Top-Level domain extension should I use?
There are a large number of "top level" domain
extensions which are intended to categorise your
web site, either by business or organisation
type, or by country or region.
Some of the common extensions are:-
- .com (Commercial)
- .co.uk (Companies UK)
- .org.uk (Organisations UK)
- .net (Networks)
- .org (Organisations)
- .uk.com (UK Commercial)
- .eu.com (European Commercial)
You might also wish to take advantage of the
much-hyped NEW top-level domains:-
- .info (Information)
- .biz (Business)
- .tv (Television)
- .name (Names)
In fact .tv is the recently added country
region code for a small island in the South Pacific
Ocean called Tuvalu, but since it is such a common
acronym in the western world it is viewed as
being the perfect prestigious domain name extension
for any business related to the world of "television".
Take your pick! Just remember that United States
domains are a bit more expensive, are paid annually
and up to 10 years in advance, while UK and .info
domains are allocated and paid for every 2 years.
Consider obtaining more than one of the top-level
domains, e.g. buy both
- When you already have the domains that are
desirable to you, it prevents an unscrupulous
person buying it before you do and then
demanding a high price if you want to buy it
back. This happens!
- Many people will go to your web site by typing
your domain name directly into their web browser,
but sometimes they cannot remember whether
your domain name was a .com or .co.uk or
any of the others. By using one domain as the
main web space, and setting up the others to
point at it you are ensuring they will find
your web site no matter which they type in.
- Having more than one from the outset allows
future growth possibilities for your business,
where you may later wish to add a new web
site to turn one of your redirected domains
into proper web space, so covering different
countries, products or services.
Is it registered in
Before you can register your domain name you
should have the following information available:-
- Your business name and full mailing address
- Your business phone number
- Your e-mail address
- Full contact names(s) for Billing, Administrative
and Technical Contacts
All the above details are entered into a public database
so that anyone can obtain information about your
domain and basic business contact details using
a simple facility freely available on the Internet
called WHOIS. In fact every Domain Names
Registration service uses the WHOIS Domain
Lookup query to check whether a domain that you
want to buy is available or not.
The details shown by WHOIS are obviously important
data about your company. Your Domain
Name provider should provide you with some way
to change the WHOIS data, usually by
a browser-based Control Panel, but....
"Did you know that some
Domain Name Service Providers often put
their own details in YOUR domain name
This may be because their order forms are not
set up to request the information, or simply
because they cannot be bothered to enter your
details. Also if they have entered their
own e-mail address as a point of contact, other
service providers cannot offer you better
services simply from the WHOIS data.
The point is that you have the right
to enter your information - and this may
be extremely important if you intend to register
many domains with the idea of selling them again
for profit. Do you remember that I told you earlier
that Yahoo check your details to make sure things
match up against your submission. Well the
WHOIS data is one of the things Yahoo use.
Give your new Domain Name
time to become Active
Once a domain name has been purchased and registered
with the appropriate domain organisation (Nominet,
InterNIC, etc depending on which country it relates
to), your new domain name has to propagate around
the world through all the major Internet
DNS computer servers (Domain Name Service). This
process can take 2 to 3 days to happen! In
the meantime you will usually be given details
of a temporary URL which allows you to log in
and configure the facilities of your new domain.
Name Service Features:-
Perhaps you are in the process of growing your
business, and have started on free web space
with the intention of moving to a better service
soon? Well in that case, you can obtain a Domain
Name of your choice, but just make sure it has Web
Forwarding which you can configure
(using your web-browser to access a Control Panel)
when you want to.
So, straight away you can buy
and "point" it to
and later when you to choose to uprate the web
space, you simply change the Domain Name to point
to the new location (either by web forwarding
again, or by changing the DNS Server settings).
Web Forwarding usually allows you to
select different ways of pointing to your web
space called "framed" and "non-framed".
Let me explain it.
Suppose someone does a search at Google or Yahoo,
and your business pops-up in the search results,
they will see your business listed using your
professional Domain Name. Next they click the
link to go to your web site. Well, the Framed option
makes sure that the address bar in their browser continues
to show the professional domain name. However
if your web site is also programmed using
HTML "frames", you might need to use the Non-Framed web
forwarding option for your website to work properly.
