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Website Domain Name Registration Basics Guide

Get the most out of your website domain name!

Register a Website Domain Name

 What is a Website Domain Name?
A Website Domain Name is a Web Address
 How Do I Use a Website Domain Name?
Create a Personal, Business or Not-For-Profit Website
Get Personalized Email
Sell a Domain Name for a Profit
Protect Your Name, Business or Product
Forward a Domain Name to Another Website
.COM, .NET, .ORG and More
Plan Ahead, Register Today
 What Options and Enhancements are Available with a Domain Name?
Forward a Domain with Masking
Add Domain Name Registration Privacy
Use DomainAlert™ to Monitor any Website Domain Name
Backorder any Domain Name
 Other Domain-Related Topics
Renewing Domain Names
Updating Contact Information
Transferring Domain Names

 What is a Website Domain Name?

 Locate a company, organization, or individual on the Internet.

The website domain is the same as an IP address (which represents a physical point on the Internet), except the domain name is letters and numbers that make sense to people, while the IP address is a series of numbers. Thus, a domain name more easily locates an organization or other entity on the Internet. When someone types a domain name into a Web browser, the requested Web page opens. For example, the domain name locates an Internet address for ""

A domain name consists of a top-level and a second-level domain. The "com" part of the domain name generally reflects the type or purpose of the organization or entity and is called the top-level domain (TLD) name. The part of the domain name located to the left of the dot (".") – "yourdomain" in this case – is called the second-level domain (SLD) name. The second-level domain name – the "readable" part of the address – refers to the organization or entity behind the Internet address. Second-level domains must be registered through an ICANN (Internet Corporation For Assigned Names and Numbers) accredited registrar.

The Internet domain name system (DNS) consists of a directory of all the domain names (and their corresponding computers) registered to particular companies and persons using the Internet. DNS applies to domains that are registered and hosted. If the registrant elects to, a domain can instead be registered and parked. A parked domain name does not need a DNS affiliation.

Click here for more information on registering a Domain Name.

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 How do I use a Website Domain Name?

Once the registration is complete, you have a few options on how to put your domain name to use. The following are the most common uses for a domain name and instructions to get you started.

Put up a website on the Internet. If your website is complete, you will need to acquire a hosting account and upload your website on the Internet. Or, if you have not yet built your website, there are several easy and affordable options for you to quickly put together a professional, quality website.

Get a personalized email address. An email account can be a great way to put your domain to use. Get a personalized email account that your friends, family, and business contacts will more easily remember and associate directly with you.

Sell a domain name for a profit. Domain names can be a great investment and you can easily market domains you intend to sell by creating a For Sale parked page.

Register domain names that are similar to your other domain names. The more domain names you register, the better. Prevent others from registering a similar domain name to yours. What to do with all these names? Forward them to your main domain name!

Wait to use your domain name. Maybe you haven't decided what to do with your new domain name. Don't worry – there's no rush. You can leave it parked with us for the length of your registration. Once you have determined which hosting provider you will use, you must change the name server information so that the website is no longer parked.

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 Create an online presence with your Website Domain Name.

Putting up a website on the Internet is one of the most common uses for a domain name. Having a website can help you keep in touch with your family and friends, or customers of your business, sell your products or services, improve your customer service by giving your customers a way of finding your company contact information or answers to their support needs on your website, or simply expanding your exposure into new market areas.

There are many options when it comes to building and hosting a website. We offer different options to fit our customers' varying needs. You automatically get a FREE "parked page" with every domain name registration through us. But, when you're ready for more, we have the answer.

For those customers who are looking for an economical solution to display their content, we offer an all-inclusive option that includes hosting. With WebSite Tonight ®, you can click 'n build your website online, in minutes. You can choose from 150+ professional templates or create your own. You can also create a photo album and put together an event calendar. Best of all, hosting and email are included.

Whatever your website needs, there are many options for you to choose from. While you are building your website, you are of course welcome to keep your domain name parked for free on our parked servers.

