Frequently Asked Questions About Domain Names

Domain Name Definition

What's the purpose for a domain name?

Selecting the right domain name for your business, interest, or hobby.

The domain name I want has already been taken -- Now what?

What is a Top Level Domain (TLD extension)?

What Top Level Domain (TLD extension) should I register?

Where and how do I buy and register my domain name?

What is private registration? Do I need it?

I've purchased my own domain name. Now what?

Can I host my website on my personal computer at home?

How will internet users find my website?

Domain Tasting -- What is that?

Domain Name Definition            [Go Back / Return to Top of Page]

In general, a Domain is the property, be it estate, land, material or intellectual possession, belonging to a person or entity.   Domain names, or sometimes simply referred to as "domains", are human readable and hopefully meaningful and understandable sequence of alpha-numeric characters and includes the dash (-) character.   Domain names, normally (but not always), are used to identify websites on the Internet.

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has the responsibility to regulate the Domain Name System (DNS), monitor the bought, sold and expired domain names and ensures that every website / domain name / Internet Protocol (IP) address is unique.   ICANN also oversees the distribution of unique IP addresses and domain names.   ICANN also ensures that each domain name can be translated and mapped to its corresponding Internet Protocol (IP) address.   ICANN is also responsible for accrediting the domain name registrars. "Accredit" means to identify and set minimum standards for the performance of registration functions, to recognize persons or entities meeting those standards, and to enter into an accreditation agreement that sets forth the rules and procedures applicable to the provision of Registrar Services.

Domain names are unique; i.e.
  *     Domain names are a sequence of alpha-numeric characters and includes the dash (-) character.
  *     Domain names can be up to 63 characters long and must begin with a letter or a number but never with the dash (-).
  *     There are no duplicates anywhere in the world, hence the word "domain"; It's yours and yours alone.
  *     Domain names along with the Top Level Domain (TLD) suffix are normally referred to as the "Website" names.

What is the Purpose for a Domain Name?            [Go Back / Return to Top of Page]

Since websites on the internet are all referenced using numbers via the Internet Protocol (IP) address scheme, i.e. "".   Domain names make it easier to find and visit the millions of websites available on the internet.   Domain names are a website's virtual address, whereas a website's real address are IP address numbers that don't mean much to most people.   Domain names make a website's place on the internet more memorable; After all, what is easier to remember and type, "" or ""?   The translation from human readable domain names (website names) to IP addresses are done behind the scenes by Domain Name Servers (DNS).   Most website publishers and users don't know and don't really need to know what goes on during the domain name (website name) to IP address translation process.   Whereas the domain name (website) will normally stay constant throughout a website's lifetime, there is a very high possibility that the IP address could change.   The web hosting company has good reasons for changing a website's IP address every once is a while, whether for computer maintenance or reconfiguration or numerous other reasons.   Domain Name Servers will be updated almost instantly so that visitors to the website will still find the website even though the real (IP) website address has changed.

Selecting the right Domain Name for your Business, Interest, or Hobby            [Go Back / Return to Top of Page]

A good domain name is usually a short and concise sequence of words to convey the website's content to the internet community.   Unfortunately, most short words have already being taken; i.e.,,, etc.   If the choice is between a meaningless short name or a meaningful longer name then the longer name would be the better choice.   Select a name that your potential visitors are more likely to remember.   A good domain name is one that can be guessed.   If you're name is Joe and your family has had a plumbing business in Compton, CA since 1909, with the business name Compton Plumbing, a good and obvious choice would be but if that's already taken then other almost as good choices would be or or maybe; Better yet why not all three?.   Each domain name may cost anywhere from $4 to $10 each per year, that's $12 to $30 per year for all three!   It's a small price to pay to increase the number of potential customers finding your business via the internet.   Stay away from gibberish words even if they are short, as internet users will not relate to these words and will not be memorable.   For example Plumber Joe in Compton should stay away from Domain names such as i.e. (J)oes (P)lumbing (C)ompton (S)ince 1909.   It may make sense to Joe and his family, but it means nothing to Joe's potential customers.   Extremely long domain names may be self defining but are hard to remember and are not easily entered into a web browser; A bad domain name choice for Joe the Plumber in Compton, CA would be www.JoesFamilyPlumbingBusinessInComptonEstablishedIn1909.

The Domain Name I want has already been taken -- Now what?            [Go Back / Return to Top of Page]

Suppose Joe the Plumber in Compton, CA had his heart set on using his business name "Compton Plumbing" as his website/domain name but had already been taken by someone else, it's very possible that the current owner of would be willing to sell the domain name to Joe.   The name of the person or business owning the domain name will be listed under the "WhoIs" information.   The "WhoIs" information is available from most domain name registrars.   Using the "WhoIs" feature anyone can find out who owns almost any website/domain name.   Making an offer to the current owner of the domain name you want may set you back more than a few dollars, but it may be well worth it.   It's called the "Free Enterprise System" which follows the law of "Supply and Demand".   Submitting a backorder request with the domain registrar is another way of obtaining the a domain name that has already been taken.   When the expiration date comes around, and the current owner doesn't renew the domain name, then the domain name will become available.   Of course there is a fee for this service in addition to the cost of the domain name.   However, there is no guarantee that you will get your backordered domain name as there may be other people waiting for that same domain name to expire.   Other people or businesses may have also submitted a backorder and you may not get it.   Another possibility for Joe's plumbing business would be to select a different "Top Level Domain" (TLD) extension such as .net or any other TLD available; i.e. or

What is a Top Level Domain (TLD extension)?            [Go Back / Return to Top of Page]

Top level domain (TLD) is the suffix part of the domain name (the TLD extension that follows the website / Domain name); .com, .edu, .gov, .info, .mil, .net, .org, .us, and many others.   The most common Top Level Domain (TLD) extensions are .com, .net and .org.   Several organizations have the responsibility for operating and maintaining these TLD lists.   These organizations are referred to as "registry operators", "delegees" or "sponsors".   Anyone can register a domain name with a TLD (.extension) such as .com, .net, org, etc.   Some TLD extensions such as Country Code Top Level Domains (ccTLD) which use country codes such as .us, .uk, .mx .de etc., have website use restrictions which must be adhered to.   The registry operators have the responsibility of policing the websites with these special Top Level Domain extensions.   Failure to follow the TLD restrictions my result in forfeiture of the domain name.

What Top Level Domain (TLD extension) should I register?            [Go Back / Return to Top of Page]

The .com TLD extension is one of the oldest, most popular and therefore one of the most sought after Generic Extensions, gTLD .   However, if your choice of TLD extension is not available, there are many others almost as popular to choose from; For example .net, .org, .info, .biz and many others.   Country Code Top Level Domains (ccTLD) use country codes such as .us, .uk, .mx etc., are also available, but come with restrictions.

Where and How Do I Buy/Register my Domain Name?            [Go Back / Return to Top of Page]

There are hundreds of accredited registrars dedicated to selling/registering domain names, although not all accredited registrars are accredited for selling all TLD extensions.   A comprehensive list of accredited registrars can be found on the U.S. Department of Commerce's InterNIC website at ""   After selecting an accredited registrar, the registrar will ask you to provide various contact and technical information that makes up the registration.   The registrar will keep records of your contact information & submit the technical information to a central directory commonly referred to as the "registry".   This registry information is provided to DNS computers on the Internet which then facilitates internet users in finding your web site.   A registration contract between you and the registrar will be maintained.   This contract sets forth the terms and conditions under which your registration is accepted and maintained.   Domain name registration fees typically range from $4 to $10 per domain name per year.   The cost could be more and it could be less, depending on which accredited registrar you have selected, which TLD extension you are registering, and the quantity of domain names you are registering at that time (bulk domain name registrations).   Typically the expiration date is one year from the time the domain name is bought / registered, but the time can be extended by paying for additional years at the time of purchase / registration.

What is private registration? Do I need it?            [Go Back / Return to Top of Page]

Online security threats are a growing phenomena are getting increasingly sophisticated.   Without private registration anyone in the world can use any of the "WhoIs" services and find out details of any website / domain name owner.   It's important to protect your privacy by adding private registration to your domain name registration.   Private registration blocks your information from spam, scams, prying eyes, stalkers and even worse.   Private registration can easily double the cost of registering a domain name.   Private registration could cost an additional $8 to $20 on top of the normal "public" registration domain cost.   Private registration is done using a third party entity / business called a "Proxy".   This "Proxy" will buy the domain name on your behalf.   You will still be the owner, but the "WhoIs" information displayed will be the Proxy's information and not yours.   Only the "Proxy" and the registrar will know who the real website / domain name owner is, and they are entrusted to keep your information confidential.   All accredited domain registrars offer this "Private" service, making the domain name purchase / registration easy and seamless.

I've purchased my own Domain Name.   Now what?            [Go Back / Return to Top of Page]

Internet Web hosting is a service that allows organizations and individuals to post / publish a website on the Internet.   There are thousands of Internet Web Hosting Providers to choice from.   A website host, or Internet Web Hosting Provider, is a business that provides the technical expertise, computer hardware and the internet connections needed to broadcast your website on to the internet.   In essence you are renting their expertise, their computer hardware and their internet connection.   Websites are stored and hosted on high performance computers called Host computers or servers.   When internet users type in or click on your website name on their internet browser, their internet browser / computer will communicate with your webpage located the host server and the server will send the appropriate website page to their screen.   If you have not yet selected web hosting service you can "Park" your domain name at a temporary website until you find a suitable hosting service.   This allows you to purchase your domain name right away before someone else does while you're shopping for a hosting service.   Some of those registrars also provide free email address using your own domain name, for example [email protected] or [email protected]   Before signing up for web hosting services, it is important to understand what kind of service your website needs, the kind of server you or your business needs, your budget, and what type of services the web host offers.   There are various types of web hosting services available to host your website.

