How To Own A Domain Name
The History of Domain Names
Our current domain name system traces its roots back in the days of ARPNET, the earliest version of today’s internet. Alphabetical names were given to these introductory e-mail systems because it was easier to remember names than random number sequences. A centralized system was created to keep names and addresses straight and worked well for about a decade.
With the arrival of the public on the internet in the 1980s things got complicated quickly. The original system email would go from server to server as time allowed and eventually made it to the individual in question, but you had to know the entire route to plug in an “address.” If you didn’t know the complete path, you had no way of sending e-mail. The newer domain name system provides each individual with an absolute address that is entirely unique, the hidden software does the rest.
Developed at the University of California Berkley, the new system called BIND, Berkley Internet Name Domain, was created as a graduate student project. The application runs virtually every domain name system on the internet. A prime example of free open source software, the software is easily upgradeable, nearly perfect and well trusted by the internet using community. Several new versions have been successfully released since its inception with the latest version coming out in 2000 with several improved security features.
Choosing Domain Names
A domain name is your internet calling card. Well chosen, a domain name will immediately define what your company offers and draw in customers. Poorly chosen, your domain name may unintentionally lose you business, make you difficult to find and cause more trouble than its worth. A classic example of this is the website whitehouse.com originally a porn site which now provides political analysis instead.
When choosing domain names it is important to do some research. Take some time to define for yourself what your site will be about. If you are opening a business try and sum up the nature of that business in a couple of words. A name like babyslings.com is descriptive and clear and is therefore much more likely to get a hit. Shorter names are more welcoming than long ones, so babyandme.com is better than infantsandmothers.com.
Buying Domain Names
After you have figured out a few names that suit your domain, check them out on a domain name research tool. Check a couple versions of your name. If the specific name you want is taken, try variations, plural forms, reversing the words, or the like. A good research tool, like GoDaddy.com, will automatically suggest variation if your particular request is already taken
You might find that the name you want is being held by someone without being used. These individuals will “squat” on a name, especially if you have let your domain name expire unintentionally, and try to demand large sums of money for freeing it up. Don’t bother. Unless you already have a well established base of individuals who visit your site regularly, it just isn’t worth the expense.
Once you settle on a name or two it is generally worth purchasing both. Buying domain names has become so inexpensive that sites like GoDaddy.com only charge about ten dollar a year per domain. If you are serious about holding on to your name then consider purchasing the domain for several years and registering it. A good registrar is going to ask all sorts of questions about who is will own the name and how to contact them. Make sure to answer the questions accurately or you can run into difficulties later on.
Now that you have your domain name picked, registered and locked away, where are you going to put it? Many email servers will allow you a certain amount of web space with your monthly costs, but it is always best to separate business from personal accounts. If you are planning a very small web page you can even find free services, although they usually run advertisements on your page. If you need more room, and want a clean layout, plans run from a about $5 to $20 a month for a typical small business. All sorts of additional services can be added at a cost.
It’s that simple. Now, get out there and join the internet community.
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