Domain names

Simple Guide to Domain Registration, Email Services, and Web Hosting

Domain name registration

Domain name registration

Setting up email services – what you need to understand

  1. When you register a domain name you become the registrant. They are registered through various registries depending on the extension (the last bit of the domain after the ‘.’) of the domain, for example, anything that ends in a ‘uk’ is registered through Nominet based here in the UK and ICANN look after domain extensions such as .NET, .COM, .ORG, and .INFO. The domain name registration will need your email address and other contact details
  2. When you register a domain you will need to pick who has the administrative control over it. This is normally done automatically through your domain name provider, for example, if you register your domain through GoDaddy, they will have administrative control of your domain.
  3. The domain administration will often be managed by your web developer
  4. Once you have registered your domain, you can transfer the administrative control to another provider. This can usually be done directly through the current administrator. The most common domains are the NOMINET and ICANN ones and are transferred as follows:
  • Nominet domains – change the TAG
  • ICANN domains – unlock the domain before initiating a transfer from the new administrator
  1. There will usually be a small charge made for transfers
  2. Alternatively, you can simply change the NAMESERVERS which will not change the company providing the domain registration services and renewals but will pass control over all other associated services to a new provider. The NAMESERVERS is a bit of information added to the domain that says where the domain is being administered.
  3. Now you’ve registered a domain and the administrative control is set up name you can split the services i.e. web services and email services. You don’t have to use both of these, you can use one or the other, or you can use both
  4. The most common web service is the standard website which is what happens when you type your domain name into a web browser. Other web services include sub-domains and FTP access.
  5. Web hosting is simply a computer that is connected to the internet and has an IP address (Internet Protocol.) This IP address is the unique location for the connection. When you request a website, such as BBC.CO.UK, your browser looks up the corresponding IP address for your request and downloads the corresponding website to your browser.
  6. Email services are primarily receiving email i.e. if someone sends an email to your domain name, how is it handled and where does it go?
  7. These changes are specified in the DNS registry (Dynamic Name System) that is controlled through your domain administrative provider
  8. Note: Other DNS settings can be, for example, to prove administrative control of a domain (this is a quite common request with Google & Bing)
  9. The only other service you’ll need in relation to email is the SMTP service (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol.) This is the service that takes the email you want to send and relays on the road towards it’s recipient. This is a completely separate service to the web and email services connected with your domain but is often provided alongside these.
  10. An email client is the software used to send and receive emails. This can be a web-based client or can be a locally based client (local email client) such as Outlook. Web based email clients will generally also provide SMTP services but if you want to use a local email client such as Outlook, you’ll need SMTP services. SMTP is sometimes provided as part of a hosting package but sometimes it must be purchased separately

In summary

  1. To register a domain name you’ll need a domain name registrar to register it on your behalf (such as GoDaddy or 123 Reg) or an agency such as Seven Creative
  2. When you register the domain you become the domain name registrant
  3. You need to specify who has administrative control of the domain using the NAMESERVERS
  4. You need to specify where the web services and email services are administered (these don’t have to both be used and can be with separate providers if you wish.) This is done using the DNS via your domain name administrator
  5. If you’re going to have a website, you’ll need website hosting.
  6. Email sending services and webmail are often bundled with website hosting
  7. If you are going to be using email services using a local email client (such as Outlook, Thunderbird, , email on your mobile phone, Apple Mail, etc.) you’ll need an SMTP server which may be bundled with your hosting or may be purchased separately
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