If you would like to own a website, this implies that you require a domain name. A domain is an easy-to-remember name that you type in your web browser's address bar when you would like to visit a particular site.
Why Do You Need a Domain Name?
This is a question I broach because of the fact that last week my boss proposed the idea of building a site for our brand new project. That itself is not a problem, the problem is that he wants a website, but has not made up his mind yet about what it should look like, what it should consist of, etc. All that he told me was the name of the site - its domain name. So, we now have a web address for a yet-to-be-made website and nothing more.
Each web site is hosted on a physical machine. That physical machine has its own personal physical address, known also as an IP address. Visiting a website by typing the IP of the server in your browser, however, is not the best and most convenient thing to do, so that was how and why domain names came into existence. Hence, a domain name pertains to an IP on the Internet. Once it has been registered, of course.
Registering a Domain Name
To register a domain, you first have to discover a domain registrar. Exclusive Hosting offers the best solution for my current and future projects - they provide a Domain Manager plan, which can be easily upgraded to a hosting package at a later time - when my boss finally makes up his mind about what function the site will serve.
Hence, to register a domain, you need to select a name for your web site. After that, you need to pick a top-level domain name - this is what comes after the dot. For instance, in 'ap.com', '.com' is the Top-Level Domain (TLD). Apparently, '.com' signifies 'company', '.net' signifies 'network', '.org' signifies 'organization', and so on.
Once you've selected your domain and your future domain registrar, you have to see whether the domain you would like to register is free, because someone else might have registered it before you, however embarrassing this might be. Each domain registration vendor, including Exclusive Hosting, offers a tool at their signup page, which checks the availability of a given domain. To continue with the registration of a domain, you have to specify certain domain registrant information - the name, the place of residence, the email address and the telephone number of the domain's registrant.
You've Registered a Domain Name... Now What?
I registered .com, .net, .name and .eu domains for our project, according to the request of my still-unsure-about-the-function-of-the-future-website boss. I tested the domain management dashboard Exclusive Hosting is offering and found it extremely useful - everything is coherently organized and, from what I saw in the hosting Control Panel demo at their web site, after we upgrade to a budget web hosting package, it will stay the same, but with many more functionalities. This, thank heavens, will save me quite a lot of inconvenience from having to administer my domain name and website hosting user account separately. So, while waiting for the boss to determine at least what the web site should comprise, I was pleased to discover that the domain management dashboard contains DNS management and domain renewal options, and - a very useful functionality (!) - a parked domain name template, which I resorted to in order to set up a "Coming Soon" page for our domains.
Country-Specific Top-Level Domains
I was quite happy to see that Exclusive Hosting is offering plenty of country-code top-level domain names, as the project the site is intended for is multinational. Country-code top-level domain names are entrusted to domestic registry operators, which enable domain name registration companies to register domain names, typically at prices that are lower than those offered to the end clients. There are lots of country-code TLDs: .co.uk for the UK, .se for Sweden, .it for Italy, .us for the USA, .ca for Canada, .com.au for Australia, and so on. This, I trust, will please my boss because we will be able to set up a local version of the website for each country where the project will be introduced.