"Free Web Hosting Service" can be a good choice when you just want to build a non-critical website just for fun.   Even though advertising banners may automatically be placed on your website by the Free Web Hosting Service, it's still FREE !   This way you get FREE website service and the Free Web Hosting company gets free advertisement via your website.   It's a Win-Win situation for all!   A good reason to select Free Web Hosting -- It's FREE ! You can't go wrong with FREE.   Some companies require you to purchase your domain name to receive free hosting services from them, but since you need a domain name anyway, that's that really a bad thing.   Although, very often with a Free Web Hosting Service, connection speeds are slow, websites can be down frequently, but so what, it still FREE !   What do you expect for FREE !

"Shared Hosting Service" is another good option.   In a shared hosting environment, you and other website owners share one internet hosting server.   This includes sharing the computer hardware and software located within the shared server.   Shared Hosting is an affordable alternative because the cost to operate the server is shared between you and possibly as many as one hundred other website owners.   The disadvantage to shared hosting is that it tends to be slower because of all the sharing going on.   When using a slow Shared Hosting server on a popular high traffic website it could discourage internet users from coming back to your website.

"Dedicated Hosting Service" allows you to have the a dedicated web server all to yourself.   This produces better performance since all of the serverís resources will be dedicated to your website.   A possible disadvantage is that you will be responsible for the total cost of server operation.   This may be acceptable alternative for websites that have a large number of users and / or websites that require a large amount of computing power, or have a need for tighter levels of security.

"Collocated Hosting Service" gives you the highest performance but also is the most complex service available.   With Collocated Hosting Service you as the website owner will purchase and own the hosting server hardware and software.   The computer hardware will share, and be located at, a web hostís facility which has the proper high performance internet connections.   The website owner will be responsible for the computer hardware and software maintenance and configuration.   The big advantage of Collocated Hosting Service is that you, as the website owner, will have full control of the web server.   You can install, remove, configure and reconfigure the computer hardware and software any way want, without needing permission from anyone, because it's yours.   The disadvantage of Collocated Hosting Service is that you, as the website owner, will have to take full control of the web server hardware and software.   You will have to install, remove, configure and reconfigure the computer hardware and software in order to have it work properly on the internet, because it's yours.

"Home Hosting"   You can host your own website at home on your own Personal Computer.   Click here for more information.

Can I host my website on my personal computer at home?            [Go Back / Return to Top of Page]

Yes, you can. But before you do, there are considerations and limitations you should be aware of:

    *     You will need the skills necessary to install and configure the internet server software on your computer.
    *     Open-source Apache HTTP Server and Microsoft's Internet Information Services (IIS) are two popular applications that allow Internet users to access your website on your personal computer at home.   Both are FREE
    *     Your Internet service provider must provide you with enough bandwidth. You should consult with your internet provider.
    *     Internet connections are relatively slow and not designed for serving web pages, your website will load slowly especially when you have many internet users connecting at the same time.
    *     Your computer has to stay on at all times. Your website will be available and active only while your computer is powered on.

How will internet users find my website?            [Go Back / Return to Top of Page]

Search engines such as,,,,,,,,   and hundreds of others, will list / index your website, but only if you ask them.   In order for these search engine websites to know you have a website, you have to tell them.   To do this, you will need to submit your website name to as many search engines as possible so that they can go to your website and get the information necessary to include it into their database.

  *     To submit your website to the, click here, fill out and answer all the questions on the forms.
  *     To submit your website to the /,
click here, fill out and answer all the questions on the forms.

There are many more search engines where you can submit your website.   They are too numerous to list here.   For a nominal fee, some website business will submit your website for you, to a very large number of search engines.   Click here for a list of website business that will be happy to submit your website for you.

Domain Tasting -- What is that?            [Go Back / Return to Top of Page]

Domain name tasting is the practice of registering hundreds of domain names for the sole purpose of monitoring their marketability while taking advantage of the five-day grace period offered by the registrars.

At any time during five-day grace period, the registrar has the obligation to fully refund the registration fees upon request.   During the five-day grace period, a Return-on-Investment (ROI) analysis, conducted by the "Domainer", is used to determine whether the income produced from advertisements, placed on the parked domains' websites, are enough to warrant keeping the domains, or whether they should be returned for a full refund.

Many of the domains registered are names which were previously registered but have recently expired.   These expired, and now resurrected domains, will usually still be indexed and will still be active in search engines and/or are still referenced from other websites.   These resurrected websites continue to receive enough traffic such that advertisement money earned is enough to cover the cost of the registration.   Domains / websites that make money or at least have the potential to make money are kept all others are returned for a full refund.

The practice is controversial as these "Domainers" typically register many millions of domain names each year, use them for free, for five days, and return the unprofitable ones.   These temporary domain name registrations far exceed the number of domain names actually purchased for legitimate purposes.

Many registered domains are misspellings of popular websites.   These domain names / websites depend on internet users mistyping a popular website's name; Thus receiving visitors which were meant for other, correctly spelled, websites.