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Everything You Need to Know About Domain Names

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Get the full rundown on everything you need to know about domain names. This is vital info if you're looking to start a blog or professional website.
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What is a domain name?

  • A domain name is essentially the address of your website.
  • It is www.YourWebsiteName.com

How do you get a domain name?

Auto renewal

  • means that you will automatically be charged on the date of renewal – this is good because you won’t accidentally lose your domain name by forgetting to renew.

Manual renewal

  • means that you will get a notice when your domain name is getting close to expiring and you’ll need to choose whether or not to renew it – this is good because you won’t be charged for a domain name you no longer want to keep.

How do you choose a domain name?

  • It can be whatever you want (assuming it’s available)
  • It’s usually a good idea to have it reflect your business or site’s intent (i.e. TravelBug.com for a travel site)
  • Plenty of people choose domain names that are nonsense but catchy (i.e. GoDaddy.com)

How does my domain name become an active website?

You need hosting

  • Hosting is like your website’s home – where it (and all its files) live
  • Here are the 2 hosts I recommend
  • Next you need to either design (or have someone else design) a site from the ground up, or choose a CMS (content management system) like WordPress or Squarespace to make your site show up on the web.

I’m currently running a special on setting up WordPress.org websites for only $25 when you use this link to purchase your hosting through Bluehost (I personally have used their service for years). I’ll set you up with a free theme of your choosing, and a social media plugin with your links. Please use the contact page if interested!

What’s the difference between an addon, sub, and parked domain?

Addon domain

  • A new domain that you purchase which is then added to your host as a new website.
  • Technically it’s an “Addon” because it’s added to your main domain (whatever domain is set as your main domain on your host) but it appears and works as a completely separate website.

Parked domain

  • A domain that isn’t assigned elsewhere and you want to “point” to one of your already active websites.
  • As in, if I already have www.MyWebsite.com, but I want my new domain www.MyAwesomeWebsite.com to also take searchers to www.MyWebsite.com I would set it as a parked domain.

Subdomain

  • Does not require a new domain purchase.
  • Turns www.MyWebsite.com into Contact.MyWebsite.com (or whatever you want at the front).

How do I point my domain name to a new host?

You can buy a domain name on one website (ex: GoDaddy) and host it on another (ex: Bluehost).

  • This is different than transferring your domain name which actually transfers the account (where you’ll be billed) to a new company.
  • To point your domain name to a new host (where your control panel is and where all your website files are stored) you need to change the settings of your nameservers.

Your new host (where you want your domains to point) should provide you with the nameserver info you need to copy and paste.

  • It should be 2 nameservers like: NAMESERVER.1 and NAMESERVER.2
  • Go to your account where your domain name is.
  1. Click on Manage Domains (exact terminology will vary from website to website) >
  2. settings >
  3. edit DNS (domain name servers) >
  4. nameservers >
  5. edit the fields (there should be 2) and replace the current nameservers with your new hosts nameservers. Save. The change might take a while to take effect.

How do I move my domain name to a new account?

Moving your domain name to a new account means staying with the same company but just moving the domain name from your current account to another.

  • Maybe you bought the domain name for someone and now want to move it to their account so you no longer get billed for it or have to manage it.
  • Again, this is different than transferring your domain name to a new host.
  • The process depends on the company you’re using, but is more or less as follows:

 

  1. go to Manage Domains >
  2. Move >
  3. Enter the new accounts information (usually an e-mail address) >
  4. follow the steps as provided by your domain registrar.

How to transfer your domain to a new registrar

  1. Purchase a domain transfer (yes it can cost money, but not always) from your NEW registrar
  2. Request the transfer from your CURRENT registrar (instructions should be provided for you)
  3. Turn your domain protection off (not as scary as it sounds, just means it’s no longer locked onto your current registrar)
  4. Request the authorization code from your current registrar (this and step 3 should be done at the same time, or your registrar will provide instructions)
  5. Go to your NEW registrar and enter the authorization code where instructed.

I hope you found this information helpful. If you have any questions please ask, and please share your domain name experiences in the comments!

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Get the full rundown on everything you need to know about domain names. This is vital info if you're looking to start a blog or professional website.

Extra Resources:

How to Choose the Right Domain Name via FirstSiteGuide.com

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About the author

TYB

A sarcastic introvert with a blogging compulsion and a tendency to pet ALL THE DOGS.
Problem-solver, critical thinker, tech-enthusiast, occasional artist, very-expensive-piece-of-paper-holder (aka my Psychology degree.)
Fan of chai tea, hard cider, and new places.

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