Discount Domain Names

The real work of domain name system happens is a very distributed, very desentralized way

Month: August 2015

The Difference Between DNS and Name Servers

The DNS (Domain Name System) is a massive network of servers that comprises the largest digital database on the planet. This database is maintained, managed and regulated by several internet authorities, including the IANA (Internet Assigned Numbers Authority) and ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers).

Many people confuse the various terms associated with the DNS and mistakenly refer to them as either the same thing or completely separate entities. In truth, they are neither separate nor are they the same thing; rather, they are integral pieces to the puzzle that is the world wide web.

If you’re interested in learning the difference between a DNS and a name server, then you may want to consider the following information.

What is the DNS?

Contrary to a seemingly popular misconception, DNS does not stand for Domain Name Server or Domain Name Software. DNS is an abbreviation for the aforementioned system that catalogs every domain and IP address on the internet, including registration information, as well as their relation to other domains and web hosts. The DNS is the central database of the internet, and without it, the internet would cease to exist as we know it.

Before the domain name system was devised, computers would connect to each other via IP addresses, which are strings of segmented numbers separated by dots. An example of an IP address would be 127.0.0.1 (a common IP address for a local router). The domain name system attaches a name to this number so that site visitors can easily remember and return to web addresses.

What is DNS Software?

DNS software is a program that is installed on a web server and used to facilitate the transference of data related to the domain name system. Technically, any web server can have DNS software installed on it, making the server a name server; however, some web hosts will not allow you to install or configure software within your hosting control panel, especially in shared hosting plans.

If you’re interested in installing DNS software on a web server to create a custom nameserver, you’ll either need a VPS or dedicated hosting plan, unless you’d like to invest several thousand dollars in a private web server.

What is a Name Server?

A name server is a web server that has DNS software installed on it, particularly a server that is managed by a web host that is specifically designated for managing the domain names that are associated with all of the hosting provider’s accounts.

Name servers are often called DSN servers as well, and this is likely the origin of all of the confusion associated with name servers and the DNS.

Every web site has two name servers to which it is pointed, and this process must be done by the webmaster upon purchasing a domain and a hosting account. If you have more questions about domain name pointing and your web hosting name servers, it is recommended that you contact your web hosting provider.

How Domain Name Purchase and Sale Agreements Protect Your Business

When purchasing or selling a domain name, the proper agreement can help ensure that both parties get what they expect from the sale .

Selling a Domain Name

If you are selling a domain name, your main goal is to get your money quickly and not hear from the purchaser again.

Escrow

Due to the inability of exchanging money and a domain name simultaneously, parties often use an escrow service, such as www.escrow.com. Using an escrow service means that the purchase money is held by a neutral third party until the name transfer has occurred and then released to the Seller. Depending on the level of savvy and trust between the parties, this process can help greatly. Be wary of using parties for this process who are not truly disinterested or one untrustworthy, such one party’s attorney or corporation, or the registrar. The procedures for picking, using and paying for the escrow process should be set forth in the agreement. If you are selling a name, you should state a time limit by which the money should be paid after transfer of the name.

Warranties

If the purchaser requests warranties of full ownership of the name, and the lack of any pending litigation or disputes about ownership of the name, or that the name does not infringe any trademark or violate any third party’s rights (discussed below under “Purchasing a Domain Name”), be sure that the wording reflects that these warranties only cover what you are aware of at the time of signing the contract. Otherwise, you may be held contractually responsible for future ownership disputes, regardless of whether you had any knowledge of them.

Miscellaneous

In order to lessen any future litigation costs regarding the sale and increase all legal benefit to you, the Seller should designate the place where any disputes regarding the sale will be litigated (the venue), the state law which will apply and whether attorneys fees may be awarded to the winner.

Buying a Domain Name

If you are buying a domain name, your main goal is to get the name and clear title to the name transferred to you promptly.

Transfer

The Purchaser should ensure that all possible title and interest are transferred, including any language requirements under trademark law, and a waiver of any future right to dispute the sale by the Seller.

Escrow

Using an escrow process is often beneficial for the Purchaser. The procedures for picking, using and paying for such a process should be set forth in the agreement. If you are buying a name, you should be sure that the process for transfer is set forth and compatible with that required by the registrar and that your payment is not released until confirmation of successful transfer from the registrar or your receipt of notarized transfer documents.

Warranties

If you are purchasing a domain name, you will, at least, want the Seller to warrant to you than there is no ownership dispute about the name, that the Seller is authorized to sell the name and that the sale will not violate any third party’s rights.

Miscellaneous

As it is for the Seller, it is also helpful to the Purchaser to determine beneficial venue, state law and attorney’s fees provisions.

Notarized Signature

The Purchaser should request that the Seller have her signature witnesses by a notary so that there is a witness if the Seller should later dispute the contract or the sale.

Conclusion

Buying or selling a domain name can be a smooth process with the right agreement. Without one, both sides risk failing to have their expectations met.

Domain Name Dangers

The last thing you have to worry about when running a web site is getting your domain name pulled from right under your feet, often times without you even knowing. Domain names are your address on the internet, your location in cyberspace, linked to, and published in dozens of search engines, directories and web sites around the globe for visitors, friends, colleagues and customers to find you.

