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Creating Your Internet Identity

Updated - 03/20/2003

If you are serious about your business identity online, then a domain name is one of the best investments you can make. Registering domain names involves filling out a form and paying a registration fee.

A domain name is what Internet users use to reach a website, and it also serves as an identity on the Internet. The Domain Name System (DNS) translates a domain name to specific numerical addresses (Internet Protocol Numbers or IP addresses) and is used to identify the web server a specific domain name is being hosted with.

What's Involved In Registering Domain Names?

When you register domain names, you will be asked to provide the "registrar" you select with the various contact and technical information that makes up the registration. The registrar will then keep records of contact information and submit the technical information to a central directory known as the "registry." This registry provides other computers on the Internet the information necessary to send you email or to find your website.

To register domain names, you need to use ICANN-accredited domain name providers. Only registrars accredited by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) are authorized for registering .com, .net, .org and other domain names with the official registry. ICANN is the governing body that oversees the domain name industry, as appointed by the U.S. government.

  • The domain names you register for are called "top level domains", or TLDs.
  • Common TLDs include: .com, .net, .org, .biz, .info, .us, .name, .cc, .ws, etc.
  • You register the name through a "registrar", such as Verisign or
  • Your domain name can be transferred from one registrar to another for a fee.
  • Domain names can be registered for periods of 1 to 10 years at a time.
  • The name and contact information you register with will be publicly available.*
  • The registrar will make this information available to the public on a "Whois" site.
  • You must supply your registrar with your hosting provider's DNS information.**

* Information about who is responsible for domain names is publicly available to allow rapid resolution of technical problems and to permit enforcement of consumer protection, trademark, and other laws.

** When you register a domain name, your registrar has its own DNS information listed by default.

Changing Domain Name Servers (DNS)

One important step in setting up a web hosting account that confuses a lot of people is transferring or pointing their domain name to their new host's servers.

All domain name registrations must be pointed at two special, active computers (called domain name servers - DNS servers) that each web hosting provider has. Each server will have their own designation, typically something like this:


These Name Servers are connected to the Internet twenty-four hours a day, every day of the year. They are there to receive emails aimed at your domain names and forward them on to you. They also receive all URL requests to visit your website and they point the web user to the correct web server.

To change your DNS information, you must login to your Domain Name Registrar and enter your new host's two Name Servers where indicated. This is why registering your domain name with the web hosting provider you choose is so convenient - they will already have input your DNS information correctly from day one.

Note: If you haven't picked a website hosting provider yet, you can get FREE domain name registration when you sign up for an iPowerWeb hosting account.

The Domain Name Registrar we use is Active-Domain for $9.95 per year. If you are after a particular domain name that is already taken, then you should take a look at our Expired Domain Names article.

If you'd like to read some more helpful articles on choosing a low cost hosting provider, then please return to our Hosting Guides section.

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