What is a Domain Name?
The Domain Name is the name before “the dot” (or period) and what follows after “the dot” (or period) such as .com or .net which is the extension. For instance, our Domain Name is BrightIdeasForWebsites.com.
It is a unique identifier like your phone number; https://websitesetup.org/choosing-best-domain-registrar/ it must be registered with a registrar who will store or host the Domain Name on a Domain Name Server (DNS).
A Registrar is the company who administers your domain name subscription, making sure that it cannot be stolen, and cannot be duplicated and sold by any other Registrar. Domain names can be transferred to another Registrar, with some restrictions during renewal times.
Domain names are purchased for annual or multiple-year subscriptions up to a maximum of 10 years. The cost declines if your subscription goes for more time. It is better to buy your domain name for the five or 10 year option for three reasons:
- If you forget to renew your domain name, you could lose it.
- It is a nuisance to have to remember to renew it every year.
- The search engine will give more credence to the longevity of your domain.
When buying the domain, it is recommended to activate the Auto-Renew option, which will automatically renew it, as long as you keep your credit card up-to-date. It is a good practice to note when your credit card expires on your calendar with a reminder to update your billing with the Registrar, because if your renewal notices go unnoticed, you will lose your domain and may not be able to get it back.
How Can I Get a Domain Name?
In order to buy a Domain Name identify a registrar that provides hosting services and/or registers Domain Names. You can purchase your Domain Name through a hosting service even if you decide to host your website elsewhere. Be sure to read What is a Domain Registrar and Why It Matters? (see question toggle below).
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How Much Does a Domain Name Cost?
Different domain registrars have different prices to host your Domain Name ranging between a few dollars to as much as $30 per year. If you purchase the Domain Name for multiple years most registrars will give you a discount. We recommend you purchase a minimum of five years. Your Domain Name can be registered for up to 10 years.
If you purchase a website hosting package, you may be able to get your Domain Name for free or at a reduced cost as a promotion for the first year. You can get a free domain name without a hosting package but more than likely the extension will be something obscure like .tk. These uncommon extensions lack credibility, don’t rank well with search engines, and can only last up to a year. For a few dollars more you can get a Top Level Domain (TLD) name with .com, .net, or .org, adding credibility to your site.
What is a Domain Name Registrar and why it matters?
Domain Name Registrars gather your domain name registration information and officially registers it (reserves) in the Central Registry Database. They vary in services, supports, prices (as noted above), terms, and more. An Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN ), an accredited registrar, becomes your designated registrar, and only the designated registrar can change or delete information about the domain name in the central registry database. ICANN manages the central registry database.
Here is a list of ICANN-Accredited Registrars.
When registering a domain name, it is very important that you be the Registrant.
If you plan on asking your website developer to purchase the Domain Name for you, it is critically important that you have them use:
- Your name
- Your email
- Your credit card
Can I Transfer My Domain from One Registrar to Another?
Yes, you can transfer from one ICANN-accredited registrar to another. There is a 60-day blackout period leading up to your renewal date where you cannot transfer your domain, so planning ahead before the renewal is critical if you want to switch registrars.
To transfer a domain follow these steps outlined in Wikipedia “The usual process of a domain name transfer is
- The end user verifies that the Whois admin contact info is correct, particularly the email address; obtains the authentication code (EPP or UDAI transfer code) from the old registrar, and removes any domain lock that has been placed on the registration. If the Whois information had been out of date and is now updated, the end-user should wait 12–24 hours before proceeding further, to allow time for the updated data to propagate in the registrar’s database.
- The end user contacts the new registrar with the wish to transfer the domain name to their service and supplies the authentication code.
- The gaining Registrar must obtain express authorization from either the Registered Name Holder or the Administrative Contact. A transfer may only proceed if confirmation of the transfer is received by the gaining Registrar from one of these contacts. The authorization must be made via a valid Standardized Form of Authorization, which may be sent e.g. by e-mail to the e-mail addresses listed in the Whois profile. The Registered Name Holder or the Administrative Contact must confirm the transfer. The new registrar starts electronically the transfer of the domain with the help of the authentication code (auth code).
- The old registrar will contact the end user to confirm the authenticity of this request. The end user may have to take further action with the old registrar, such as returning to the online management tools, to re-iterate their desire to proceed, in order to expedite the transfer.
- The old registrar will release authority to the new registrar.
- The new registrar will notify the end user of transfer completion. The new registrar may have automatically copied over the domain server information, and everything on the website will continue to work as before. Otherwise, the domain server information will need to be updated with the new registrar.”
For additional information about ICANN steps and policies for transferring read FAQs for Registrants: Transferring Your Domain Name.
At the end of this process the new registrar is the domain name’s designated registrar. While this process can take as little as five days, the transfer can take up to 14 days. For this reason, it is not advisable to wait until your registration is about to expire. If your domain registration expires you run the risk of losing it. Click here for detailed ICANN-approved steps for transferring your Domain Registration.
What if I don’t renew my domain name registration? If you do not renew your domain name registration, you will lose it. If it is not renewed, the registrar can make it available for sale and sell it to another company or individual.
What is a Domain Name Server(DNS)?
Domain Name Server or DNS is where the Domain Name information is stored.
The website, when installed on its host server will be assigned an IP Address, a unique address on the hosting server that relates to your website, not unlike how a cell phone number relates to your cell phone hardware, and rings when someone calls it.
The Domain Name Server (DNS) stores the host websites IP Address, so when someone types your Domain Name into the browser it will point to your website and display it to the user. The DNS must be configured to point to the website IP Address.
The DNS also configures your email if you use your Domain Name as part of your email address.