Domain FAQ

What is a Virtual Domain?
A Virtual Domain means having your own domain name (http://www.your-name.com) without having to install expensive server hardware and software. With a Virtual Domain, you utilize your host's server storage space, however you are still professionally represented via your own personal Internet web address domain name (your-name.com) and by your own personal e-mail address (you@your-name.com).

How do I register my domain name?
Find a suitable domain registrar. Once you find an available domain name, you will need to enter your name, organisation, mailing address, phone and fax numbers and email address. This information must be accurate. You will also need to enter payment information. Once the domain is yours and you've found a suitable host, you will need to enter the nameservers and IP numbers of their servers. This is so the domain is pointed at your websites storage space.

What a minute. I've already paid for the domain, you mean I have to pay for hosting too?
Unfortunately, yes. Paying for the domain itself is the cheap and easy part. You will also need to find a host and pay a fee to use their servers for your website. The fee will either be monthly or yearly. If you can't afford to pay for hosting, you can point your domain to a free server like geocities , but it won't act like a real URL, just a redirect.

How long does registering a domain name take?
Providing there are no unforeseen problems with the domain name registration, and you have already chosen your domain name, registration itself will take approximately five to fifteen minutes to complete. Once you fill out the on-line form it may take up to 5 days for the domain name to propagate and work as desired, although it is usually fully propagated within 24 to 48 hours.

What is propagation?
Once InterNIC announces that your domain name has been registered, it can take anywhere between 12 and 72 hours for the domain to become active throughout the world. All Internet Service Providers (ISPs) must update their records (DNS tables) to reflect new site locations. This process is called propagation.

During propagation, your site might be accessible from one ISP and not from another. It is advisable to wait 72 hours before you officially open/announce your site. After the propagation across the Internet has completed, you will then be able to use your domain name.

How will I know if propagation has completed?
The first sign that the propagation is nearing completion is when your domain name shows unavailable when performing a WHOIS search. If you view the WHOIS information provided and it shows you as the owner, then your domain name has either completed propagation or will have within the next day or two. When you yourself are able to point your browser to yourdomain.com and see your web site as well as assuring a few of your friends can do the same, then propagation has completed. To view the status of your domain name check multiple WHOIS searches rather than just one. Some places you may want to check with are Imbri Whois, AllWhois and the NSI Registry.

What is DNS?
The Domain Name System (DNS) helps users to find their way around the Internet. Every computer on the Internet has a unique address, just like a telephone number, which is a rather complicated string of numbers. It is called its "IP address" (IP stands for "Internet Protocol"). IP Addresses are hard to remember. The DNS makes using the Internet easier by allowing a familiar string of letters (the "domain name") to be used instead of the arcane IP address. So instead of typing 207.151.159.3, you can type www.internic.net. It is a "mnemonic" device that makes addresses easier to remember.

Can I change registrars after registering a domain name?
Yes, you may change the registrar sponsoring your domain name 60 days after intial registration. This is called transferring your domain. For details on the transfer process, contact the registrar you would like to assume sponsorship of the registration; they will arrange everything. Also, when a domain is transferred, so is all the information associated with it, including Nameservers. So you won't experience any downtime.

I already own a domain name. How do I transfer it to my new hosting service?
If your domain name is already registered and you wish to switch hosting companies, then you need to point the domain name to the new servers. This too, can be a simple process. All you need to do is go to your current domain registrar and change the DNS Information (Name Servers) to those of your new hosting company. Once the changes have propagated your domain name will point to your account at the new hosting service.

How do I begin development before propagation is complete?
Prior to the transfer of the domain name propagating, you can usually use the IP number of your host's server to upload your website via FTP. This IP number will probably be in your welcome email from the host, but if it's not, email them and ask about it. After propagation is complete you will be able to view your site in the browser, and probably connect to FTP using something like ftp.yourdomain.com, rather than an IP address.

What does "TLD" mean?
TLD stands for Top Level Domain, and is basically the extension of a domain name. COM, NET and ORG are common TLDs.

What is InterNIC?
InterNIC is an independent organization responsible for holding the registration and routing of Internet domain names. Without these people it would be virtually impossible to maintain sanity on the Internet. Registration of domain names used to go solely through InterNIC, who charged $35 per year. Now, however, there are many places to register your domain name much cheaper. You can visit the InterNIC website here.

What is ICANN?
ICANN is the new non-profit corporation that is assuming responsibility from the U.S. Government for coordinating certain Internet technical functions, including the management of Internet domain name system. More information about ICANN can be found at their website.