Domain Registration – What is it and what does it mean to you?

The most fundamental component of operating a website is your Domain Name Registration. Here’s why it’s important….

Domain name registration is the process of reserving a name on the Internet for a certain period, usually a year. It is important to know that this domain will remain yours for as long as you renew it and there is no way to purchase a domain name forever.

Domain name registration is necessary for a web site, an email or another web service to be accessible from the internet with your domain name. It is a globally governed and serviced by authorised Domain Name Registrars such as Go Daddy, 123-reg and Fasthosts, who will register your domain name with a central governing body called the  Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).

Registering with one of these companies will provide you with the facility to manage your own Domain Name’s DNS ZONE. Once you own your own Domain name you can assign any IP address to records associated with this domain, such as www.yourdomain.com, shop.yourdomain.com, etc. This is the process that takes a visitors’ browser query for your domain name e.g. www.mydomain.com and turns it into a machine readable address e.g. so they can visit your website.

The most important thing about a domain name registration is that it gives you your own personality and recognized identity. Once you register a domain name, the information about its owner is publicly available, although this can be masked for an extra fee with your registrar.

The price for a domain name registration varies greatly on its extension. For example, the most common .com is the most affordable one, while some country-specific domain name extensions can be much more expensive. In our experience three letter domain names e.g. ibm.com, are usually much more expensive than longer domain names.

What does this mean to you?

If you own a website, you must also own a domain name to allow visitors to access it, search engines to index it, and everything else you would expect from an internet service.

Often we meet clients who have had their domain registered by a web developer, friend or relative in the past and have had no visibility of its registration. We believe this is risky for you as a business owner as the responsibility for maintaining payments and administrative access to your Domain lies with the registered owner. A bit like the ownership papers of your car, if it’s in someone else’s’ name, you’re relying on them to keep the service running.

Webworks recommends that you own your own Domain in all cases. If this isn’t the case you should remedy this now, we can advise on the process but it generally depends on who the domain is registered with and whether you are still in contact with the owner.

How do I transfer ownership of my Domain?

Transfer of domains is generally pretty simple. The registered owner of the Domain will need to initiate a transfer and the new owner will need to claim ownership using a transfer key that will be generated by the current owner. This process can take up to 7 days to complete and will incur a transfer fee, which is usually nominal, £10 – £20.

Normal registration fees will then apply as if you registered the domain from new.

How do I register a new Domain name?

To register a Domain name that hasn’t been registered before is very simple.

First you’ll need to choose a suitable registrar (we like Go Daddy and Namecheap) and check that your Domain name hasn’t already been reserved. If not, you’ll be provided with a cost to buy the domain. Deals are usually for a year but we recommend longer (Google’s search engines prefer it and will rank you higher). Once purchased, you’ll be provided with an account and password to access your Domain’s management console.

That’s it, you’ll be in possession of your own Domain for as long as you maintain the account.

What do I do once I’ve bought my Domain?

If you’re working with us on a Website project, we’ll require the account details to point your Domain to a host (ours or someone else’s). Talk to us about this when you have bought your Domain and have the account details ready.