A domain name is the name you type into the address bar of a browser (such as Internet Explorer or Netscape) to get to a site on the web.
To preserve order on the Internet, and to ensure that no two people ever own the same domain name, there is a central registry of all domain names maintained by The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). In order for you to own your domain name, your name and business information must be added to ICANN's database. This process is called registering a domain name. Only ICANN approved registrars (such as Directory One) can register your domain name.
Read our Domain Name Buyer's Guide for more information on the domain registration process, its pitfalls and how to avoid them.
A good domain name is short (1 to 3 words), easy to remember, and representative of your business.
The following is a great article if you need help choosing a domain name: The Essential Guide to Selecting a Domain Name
A domain name pointer is simply a domain name that "points to" another web site. For example, the following domain names: www.houston-chiropractic.com and 1960westchiropractic.com will take you to the same web site. That is because houston-chiropractic.com is a 301 permanent redirect to 1960westchiropractic.com. We recommend using 301 permanent redirects because they are search engine friendly.
Domain pointers can be handy for several reasons. One popular reason to own a domain pointer is to shorten or improve your web site address. For example, you may have a free web hosting account with a long web address and you would like to project a more professional image with a short domain name. For example let’s say this is Bob's web site address: http://www.freewebhost.com/webpages/bobsusedcars/. Bob doesn't like this cumbersome address so Bob buys the domain name: bobs-usedcars.com. Bob then has Directory One point this domain name to his original site. Now he can use the bobs-usedcars.com address on his business cards, emails and advertisements.
Also, businesses often find that they profit from owning more than one domain name or domain name pointer. When a searcher can not remember a domain name, they will often type in likely domain names trying to find the site. Because domain names are cheap, you can easily buy several domain names similar to your main domain name, all of which refer to your site. For example, if your site is named joes-sports-bar.com you may wish to also buy joesportsbar.com (one s), joes-sportsbar.com, and joesbar.com. If assigned as domain name pointers, all of these domain names when typed into a browser, would refer to your site.
Other uses for domain pointers include using them to track marketing campaigns (i.e. putting a specific domain name on a certain advertisement and tracking how many hits are received to that domain name) or to target a specific market segment (i.e. using separate domain names to focus on separate aspects of a business).
Because domain names are selling at such a rapid rate (over 10,000 per day!) many people choose to buy and save their domain names even though they have not yet built the web site associated with the name. This is called domain name parking. Once you've bought a domain name, Directory One provides free parking whether or not you've bought the name from us. If you buy a domain name through us, your name will be parked and saved on our servers automatically. You don't have to use it until you want to. If you already own a domain name and are currently paying someone else to park your name, transfer and park your name on our servers for free.
* In 1995, roughly 100,000 domain names were registered. Since then, over 30 million have been registered.
* 97 percent of the words in Webster's dictionary have been registered.
* Every single "all a's" domain name from a.com to aaa..aaa.com (63 characters) has been registered.
* There are over 50,000 possible one, two and three-letter domain names, all of which have long been bought, even the ones that don't make sense (ie. z, 11, chz, e1q, f-4, etc.) Many of these are owned but not in use (i.e. parked). At auction, these domains easily fetch between three and four figures.
* All common English names have been registered.
* Some people have argued: there are roughly 31,700,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 domain names available, counting the 37 characters in the English alphabet, plus 10 digits and the hyphen. How can we possibly be running out? Very easily. The largest English dictionary has only about 290 thousand entries. Of these, about 200 thousand words are in use today. An average person has a vocabulary of only 15 to 20 thousand words and uses only about 2 thousand in a week's conversation. When you consider that 31 million domain names have already been registered, you can easily see that good domain names are going fast. After all, it may be available, but who wants a domain name like "nzdkkipa3cp-il183j-gsl.com?"
To check and see if your domain name is taken, use our free domain name search tool. You can search as many times as you like. If someone has taken your domain name, you can check to see who owns it.
If your domain name is available you may follow the instructions and register the name online, or you can call Directory One at 1-800-477-1324 and have us help you with the process.
Domain names cost $30 per year at Directory One. We do not charge extra fees for parking the name (i.e. buying the domain and saving it for later use). If you plan to buy ten or more domain names, Directory One also offers bulk domain name prices.
There are several things you can do once you've acquired a domain name.
You're first option is to do nothing. Once you've registered a domain name through Directory One, it is already parked free of charge on our servers. You don't have to do anything with it right away. You can keep your domain name parked for as long as you like, as long as you continue to pay the annual $30 registration fee.
More commonly, however, you'll want to build a web site or point your new domain name to a web site you already own. For more information about our web site design services, see our website design portfolio and design packages.
Owning a domain name also gives you a special e-mail address. You can use this address whether or not you actually have a web site. Once you own a domain name (i.e. yourdomainname.com), you also own the corresponding e-mail address(es) (i.e. firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com). Email accounts are available for free with our web hosting packages and website design packages; or for a small extra fee after registering your domain name with us. Directory One will be happy to walk you through this process over the phone, or you can view our step-by-step email setup instructions.
Of course! Once you've registered it, it's yours. You can sell it to whomever you like. In fact, if you have a good domain name, reselling it could be quite lucrative. The domain name business.com recently sold for over 7 million dollars! Simply contact us and we will transfer the domain name to your buyer.
Several companies are becoming well known for mailing out official looking domain renewal notices which are designed to trick the customer into transferring their domain to another registrar. For more information on this scam please see our domain fraud FAQ.