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Securing a Domain Name

Securing a domain name, also known as registering a domain name, can be very straightforward or fraught with challenges. This article outlines the basic steps and points to some of the difficulties that can be associated with securing a domain.

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The Standard Process of Securing a Domain Name

There are many domain name registrars from which it is possible to secure a domain. But prior to visiting one, it is a good idea to do a bit of brainstorming to come up with several domain names that would be suitable. Of course, if you're taking an existing business - such as a retail establishment - online, the workable possibilities may be more limited than if you're beginning a new enterprise. When you have an existing DBA name, it's natural that you would want to incorporate it into your domain.

Let's take the easy case first. You think of several names. For example, if you are going to sell environmentally friendly pants, you might consider:

  • GreenJeans
  • MrGreenjeans
  • MisterGreenjeans
  • JeansofGreen

But before going farther, you should make sure that the names you have chosen are not brand names or tradenames that belong to someone else. People are forbidden from registering names to which someone else holds the rights, even as a portion of the name. The domain name IsellPepsi would violate the law because only Pepsico can use the name Pepsi in a domain.

It is also important to consider and choose possible extensions. The extensions are the characters that follow the domain name after a period and are also referred to as Top Level Domains or TLDs. TLDs were conceived of as a way to categorize websites. As a result, some are absolutely restricted to certain purposes (like .edu, which is used by educational institutions and .gov, which is used by United States government agencies). Others, however, have had their intended meanings compromised. It was intended the .org be used by non-profits, but it is actually open, and can be used by for-profit businesses as well. Similarly, .net was intended for technical network sites, but is also open for use by anyone. The most common and useful TLDs for businesses are:

  • .com
  • .info
  • .net
  • .org
  • .biz

These are all generic TLDs, abbreviated gTLDs. There are also country extensions (country code TLDs, abbreviated ccTLDs), but some require citizenship for use, and in addition to being restricted, these take longer to process, so check ahead.

Once you have some domain names and TLDs in mind, its time to find a domain registrar.

Finding a Registrar

You are also advised to do an Internet search for "best domain registrars" and read reviews of the registrars that are most frequently mentioned. ICANN, the International Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, maintains a list of accredited registrars that you can use to make sure a registrar is legitimate here: http://www.icann.org/en/registrars/accredited-list.html Many registrars are connected with legitimate resellers. Besides legitimacy, you should consider programs and price. Do you want to host your domain with the registrar? In that case, you will want to find a hosting package that suits your needs at the same time.

Working With A Registrar

The first thing one does at a registrar is use a WHOIS search to determine which (if any) of the names you brainstormed are available. Once you find one or more that are free, you can register it or them. The process will have you specify the domain name, give identifying information about yourself, decide if you want the information visible to the public, determine the period for which you want to register the site, and make payment. Note that .com sites often cost more to register than sites with their TLDs.

If MrGreenJeans.com is taken, for example, have a look at the site. If it's a placeholder, it could be that someone bought it speculatively, rather than for use, and is waiting for an opportunity to sell it.

Other Ways to Secure a Domain Name

Domain auction sites, brokers (or third-party sellers), and individuals may also sell you the rights to a domain that has been registered previously. These approaches each have their own quirks, so if you choose to or have to go one of these routes, you should research it first.


Related Article: Multiple Domain Hosting >>

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