Tuesday, 16 August 2011

The Domain – What You Need To Know About It

We just got to love the people who invented the Internet.  After all, the World Wide Web has allowed us to express ourselves through our own websites, blogs, foroums, and socail media profiles. These sites have become a reflection of ourselves, our work, and our lives.

Whether it may be for showcasing our artwork or marketing our products - the World Wide Web has become such a relevant and primordial tool, making it necessary to know more about technical matters, such as IP Addresses and Domains.  Thus, I have decided to shed light on this matter by explaining to you further, what is a domain and all the important aspects that you should know about it.

A Domain Name are identification tags that describe your area of control over the Internet. They are hostnames identified by an IP Address and governed by the rules and regulations of the Domain Name System(DNS) – which is a naming system built on scattered databases for computers in the net.

The Domain names’ purpose is to provide easy names to alphanumeric addresses in the Net.  Thus, despite transferring the physical location the database, the address can still be connected anywhere.

Every domain name has a suffix that indicates which level it belongs to, generic or country code top level domains. There are a limited number of such domains. Examples of these are:

com - commercial business

net - Network organizations

gov - Government agencies

edu - Educational institutions

org - Organizations (nonprofit)

mil - Military

ca - Canada

fr– France

A little History: On 15 March 1985, the first commercial Internet domain name was registered under the name Symbolics.com. By 1992 no more than 15,000 dot.com domains were registered. In December 2009 figures rose to 192 million domain names. A large fraction of them are in the .com’s. As of March  2010 there are 84 million domain names, of it is 11.9 million business and commerce sites, 4.3 million for entertainment, 3.1 million finance sites, and 1.8 million sports related sites.

How To Register a domain name?

To register a domain name is to use the services of a domain name registrar. This industry is managed by ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) – which is the group  that is responsible for certifying companies as domain name registrars.

Only a domain name registrar is permitted to access the master database of domain names maintained by InterNIC, otherwise known as the Internet Network Information Center.  The InterNIC is actually the one which holds the list of accredited domain name registrars.  On the other hand, ICANN-accredited registrars have the authority to assign domain names for theTLDs of .com, .biz., .info, .name, .net, and .org.

The registrar is also the one that will determine the cost for registering a domain name. Some will offer discounts if one will register for more than one year, but no registrar has the authority to sell more than a 10-year contract for any domain name. The registrar also has the power to cancel a contract and resell the domain name if it cannot contact an actual person to settle legal issues that may arise.
During Registration, registrars require some important Contact information related with the domain:

  • Administrative Contact – usually manages the domain name. Has high level of control over a domain. Functions delegated to the administrative contacts may include management of all information, such as name of record, postal address, and contact information of the official registrant of the domain and the obligation to conform to the requirements of the domain registry in order to retain the right to use a domain name.

  • Technical Contact - manages the name servers of a domain name. The functions of a technical contact include conformance of the configurations of the domain name with the requirements of the domain registry, maintaining the domain zone records, and providing continuous functionality of the name servers.

  • Name servers - registrars provide two(minimum) or more name servers as part of the service. Their policies govern the number of servers and the type of server information required. Some providers require a hostname and the corresponding IP address or just the hostname, which must be resolvable either in the new domain, or exist elsewhere

It is also worthy to note that there are laws that regulate the registration of domain names, such as registering a copyrighted name.  If you want to create a domain name and are not sure if it has already been taken, you can check a server, WHOIS - that tracks all the registered domain names.

These are just some of the basic things that you need to know about Domains.  And just by looking at the said aspects, one can realize that indeed, the Domain is an indispensable part of the Internet world that we are living in right now.

Image from: SXC

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