The Bottom Line Plain and simple: domain registrars are companies that allow individuals or companies to register domain names.
What are domain registrars?
Plain and simple: domain registrars are companies that allow individuals or companies to register domain names.
What is a domain name?
Allow me to defer to the Netdictionary (http://www.netdictionary.com) on this one:
“domain name — The official name of a computer connected to the Internet. Domain names are derived from a hierarchical system, with a host name followed by a top-level domain category. The top-level domain categories are com (for commercial enterprises), org (for non-profit organizations), net (for network services providers), mil (for the military), and gov (for government). Some Internet domain names include the computer server name, other sub-domains, and/or country abbreviations (e.g., us). Domain names act as easy-to-remember addresses for product or company information. As such, they are often subject to disputes between competing commercial interests. Most domain names are assigned by the InterNIC.”
For example, http://www.epinions.com is the domain name for Epinions.
So, what do domain registrars do?
For a fee, these companies will connect your name (and contact info) with a unique domain name. This allows you to use this domain name as the address for your website and prevents others from using the same name.
Do you mean they’ll host my website?
Well, sometimes. Many domain registrars now act as web hosting services as well (and almost all web hosts offer domain registration service as well), but the term ‘domain registrar’ applies specifically to companies that assign domain names.
So, why don’t I just have my web host or my ISP register my domain?
Because most of these charge in additional fee to provide this service. By registering your domain yourself you can save as much as $100.
Is registering a domain difficult?
Not exactly, but it can be intimidating to people unfamiliar with the process. If you have never done it before, you may want someone around to ask advice from.
Okay, how do I choose which domain registrar is right for me?
That’s a whole different article. For advice on domain registrars read the reviews of individual registrars or read the articles in the ‘How To Choose Domain Registrars’ section.
If you have any other questions feel free to drop me an email or leave a comment.
This is part two of a series of articles on domain registration also published on epinions.com