Domain Names – A Beginner’s Guide
What is a domain name?
A domain name is a name which is associated with an IP address by a DNS server. In laymen’s terms – it is a name which is used to identify a website on the internet. For instance, when you type in “givemenames.com” in your web browser’s address bar, you send a request out to a computer (a DNS computer) asking it to find and connect you to the computer associated with that name. The Domain Name Service (DNS) computer uses an Internet Protocol (IP) address to keep track of all computers connected to the Internet. An IP address is a grouping of numbers which identifies a computer. Each computer on the internet has its very own unique IP address. You can think of the DNS computer as a telephone book – where each domain name has its own set of numbers.
Why do I need a domain name?
In order for your website to be seen by other computers, you will need to have a unique name to identify your website. This name is then associated to an IP address (which your website host will supply) and sent to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) organization for registration with the DNS computers. (GiveMeNames.com takes care of this step for you.) Example: when you type http://www.givemenames.com in your browser, the DNS computer knows that “givemenames.com” can be found at the IP address of: 126.96.36.199 on the internet. The DNS computer then transfers your request to the appropriate computer and you see the “givemenames.com” website.
What’s the difference between .com, .net, .org, etc
The initials that follow the domain name you purchase (i.e.: the .com after GiveMeNames) form what is called the Top Level Domain (TLD) in your domain name. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is responsible for maintaining these and they explain the TLDs as follows:
There are several types of TLDs within the DNS:
o TLDs with two letters (such as .de, .mx, and .jp) have been established for over 240 countries and external territories and are referred to as “country-code” TLDs or “ccTLDs”. They are delegated to designated managers, who operate the ccTLDs according to local policies that are adapted to best meet the economic, cultural, linguistic, and legal circumstances of the country or territory involved. For more details, see the ccTLD web page on the IANA web site.
o Most TLDs with three or more characters are referred to as “generic” TLDs, or “gTLDs”. They can be subdivided into two types, “sponsored” TLDs (sTLDs) and “unsponsored TLDs (uTLDs), as described in more detail below.
o In addition to gTLDs and ccTLDs, there is one special TLD, .arpa, which is used for technical infrastructure purposes. ICANN administers the .arpa TLD in cooperation with the Internet technical community under the guidance of the Internet Architecture Board.
In the 1980s, seven gTLDs (.com, .edu, .gov, .int, .mil, .net, and .org) were created. Domain names may be registered in three of these (.com, .net, and .org) without restriction; the other four have limited purposes.
Over the next twelve years, various discussions occurred concerning additional gTLDs, leading to the selection in November 2000 of seven new TLDs for introduction. These were introduced in 2001 and 2002. Four of the new TLDs (.biz, .info, .name, and .pro) are unsponsored. The other three new TLDs (.aero, .coop, and .museum) are sponsored.
Generally speaking, an unsponsored TLD operates under policies established by the global Internet community directly through the ICANN process, while a sponsored TLD is a specialized TLD that has a sponsor representing the narrower community that is most affected by the TLD. The sponsor thus carries out delegated policy-formulation responsibilities over many matters concerning the TLD.
A Sponsor is an organization to which is delegated some defined ongoing policy-formulation authority regarding the manner in which a particular sponsored TLD is operated. The sponsored TLD has a Charter, which defines the purpose for which the sponsored TLD has been created and will be operated. The Sponsor is responsible for developing policies on the delegated topics so that the TLD is operated for the benefit of a defined group of stakeholders, known as the Sponsored TLD Community, that are most directly interested in the operation of the TLD. The Sponsor also is responsible for selecting the registry operator and to varying degrees for establishing the roles played by registrars and their relationship with the registry operator. The Sponsor must exercise its delegated authority according to fairness standards and in a manner that is representative of the Sponsored TLD Community.
The extent to which policy-formulation responsibilities are appropriately delegated to a Sponsor depends upon the characteristics of the organization that may make such delegation appropriate. These characteristics may include the mechanisms the organization uses to formulate policies, its mission, its guarantees of independence from the registry operator and registrars, who will be permitted to participate in the Sponsor’s policy-development efforts and in what way, and the Sponsor’s degree and type of accountability to the Sponsored TLD Community.
Which Name should I choose?
If you are going to start a personal website, many people choose “theirname.com” as their domain name. This name is usually available unless you have a more common name like John Smith. (Yes, JohnSmith.com is already taken!) If you plan on starting a business web site, you would do well to think about using a descriptive name of your product rather than using your business name. For instance, if my company was named Jansen Incorporated, and I bought that domain name, unless you knew my company, that name wouldn’t mean much to you if you saw it on the web. However, if I bought JansenMotorboats.com as my domain name, you’d know instantly what my website would be about. Keep this in mind when deciding what domain name to choose. Also, if the .com name is chosen, try using one of the other TLD extensions. Instead of JansenMotorBoats.com, try JansenMotorBoats.biz or JansenMotorBoats.org. It used to be that you had to worry about copyright infringements when choosing a domain name. However, at this point in time most of the companies have purchased their domain names and it’s not as much of a concern for new domain name buyers. Whatever name you choose make sure it’s one you like – after all, you’ll be telling all your friends and associates to check out your website at yourdomainname.com
What’s next after I purchase a domain name?