Please note that after you build your website (unless you choose to use WebSite Tonight), you will need to obtain a hosting account. We offer a variety of hosting account plans, rich with features and options.

To unpark or activate a domain name:
  1. Log in to the Account Manager (click the My Account link at the top left).
  2. Select Manage Domains from the Domain Names dropdown menu.
  3. Select the domain you wish to modify by checking the box next to it, and then click Set Name Servers.
  4. Enter the name servers that you would like your domain name to point to and click Save Changes.
Click here for more information on our website creation options.

Click here for more information on our Hosting plan options.

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 Use your domain name with an easy-to-remember email account.

Having a personalized email account (e.g., "") is the perfect way to leave behind your hard-to-remember email address. Whether your domain is for personal use (to give family and friends an email address they won't forget) or for your business (where having your domain name in your email address is a great way to build awareness and show customers you're seriously in business), a personalized email account is sure to be a great investment.

Choose the number of mailboxes and amount of storage space that fit your needs. Also, each plan includes POP3 configuration, Spam Xploder™ spam filter and FREE WebMail.

With WebMail, you'll have the flexibility to read, send, store, and organize your email whenever, wherever you have Internet access. It includes an easy-to-use interface, its own powerful spam filters, an address book, and much more.

Click here for more information on our Email Account plan options.

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 Register a domain name as an investment.

Domain names can sometimes be great investment opportunities. Though there are millions of registered domain names already in circulation, there are still millions more that haven't been registered yet. You may find that registering great domain names could turn into a lucrative investment. The easiest way to market domain names that you have registered as investments is to create a For Sale Page for these domain names.

To set up a For Sale Parked Page:
  1. Log in to the Account Manager (click the My Account link at the top left).
  2. Select 'For Sale' Pages from the WebSite's dropdown menu.
  3. Click Set up website under the Domain For Sale heading.
  4. Select the domain you would like to use from the drop down list.
  5. Enter your contact email address and click Save Settings.
Keep in mind that copyrighted or trademarked names may be protected under federal copyright and trademark laws. If you register a trademarked name, you could be forced to turn that domain name over to the company or entity that owns the trademark for that name, and usually without collecting any money from that company. So, choose your investments wisely, and don't tread on uncertain ground.

Click here for more information on registering a Domain Name.

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 Why registering improper variations of your domain(s) is important.

So you've got your domain name and you've built a top-notch website. Now it's time for visitors to buy your product, check out your business, or maybe view the latest photos from your family reunion... that is, until you find out someone has registered an insidious knock-off of your domain name – one that's intended to be harmful and offensive to your name, company, brand, or reputation.

Whether you're new to domain names or a seasoned veteran, you can't afford to ignore domain name abuse. You should consider registering any underhanded versions of your website domain name(s) – the cost is minimal, but the savings can be tremendous.

You can start by removing the most common harmful alternatives to your chosen domain name: "(yourdomainname) sucks" is one; "I hate (yourdomainname)" is another. While you can't anticipate all of the possible alternatives, starting with the simple removal of the obvious alternatives (and any others that come to mind) can save you legal hassles, money, and embarrassment down the road.

Protecting yourself is not only for big business. Registering devious alternatives of your own domain name is a great way to protect your personal and professional identity.

Click here for more information on registering a Domain Name.

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 Register misspellings or variations of your domain so you don't risk losing visitors.

There are other variations of your domain name, which may not be devious or intended to be harmful to you or your business, that may still prove to be solid investments for you to register. These are simple variations or misspellings of your domain name, such as "" or "" You can forward these variations of your domain name to your actual website so that your customers or visitors who mistype your domain name will still find themselves at your website.

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 What they mean and which ones are right for you.