You should experiment to see which works best
Note: Web Forwarding is considered a medium-term
solution. It shouldn't be used to "hide" a bad
URL indefinitely. There are good reasons related
to search engines as to why not, but it is too
complex an issue to discuss here.
When you want to reserve or purchase your domain
name immediately, but don't have a web site yet,
you will require a "holding page". This allows
you to inform anybody visiting your new domain
that you do exist as a company, although
your site is "under development". You can add
some basic information providing contact details,
what products or services you will be providing
with the new site, and when you estimate it to
be online. This way you are setting your customers
expectations and showing that you will be online
soon, and meanwhile you are making it possible
to get hold of you and maybe even win some business
Therefore look for a Domain Name service provider
who can offer a Holding Page Wizard allowing
easy construction of your preliminary web site.
Domain Name Mail
A proper Domain Name portrays the right image
about your company from the moment someone receives
your E-Mails. A good Domain Name service will
allow a number of e-mail related options.
Catch-ALL E-Mail Forwarding
Check that your Domain Name Service provider
allows "catch-all" forwarding of e-mails. This
is another item that should be included as
part of the basic package. You use it to
automatically forward every e-mail sent
to your domain to one other e-mail address.
This can be used to create the impression of
having several different departments each with
their own e-mail address. All the e-mails (regardless
of their To: address at your domain) simply get
sent to one receiving e-mail address, for example:
email@example.com >>> firstname.lastname@example.org
email@example.com >>> firstname.lastname@example.org
Your provider should be able to allow e-mail
forwarding on an individual basis for
a reasonable quantity of addresses, 50 or 100
for example. Perhaps you have several people
who work for you at different locations and they
prefer to receive e-mail to their personal e-mail
address. To maintain a professional company image
you want a seperate address for each at your
domain which will automatically forward to them.
email@example.com >>> firstname.lastname@example.org
email@example.com >>> firstname.lastname@example.org
Transferring your Web
Space or Domain Name
Once or twice you might find it necessary to
transfer your web site to another server, or
transfer your domain name to another provider.
- You chose a bad provider in the first place
- You want to use a better name for your web
- Your site has grown considerably and needs
to be put on a new dedicated server with more
Beware! Some providers will charge you before
they "release" your domain name!
Also you should look for a service that allows you to
change the Name Servers or Nominet IPS tag. Again
this can be done from a Control Panel which you
launch in your web browser. Without this you
might waste a day or two just waiting for a helpdesk
support request to be actioned.
Domain Name Disputes
Occasionally disputes occur over domain names
infringing the rights of other domain owners.
For example someone may have purchased a domain
name identical to yours except for the top-level
domain, and then set up a competing web site
designed to take away your business. Provided
their web site has no legitimate reason to exist
other than stealing your custom then this is
a likely case for a dispute.
Dispute actions should be mentioned in a domain
name providers Terms and Conditions where an
acknowledged judiciary body specifies a procedure
to follow. The Internet Corporation for Assigned
Names and Numbers (ICANN - www.icann.org)
has created such a policy called the Uniform
Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy. Similarly
the UK naming authority Nominet (www.nic.uk)
handle all disputes in relation to .uk names.
What you have to watch out for is what your
Domain provider will do if a dispute arises in
connection with your domain name. Some specify
in the small print that they will close down
your account at their discretion. Here is
a real life example from one of the large domain
"Company x reserves the right, on becoming
aware of such a dispute concerning a domain
name, at its sole discretion and without
giving any reason, to either suspend or cancel
the relevant service associated with the
domain name, and/or to make such representations
to the relevant naming authority as it deems
appropriate. Company X also reserve the right
to cancel your domain name if it believes
it may violate someone else's intellectual
Whilst some of this clause seems sensible and
fair if you are at fault, it indicates that even
if you are "in the right" and win the case, in
the meantime your web site could effectively
have been shutdown! Depending on the nature of
your business this could mean thousands in
Make sure that your provider, who has every
right to protect themselves from damage due to
a dispute, is also sympathetic to the proper
dispute procedures. Read their T's & C's
carefully, and particularly so if you think your
domain might be one that would attract an attack
from competition, regardless of who instigates
Many web site owners in their efforts to find
the best deal at the lowest prices end
up moving from one hosting provider to another.
This is often because they get poor customer
service, poor network connections or get
charged extra for all the additional features
that are required for a web site to be an effective
"Reliable web hosting
is extremely important - downtime costs
your business money (sometimes in the thousands)
- so the saving you made on initial cheap
setup, just cost you big-time!"
