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Although it seems like a difficult process to those new to web hosting and having their own internet site, buying a web domain is about the easiest part of the process. A web domain is synonymous with web address. It can begin with or without “www” and it usually ends with .com, .net, or .org. Many people believe that they are forced to buy a web domain from the host of their website or from their internet service provider. While it is possible to buy a domain name from both of these places, it is not necessary, and you will usually be better off buying and registering with an independent service.
The first step to go through when you want to buy a web domain is to choose a name. A website name is very important as to the identity of a website. It should be a good representation of what your website provides. This, of course, means you should already have a good idea of the general function of your website. Is it a sales site? If so, for merchandise or services? Is it a blog? Is it informational? Knowing the answer to this question will help in choosing a name. A good name will be memorable by those using it, something that sticks in the mind or is catchy, playing over and over. A good web domain name will also be simple and easy to spell. Some people think they are clever in using alternate spellings, but what they are really doing is confusing people whenever someone tries to verbally suggest their website.
You will also need to choose a top-level domain. This is the .com, .net, etc. at the end of the domain name. For the most part, it is always recommended to use .com. If you are a non-profit organization, however, .org may suit you better.
Another important step to buy a web domain is in choosing which company you would like to purchase it from. There are hundreds to choose from and some offer the service for less than others. When choosing a domain registrar, it is important to read all the fine print. You should find out how long each term lasts. It is usually for one year, but can be two years or longer. It is also important to understand the renewal process. Some registrars will renew the web domain automatically and automatically charge the credit card you gave them for the initial registration.
Another important factor to understand about a registrar is their transfer policy. Some discount registrars will not allow you to transfer the name. Others allow it, but make the process difficult. Many web hosts that also have registered your domain name, have a non-transfer clause, forcing you to use only their web-hosting service. Also, if you ever have a monetary dispute with your host that is also your domain registrar, they can lock your domain, forcing you to pay them, even if they are in the wrong.
Once you have found a suitable registrar from which to buy a web domain and you have chosen a name, the next step is to see if the name you have chosen is available. The website of your registrar will have a tool to check on availability. If the name is not available, you have a few choices. You can use a different top-level domain, such as .net or a country-specific one such as .ca for Canada. Another option is to use a variation of the name. The last option is to find the owner of the name you want and see if he/she is willing to sell it to you.
During registration, you will be asked for your web host’s two DNS servers. Obtain these from your host and enter them. The registrar should have your web domain ready for use within 48 hours, but it usually only takes two or three.