A top-level domain is the part of the domain name located to the right of the dot ("."). The most common TLDs are .COM, .NET and .ORG. There are several other popular top-level domains on the menu, including .BIZ, .INFO, .NAME, and .WS. The top-level domains have certain guidelines attached, but for the most part are available to any registrant, anywhere in the world. Exceptions are the restricted TLDs (rTLDs) – which include .BIZ and .NAME – that require the registrant to represent a certain type of entity, or to belong to a certain community. For example, the .NAME TLD is available strictly for individuals. Where appropriate, a top-level domain name can be of geographic significance and hence only available to registrants in the locale defined by the TLD. These are called country-code TLDs (ccTLDs) and include such top-level domains as .US (United States), .TV (Tuvalu), .CC (Cocos Islands), .DE (Germany), .JP (Japan), .BE (Belgium), .UK (United Kingdom), and .NZ (New Zealand).

As you may have found, .COM is the most common TLD in use today, which is closely followed by .NET. If you find that the domain name you want to register is already taken in .COM, you may check to see if it is available with an alternate TLD. Following the same reasoning, if you register a domain name, you may want to consider registering all or some of the more common TLDs of the same domain name in order to protect your brand, your website, or yourself.

To find out which TLDs we currently offer, please visit our website.

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 Register domains to support business potential, product ideas, and more.

When you think of a domain name that you may want to use in the future, the best thing to do is register it. Even if you aren't planning on using the domain name right away, you should register your domain name ideas for potential product, business, or investment opportunities.

You have nothing to lose by registering your domain name early. The banner at the top of our parked page lets visitors know that your website is coming soon.

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 What options and enhancements are available with a Domain Name?

There's more to a domain name than just the name. We offer many products and services to complement your domain name such as domain forwarding and privacy. Also, if you find that the domain name you want is already registered by someone else, we offer domain monitoring and backordering, so you still have a chance at the name you want.

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 Hide the domain name you are forwarding.

Masking works with domain name forwarding. Forwarding redirects all Web traffic for a domain to a specific URL. When someone types into a browser, our system will automatically forward or redirect them to your selected destination URL.

To forward a domain name to another URL:
  1. Log in to the Account Manager (click the My Account link at the top left).
  2. Select Manage Domains from the Domain Names menu.
  3. Select the domain you wish to forward by checking the box next to it and click Forward Domains.
  4. Enter the name of the domain that you want to forward to in the text box on the right side of the screen under the Forward Domains heading.
  5. Click Save Changes at the bottom.
If you want to have the domain masked, check the Mask Domain box. Forwarding with Masking prevents visitors from knowing that they have been redirected by ensuring that your domain name remains in the visitor's browser address bar when being redirected, thus concealing the actual destination address.

With the Forwarding with Masking option you can add a title, plus description and keywords Meta tag data to the masked website. Title and Meta tag information is important to a website's search engine ranking, but does not influence how a website is displayed.

To add masking to your domain name forwarding:
  1. Log in to the Account Manager (click the My Account link at the top left).
  2. Select Manage Domains from the Domain Names dropdown menu.
  3. Select the domain you wish to modify by checking the box next to it, and then click Forward Domains.
  4. Under the Forward Domains heading on the right side of your page, check the box next to Mask Domain, and enter the title, description and keyword Meta data for the masked website.
  5. Click Save Changes at the bottom of the page.
Note: Masking is only available after you have set up domain name forwarding. It is included free with your domain name registration.

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 Keep your domain registration information private.

ICANN is the international governing body for domain names. ICANN requires every registrar to maintain a publicly accessible WHOIS directory displaying all contact information for all domain names registered. That means your personal information (your name, home address, phone number, and email address) is made available to the public.

You can keep your personal information private with a private domain registration through Domains By Proxy™, which registers your domain in its name and becomes the Registrant of record. Even though Domains By Proxy is the Registrant, you still control the domain and retain the full benefits of domain registration.

More importantly, with a private registration, Domain By Proxy's name, address, and phone number are made publicly available in the WHOIS directory – and not yours.

Click here for more information on Domains By Proxy.

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 Monitor the status of any domain name.

DomainAlert™ is a service that monitors and tracks the settings of domain names. Any changes to a domain's registrar, status, expiration date, or name servers will be detected, and the DomainAlert user will promptly be informed about the change(s) via email.

