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Know More About Domain Names and The Registration Process

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In simple words, a domain name is nothing but the name (URL) of your website. No two websites in the world can have same domain name with same TLD extension like .com, .org, .info etc. Normally, when you sign-up for web hosting solutions, a hosting firm may offer enticing hosting deals with free domain registration as a part of the package too, but it may not be the case with every host.

A domain name should not only be easy to recall, but should be simple to type; just imagine yourself typing in a long irritating URL like thebestfreewebsitemonitoringservicesinunitedstatesofamerica.com, or the-best-cloud-hosting-provider-in-Texas.com and the chances of typing it correctly every time...

If you are planning to launch a website, thorough understanding of domain names is very crucial. At the same time, if you're planning to offer domain registration and hosting services to your customers, you also require a good understanding of domain registration and renewal process.

Once the domain name is registered, it gets included in a big register of records containing other domain names, and this database is maintained by ICANN. Apart from the name of the domain, other information like IP address is also fed to a DNS server (Domain Name System), and this system tells all other computer systems connected to Internet about a domain's name and its IP address.

How to Register a Domain

Customers can visit the website of any domain registrar like GoDaddy and simply feed in the domain name of their choice to check the availability. But, before you book a domain, you must make sure that you know the ground rules of the domain name length and format. After feeding the name of your choice, results would pop up indicating whether the name has already been taken up by someone else... If that happens to be the case, then you may try different TLD extensions like .org, .com, .info or .net with the same domain name, but that may not be a good idea in case you want to establish that as a brand (due to existence of another website with same domain but different TLD extension).

A thumb rule here would be to look for .com extension availability, and ignore that particular domain name if the .com extension has already been booked. However, if the .com extension is available, but .info or .org has been booked by someone else, you may still consider registering the .com extension for launching your website.

We had already discussed the process of domain name registration in a different article, so make sure that you take a good look at it, before you proceed.

How to Choose a Domain Name

Keep the name simple and crisp and something closely related to your business. Jot down a probable list of such names. If you're struggling to find a good name, try coming up with ideas closely related to the services offered by you. You can also look for catchy phrases in your brochures or promotional pamphlets.

You can try all types of combinations that may work for you and finally zero in on few options and perform a domain search on WhoIs or any of the ICANN Accredited Registrars to see if the domain has already been taken. If that happens to be the case, then you can try a new one or if you are very particular about the name you want, then contact the site owner and see if he/she is willing to sell the domain to you. If you want a particular set of Internet users to visit your site, you should try coming up with a domain name that is as closely related to the keyword your prospect visitors would type in the search engines, as possible... This does wonders in terms of boosting website traffic over the long run.

For instance, you provide packers and movers services in Texas, but the name of your firm is GP, then you may want to consider registering a domain name like gp-packersnmovers.com rather than simply Gpservices.com, since the latter one doesn't give a clear indication of the kind of services your business focuses upon.

Concept of Sub-Domains

The concept of sub-domain is still little known to the people even though they use them almost daily. These sub-domains are created nowhere else but on the DNS server that your website runs on. The difference between a regular domain and a sub-domain is that the latter is not required to be registered with a registrar. Having said that, these sub-domains can be created only after the main domain has been duly registered. Some of the popular examples of sub domains are Microsoft Support Forum and Apple Store.

You can set up as many sub-domains as you want, without incurring any additional cost!

Domain Renewal and Deletion Process

Customers need to understand that they may lose ownership of the domain if they don't renew it 24 hours prior to date of expiry. Once the domain registration expires, it goes into a pool, where all such expiring domains are kept, and such domains can be back-ordered, or purchased through auctions. A very common example is GoDaddy's expired domain auction that constantly lists expiring domains on daily basis.

If nobody picks an expiring domain, then it's released into the common pool, and made available for registration again. So, even if you fail to renew your domain on time, there's a good chance of getting them back, during this grace period, but your registrar may charge you an extra amount for getting it back!

As a registrar, you should keep an eye on all expiring domains of your customers, and try to preserve those whom you deem to be very precious (for instance, if you accidentally happen to see a valuable domain like sales.com expiring, then you may want to grab it at all costs) because you may be able to sell such domain names for thousands and perhaps even millions of dollars (Sex.com was sold for 13 million USD alone!). Today, short one-word domains are all gone, so if you find an expiring one, it'd be none less than a gold-mine or a million dollar lottery ticket!

What's more, some of the registrars even book catchy domain names in anticipation and then try to sell them for thousands of dollars (at times even millions) to those who'd be interested in buying them. Apple reportedly coughed out about half a million dollars for purchasing iCloud, when they launched their new cloud based service during 2011 WWDC.

Copyright Infringement Issues

Registering a domain name containing a brand name such as "Sony", "Hyundai", or "Microsoft" is not considered to be legal, but you'd still see tons of such domains constantly being registered and used by various webmasters which often misled the common man... It's not permitted to even use and book such domains for recreational purposes, or even running a hobbyist's blog. For instance, I love the new "Hyundai Eon" and I had booked a domain "Hyundai-eon.org" (not even .com but rather .org extension to indicate that it was a non-profitable website for Hyundai enthusiasts), but I received a notification from Hyundai M&M, and I had to delete that domain upon their request.

Apple was sued by iCloud, a Phoenix-based cloud company, for using their brand name "iCloud" last year, and there have been thousands of instances of copyright infringement in domain names, so you must make sure that you're not infringing anyone's copyrights while registering a domain name.

Lastly, if you're a cloud hosting provider, but you currently don't offer domain registration services to your customers, then you may want to sign-up as an ENOM reseller, and become a domain registrar today!

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