A domain refers to local sub-networks or descriptors for websites, such as www.irs.gov. A local area network (LAN) consists of a group of clients and servers under control of a central security database. Users authenticate their identification through a domain controller or centralized server, instead of authenticating to individual servers and services on a continual basis. Individual servers and services automatically accept the user based on the domain controller’s approval.
An Internet domain filters through every network address, including website addresses, e-mail addresses, and various Internet protocols, such as FTP, IRC, and SSH. All electronic devices sharing a URL will also share the same domain. In the website address www.irs.gov, “irs” is the domain name. All website owners must obtain a domain by purchasing it from an accredited domain registrar. Internet domains are assigned an organization level. For instance, www.irs.gov has a domain ending of “.gov.” This domain ending falls into a category known as the Top Level Domains (TLDs). Top Level Domain endings are the most general and basic segment of a URL and may include familiar endings, such as “.com,” “.gov,” “.edu,” “.org,” and “.net.”
- University of Texas: Hosting Registration: Domain Names
- Domain Register: Tips for Choosing a Domain Name
- Trademark.org: Suggested Domain Name Tips and Tools
- Better Business Bureau: Internet Domain Name Industry Tips
- Sitepoint: 8 Quick Tips to Choosing a Domain Name
- Eddison State College: Domain Names
- Texas A&M University: Tips for Creating a Web Site: Domain Name (PDF)
- Educase: Domain Names: More than Just Information Technology (PDF)
- Problogger.net: How to Choose a Domain Name
- Stir Solutions: How to Choose a Good Domain Name
Domain names function to enhance the Internets addressing scheme. Each computer has a unique Internet protocol (IP) address, or a varying string of four numbers separated by periods, such as 185.066.0.3. A domain name system assigns a unique name to each numeric IP address to help Internet users find each available website without memorizing IP addresses. Domain names help to redirect traffic to the right website without getting lost in cyberspace.
A domain name adds credibility for small businesses. Domain name owners will have their company presence look professional. Publishing a website through an Internet Service Provider (ISP) or other free Web hosting site will create a generic URL, such as www.thecurrentisp./-thecompanyname. This kind of address may discourage buyers and promote suspicion for prospective clientele. The Internet can bring a treasure trove of business if the company can manage to prove trustworthy. Why would consumers trust a company that refuses to buy its own domain name?
Business can select a good domain name by following some general guidelines. For instance, selecting a good extension, such as a “.com” domain ending, will help direct traffic to the main website without memorizing less than common extensions. Keep the domain name less than 7 characters for easy memory. Make sure to select an easily spelled domain name. Describe the company’s function when possible, and use descriptive keywords to optimize search engine ranking. Avoid purchasing domain names from unaccredited domain registrars to promote the company’s credibility.
- ICANN: FAQ: What is the Domain Name System?
- Network Solutions: Understanding Domain Extensions
- CNN: Explaining the Internets New Domain Endings
- Webomedia: Countries and Their Domain Extensions
- Daily Mail: Internet Domain Names Ending in “.bank” and “.Vegas” Coming Soon
- USA Today: New Web Addresses Could Be Start of Turf Wars
- West Georgia University: What’s in a Domain Name?
- Syracuse University: Trademarks and Domain Names
- University of Texas, Arlington: Domain Name Systems (DNS) and Security Extensions (PDF)
- Harvard University: Domain Names
- Stanford University: An Overview of Domain Name Systems
- Boston Conservatory: How to Set Up a Website: Get Your Domain Name (PDF)
Domain name extensions ending in “.aero,” “.biz,” “.com,” “.coop,” “.info,” “.museum,” “.name,” “.net,” “.org,” or “.pro” are offered through different competing companies known as registrars. A registrar requires domain name consumers to provide contact and technical information in order to properly register on the domain name system. The registrar will track these records and submit technical information to a registry. A registry provides other computers connected to the Internet with the necessary information to send e-mail or direct to a specific website. Domain name consumers must enter into a registration contract with the registrar, which lays out the terms of service. The registrar will publicly display all contact information to the public for consumer protection, include trademark and other laws. Each registrar offers initial and renewal registrations in one-year increments and may include decade-long packages.
Registrars determine the price it charges for registering domain names, and these prices vary significantly from registrar to registrar. Some registrars offer discounted and free registration bundled with other offers, such as web hosting. Domain name sponsors can be changed every 60 days after the initial registration. Only accredited registrars by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) have the authorization to register domain names ending in “.aero,”
Only accredited registrars by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) are authorized to register “.aero,” “.biz,” “.com,” “.coop,” “.info,” “.museum,” “.name,” “.net,” “.org,” or “.pro.” Some of these accredited registrars offer services through various resellers to provide assistance in completing the registration process. Some of the popular domain name extensions include: “.com” for commercial-related websites, “.edu” for accredited educational institutions, “.gov” for government-sponsored agencies, and “.org” for organizations, associations, and federations.
- University of Virginia: Domain Name FAQ
- Loyola Marymount University: Web Domain Policy
- Princeton University: Internet Domain Names (PDF)
- Arizona Western College: Evaluating Website Domain Endings
- Kent University: Web Evaluation
- BBC News: ICANN Increases Web Domain Suffixes
- University of Maryland: Evaluating Websites
- California State University: Protecting Internet Domain Names (DOC)
- Napa Valley College: Dot What?
- UCLA International Institute: Websites Ending in “.sg” Among the World’s Safest
- Internet Assigned Numbers Authority: Root Zones Database
- Public Suffix List: View the Public Suffix List