Obtaining a Domain Name
Running a DNS server and obtaining a domain name are two tasks that are intimately intertwined. Without a domain name, a DNS server won't do you much good, at least not for external connectivity, because it's the domain name entries in the TLD name servers that point to your own DNS servers.
Today, there are two main types of domain names :
Registration processes differ depending upon whether you want a ccTLD or a gTLD, and even for the specific TLD within each of those categories. In most cases, you'll obtain your domain name through a domain name registrar. These are organizations that are authorized to submit changes to add domains to specific TLDs. Most registrars can register domains in the .com , .org , and .net TLDs, as well as at least some of the new TLDs. Some countries, such as the Cocos Islands, have commercialized their ccTLDs by allowing commercial registrars to register domains within those ccTLDs, even if the individuals or organizations obtaining the domains have no relationship to the host country. There are several lists of domain registrars, such as http://www.NewRegistrars.com and http://www.icann.org/registrars/ accredited -list.html. Registration fees for gTLDs are in the range of $10 to $35 per year.
Some TLDs, such as the .gov and .edu gTLDs and most ccTLDs, have a more closed registration process. To use such a TLD, you must typically send e-mail or paperwork to the authority that's responsible for that TLD. (Some registrars may do this for you, but you'll probably pay more for such a service.) A list of ccTLDs, including links to some basic contact information, is available at http://www.iana.org/cctld/cctld-whois.htm.
Some domains, particularly in ccTLDs, are issued as subdomains. For instance, the .uk hierarchy includes subdomains for particular purposes, such as .gov.uk and .co.uk ; you can't normally obtain a domain that's directly under the .uk TLD. Policies for each of the subdomains off of such ccTLDs may vary. For instance, .gov.uk domains are devoted to UK government agencies, whereas .co.uk domains are commercial (akin to domains under the .com gTLD).
When you register for a domain name, you'll have to provide some basic information, including a postal address and telephone number. You'll also have to provide the IP addresses of two DNS servers that will handle that domain's DNS lookups. If you run your own DNS servers, you can provide these addresses yourself. If you want to let somebody else handle your external DNS needs, though, you'll find yourself in a conundrum : To obtain DNS service, you need a registered domain, and to register a domain, you need DNS service. You can break out of this cycle by using the DNS service offered by your registrar. Most DNS providers also offer some sort of procedure to sign up for service before your domain is fully registered.