Good security is vital.
You need a host who knows how to protect their
systems and is up to date on all the things that
hackers can do. At a recent webmaster seminar
in London I watched a fascinating demonstration
where an exhibiting company deliberately hacked into
a website and "defaced" the main page of a pretend
online banking corporation. They then continued
deeper to locate and crack all the system passwords
so allowing them to change database entries,
members logins and so on. It was a very poignant
demonstration of how, with a little knowledge,
someone can easily hack into systems and destroy
your valuable data, or obtain your confidential
information. You probably guessed, that company
specialises in Internet security and firewall
systems analysis and recommendations.
Free Web Hosting for Businesses?
- Don't do it!
The trouble with free web hosting is that you
get a web site address (the URL) which instantly
indicates to visitors that your web site is hosted
free, e.g. http://freespace.tiscali.co.uk/myspace.
What does this say about you? Perhaps your potential
customer will think, "Hey if they can't afford
a proper URL, how can I believe in what they
are trying to sell me. Will my credit card order
be safe?", and so on. You get the idea, they
just won't perceive you as a real business.
What if your Free Web Space provider starts
to charge you? You might as well have paid
for a proper service at the start.
And what if your Free web space got closed
down because of misuse by your "neighbours" at
that Free web space? This could be due to spam
e-mailing for example, or someone violating
a Search Engines policies. Some search engines
will blacklist IP Addresses, resulting
in a whole free web space community being removed
from the search engine database, including
You would then have to "relocate" your online
shop or business to a new address. This is a
major problem because then all your valuable
customers who had bookmarked your web site address
- have just lost you! Once again it highlights
to them that you weren't set up very well in
the first place.
Banner adverts enforced
by your Provider
Some providers will stipulate (often deep inside
the terms and conditions) that in order for you
to have FREE web space, you must let
them display their banner at the top or bottom
of your web pages, to provide advertising
Well OK, for a free service I agree this
is probably acceptable, but as your business
grows you want to portray a more professional
image, and you certainly don't want
to waste your marketing strategy getting customers
to your site only to have them click away
to another web site!
So you decide to get rid of the banner. Now
you discover (in the small print) that you
have to pay them, sometimes $30 or more,
for the "privilege" of having it removed.
Another trick to watch out for is when your
domain registration is about to expire at the
end of the year:-
Suppose you originally registered your Domain
Name with "Company X". Then, toward the end of
the year you might recieve an e-mail from "A
N Other Company Y" reminding you that its time
to renew, and they say "Hey - why don't you consider
transferring your domain from Company X to us
for next years registration, and we're really
cheap, etc, etc."
So you go for it. Next day the fees have been
paid and the domain name transferred to them. Imagine
how you would feel when you next look at your
web site and see their annoying little banner
at the bottom of your main front page. And
yet the e-mail that enticed you to go with them never
made you aware of the banner, let alone
where to read their terms and conditions!
So be vigilant - scrutinise attractive offers
to make sure they are not hiding additional
costs by clever methods. This will not
be a problem if you choose the right Domain
Name and Web Hosting provider in the first
place - one that supplies all the right tools,
options and facilities (I will tell you who
in just a moment).
Additional Services get
Well of course they do! All hosting provision
businesses have to make money - especially in
the cut-throat competition of the Internet. But
often, the Internet novice ends up paying
more than he need to for web hosting services.
Of course you will likely know that to be an
effective marketing tool a web site requires
- Page Counters
- E-Mail Feedback Forms
- Web Page Hit and Referrer Statistics
- Updateable News Pages
- Bulletin Boards
- Secure Areas for Credit Card Payments
- Password Protected Areas
- Online Product Databases
What you may not realise is that in order
to make these things work your web space must have
a combination of some programming languages
and databases, such as the following:-
- CGI (Common Gateway Interface), Perl, C++,
- ASP (Active Server Pages)
- PHP (PHP Hypertext Pre-Processor)
- SSI (Server Side Includes)
- SQL Database (Structured Query Language),
Microsoft Access, Microsoft SQL, MySQL, Oracle
- CFML Database (Coldfusion Markup Language)
- and the list goes on!