Once you find a unique domain name and purchase that name, GiveMeNames.com sends that name along with an IP address, to be registered with the DNS computers. You will then tell your web host what you want done with that name. If you chose GiveMeNames.com, you have the choice of using the “free parking”, “forwarding”, “free starter web page”, another GiveMeNames.com web hosting package or possibly another web host provider’s site.
Free Parking/Domain For Sale:
If you don’t have a website prepared yet, you can choose this option. It will tell GiveMeNames.com to create a one page site that states either:
1) Your website will be coming soon (parked option) or
2) You wish to sell that domain name.
If you choose this option, you can have requests from browsers forwarded to the IP Address or Uniform Resource Locator (URL) – another name for a web address – each time that your domain name is typed into a user’s browser. This is handy if you have 2 different domain names and you want them both to point to your one website. For instance, GiveMeNames.com and GimmeNames.com both point your browser to the same website.
Free Starter Web Page
If you’re just beginning and you would like to have a quick website up and running, you should choose this option. You will be given a choice of web page templates to use in order to quickly and easily set up your first web site. This is recommended for beginners to use until they become more familiar with creating a web site. You can experiment and try different things to familiarize yourself with working on a web site.
How do I find a good web host?
Once you’re ready to expand your web site, you’ll need a good web host. Choosing a web host can be a complicated process. We recommend reading as much as possible on the subject and then carefully making your selection. Basically you want to get a reliable host, with the most bandwidth and storage, with the best “uptime”, for the most affordable cost. This will require some research on your part. Use your favorite search engine and look for cheap reliable web hosting. Once you find a host that provides a good rate with good bandwidth and advertised uptime, then its time to check their reputation. Try a search on the host’s name and add “opinion”. You should get some links to forums where folks discuss their experiences with different hosts. If nothing bad is said about your host, that’s a good sign. You could try posting on the forum and asking if anyone has had experience with your intended host. If no negative or (hopefully) some positive responses are seen/received, then it’s fairly safe to accept them as a web host.
What is bandwidth and storage and just what is acceptable?
Bandwidth is defined by the hyperdictionary as: a data transmission rate; the maximum amount of information (bits/second) that can be transmitted along a channel. If you have lots of browsers visiting your site, you’ll use more bandwidth than someone whose site only has a small amount of visitors. Also, if you have lots of web pages on your site, you’ll require a host that gives you a larger storage allotment. If you’re going to have a personal website, your bandwidth and storage requirements won’t be that great. If you’re preparing a business web site, hopefully you’ll have lots of visitors and products to promote, and therefore you’ll require more bandwidth and storage. There is no real “perfect” amount of storage and bandwidth – it varies with each website. Just make sure that your host will allow you to upgrade your account to accommodate more bandwidth and storage if the need should arise. You can use the GiveMeNames.com hosting packages as an example. The economy plan offers 100 MB (megabytes) storage and unlimited bandwidth. This would be great for a personal website and maybe even a small business site, but it wouldn’t work for an active large business. However, the Deluxe or Ultimate packages with unlimited storage and bandwidth should work just fine for a larger business web site.
What is uptime?
Uptime is the amount of time a web host is up and running and is available for other computers to contact it. Obviously the higher the number, the better it is for you. You don’t want to have people trying to reach your website and having them turned away because your pages aren’t available due to your host’s computers being down or unavailable. So look for uptime of at least 99% for a quality host. This again can be verified by looking at the forums that deal with web host providers.
How much should I spend?
You can pay as little as nothing to as much as in the thousands for web hosting on a monthly basis. In today’s market, you should be able to get a nice host to meet most of your needs, as long as you’re not hosting a very large business site, for $20 or less. Wait – you said I could spend nothing? Yes, there are free web hosts available; however, they come at a “price”. Free hosts will require you to have advertisements on your website, and they will dictate just what advertisements are placed where. Check out GiveMeNames.com – Free Web Host Example as an example of a free hosted page. Notice the advertisements on the site. If you’re looking for a more professional appearance for your site, then you’ll want to stay away from the free web hosting.
Anything else to consider?
Some web hosts offer you free software and other incentives for choosing them as your host. While these shouldn’t be the main reason you choose them as a host, they can help sway you to choose one host over another if all other things are equal.
Hopefully this has given you a good starting point in your quest for knowledge of purchasing a domain name and its usefulness. If you have any other questions that you’d like to have answered please use one of the following options: