|An Introduction to Domain Names
By Russ Mate
You type a domain name into a browser and visit the site. Sounds simple, but did you know that there is more to the process than meets the eye?
The familiar domain name that you know is actually translated from a numerical address called an IP address. Every website is actually composed of these IP addresses. Since it's easier to remember a name as opposed to a series of numbers, this process was created.
All domain names are run through what's called a DNS server and this is where the conversion occurs. The DNS server transmits the correct IP address and delivers the website to your browser.
Choosing and Registering A Domain Name
The best domain names are:
1) Easy to remember.
2) Are short. abc.com is easier to remember than hereismyfantatsicwebsite.com.
3) Closely match the content of your website.
You have your choice of many domain name extensions, .com being the most popular. There is also .net, .org, .info, .biz, .cc, among many others. Most still prefer .com because of its popularity among web users.
Registering a domain name is a simple process. You visit a domain registration site, search for a suitable domain name, and then pay for it, almost always via credit card. Domain names can be registered for one or more years. During the registration term, you hold the rights to use the domain name. Contrary to common belief, you don't "own" a domain name - you're merely a domain name registrant, not an owner. Prices of domain name registration range from a low of around $6.95 per year to upwards of $35.00 per year. Service options vary from one registration provider to another. Most offer online control panels that allow you to manage your domain names. Many small business web hosting companies offer different options to assist you in managing your domain name.
Renewing A Domain Name
When your renewal date approaches your registration provider will send you email reminders. Most registration providers send many reminders - usually beginning 120 days prior to your renewal date. Your renewal reminder will usually contain a link to your small business web hosting provider's website, where you can renew your domain. Domain renewal is usually the exact same process as the initial registration, minus the search for a name. If you plan on continuing to use your domain name, the importance of renewing your domain name by the expiration date cannot be over-emphasized. If you fail to renew your domain name, it can be very difficult, if not impossible to recover. Under certain conditions you can recover your domain for an additional fee paid to the registry. However, if the domain has already been released back into the pool of available domains, you're not going to be able to recover the domain name via the registry. Your only hope at that point is to try to register the domain name, if someone else hasn't registered it. If that happens, you can try offering to buy back the domain name from the new registrant.
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