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If you would like to have a site, this means that you require a domain. A domain name is an easy-to-remember name that you write in your web browser's URL bar when you wish to look up a specific web page.

Why Do You Require a Domain Name?

This is a subject I broach because of the fact that last week my boss suggested the idea of developing a web site for our brand new project. That itself is not a problem, the problem is that he wants a website, but has not reached a decision yet about what it should look like, what it should include, and so on. All that he revealed to me was the name of the web site - its domain name. So, we now have an Internet address for a future web site and nothing aside from that.

The Domain

Each web site is hosted on a physical machine. That physical machine has its own physical address, known also as an IP address. Reaching a site by writing the IP of the machine in your browser, however, is not the best and most suitable thing to do, so that was how and why domain names came into existence. Therefore, a domain pertains to an IP address on the World Wide Web. After it has been registered, that is.

Registering a Domain Name

To register a domain, you first need to pick a domain name registration provider. Freehostia.com offers an optimal solution for my present and future projects - they offer a Domain Manager plan, which can be effortlessly upgraded to a web hosting package later on - when my boss eventually reaches a decision about what function the website will have.

Hence, to register a domain, you need to select a name for your site. Next, you have to select a TLD - this is what follows the dot. For instance, in 'booking.com', '.com' is the Top-Level Domain (TLD). Apparently, '.com' is short for 'company', '.net' is short for 'network', '.org' is short for 'organization', etc.

After you've picked your domain name and your future domain registration provider, you need to examine whether the domain you want to register is available for registration, since somebody else might have snatched it before you, no matter how annoying it might be. Each domain name registrar, including Freehostia.com, offers a search tool at their signup page, which confirms the availability of a specific domain. To move ahead with the registration of a domain, you need to specify some registrant info - the personal name, the address, the email address and the telephone number of the domain's registrant.

You've Registered a Domain... Now What?

I registered .com, .net, .org and .info domain names for our project, as per the desire of my still-hesitating-about-the-function-of-the-future-website boss. I tested the domain name administration dashboard Freehostia.com is offering and found it extremely easy to use - everything is logically organized and, from what I noticed in the hosting CP demo at their website, after we upgrade to a low-cost hosting package, it will stay the same, just with a lot more features. This, thank goodness, will save me quite a bit of inconvenience from having to manage my domain and web site 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 name administration interface contains DNS management and domain name renewal options, and - a very useful feature (!) - a parked domain name template, which I used in order to set up a "Coming Soon" page for our domain names.

Country-Specific TLDs

I was very pleased to discover that Freehostia.com is offering lots of country-code Top-Level Domains, since the project the site is aimed for is multinational. Country-specific top-level domain names are handed over to national registries, which permit domain registrar companies to register domains, typically at rates that are cheaper than those offered to the end clients. There are plenty of country-specific domains: .co.uk for the United Kingdom, .me for Montenegro, .it for Italy, .us for the USA, .ca for Canada, .com.au for Australia, etc. This, I am sure, will please my boss because we will be able to prepare a local version of the website for each country where the project will be introduced.