DomainAlert is available in two service levels: The Basic Notification Service, which automatically monitors all domain names registered with, is included free with all domain names registered through us; and DomainAlert Pro™ is an optional service that includes historical tracking of domain name changes, monitoring of domains not registered with, and an optional weekly email notification, even if no changes have occurred.

DomainAlert Pro also allows users to identify two additional email addresses to which notifications will be sent. By default, all notifications are sent to the domain's Administrative contact.

Tracking a domain that you did not register can be useful if you have your eyes on a particular domain, but that domain happens to be registered by someone else.

To set up your DomainAlert Pro account:
  1. Log in to the Account Manager (click the My Account link at the top left).
  2. Select Monitoring and Backordering from the Domain Names dropdown menu.
  3. Click Set up Account to add monitoring to a domain.
  4. Enter the domain name to be monitored and enter the email address(es) to which DomainAlert notifications should be sent. You may also indicate whether or not you wish to receive weekly notifications, even if no changes have occurred. Then click Save.
Click here for more information on monitoring domains.

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 Attempt to register a domain name that someone else already has.

DomainAlert Pro Backordering is a service that enables you to monitor particular domains and if and when they become available, attempts to grab it. Because the DomainAlert Pro Backordering fee includes the registration fee for the monitored domain(s), the service can attempt to seize the desired domain as soon as it becomes available, thus improving the DomainAlert Backordering user's chances of obtaining the domain. Additionally, a DomainAlert Backordering account includes all the functionality and features of DomainAlert Pro, including tracking and notification of any changes to a monitored domain's registrar, status, expiration date, or name servers.

Signing up for a DomainAlert Backordering account ensures that the service will attempt to acquire the desired domain if and when it becomes available. There is, however, no guarantee the attempted acquisition will succeed: The current registrant of the monitored domain might renew the domain registration before it expires and DomainAlert Backordering will not be able to attempt to acquire it. Even if the domain does become available, it might be registered by someone else. Still, DomainAlert Backordering will do everything possible to acquire the domain in question.

If, during the monitoring period, a backordered domain becomes available, but the service fails to acquire it, you can reassign the backordering account to another domain, and the service will then monitor that domain. In the event of an unsuccessful acquisition attempt, DomainAlert Backordering will notify you via email. You can then apply the backordering service to another domain.

To set up your DomainAlert Backordering:
  1. Log in to the Account Manager (click the My Account link at the top left).
  2. Select Monitoring and Backordering from the Domain Names menu.
  3. Click Set up Account to add monitoring to a domain.
  4. Enter the domain name to monitor.
  5. Select the checkbox next to "Click here to backorder this domain name."
  6. Enter the email address(es) to which DomainAlert notifications should be sent. As well, you may indicate whether or not you wish to receive weekly notifications, even if no changes have occurred.
  7. Click Save.
Click here for more information on backordering a domain.

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 Other Domain Related Topics

In this section, you will find information regarding important actions and options you may perform with your domain name. It is important to maintain your registration and keep your account information current in order to ensure that you will continue to enjoy the use of your domain name.

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It is important to renew your domain names prior to their expiration date to prevent any lapse in service. For instance, if you have a website and fail to renew your domain before it expires your website and any associated services will cease to work.

To renew your domain name registrations:
  1. Log in to the Account Manager (click the My Account link at the top left).
  2. Select Manage Domains from the Domain Names menu.
  3. Select a domain name and click Renew Domains.
  4. Indicate if changes apply to only the Single Domain, Selected Domains, or All Eligible Domains.
  5. Choose the length of time you wish to renew the domain name(s) for.
  6. If the domain is currently public, choose if you would it to remain public (standard) or if you would like to make it a private registration.
  7. If you choose to make the domain registration private you may enter a current Domains By Proxy account user ID and password or create a new Domains By Proxy account. Then, read and accept the Domains By Proxy Agreement.
  8. Click Proceed to Checkout and complete your purchase.
One way to prevent your domain name from expiring is to set your domain name to auto-renew. Domains set to auto-renew will be billed on the date of expiration by our system. Your payment information on file will be billed when the renewal is due.

