Archive for March, 2006

What is the difference between all these domain extensions?

Wednesday, March 15th, 2006

When the Internet was first created by the US Department of Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) the only domain extensions were .gov (for US government sites), .edu (for educational institutions), and .mil (for US military sites). When the Internet was opened up to commercial and other users in the late 1980’s the .com (for commercial sites), .org (for organization sites), and .net (for network related sites) were created. Additional information on these and other “generic” domains can be found here. As the Internet and the World Wide Web has spread around the planet, the “non-generic” two letter country domain extensions were added. (For example, the BBC world news site is where UK stands for United Kingdom).

How does one register a new domain?

Friday, March 10th, 2006

Domain registration was opened up to commercial competition several years ago. There are now dozens of commercial domain registrars in the US and other countries around the world. Unfortunately the quality, reliability, and pricing varies considerably among the various domain registrars. We normally use Dotster ( and have found their cost and level of service to be quite good. A number of our customers use GoDaddy and we have found GoDaddy to be reliable and reasonably priced.

If you ask us to register your new domain, we would check to see if the name was available (i.e. no one else has previously registered it) and then we would arrange registration such that you and your organization are listed as the owner and ourselves as the technical contact. The registrar will typically charge around $15 per year and one can register for multiple years. The price may vary depending on what TLD (top level domain) you are registering. Examples of TLDs are .com, .org, .net, .info, .edu.

What is domain registration?

Tuesday, March 7th, 2006

Each website must have a unique domain name (e.g. and this name must be registered in order for it to be found by web browser over the Internet.

There is a master register (essentially an index) which contains the name, who owns that name, and the numerical IP address of the server (a computer) on which it resides. Copies of this master register are kept on hundreds of other servers (called domain name servers or DNS) around the world. It can take up to 72 hours for a new registration (or changes in an existing one) to propagate to all the DNS servers. In general, your local DNS servers are maintained by your ISP (Internet Service Provider). For example, we connect to the internet using Verizon DSL, so all our machines (and browsers) look to the Verizon DNS servers to find a target website.