It’s easy to forget to pay a couple of your bills from time to time – heck we have all done it, but the good thing about the civilized world we live in, is that we get reminded time and again through 2nd, 3rd and final notices that a bill needs our immediate attention, otherwise a certain service will be discontinued, giving us ample time to pay our bills and continue a service should we want to receive it.

You would imagine the same common courtesy from domain name registrars, who basically hold every web site owner’s livelihood in the palm of their hands, but unfortunately some registrars apparently can’t wait to get rid of you long enough to transfer your now popular domain name to a higher bidder.

Three years ago we helped my uncle purchase a domain name for his speedboat business, designed him a web site, placed him on search engines, and drove tons of traffic to the site through search engine marketing and dozens of link exchanges with major boat manufacturers around the globe. Last year, my uncle went on a conference to Atlanta, GA to present his products to an investment group. He called minutes before his presentation to let us know that his web site had been transferred into a pornography site overnight and that his pitch was going to fall on def ears without the site in place!

We quickly punched up the site and sure enough his speedboat site had been transformed into a less than tasteful display of human flesh in not so family-friendly positions. We were all irate and embarrassed about this situation, so we called our hosting company, then the domain name registrar, and sure enough, they had dropped the ball. They informed us that they are not in the habit of sending email notices to their clients, and that it is everyone’s responsibility to check the expiration date of their domain names “at least a few times a year”.

We quickly bought a similar domain name to salvage the business, but this incident raised another question – how did this porn web site quickly gobble up our domain name when for the life in me, I can not find the slightest connection between their newly erected site (pardon the use of words) and our domain name, which clearly sounded like a speedboat or a boating component.

Our guess is that someone affiliated with the domain name registrar knew of the high rank of our site (and probably hundreds of others just like it), knew the importance of the domain name, and purposely jumped on the opportunity to turn our mistake into a costly profit. About two months later, we received an email from the registrar that the owner of the porn site would like to offer us our old domain name back for “only” $5000.00!

We never recovered from this domain name fiasco, as countless boat related businesses removed our links from their sites, search engines dropped us from our high ranks, and hundreds of customers assumed that our business was a sham. My uncle’s lawyers quickly jumped on this case, but unfortunately by the time a couple of threatening letters were exchanged, the domain name registrar disappeared and closed its doors, perhaps to open up again under a different name in another part of the world.

My advice is to buy your domain names from companies that are legitimate, and have been in business long enough to understand customer service. Check your domain name expiration dates every 6 months, or better yet sign up for automatic renewal, a service offered by most major domain name registrars such as Register.com, NetworkSolutions.com and VeriSign.com ensuring that your name will remain yours, even if you should forget to pay their annual bill. Also, if you ever cancel, close or change a credit card that may be on file with one of these registrars, make sure to update your information with them as quickly as possible.

Who Controls Your Domain Name?

How To Find Out

When you register a domain name, Nominet (who manages .uk domain registration) and Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) (who manages generic (gTLD) and country code (ccTLD) domain names) requires you to submit personal contact information to the WHOIS database.

Once your listing appears in this online directory, it is publicly available to anyone who chooses to check a domain name using the WHOIS search tool (unless you or the registrar chooses to hide this information).

To access the WHOIS database you can use a number of websites specifically setup for this e.g. Nominet WHOIS (for .uk domains) and Who.is, Domain Tools (for generic (gTLD) and country code (ccTLD) domain names).

Taking Control Of Your Domain Name

If you don’t already have your domain name under your control it’s worth considering transferring the domain to the registrar of your choice. The process for transferring domains differs depending on the domain name’s extension.

Nominet Domains (.uk) e.g. .co.uk, .org.uk, .me.uk

  1. Contact your current provider and ask them to change the IPS tag to the registrar you are moving to.
  2. Request the transfer of your domain in your new registrar’s control panel.

Top Level Domains (TLD’s) e.g. .com, .net, .org, .biz, .info, .mobi, .name

  1. Make sure the domain is “unlocked” or “active”.
  2. Check the admin email address (shown as ADMIN-C on a whois lookup), is correct before initiating a transfer as an email has to be sent to that address with a link that is followed to authorise the transfer.
  3. Obtain the authorisation code for your domain name, this is a unique code to your domain supplied by your current registrar.
  4. Request/place an order for the transfer of your domain in your new registrar’s control panel.
  5. Once ordered the administration contact for the domain will receive an email with instructions on how to confirm and process the final stages of the transfer.

CentralNic Domains e.g. ae.org, .cn.com, .de.com, .eu.com, .gb.com, .gb.net

  1. Obtain the authorisation code for your domain name, this is a unique code to your domain supplied by your current registrar.
  2. Request the transfer of your domain in your new registrar’s control panel.

Domain Name Control Panel Details

When your domain is registered the registrar should send you (or your representative) your control panel details i.e. the web address of your control panel, your username and password. It’s important to keep this information in a secure place as you will need to it make changes to your domain name.

Domain Registration Advice

If you are using a web designer, developer, friend, or anyone else to register your domain, make sure the domain is registered to you (in your name and to your business address). Otherwise you may find you have problems getting your domain back when you want to move. This can prove costly!