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A Beginners Guide to Domain Name Registration

A brief primer on domain registration services and tips to ensure that you have complete control of your online web assets.

Firstly, the techie stuff :). The main purpose of a domain name is to provide symbolic representations, i.e., recognizable names, to mostly numerically addressed Internet resources. This allows any resource (e.g., website) to be moved to a different physical location in the address topology of the network, globally or locally in an intranet, in effect changing the IP address. This translation from domain names to IP addresses (and vice versa) is accomplished with the global facilities of Domain Name System (DNS).

Top-level domains

Every domain name ends in a top-level domain (TLD) name, which is always either one of a small list of generic names (three or more characters), or a two-character territory code  Top-level domains are sometimes also called first-level domains. Few Examples of TLDs : [ .com  .in .net .org  .net .asia .edu  .biz .info .edu ]

Domain Name Registry Services

A domain name registry, also called a Network Information Center (NIC), is part of the Domain Name System (DNS) of the Internet which converts domain names to IP addresses. It is an organisation that manages the registration of Domain names within the top-level domains for which it is responsible, controls the policies of domain name allocation, and technically operates its top-level domain. It is potentially distinct from a domain name registrar. A domain name registrar is a company, accredited by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) or by a national ccTLD authority, to register Internet domain names. These “retail” companies are often distinct from the “wholesale” domain name registry operator. ICANN has authority over generic top-level domains, or gTLDs. Examples of gTLDs include .com, .net, .org and .mobi. ICANN does not have authority over ccTLDs, or Country Code Top-Level Domains, although it is quite common for domain name registrars to offer ccTLD registration services as well. Most registrars provide DNS hosting service, but this is not required, and is often considered a separate service. ICANN is the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers. Headquartered in Marina Del Rey, California, United States, ICANN is a non-profit corporation that was created on September 18, 1998 in order to oversee a number of Internet-related tasks previously performed directly on behalf of the U.S. government by other organizations, notably the IANA (Internet Assigned Numbers Authority). Now, for the interesting bit. Domain name registrations involves registering a domain name with an approved registrar. The process is broken down into the following steps:
  1. You have to chosse a unique domain name that is not presently owned by anyone else.
  2. Find a company that registers domain names from ICANN accredited registrars and do some market research before registering domains with them . Few examples few ICANN accredited registrars are:
    • eNom, Inc.
    • Network Solutions, LLC
    • Register.com, Inc.
    • Directi Internet Solutions Pvt. Ltd. d/b/a PublicDomainRegistry.com
    • You can gather more information from http://icann.org/
  3. Verify the  information and control that you would get about your domain upon registration. Few details that you should obtain upon the domain registration are:
    • Domain management control panel login details from where you can set your nameservers or use other features like managed DNS service, etc.
    • You should get the Authorization Code for your domain which is a Secret code for your domain required if you wish to transfer your domain name from the current registrar to a new host.
  4. Always ensure that the Administrative as well as the technical contact information that you provide are valid and the e-mail ids are functional since all the correspondence related to your domain would be made to this e-mail id.
  5. You can register a domain name for maximum of 10 years at a stretch (this might vary for some extensions, like .in, .co.in where the maximum period of domain registration is 5 years).

Domain Name Transfer Procedure:

At times, domains are sold to another organization or sometimes the name of a company might change. Most registries require a letter of permission from the old owner to hand over control to the new owner. The procedures for Transfer of ownership will depend on the registry.

Domain Name Lock:

This facility helps to keep your domain secure from disgruntled ex-employees and hackers. Once you activate Domain Lock, no changes to your domain is permitted. Your domain has unlocked by you before the domain can change hosting, contacts, registrants or even transfer out to another registrar. The Domain Lock section is password-protected, meaning only the authorized user can access this section. The username and password to the account is not enough. It asks the user additional queries like “what’s your mother’s maiden name?”; “your pet’s name is…
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