How to Register a Domain Name?
A domain name is the name and/or address of ones website or blog. Basically it is the name/address by which your website or blog is know. For example, http://earnmore.co.za is this blogs domain name. The terms ‘Website Name‘, ‘Domain Name‘, ‘Website Address‘ and ‘Domain URL‘ are all synonyms and thus interchangeable with one another (i.e. they all refer to the same thing). The process of registering a domain name is the process whereby you purchase the use of a particular domain name for your personal/business use. In essence when registering a domain you are effectively signing a lease for the use of the domain name for a given period (usually 1-year at a time, although some registars do offer longer periods).
My process for getting a new domain name registered:
- Decide on the blog topic (niche)
- Do some basic keyword research
- Use keywords to think of few suitable domain names
- Decide which Domain Name Extension (TLD) is preferable
- Check Domain Name Availability
- Registering Domain via a Domain Registrar
[Alert] NOTE: You could get your Website Hosting Provider to register the domain on your behalf! [/Alert]
TIP: I have recently started using Domain Samurai to simplify the the process of finding suitable domain names. Domain Samurai is FREE Software which you can download simply by registering with your name & e-mail address. Domain Samurai allows you to input your niche and keywords and then it recommends suitable domain names.
At time of writing Domain Samurai is still in BETA!
A few facts to consider when choosing a domain name:[Icon List]
- Try to keep the domain name short (2-3 words maximum).
- Try to use one or two keywords related to your Blog Topic in the domain name.
- Decide on whether your domain TLD should be country specific or global.
- Have a few domain name options available to check (in case the one you want is taken).
Before we move onto the actual process of Domain Registration it is important to know what a domain name extension is. I am going to keep it simple here but more detailed infomation can be found on the ICANN Website, which is the domain name governing body. The domain name extension is referred to as the TLD or Top-Level Domain.
A top-level domain (TLD) is the part of the domain name located to the right of the furthermost dot (" . ") within your website address. There are hundreds of options, but the most common TLDs are .com, .net, and .org. Other commonly available TLDs include .biz, .info, .mobi, .tv, etc… There are also country specific TLD’s which have been created and allocated to some 250+ countries globally. Country specific TLDs are also referred to as ccTLDs and for the most part only websites providing services or content specifically targeting a specific country should use the countries ccTLD. For example the ccTLD for South Africa is .za, and for the United Kingdom it is .uk.
A list of all valid top-level domains is maintained by the IANA and is updated from time to time, but this is a poorly constructed list only showing the actual TLD and not to which entity/country the TLD is assigned to. A better list of TLDs can be found on wikipedia.org, however this list may not be up to date. The Internet is forever growing and so is the need for New TLDs!
[Note] Note: When registering a domain name it is possible that your domain name of choice is not available using the TLD of choice. If this is the case; consider using another TLD before simply changing the domain name. However, it is also important to consider whether the alternative TLD is suitable for the blog topic and/or the services provided on your website/blog. [/Note]
To get started with Domain Registration you first need to check whether the domain name of choice is available. If you are not using the services of your Web Hosting Provider, you will need to find another means of checking the availabilty of your domain name. To do this you need to make use of a WHOIS Lookup Service. The WHOIS Lookup tool is in most instances an online form that searches the domain registar records for registered domains.
I make use of the WHOIS Lookup forms on these three websites:
- http://www.africaregistry.com – I like this one because you have the option of selecting multiple TLD options at the same time. It also includes the ability to search for local .co.za domain TLDs.
- http://www.enomcentral.com – What I like about this tool is it suggests alternatives if the choosen domain name is already taken. The downside is that It does not search .co.za domains!
- http://co.za – This is the official .co.za South African Domains Registrar. You can use the WHOIS link from this page to check if a .co.za domain is available.
- A feature within Domain Samurai also allows you to check the availability of a domain name.
A domain name registrar is the person or company officially designated to sell/lease your domain name to you. You will need to decide which domain registrar to use as most allow you to register most of the commonly available TLDs, whilst ccTLDs are generally governed by country specific appointed entities.
[Note] Excerpt: ‘A domain name registrar is an organization or commercial entity, accredited by both ICANN and generic top-level domain registry (gTLD) to sell gTLDs and/or by a country code top-level domain (ccTLD) registry to sell ccTLDs; to manage the reservation of Internet domain names in accordance with the guidelines of the designated domain name registries and to offer such services to the public.’ Read the full, original article on Wikipedia.org [/Note]
Registering the Domain Name
Although I make use of Africa Registry’s WHOIS Lookup Service, I don’t make use of Africa Registry’s Services to purchase, register or host my domains, simply because I feel they are overpriced. I use their Lookup Tool to check if a domain name is available (particularly .co.za TLDs), then I register the domain via another Registrar. The reason I use this Lookup tool instead of that of Uniforum SA is because you can select multiple TLDs and if the .co.za one is taken, I already know what other TLD options are available.
So, to register a Domain Name, I use:
With eNomCentral, I have a reseller account which allows me to register domains for my personal use and for use by my clients. The Domain Registration tool allows me to register most of the common TLD domain names, but, eNomCentral does not provide registration services for all the available TLDs. For Country Specific TLDs (ccTLD) you will probably have to find and make use of the relevant registrars services or those of there appointed agents.
Note: eNomCentral are not the cheapest providers of common Domain Names, but are affiliated with HostGator.com with whom I am a registered Web Hosting Reseller. i.e. I resell hosting and domain registration services to my clients using HostGator & eNomCentral.
[Alert] NameCheap.com is probably one of the cheapest places for International TLD Domain Names & Hosting [/Alert]
What you need for Domain Registration:
Before you start the domain registration process, be 100% sure of your domain name, as this cannot be changed once registered. If you make a mistake here, then you either have to live with it, or pay and register another domain name (the other will expire in a year, but you will still have to pay for it). Your chosen Domain Registrar will need the following information from you:
- The name of the person or company registering the domain
- The contact details and address of the registering body (person/company)
- The contact details for billing, technical and/or admin purposes
- Some method to pay (usually Credit Card or PayPal)
– Uniforum SA invoices you & payment can be made via bank transfer after registration
- The names of your Web Hosting Providers NameServers (See Web Hosting Page)
Other domain registrars you could use include:
I will post another article detailing the step-by-step process to register local .co.za domains with Uniforum SA.
Once this article has been written; I will link to it from this page.