Some of the database features and programming
languages required for high-performance e-commerce
business sites (such as Microsoft SQL, Oracle
SQL, CFML) are expensive and you would naturally
expect to pay for them.
However whilst good hosting providers include
several of these in their basic start-up price,
other hosting services don't. You "discover" the
importance of them later on. Then they charge
you for each option individually, eventually
totalling far more than you would have paid
for a fully-featured professional service in
the first place! These companies prey on the
newcomers lack of knowledge.
Additionally if your web space doesn't cater
for the new-age programming languages your web
site designers may charge you more to develop
bespoke features using old or more basic development
tools and languages.
Personally as well as virtual server hosting
I like to use my own dedicated server, and for
I use and highly recommend Memset
Servers. They provide very reasonably priced servers. In particular look
at their MiniServer package.
So, who should register my
At the start of this article I explained that
we narrowed down a particular domain
names registration service provider. Many
people I have spoken to tell stories along the
lines of the problems I have described to you,
and have since reduced their problems and saved
money by using their services.
When I started Prior IT Solutions a few years
ago I carefully researched the details of several
well-known domain and hosting companies before
we chose this particular one. We are pleased
with the network services, access, performance
and utilities they provide. And their telephone
and e-mail support is always prompt. They are
part of a large PLC based in the huge London
Docklands telecommunications data centre, with
fast, reliable connections.
The company I am talking about is Host-Europe/PIPEX,
who are one of Europe's leading Internet hosting
companies They provide scaleable hosting solutions,
server co-location, global domain name registration
and e-commerce services to the SME market. Host
Europe was formerly called Magic Moments
Internet PLC, and changed its name in March 2001,
and later became part of the PIPEX Group.
Host Europe has been a public listed company
on the London Stock Exchange's AIM market since
13 September 1999.
The sister companies of Host-Europe provide
segmentation of their services;
- Dedicated Servers offers
an unparalleled range of dedicated servers,
managed services and server co-location for
businesses who require the ultimate in performance
and reliability from their hosting solution.
- Magic Moments and WebFusion are Host-Europes UK
brands offering web hosting packages based
on virtual servers, providing highly cost effective
solutions for customers such as Metrosketch.
- 123-reg is
one of the lowest cost and most popular domain
name registration services in the world. Domains
come with a wealth of standard features including
full on-line domain management, web and e-mail
forwarding, a holding page wizard, no release
fee, 24/ 7/ 365 telephone and e-mail support
and much more. 123-reg customers can easily
upgrade to virtual hosting products.
What I like most about Host-Europe is their
helpful attitude, and everything is made easy.
Easy to start, easy to setup, easy to understand.
I hope that this article has been of use to
you. All I ask is that if you think I have "earned" my
commission as an affiliate of 123-Reg that you
bookmark this page and use the links when
ordering your domains.
Now you can choose your domain with confidence.
But how much
does it cost?
The banners on this page are maintained
by 123-Reg, so the prices they
show will be up to date. You should visit their
web page by clicking the banners to see their
latest price guides.
- 123-Reg provide the lowest price for
domains in the World
- 100% secure order processing systems (SSL & PGP
- Get .info .eu.com .co.uk .org.uk .com
- Reserve .name and .eu domains
- Double the difference back if you find
anyone cheaper for the same features!
- Bulk discounts start at 10+, then 30+ domains
- Display and E-Mail invoices for all domains
ordered through 123-Reg
Now you may recall some of the
points I mentioned in my article above as you
read through the following features that 123-Reg
provide for FREE!! Yes - That means all
the following features are included in
the basic price:-
- Web Forwarding
- Catch-all E-Mail forwarding
- Forwarding of up to 100 E-Mail aliases
- Holding Page Wizard
- Change Name Servers
- Change IPS Tag (applies to UK domains only)
- Change Registration Contact details
- Full Domain Management Control
- No transfer fee to move your domains to any
other provider (some companies charge £19)
- On call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365
days a year
- They don't charge your Telephone calls
- Part of a large PLC
- ALL Domains are registered in your name
- Fully functional, real-time Control Panel
- You only pay when you order (no domain credits
or payments required beforehand)
- No limit to the number of domains you can
buy (some companies restrict quantity)
Click the banners to visit the 123-Reg.co.uk web
site, where you can obtain more details about
their fantastic offers and domain services.
Check Domain Name
click here to check if your desired domain
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