Domain basics

By | April 4, 2007

I have something to reveal, I’m a domaining enthusiast. Although I don’t claim to be a pro at it, but domaining is something that got me a lot more fixated with the web a long time ago and instantly gave me a presence on the web. Just register a domain and “voila!” you have an internet presence. But truth be told, it’s not quite as simple as that. And that’s where you need to do some homework.

To cut to the chase, domains are all the addresses on the internet that denote a website, as in http://www.modernstreet.com. And domains are what give you a presence on the web, as I mentioned earlier. If you start a blog with a free blogging company, for example Blogger.com or WordPress.com, then technically you don’t own that blog or site. So, your domain, or more precisely, your subdomain, can anytime be deleted without explanation, just beware.

Domaining is best described as the activity of acquiring, buying, selling, parking and developing domains. I personally like the word “developing”. Developing domains is creating and running websites using the domains you own, and that is what a webmaster’s life is all about.

Domains can be any available name you can think of, and then registered with a registrar. The governing organization of all domains is a body called The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers or ICANN. All domains have a bunch of numbers assigned to them that are unique to themselves. This is called the Domain Name System or DNS, and its ICANN’s job to make sure every domain has its own DNS. ICANN runs Internic which is tasked with providing information to the world about domain registration and availability.

The extension after the domain name is usually either a TLD (top level domain) or a ccTLD (country code top level domain). TLDs are .com/.net/.org/.biz/.info. CcTLDs are those country specific extensions, examples being .us and .co.uk. Extensions are really important in determining domain value, as I will explain later on.

ICANN appoints registrars by giving them a license to register domains for people. If you want to register a domain name, you would need to register it at one of the accredited registrars for a fee. Domain names used to be costly years ago, ($30-50 per year were the usual rates then) but nowadays, with so much of competition, prices have dropped to the extent, that you can get domain names for under $10. But take note that registrars who offer “free domains” or domains for dirt cheap prices below $6.00 will very likely have some secret clauses. I would myself bet you’ve probably heard the saying, “You get what you pay for”, one too many times.

Here is a basic question, “How do I choose a good domain name?” See my next post for some useful pointers.

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