To enable the auto-renew option:
  1. Log in to the Account Manager (click the My Account link at the top left).
  2. Select Manage Domains from the Domain Names drop down menu.
  3. Select the domain(s) for which you want to enable the Auto Renew feature.
  4. Click the Auto Renew button.
  5. Indicate if you want changes to apply to the selected domains or to all eligible domains.
  6. Select Automatic Renewal Enabled.
  7. Click Save Changes.
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It is important to keep your contact and payment information up-to-date whether you choose to enable the auto-renew feature or not. Important email messages regarding your domain name are sent to the email address on file. These may include renewal notices, ICANN regulation updates, or status change notifications.

Most importantly ICANN, the governing body for domain names, requires valid Contact Information for each domain contact (Registrant, Technical, Billing and Administrative). If you enter false information, your domain name could be cancelled.

To modify your contact information:
  1. Log in to the Account Manager (click the My Account link at the top left).
  2. Select Manage Domains from the Domain Names menu.
  3. Select the domain you wish to modify by checking the box next to the domain name, then click Manage Contacts.
  4. Type in your new contact information in the spaces provided under the Change Account heading on the right side of your screen and click Save Changes at the bottom.
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You may transfer your domain name from your current registrar to us at any time (within the restrictions set by ICANN and your current Registrar).
Note: ICANN regulations prohibit transferring a domain name that has been registered within the last 60 days or that are set to expire within the next 10 days.

With, you will enjoy a fast, automated, risk-free domain transfer with our innovative Rapid Transfer System™, which spares you steps and saves you time. Plus, a professional Transfer Concierge is available to you personally, 24/7, to assist in the transfer process. Best of all, any time remaining on your existing registration transfers with your domain, plus you receive a FREE one-year extension.

Domain name registration transfers may only be initiated once acceptance of the transfer agreement is recorded, payment is made, and the Administrative contact has responded positively giving permission to transfer the domain name. Your transfer is absolutely risk-free. If it fails to go through for any reason at all, we'll refund your fee, no questions asked.

When you transfer your domain name registration to with our new Rapid Transfer System, transfers are often completed in 5 days or less, but please be aware that transfers may take up 7 days to complete.

Follow these easy steps to ensure a smooth and timely transfer:
  1. Purchase a transfer from our website.
  2. Advise your administrative contact that the domain name is being transferred. will email your administrative contact by the next business day to request transfer approval.
  3. When this acceptance is received, we will send a transfer request to the Registry and then the Registry will email your current registrar.
  4. Most likely, your current registrar will send your administrative contact an email asking for your approval of the transfer to Please respond as directed.
  5. Your current registrar will send an acceptance or rejection notice to the Registry and the Registry will email a notice of the acceptance or rejection.
  6. will send you an email informing you that the transfer is complete. Should the transfer fail, we will inform you.
The email message asking for permission to transfer will be sent to the Domain Name(s) Administrative Contact as identified in the previous Registrar's Whois database. The Administrative Contact will be acting on behalf of the Registrant and has legal authority to initiate this transfer request. You are responsible for updating the Administrative Contact's email as identified in the previous Registrar's Whois database. Verify that the domain name's administrative contact email address at your current Registrar is correct. This is the address we are required to contact to request approval for the transfer. Click here to view your domain name in the Whois database.

A Registrar may elect to accept or reject your domain name transfer application for any reason at its sole discretion. Please contact your current Registrar for more information on a failed transfer. If you find that your name was on hold and has been released by your current registrar, please contact us to resubmit your transfer.

After we have notified you that the transfer is complete, log in to your account and verify the contact information for your domain. Inaccurate or incomplete contact data may result in the cancellation of your domain name. Click here to retrieve your login information.

Click here for more information on transferring a Domain.

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For more information and answers to other questions you may have, please visit our online FAQ system.

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