Ferguson Computers’ Website 101 series is meant to empower entrepreneurs, small businesses, and website owners to make informed decisions about their business website.
Before you can build your business website, you need to choose a domain name.
A domain name is what people type in their browser’s address bar to access a website.
For example, our domain name is fergusoncomputers.com.
How do you get a domain name?
In order to obtain a domain name, you, the domain registrant, must purchase a domain registration from a domain registrar or a domain reseller.
A domain reseller is authorized to sell domain registrations on behalf of a domain registrar. Domain resellers usually offer other, primary services such as email hosting or web hosting.
A domain registrar is in charge of facilitating the reservation of domain names on the Internet. Domain registrars can sell domain registrations directly to a registrant or they authorize sales via a domain reseller. Domain registrars are accredited and certified by domain registries to sell domain names.
A domain registry is responsible for maintaining all domain registrations within the registry’s TLD or Top Level Domain. A TLD is the ending of a domain name, such as .com or .org. Each TLD has its own domain registry that manages all of the domain registrations within its group.
For example: .com domains are managed by VeriSign, Inc.
Do you own your domain name?
Contrary to popular belief, you never actually “own” your domain name.
Domain name registrations are leased and must be renewed on a schedule agreed upon by the registrant and the registrar.
The minimum duration of a domain registration is one year, but some registrars offer a registration period of up to 10 years.
Most registrars or resellers offer the ability to auto-renew a domain registration, which is typically the best practice. Auto-renewal will help prevent you from losing your domain name because you forgot to renew it.
What information do I need to provide to register a domain name?
When registering a domain name you are required to provide the following information:
- Name of the registrant
- The address of the registrant
- The phone number for the registrant
- The email address of the registrant
You can provide contact information for the Registrant, Administrative, and Technical contacts. This is helpful if you’re working with a web professional who will manage your domain registration, but you would still like to be listed as the actual registrant.
This information is called the domain’s Whois information. Anybody can look up a domain’s Whois information to see who a domain is registered by.
Most domain registrars will give you the option to keep your Whois information private. Instead of listing the contact information you provided, they will instead list their own information publicly.
Some registrar’s charge extra for privacy services, while others offer it for free.
Where can I register a domain name?
There are thousands of domain resellers and registrars to choose from. Some of the most popular are:
- Network Solutions
Website hosts will sometimes offer a free domain registration with their hosting package as well.
Be sure to compare the features offered by each reseller/registrar that you consider.
Some companies charge for features that others include for free. Additionally, many companies offer a low price or waive fees for the first year or registration, but then revert to higher prices for subsequent years.
Our recommendations for domain registration
Ferguson Computers registers our domains with Google Domains.
We like the fact that Google does not charge extra for features such as Domain Privacy and they make it easy to deploy security features such as DNSSEC, which can protect your domain from spoofing attacks.
Google also makes it easy to add a user to your account so that they can manage the domain name without having to sign in to your account. This is helpful when working with a web developer (like us) or with another service provider that ties into your domain name, like an email provider.
Did this guide answer all of the questions you have about domain names? If not, leave us a comment below!