program will immediately tell you if the domain name you want is available.
How to I Get Information on a Registered Domain?
You find a domain name that you like but it is already taken. You want to contact the owner to find out if he is willing to sell. How do you find out who owns the domain? You can obtain such information by searching the WHOIS database at
Can I Get a Free Domain Name?
Domain name prices vary from one registrar to another. It is quite possible to purchase a domain at a lower than normal price. But free? Not that I know of. Some web hosting company do offer free domain name registration if you host your website with them. Renewal is also free if you continue to host with them. You should however make sure that you are the admistrative contact so that you can easily transfer out to another registrar, should you decide not to host with them in the future.
Tips on Selecting a Domain Name
Here are some tips on selecting domain names. Choose .com domain names whenever possible. With a few exception, most people who use the web would assume that a site carries the .com extension.
Choose domain names that are easy to type and easy to remember. They hold be short and make use of memorable words or sound. Word of mouth relay on the ease wih which domains can be called to mind. It is no use having a great site that no one can ever remember to tell their friends because they cannot remember the domain name.
Choose domain names that reflect the type of content that you might find on the site. For example hotmail.com suggest something to do with email while autotrader sugest something to do with the buying and selling of cars.
Avoid hyphens as there are very difficult to give verbally and not easy to remember or type. Finally avoid copyright infriengement. Do a check before you buy.
How do I Get an Expired Domain Name?
A domain expires when the owner does not pay the renewal fee. When a domain registration expires, it becomes available for a new registration. There is a common misconception that domains expire on their expiration date. This is not the case. If a domain registration is not renewed by its expiration date, the domain simply goes into "expired" status, which means all services are shut off. Typically, a registrar provides a grace period during which the current owner can still renew it.
The best opportunity to get an expired domain name is to place a back order on it. You will receive notification when it is available to you. If more than one person request a backorder of the same domain, it goes up for auction and is awarded to the highest bidder.
What is a Uniform Resource Locator or URL?
A domain name is often confused with a URL, but there is an important difference. URL refers to the entire address used to visit a website or a webpage on a website, including all those colons and slashes. This address includes the domain name.
For example, http://www.statcounter.com/project/standard/stats.php is a URL. It includes the “hypertext transfer protocol” (http), telling the browser that you are using a domain name instead of an IP Address, the domain name www.statcounter.com (or address of the website) and “standard/stats.php”, the directory and particular file on the website that you wish to retrieve.
What is a Domain Name Service or Server (DNS)?
Domain name servers are a network of servers that translate domain names to IP addresses.
Each machine or server on the Internet has it own unique address called an IP or Internet Protocol address. These addresses are 32-bit numbers normally expressed as four "octets" in a "dotted decimal number." (For example 126.96.36.199)
When you type a URL like http://www.google.com/adwords, into your browser, the DNS works in the background to give you the IP address for the website so that your computer can connect to it. DNS is like the yellow pages for IP addresses, you look up a name and it gives you back their address.
What is the Maximum Length for a Domain Name?
The maximum length is 63 characters. Some domain extensions have a minimum limit. For example the new minimum length for .com extension is 3 characters. You may be interested to know that the average length of registered domain name is 11 characters.
What about Privacy?
Normally domain ownership information is publicly available to allow rapid resolution of technical problems and to permit enforcement of consumer protection, trademark, and other laws.
However you can hide personal information from public view by subscribing to WHOIS privacy. WHOIS privacy is a service which hides your personal information from pubic view when you register a domain name. It is available for .com, .net, .org, .info, .biz, .name, .tel, .cc, .tv and .me domains.
You can purchase WHOIS privacy during the registration process or at a later date. WHOIS privacy is available annually and the fee is not refundable. Once you have purchased WHOIS privacy, you can turn it on and off whenever you like.
What if Others Register my Company Name as a Domain Name?
All ICANN-accredited registrars follow a uniform dispute resolution policy. Under that policy, disputes over entitlement to a domain-name registration are ordinarily resolved by court litigation between the parties claiming rights to the registration. Once the court rules on who is entitled to the registration, the registrar will implement that ruling. In disputes arising from registrations allegedly made abusively (such as "cyber-squatting" and ?cyber-piracy"), the uniform policy provides an expedited administrative procedure to allow the dispute to be resolved without the cost and delays often encountered in court litigation. In these cases, you can invoke the administrative procedure by filing a complaint with one of the dispute-resolution service providers.
Domain Name and Search Engine Optimization
Search engines ranking algorithm appear to give higher priority to web sites with keyword-matched or keywords laden domain names. They also appear to use registration length in calculating ranking. This is based on the theory that a person who renews their domain name for 10 years, is more likely to build a website of greater worth than someone who only holds their domain for 1 year.
What about Internationalized Domain Names?
Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs) are domain names represented by local language characters (or non-ASCII scripts like Arabic or Chinese). Many efforts are ongoing in the Internet community to make domain names available in these. Some like the Arabic script is just becoming available.
The Future of Domain Names
You should see more new domain extensions and the introduction of more non-ASCII scripts internationalized domain names.
- What is a Domain Name?
- How to Register a Domain Name?
- What is Cloud Computing?
- How to Transfer a Domain Name?
- Expired Domain Names
- DNS - Domain Name System
- How to Get a Domain Name?
- What is Domain Parking?
- Who is a Domain Name Registrar?
- Get a Free Domain Name
- Check Domain Name Availability
- Setup up your Own Domain Email
- How to Buy a Domain?
- Domain Age and History
- Domain Forwarding and Sub Domains
- Domain Names Trivia
- Who is a Domain Name Registry
- What are Top Level Domains?
- Domain Name Registration Tips
- Domain Name Generator
- About EDU Domain
- Find a Domain Name
- Domain Name LookUp
- Canadian Domains
- Malaysian Domains
- A Beginner's Guide to Internationalized Domains
- What is Web Hosting?
- What is Shared Hosting?
- What is Dedicated Hosting?
- Different Types of Web Hosting
- What is VPS Hosting?
- What is Secure Sockets Layer (SSL)?
- What is Unlimited Hosting?
- Introduction to Blog Hosting
- Understanding Virtual Hosting
- About Co-location Hosting
- What is Exchange Hosting?
- What is PHP Hosting?