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What is a domain name?

A domain name is a text form of a corresponding numeric I.P. address of a computer on the Internet. A domain name makes it easier for us humans to remember than the I.P. address which consists of four numbers separated by dots (periods). For instance, it is simpler to grasp and recall www.biotechdesk.com than the I.P. of the computer that hosts this web site.

A domain name also called the URL or a web address must be unique because it specifies the location of a web site on a particular computer. Domain names consist of a series of words separated by dots and can contain only alphabet, numbers and the hyphen. Characters like the underscore, exclamation mark, colon etc. are not allowed. Initially, domain names could only be fifteen characters long, however, now you can have up to 67 characters in a domain name.

The domain name information is stored on Name Servers. These systems not only store just the domain name and its corresponding I.P. address but also other details such as the registrant name, the contact information, registration date, expiry date etc.

Where to register domain names?

To be valid and usable on the web, domain names need to be registered. There are hundreds (if not thousands) of companies who will register a domain name for you. I booked my first domain through Network Solutions which is the first and still the most reputed domain name registrar. I had to shell out USD 35.000 per year for that domain name.

Now with intense competition, companies are now ready to offer domains for very low prices and even free if you purchase web hosting from them. The cost of domain names differ from company to company and also depend on the top-level domain (TDL). For example, at the time of writing, .co.in was a tad more expensive than the ubiquitous dot-com.

You can register a domain name in a few minutes but it will belong to you only after all name servers in the world have been updated which is usually to 24-72 hours (nowadays, the time has been cut short to 14-18 hours).

With the WHOIS service you can check the availability of a domain name. You can find this service on any reputed domain anmename registration company web site.

How to book a domain name

Do not be hasty when registering a domain name and I say this from experience! I mean look at the domain name of this site - www.webdevelopersnotes.com. I agree that the domain name describes the web site content accurately but will I book such a long name again? No Siree!

Unfortunately I cannot even think of changing this domain name because the web site has become quite popular and I'll lose most of my visitors and any advantage this site has on search engine rankings if I do so. Any way, in addition to the popular .com domain names, there are tens of others like .ws, .info, .name, .net, .biz, .cc, .tv, .mobi etc. There are also country specific domain names like .co.uk, .co.in, .me.uk, .in, .jp, .de...
Which domain is the best for you depends on the kind of web site you plan to develop.

Where to register domain names?

Register a domain name