Getting Your Own Domain Name
For your company to have a presence on the Internet, you need a domain name. The domain name is the friendly name that is used to locate your Web site or FTP site and to label email messages to or from your domain. Domain names can often be procured for you by your ISP (and this works well in cases where the ISP will also host your domain). Alternatively, you can apply for your domain name yourself.
You apply for domain names that end in .com, .biz, .org, . info , or .net by contacting a domain name registration provider (sites ending in two-letter country codes are handled by other providers). For example, InterNIC Domain Services, a registration provider at http://internicdomainservices.com, can be used to register your domain name (this is just one of many providers and is only being used as an example, not as a recommendation). InterNIC Domain Services also supplies a search engine you can use to determine whether the domain name you wish to use is already taken. For example, I searched for Habraken.com and Habraken.net. Both of these domains are already taken, as shown in Figure 15.1 (who knew that so many Habrakens were running loose on the Web).
Figure 15.1. Registration providers supply search engines you can use to see whether your desired domain name is already taken.
When you apply for your domain name, you will also need to know how DNS services will be handled for your domain (DNS is covered in Chapter 12, "TCP/IP Network Administration"). This means that you will either deploy your own DNS servers or use DNS servers provided by your ISP.
The cost of a domain name is fairly nominal when you consider that it can help to greatly increase the visibility of your company when used to establish your presence on the Web. To register a domain name using InterNIC Domain Services, you pay $29.95 up front. There is also a fee to keep your domain name active. For the first two years, InterNIC Domain Services charges $70. Believe it or not, the fees for registering and maintaining your domain name will vary among domain name registration providers. You should do a little research before you select a provider. Also be advised that ICANN limits the leasing of a particular domain name to 10 years .
You certainly don't have to have a domain name just to connect your small business to the Internet (and don't let an ISP tell you that you do). If having your own domain is going to enhance your business or if your business is going to revolve around e-commerce, you will want to have a domain name.
Just keep in mind that not everyone needs to have a domain on the Internet. If you have a very small company that is establishing its client base through other means, having a domain name and company Web site (which is discussed in Chapter 16, "Hosting a Web Site") might be nothing more than a luxury.