Domain name registration is a supplementary service offered by many web hosting providers to accompany their web hosting services so that their customers are able to locate all of their web hosting related products with one service provider. Domain names normally take the form of the main name and then a TLD (either a global TLD or a country specific TLD) – TLD stands for ‘Top Level Domain‘; i.e. with the example of ‘domain.com’, the name would be ‘domain’ and the gTLD would be ‘.com’. Some web hosting providers are limited as to the TLDs they are able to offer to customers who wish to register domain names which is why there is still a market for independent domain name registrars. As a web hosting customer you will be able to make the most of the domain name registration services offered by most web hosting providers as a majority of web hosting companies are able to offer free domain names with specific web hosting services that they sell.
How can using a domain name benefit me?
Using a domain name will allow you to make the most of the web hosting service that you have purchased from your web hosting provider. A domain name will allow you to unlock the following common features of most web hosting services:
- Email accounts – email accounts can be setup using any form of web hosting available but in order for email to work you will need to have a domain name available for use – a domain name can be hooked up to any web hosting service that supports email accounts allowing you to then create email addresses ending with ‘@domain.com’, with ‘domain.com’ being your domain name – it is a good idea to note that if you have no web hosting service to use then most domain name registrars will provide you with free email forwarding services
- Website – a domain name will provide you with an easy to remember address that you can then pass on to customers and those who are interested in viewing your website – although you will require a web hosting package if you wish to display a website under your domain name, it does mean that as a business you can exploit this new opportunity to the maximum which will allow you to make more money if for example you choose to put an online store up under your domain name
- Corporate identity – a domain name will help you with the branding of your business if you are going to be using it for business purposes since it provides you with another point of contact for your customers – it is important for you to make sure that the domain name you choose fits in well with the name of your business if you wish to promote your business online using the domain name that you have purchased, and people will also have a better chance of finding you through search engines if you use your business name as part of your domain name.
Domain names can be registered quite cheaply meaning that as a business there is no reason why you shouldn’t invest in registering a domain name.
What is the domain registration process?
The process to register a domain name is fairly simple and it doesn’t matter which domain registrar or web hosting provider you choose to use since the process will be the same anywhere. It is important to take the following points into consideration when registering a domain name:
- Registration period – all domains are registered for a set amount of time and the price that you pay for a domain name will depend on how long you register it for – most gTLD domains are registered for one year minimum although certain ccTLD domains such as those ending with ‘.uk’ have to be registered for a minimum of two years – after that time you will need to pay to renew your domain name
- Copyright and trademarks – if your domain name includes a trademarked name that you don’t own then you may be requested to handover the domain name concerned to the owner of the trademark – registering a domain name that contains a trademarked could be seen by some as copyright infringement.
In conclusion, domain names can provide businesses with another way of promoting themselves via the internet but can also allow individuals to setup their own web pages. Domain name registration is a service provided by many web hosting providers but since a majority will be using the same underlying resellers it is unlikely that prices are going to vary greatly between hosting providers.