Keys to your domain: Ownership and Registration

Getting a website requires getting into the web System. The genesis of this System starts with DNS, the Domain Name System. Following are a few key points that you will keep your domain in the system and website up.

To get started with a website, the first thing needed is a domain name, such as, which can be purchased at a domain registrar, where it is registered so that no one can use your domain.

Then, you need to assign your domain a nameserver. A name server includes the information that directs people to the hosting service where your website pages will reside.

Think of your domain nameserver like a telephone number.  If your dns or name server is pointed to a place where your web pages are not residing you will not see them and you will not get email. Every hosting company has an application that reads and directs your domain name to your website pages when it is used by somebody on the Internet. When a sequence of letters is typed into a web browser it is like dialing into a switchboard, a bunch of information about that domain gets relayed to various places—most important of which is your hosting provider where browsers and customers get access to your website.

Along with your domain name is email. Most hosting providers include email service with their hosting packages. With your hosting information you will receive SMTP information that is required for receiving and sending information from your desktop email. For high volume email, an email server designed for email rather than web and email, can be set up to traffic company email more efficiently. In this case, your domain’s MX record-Mail Exchange-can be assigned a server designed for handling email. When you set up your email, you will be asked to include the correct information for your outgoing and incoming SMTP server. This information is based on where your MX record is pointing by your host.

The process for getting started includes:

  1. Register a domain name called domain registrar.
  2. Select a host where your website pages reside. An isp or hosting services-here you will be given a nameserver to give your domain registrar so that when people enter your domain name you are contacting the correct location for your website
  3. Set up email for your domain. Either follow the instructions given to you by your host or
    ask your host to update your MX record to another SMTP server.
  4. Where things go wrong:
    1. If you forget to renew your domain name with your domain registrar you will lose access to your website. If you wait too long, someone else can buy it.

    2. If you don’t register a domain name in your name, then you do not own it. Often a developer will set this up for somebody, but without your name and credentials as the registering party, you have no control over what happens. This is not a tech job—registering a domain name is an administrative responsibility that requires correct contact information along with payment.

    3. Server problems. If your host experiences any problems, power or hardware failures—even with all the ups back up systems and precautions in place, a machine is a machine.

    Additionally, server issues can be software not hardware related. Out-dated software or a poorly designed website can result in someone hacking and taking down your website.

    4. Email. A separate conversation

    5. Internet. If your service provider, Time Warner, Verizon, etc is not working in your neighborhood, you will not be able to get access to your website or email—or anyone else’s for that matter.

    And, always check power. I had a client call because email had stopped. I asked if she could get to google, she could not. I heard a colleague in her office yell out, lights are off, power is out! This will also affect your domain access—but only for you in your office. :)

    SUMMARY: To get a website you have get your domain in the web system-
    1. Purchase a domain from a registrar
    2. Get the nameserver information pointed to your hosting service.
    3. If you have hired a developer to set up your website for you, both the domain registrar and hosting company are important. The payment and registration information should be done by you and in your name.
    4. Keep all of this information in a file. If there is a problem you will need to know (a) name of your service provide (b) name of your registrar (and login information) (c) name of your host and hosting log-in information.

    Best not to lose the keys that got your website launched in the first place.

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