How to Register a Domain Name
By Alan Zisman © 2000
Originally published in Business In
There's no company too big or too small to have a
presence on the Web.
But only 19% of Canadian small businesses were online in 1999.
Right now, you've probably got a personal Internet
account with an Internet
Service Provider. And along with your e-mail address, you can probably
post a web page there, and even carry on business from that site.
The problem is your Internet address. My address,
okay as an e-mail address, pretty memorable in fact. But the webpage I
get, http://members.home.net/azisman/ is anything but. Tagging my
name, onto the end would make it even more clumsy.
Better would be to be able to get an Internet address
for your company
that more clearly reflects your company's name or business identity.
of http://members.home.net/azisman/adhoc/, how about www.adhoc.com? Or
the Canadian www.adhoc.ca? Those last two or three letters are the
the Internet analogue of a virtual Province or country. So for my
adhoc.com would be my domain name, if I could register it. And there's
With the exploding business presence on the Net,
there's a growing shortage
of addresses in the popular .com domain. To try and cope, the
ICANN, keepers of the Internet registry recently added seven additional
domains: .biz, .pro, .museum, .aero, .name, .coop and .info.
This may not help much, however. You can't register those names yet.
And you can bet that many holders of existing .com domain names will
to register the same names in the new domains.
.com and the rest are US-based domains, though they're
businesses world-wide. The Canadian national domain, .ca was up
administered by a UBC-based volunteer committee. Control has been
transferred to the new Canadian Internet Registration Authority (www.cira.ca).
A number of other nation's domains have achieved niche fame, such
.tv and .md. (Tuvalu and Moldova, respectively). You can register a
in a .com, .ca, or other domain without living there. Want to own
? How about www.cbc.tv ?
To get the Internet address of your dreams and not of
start by deciding on your desired name and check whether it's
Decide on the domain you want to join. But be prepared to make some
Adhoc.com and .ca are taken, as is ad-hoc.com. But I
could still grab
ad-hoc.ca, for instance.
While most simple names are long-gone, multi-word
names are often still
up for grabs, even in the popular domains. Jacktheplumber.com is taken,
but when I checked, you could register vancouverjacktheplumber.com.
jacktheplumber.ca was free.
One of many places to check availability of the
US-based domain names
Check Canadian names at www.cira.ca.
domain registration companies will also let you check on current
for the popular domains You can find a list of other national domains
links to their registrars at: www.norid.no/domreg.html. (cbc.tv,
and global.tv were all taken, but marcuswelby.tv was available).
Don't give up if the name you need is taken. The whois
above may tell you how to contact them the owner of the name you want.
They may be prepared to sell it to you. (Some people have
domain names just for the resale value). Web sites exist to broker
name sales or to appraise or auction domain names. (A search for the
'domain' and 'broker' got over 122,000 results).
Once you've found a name to register, shop around for
a domain name
registrar. Up until recently, Virginia-based Network Solutions was the
only official registrar for the .com domain (along with the less-common
.org and .net). Now the field has opened up. Assuming your name is
in the domain you've chosen, the registrar will handle the messy
That's what you're paying them for. Check ICANN's list of official
name) registrars at: www.icann.org/registrars/accredited-list.html
or the list of .ca registrars (once again) at www.cira.ca.
Note that not all registrars can handle all domains, especially the
Shop carefully. With total registration cost around
$100 or so (part
going to your registrar, and part to the official organization that
the domain where you're you plan to reside), price shouldn't be your
object. Carefully read the registration agreement. Are you locked into
that registrar? Will you have to continue with them forever? Can you
where your eventual website will be hosted? Some registrars will
re-direct your name to the actual location of your choice, others are
closely to a particular web hosting service. Most important: who owns
name? You? Your registrar? Your Web hosting service?
Once you've got your domain name, you've just begun.
You've got the
name, but you still don't have the web site. That's when it's time to
looking for Web hosting services. But that's another column!