How to register domain names so people can find your website.
The art of capitalism is repeatedly selling something to someone which they believe they need and which costs hardly anything to produce especially where customers do all the work.
In this respect domain names are a perfect example of capitalism in practice.
The whole system is based on words which buyers create and which domain registrars rent to the buyers. It is now a huge business and aspiring website owners compete to buy the words which will become their domain name - providing of course someone else has not already beat them to it.
Even if they have, you may be able to still buy the domain name for a higher price.
You make up some combined words and a registrar will rent them to you as a domain name.
A website does not actually need a domain name. Instead it uses a sequence of numbers and full stops to identify which server it lives at on the internet, followed by a short folder name on this server (e.g. 192.168.1.1/~mywebsite).
These numbers are known as the Internet Protocol Address or IP address.
In fact when you buy shared hosting, you will get this type of address while you wait for your domain name to point to the hosting server.
Problems with this include:
- the server IP Address will change when you move your website to a different server host;
- most people are generally rubbish at remembering numbers and folder names for websites;
- promotion and marketing is likely to be prohibitively expensive each time you move server hosts;
There are many other practical and technical reasons why just using the IP address for your domain name is not very practical. It is enough to say a better system was needed.
Enter the most brilliant way for capitalists to sell words to people and make a bundle of cash. They get around the global country problem by giving everyone a domain extension.
Basically anything after the words is followed by an extension which can be country or industry specific (e.g. .co.uk or .com or .edu). Different ones cost different amounts of money and when they want more money they can generate a bundle of new extensions. Clever stuff.
The domain registration system works like this:
- A domain registrar is licenced to sell the words you put together as domain names;
- You come up with a sequence of words and enter them into a search box;
- If the words are available with the suffix/extension you require you can rent them;
- Once you have registered the domain name you can "point" it to where your website lives;
Tips for when registering a domain name
- Buy directly from the registrar so you control the domain name;
- Shop around for the best deal. Some registrars are cheaper than others;
- Make sure the domain name is registered to you and not your web developer;
- Make sure you can point the domain name to a different hosting server;
Depending on the domain extension type you can register the domain name for one or multiple years. Some require a minimum of two years and some only require one.
There are often deals on offer where you buy the first year and get the second year free or half price.
Be careful with registrars because often they default to the maximum number of years and their special offers, so you need to check what you are buying very carefully so you do not pay for things you do not need. Check and double check everything before committing to pay.