What is a Domain Name?
A domain name is a name that identifies a computer or computers on the net. It is a meaningful, easy-to-remember “handle” for addressing computers and information on the Internet.
For exmaple homeforprofits.com is a domain name that helps to identify my site.
The domain name is more commonly referred as web address.
Most of the computers on the net are assigned IP numbers. These are numeric digits sequence with intermittent dots. For example 188.8.131.529 represents a computer which might be hosting files for a particular site.
Because these numbers separated by dots are very difficult to remember and can be easily cross confused, domain names or web addresses help remember name.
For example if you have an address like thatiswebsite.com instead of above number, you would instinctively and definitely would remember that.
Thus domain names provide more memorable names to stand in for numeric IP address.
Another thing that needs to be clarified before we move further into discussion is universal resource locator or URL. An example is given below.
Domain name: somedomain.com
While former is URL, later is domain name. URL helps to locate the domain name.
A URL would vary with the file being accessed. For example if there is a file on the above mentioned domain with the filename somefile.html in the root directory of the doamin, the URL would become http://somedomain.com/somefile.html
In the above example .com is called top level domain( TLD) and somedomain would be called second level domain. Similarly if you make a further subdomain and name it somename then the address to that would become somename.somedomain.com.
In such situations somename would be called third level domain. You can create any number of domains on a TLD without any restriction. Domains of third and higher levels are commonly called subdomains.
There are many kinds of TLDs or top level domains that you can choose. Few of the poular TLDs are .com, .org, .biz, .net, .name, .tv, etc.
Why Do You Need A Domain For Your Business
Your web address is your office address that people would remember you by. If you are planning to get into online business, your own domain name is the first step in establishing identity. It is the identity that you are going to brand and market for your business.
You can open webpages at any free service but then they are not your pages.
For a business in real world you need a name for your business and you need an office address. That is similar for online business too.
If you do not have a domain name of your own, it does not give a professional image.
How To Get A Domain Name?
After you have shortlisted the domain name list, you need to go to a domain name registrar, check the availability and register the name out of available options. What you think as domain name may not be available because it has been already taken by somebody else. Therefore, you would need to select from those available and you like.
You can use a software like domain Suggestion Tool to find the domain of your liking.
How To Choose A Domain Name Registrar?
Accreditation: Your chosen registrar should be ICANN accreditation. ICANN maintains a list of accredited domain registrars. The registrar pays application and annual fees to ICANN. A fee is also paid by the registrar to Network Solutions, the company that maintains the central registry of domain names where all other registrars add their names. When you choose an accredited registrar, you ensure that your chosen domain name is officially part of the Internet.
Sometimes you might find that a webhost or other site is allowing you to register at their website. These act as reseller to the accredited registrars. They should let you know which registrar they represent.
Terms: Be absolutely certain to read and understand what you’re getting before you pay. Read about ownership clause and other terms of condition
Price: There was time when getting a domain name registered was an expensive affair. But now you can get a domain name just for less than $8 at most of the places. There are many types of discounts available that vary greatly with registrars. Do check out various deals.
Duration: Do not register your domain for more than one year in the beginning. You would like to evaluate your registrar before committing for further. You can register your domain up to 10 years in one go
Delay: A domain name is generally available within 48 hours after you register it. NSI has to update the official registry with the DNS information first. Check your registrar’s site to determine how long you’ll have to wait. If it says something like 7 days, do not go for that registrar.
Domain transfer: You should be able to transfer your domain name to another service without any restriction and for a fee not exceeding than fee for new registration. A lot of registrars also offer free transfer.
Generally there is a restriction on domain transfer for 60 days after you register your domain. Please check your registrar to find any other restriction and curbs.
Customer Support: This is another very important aspect. You need a good support system in case of any problem. Check out if phone or chat support is available. If Email support is the available support then it should not take them more than one business day to respond.
Few of the commonly used registrars are