Domain Names

So what is all this business about domain names? Here is some clarification for you, and it goes nicely with my previous post on website hosting. Some points about your domain name:

  • A domain name is your web address:, or whatever.
  • Your domain name belongs to you and can be taken with you to whatever host company you want.
  • You don’t actually buy a domain name, you rent it for a period of time.  So if you stop paying for it, someone else can start renting it.
  • The domain names are theoretically rented out on a first come, first served basis. I say theoretically because I have some doubts to the reality of the statement, even though that is what everyone will tell you.
  • When you buy a domain name, all you are really doing is paying to have your domain added to the DNS database.
  • This DNS database is a core component of the internet and is what makes it what it is.  When you type ‘’ into your browser, your browser asks the nearest DNS database where your website is located, and then forwards the request on to the web host computer. The web host computer receives your message to access the website files and sends them back to your computer browser to be displayed.  And the great thing about this process is that it takes only about a second.  (at least for those of you fortunate enough to have high speed internet access)
  • Domain names are not case sensitive, and really are just for human convenience. You should avoid an underscore in the domain since that can confuse computer programs, and use the dash instead.
  • The DNS database will convert your domain name to what it really is: an IP address.
  • The DNS database could be a subject of a whole new post – but to say it quickly – it is a database that is shared across many different computers / routers. No one single computer holds the database information, it gets “propagated” or shared with all the others that are out there. That is why when you first purchase the domain it can take up to 48 hours for you to actually see it on the internet. This also shows its military background – the DNS database is bomb proofed.
  • The cost for a domain name is usually about 10 dollars a year. Companies like Network Solutions used to sell domains for something like 35 dollars a year, because apparently many people thought they had to, but NetSol finally dropped their prices to what has become the norm in the industry (urged along by GoDaddy’s success I’m sure).
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