Beginners mostly ask us questions about the meaning of a domain name. Why is it important? How it works? Who are domain name registrars? If you have a website or you are just starting your business, you definitely know that you need to have a domain name for making your website. Right?
But, most beginners think that a domain name is actually a website or a web-hosting service. Definitely, in the beginning, all such terms will sound like jargon. These terms are too technical, especially if you are someone who is not familiar with the web world.
Here in this article, we will help beginners by answering their questions about how a domain works and what it actually means. The main purpose here is to assist you in understanding and choosing the domain name that will be right for your website.
- Domain Name
- Domain Name Registrar
- The Meaning of a Domain Name Registrar in Detail
- How do Domain Name Registrars Generally Work?
- How does One get Started?
- About Registrars & Registries
- What does it mean to ‘Own’ a Domain Name?
- How is User Privacy Protected by the Domain Name Registrars?
- What Role do the Registrars have in DNS Security?
When people wish to visit your website, they type your site’s address in the URL bar of the browser. This address is your domain name.
We will explain this in a simpler way, so you remember it easily. Assume your house is your website, and your house address is your domain name.
If you have understood the above, we will now explain it in the internet world language.
The internet, in reality, is a huge network of computers that are connected to each other using a network of cables distributed globally. Every computer related to this network will be able to communicate with the other computers connected.
Each computer can be identified by using the IP address assigned to it. An IP address consists of a series of numbers that help identify a specific computer in the internet world. An IP address would look like 76.429.86.2.
This typical IP address is not easy to remember. It would be so difficult to search a site by typing all these numbers. It would be so time-consuming. Hence, domain names came into the picture to help resolve this problem.
You do not have to enter the numbers to visit your site anymore. Instead, you could just assign an easy name for your site that you could then type in the address bar of the browser. For example, wordpressbeginners.com.
Domain Name Registrar
Well, the Domain Name Registrar offers help in purchasing and managing your domain name.
It is important to have a domain name if you wish to have a website. This means the domain name registrar will have to be approached by you for the same.
We will explain this in more detail below.
The Meaning of a Domain Name Registrar in Detail
As mentioned earlier, to have a website, you need to have a domain name that has to be bought and registered by you. You can buy the domain name from the domain name registrar, which is actually an entity or person who will help you in buying and registering your site’s domain name.
Fortunately, intuitive tools are offered by most registrars. These tools help you in searching names that are available for registration. No two websites can have the same domain name. You just have to fill in the name that you prefer for your site and make the payment for it.
Also note, these domain names are given to you on lease for a set time period. The domain registrars mostly keep track of the dates of expiry and will notify you about the same. They will offer you renewal services also.
How do Domain Name Registrars Generally Work?
You just cannot decide one day just like that and purchase a domain name. We have the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names (ICANN), which is a high-level non-profit authority that manages domain names.
They oversee the registration of domain names. All the domain names are maintained in the central registry/domain registry. The domain name selected by you should be entered there, without which it will not be valid.
The domain names are managed and maintained by the domain registry. The domain registry lets domain name registrars handle the domain names’ commercial sales.
Everyone cannot become a domain name registrar. The ICANN has to accredit to become one. Domain names can be directly sold to you by domain name registrars. Or, you could buy them through re-sellers. We would suggest approaching a domain name registrar when buying a domain name. This will ensure you get proper service.
There are so many domain names available to choose from. But many times, the name we wish to keep for our website is already taken by another person. When this happens, we would need a list of domain names that will be close to the one we selected.
It is important to have a wide choice when it comes to domain names. This problem is solved with the availability of various domain extensions like .com, .org, and .edu. Then there are the ones that are country-specific, like .au, .in, and .en, to name a few.
However, please note that all extensions are not sold by all domain name registrars. Verisign as a company takes care of the .com domains registry. And, if you want to buy a .com domain, then you’ll have to approach the domain registrar that deals with .com extensions.
After you pay them for the purchase, they will notify Verisign, so they reserve that domain only for you and pay them the domain fee. This fee is collected by the registrar when you make the purchase.
Today, many add-on services are offered by domain name registrars. Some of the examples are privacy or hosting, or even domain transfers. Most of them, in fact, help you in registering your domain name, setting up your site, and also with hosting & managed hosting.
How does One get Started?
Domain.com is a good domain registrar. And, if you want to buy your domain and hosting from one place itself, we recommend Bluehost.
You could use a domain name generator if you still need help in choosing a domain name.
Once your domain name is selected, you can start making your website.
About Registrars & Registries
For registering a domain, the registrars could be approached by you like Google Domains, who work with registries like Google Registry that help companies and individuals obtain domain names.
What is the difference between a registrar & a registry?
- Registrar: It is an organization managing the domain names registration for either one or many Top-Level Domain (TLD) registries.
- Registry: It is an organization managing the TLD domains & subdomains administrative data under its authority. For example, zone files have name servers addresses for every domain. Verisign is an example of a registry.
The way these two work together can be best explained with the following example:
Say a customer visits a car showroom to buy a car. He is shown all the different types of cars available in the showroom by the sales representative.
If the car chosen by the customer is not available with them at that time, the car dealer will place an order for the same with the manufacturer. Once the car is ready, it gets delivered to the customer. This delivery is done by the car dealer company and not by the car manufacturer directly.
By this, we mean that a registrar is the domain name dealership while the registry is the manufacturer. The domain name transaction is facilitated by the registrar. It also offers support services. Whereas the registry does the work of making and delivering the final product.
However, please note that cars can be owned by the customers buying them, but domain names can only be given on lease for a particular period of time.
What does it mean to ‘Own’ a Domain Name?
Though people speak of owning or buying a domain name, they actually mean that they have rented one for a set time period. Only registries actually own all the domain names. And, registrars only help customers in reserving those domains for a set time.
A person or company can reserve a domain name for a period of a maximum of ten years. It is possible to hold the domain name for more than 10 years. This is possible because registrars offer the option to renew the lease indefinitely. But having said that, the user still doesn’t own it. They just get it on lease.
How is User Privacy Protected by the Domain Name Registrars?
The WHOIS information has to be filled by all who have reserved a high-level domain name. The information contains the name, physical address, email address, and also the contact number of the person who has registered the domain. This person is known as the registrant.
Private registration is offered by most registrars. In this type of arrangement, the information contained in the WHOIS listing for a particular domain is of the registrar as they represent the registrant. This arrangement is secure as the registrar’s database maintains the main registrant’s information.
What Role do the Registrars have in DNS Security?
Registrars sell domain names and, as a result, have access to a lot of information to do with domain name registration. This data has to be kept secure by them so that it doesn’t reach the hands of people having malicious intentions. You can also check our article on How much do Web Hosts Make?
A hijacker could change a domain name’s registration without the permission of the main registrant. They could abuse the registrar software systems and domain hosting’s privileges. One example of domain hijacking that we can give here is when the attacker makes a certain domain direct to another website. This is done to disrupt the business of that original site or to impersonate it.
ICANN wants registrars to take preventive steps to prevent domain hijacking. These steps are:
- Managing AuthInfo Codes in a better way. Codes that are randomly generated help in transferring the domain.
- Domain locks to be implemented in a better way in order to have better settings in place so that domains don’t get transferred when such attacks happen.
- The process of registration to have high-level identity verification.