When you launch a new website you must register a unique
domain name with an authorized registrar. When the internet
was first starting, all domain names and IP addresses
were registered through one organization, Internic.
Eventually Network Solutions took over the role as keeper
of the internet domain names. Today, there are hundreds
of websites where you can register your domain name
but Network Solutions still maintains the main database
of domain names. Some websites charge as little as $2.95
per year for your domain name while others charge as
much as $35 per year for the exact same service. Some
even offer one year free if you register your domain
name with them and host your website on their servers.
Why pay $35 when you can register your domain name for
much less at another website?
So why does Network Solutions charge $35 a year if
they are the keeper of the database and their resellers
charge a fraction or even nothing? Who knows and who
cares! Register your domain with one of the cheaper
providers and you'll be fine. A word caution - be care
who you choose to host your website. Getting a free
year of your domain name isn't worth it if your webhost
is unreliable and your website is down more than it's
You pay for your domain name on a yearly basis. It's
a separate charge from your webhosting bill. When you
register your domain name choose the autorenewal option
if it's available. This way your domain name will not
expire if you forget to renew it. If your domain name
expires, it's free for anyone else to register so you
need to stay on top of when it's expiring. Also registering
your domain name for a 3 to 5 year term will often save
you money. For example, godaddy.com charges $8.95 a
year for your domain name but only $7.25 a year if you
register for a 5 year term.
When you register your domain you can create different
contact names. The three contacts are Administrator,
Technical and Billing. Most of the time the same person
is all 3 contacts. If you web designer registers your
domain name for you, make sure you are designated as
the Administrative contact. This gives you control over
the domain name and you must be notified if someone
is trying to make changes to your record. If you aren't
one of the contacts then someone can transfer ownership
of the domain name without your permission.
To see a record of your domain name, go to www.networksolutions.com
and use their WHOIS utility which is located in the
bottom left corner of their home page. Simply enter
your domain name and click Search. You'll see the complete
record of your domain name, where it's registered and
where your website is hosted. For a complete video of
how to use WHOIS, visit www.valiss.com/video/whois/whois.html.
When you register your domain name you'll have to
the option of making it a private registration. I highly
recommend paying the additional fee to make your information
private. If you leave your registration public anyone
can look up your domain information which includes your
home or business address and your email address. Many
spammers scan public domain registration records to
find valid email addresses to spam.
I always use a yahoo or hotmail email account when
registering my domains. This way if spammers to find
my email address, I can just get a new throwaway
email address and I won't receive spam at my primary
Always make sure your domain record remains locked.
Locking your domain name is a feature implemented a
few years ago. When you want to transfer your domain
name to a different registrar you must unlock it. Once
it's unlocked the new registrar can pull
your domain name from your current registrar. Once the
transfer is complete, the domain name will be locked
to prevent anyone else from pulling your
domain away from you.
About the author:
Ted Prodromou spent over 25 years in the computer industry
working for IBM, Digital, and Cellular One. Today he's
the owner of Valiss IT, a consulting firm that provides
personalized web design and small business marketing
solutions. Visit http://www.valiss.com
for lots of free how to articles about marketing
your business online.
Copyright 2005 Valiss IT, Inc. All Rights Reserved