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Domain Name Basics

  

Registering Your Domain Names

Once you have decided on the domain name(s) you want, the next step is to choose a Registrar and actually register the domain name. You will find a good selection of Registrars in the Company Reviews section.

While each Registrar may want slightly different pieces of information from you, most domain registrations require 5 things:

  1. Registrant Name – This is the company or individual to whom the domain name actually belongs.
  2. Administrative Contact – This is a person authorized to make certain changes to the domain name, such as alter the Registrant name or approve a transfer of the name to a new Registrar.
  3. Technical Contact – This is a person authorized to make certain changes to the domain name, such as changes to the DNS servers associated with that domain name.
  4. Billing Contact – This is the person to whom all bills and other correspondence will be sent.
  5. DNS Server Settings – This is where you specify the primary and secondary name server you would like to associate with the domain name, typically provided to you by your hosting or parking company.

It is possible to specify the same person or company for each of 1-4 above. You can (and people most often do) specify the same company or individual as the Administrative, Technical and Billing contact. Since there is very little to distinguish the roles of 2 & 3 in practice, this usually isn’t a problem.

Some Registrars choose to streamline the registration process by not providing the ability to enter certain information (some do not require Billing Contact information, for instance).

BE CAREFUL: If a Registrar does not ask for Registrant information, you should be cautious and read over their terms and conditions carefully. Some Registrars set their clients up as the Administrative, Technical and Billing contacts, but put themselves as the Registrant. This effectively results in the Registrar “owning” all the domain names belonging to its customers rather than the companies or individuals that actually registered the names.

You will also be asked for payment information, but payment procedures vary widely between Registrars. Most offer secure online credit card payments with recurring payment options. Some will also accept PayPal or standard checks.

Most Registrars will also ask you for additional information, such as a user name and password that you can use to make online changes to your domain registration information.  Be sure to keep this information in a safe place as you will need it to make any changes to your domain name.

Now that you know what information you’ll need to provide, let’s find out where it is stored.

Whois Information

The information that you provide your Registrar when registering your domain name goes into a record that is tied with your domain name. Certain parts of the information become a part of the central database, which is stored and maintained by the Registry (see the Domain Registration Facts section for a detailed explanation of the roles of Registries and Registrars), while other parts are kept and displayed directly by the Registrar. All of the information is compiled into a searchable public database of domain records. When you perform a search of this database, you are performing a WHOIS (pronounced “who-is”) search.

Here is a sample of what you will see when you perform a WHOIS search.

Domain Name: igoldrush.com

Created on…………..: 1996-12-02
Expires on…………..: 2013-12-01

Registrar Name……….: Domain-it!
Registrar Whois………: whois.domainit.com
Registrar Homepage……: http://www.domainit.com

Registrant
Attn: igoldrush.com
DomainIt Private Registration
9891 Montgomery Road, #225
Cincinnati, OH 45242
US
Phone: 513-351-4222
Fax..:
Email: 2xrze7biz5o6g4152c @ hideyourwhois . com

Administrative Contact
Attn: igoldrush.com
DomainIt Private Registration
9891 Montgomery Road, #225
Cincinnati, OH 45242
US
Phone: 513-351-4222
Fax..:
Email: 2xrze7biz5o6g4152c @ hideyourwhois . com

Technical Contact
Domain-it!, Inc.
Domain-it Hostmaster
9891 Montgomery Road, #225
Cincinnati, OH 45242
US
Phone: 513-351-4222
Fax..: 513-351-8222
Email: hostmaster @ domainit . com

Domain name servers listed in order:
NS1.DOMAINIT.COM
NS2.DOMAINIT.COM

 

As you see, your domain record contains the contact information that you provided during the initial registration of your domain name and is available to the public through a WHOIS search. The amount of information stored in your WHOIS record may vary though, depending on you Registrar and the Registry. Some Registries store only a nominal amount of information and leave the Registrar to store the rest. These are known as ”Thin Registries”. The Registries that store all the whois information, however, are known as ”Thick Registries”.

Verisign, the .com Registry, is an example of a Thin Registry. This means that the information being stored in the central database is very limited. When you run a WHOIS query on a domain name in the Registry database (for example, a .com domain as Verisign is the .com Registry), that site first looks up the Thin Registry from the central database, and then next finds the Registrar and displays the rest of the information supplied by them.

While it may seem very tempting to use a false name and address when registering a domain name (to maintain your privacy and keep your personal details out of the reach of direct marketers) there are a number of downsides to this approach.

First of all, it is against the registration rules of most Registrars and Registries. There have been several cases in which domain owners have been forced to provide accurate contact information at short notice, or risk losing their domains.

Second, you run the risk of not finding out about important changes that could affect your domain name. For instance, if you do not supply your real address, your Registrar will not be able to alert you when it’s time to renew your domain name registration and you could risk losing your name.

Finally, you can not be contacted for legal challenges. While this may sound like a positive benefit, you actually run the risk of losing your domain name by default if you do not respond to a complaint against the domain, not to mention the fact that you could suffer possible court costs and legal fees because you were not around to defend yourself.

Choosing the Right Registrar

When searching for the right Registrar, you’ll have several things to consider: value, security, service, convenience, and stability.

  • Value – There’s no reason to pay more for the same services, but at the same time, that doesn’t always mean you should go for the cheapest price. You can measure the value of the Registrar’s service by knowing what you get in exchange for your money. You could probably find an extremely cheap Registrar, but they may not offer the convenience of a good hosting package, excellent customer service, or the security that a more established Registrar could offer.
  • Security – Your Registrar should have password security to restrict access to your domain account.  Your Registrar should have a reputation of diligently restricting access to your account based upon defined rules, including handling of phone calls from people you purport to be you.  Your Registrar should have a screening system that is either systematic or involves human review of account transactions to catch unusual activity within your account.  The bottom line is that your domain’s safekeeping relies on the Registrar’s ability to keep your information secure.
  • Service – The best way to gauge the quality of a Registrar’s customer service is to call them. Find out if anyone actually exists on the other side of that phone number and see how they handle your questions and concerns. A good Registrar will, at a minimum, answer their phones during normal office hours, if not 24/7.
  • Convenience – Find out how easy it will be for you to change information on your account (without compromising the security of your domain). Also see if the Registrar has a user control panel demo available that you could check out. Also, you may want to see what other services (such as web hosting, email, and/or website promotion services) the Registrar offers and how competitive their prices are. It’s almost always more convenient to bundle services from a single company.
  • Stability – Do your research on the Registrar before registering your name. Find out how long they’ve been in business and check out reviews from current customers online. If you don’t see the Registrar as a stable, secure company with a successful past and a future, you’re better off not doing business with them. Buying a domain name is a long-term commitment and you don’t want to lose your name because the Registrar went out of business.

Now that you know what to look for in a Registrar, let’s get into a little more detail about what limitations you have when actually registering your domain name.



3 Responses to Registering Your Domain Names

  1. Thank you for sharing this info!


  2. Thanks For the information about domain names!


  3. Domain name registration refers to the process of registering a domain name, which identifies one or more IP addresses with a name that is easier to remember and use in URLs to identify particular web pages.


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