Understanding Domain Names

This is the first step before you make your business online. It is a nick name of your company. Domain name is a combination of characters separated by dots(.).The domain name must be unique in the Internet namespace. Every domain is associated with an (Internet Protocol) IP address. When an IP is assigned to some domain, the domain name is called a hostname. You type domain name in the address bar of the browser and it is converted to an IP by Domain Name System (DNS). DNS server holds the information of all the computers on the Internet. It maintains a registry containing domain names with related IP addresses. IPDomain-namess are difficult to remember and type, that’s why domain names are used but the real communication between a client (your computer) and server (computer on the Internet) happens using a unique IP. Every server has a unique IP.

Domain name is part of Universal Resource Locator (URL) you type in the address bar of browser. For example, http://blog.hostbreak.com is a URL and domain name is hostbreak.com. Its real signature is www.hostbreak.com., look at the dot in the end. Domain name is resolved from left to right. Dot (.) is called Internet root domain and then comes the com that means hostbreak is a nick name of a commercial company. After com, the nick name of the company is hostbreak and it is hosted on a server with the label name www. So dot, com, hostbreak, www is resolved by DNS server. Dot is the root domain. Com is called the top level domain (TLD) and hostbreak is second level domain. www is the label name. There could be 127 levels of domains. Once the browser finds IP from DNS server related to a domain name, it sends HTTP request to the server to send HTML page back.

A domain is registered by companies called domain name registrars. These companies provide web interface to search a domain name. You must be very much creative in choosing a domain name. The domain name should be short, meaningful, clear and search engine friendly. When you visit any hosting company, you see a box to search for a domain name.  You enter domain name in the search box, your information is sent to whois and if domain is available then you see a message “The domain name is available” with a form to enter your information. The registrar needs your administrative contact, technical contact and billing contact. Hosting company needs your name, address, phone and other contact information. Hosting company such as HostBreak contacts domain registrar on your behalf and domain registrar provides two or more name servers as a service. Once you are registered, you get all information related to your domain in your email box. Most small companies pay annual fee to renew a domain and large companies pay for 8-10 years once. The reason is that it is your web presence. You do not want to lose your customers at any cost. If somehow you forget to pay annual fee, you can lose the domain name. Your website will go down and you lose customers. Hosting companies send an email to your contact address about the renewal. They wait for you for a week and they may call you to renew your domain but if you do not pay annual renewal fee, you lose your domain name.

Most of the people are unaware of the sub domains. Sub domain is a division of your main domain. For example, www.hostbreak.com. The famous www is a sub domain. Sub domains do not need to be registered to the domain registrar. You request hosting company to create sub domain for you. For example, if you want to provide downloads online then you may create downloads.yourcompany.com. Some domains are known as false domain names. These are directories after the domain name. Some companies offer domains like www.provider.com/yourcompany. Yourcompany is a directory and you should avoid this kind of domain names. You can search for expired domains. Some companies do not pay on time and their time ended and domain expires. If a domain is expired then you can use that domain for you. You can also buy a domain for resale. Some companies and individuals invest in domains and resale these domains in millions of dollars.

Once you register a domain name, you must populate it in all kinds of communication. You should add domain in email signatures, brochures, newsletters, all the web pages and all other forms of communication. Your domain name should be word a of mouth.

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