If you would like to have a site, this implies that you require a domain. A domain is an easy-to-memorize name that you type in your web browser's address bar when you desire to go to a specific web portal.
Why Do You Require a Domain?
This is an issue I touch on because this past week my boss brought forth the idea of creating a web page for our brand new project. That itself is not an issue, the issue is that he wants a website, but has not reached a decision yet about what it should look like, what it should comprise, etc. All that he mentioned to me was the name of the site - its domain. Thus, we now have an address for a yet-to-be-set-up web site and nothing more.
Each website is located on a physical machine. That physical machine has its own personal physical address, popular also as an Internet Protocol address. Paying a visit to a site by typing the IP address of the machine in your web browser, however, is not the best and most suitable thing to do, so that was how and why domains came into existence. Therefore, a domain name pertains to an IP address on the World Wide Web. Once it has been registered, that is.
Registering a Domain
To register a domain, you first need to select a domain name registrar. Freehostia.com has the best solution for my current and future projects - they provide a Domain Manager package, which can be easily upgraded to a hosting package later on - when my boss eventually reaches a decision about what objective the website will have.
Hence, to register a domain, you need to pick a name for your web site. Next, you need to choose a Top-Level Domain - this is what follows the dot. For example, in 'abc.com', '.com' is the Top-Level Domain (TLD). Clearly, '.com' denotes 'company', '.net' denotes 'network', '.org' denotes 'organization', and so on and so forth.
After you've picked your domain and your future domain registrar, you need to examine whether the domain name you want to register is free, since someone else might have grabbed it before you, no matter how annoying it might be. Each domain registrar company, including Freehostia.com, has a functionality at their signup page, which ascertains the availability of a specific domain. To carry on with the registration of a domain name, you need to specify some domain registrant information - the personal name, the place of residence, the email address and the telephone number of the domain name's registrant.
You've Registered a Domain... Now What?
I registered .com, .net, .info and .org domains for our venture, as per the wish of my still-hesitant-about-the-function-of-the-future-site boss. I tried out the domain administration tool Freehostia.com is offering and found it very easy to use - everything is neatly ordered and, from what I noticed in the hosting Control Panel demo at their website, once we upgrade to a low-cost hosting package, it will stay the same, but with many more features. This, thank goodness, will save me quite a bit of inconvenience from having to administer my domain name and website hosting user account separately. So, while waiting for the boss to reach a decision about at least what the web site should comprise, I was glad to find that the domain name management dashboard includes DNS administration and domain renewal options, and - an extremely useful functionality (!) - a parked domain template, which I used in order to create a "Coming Soon" page for our domain names.
Country-Specific Top-Level Domains
I was very glad to see that Freehostia.com is offering plenty of country-specific top-level domain names, since the project the site is aimed for is multinational. Country-specific TLDs are delegated to national registry operators, which enable domain registrar companies to register domains, typically at rates that are cheaper than those offered to the end users. There are plenty of country-code top-level domain names: .co.uk for the United Kingdom, .es for Spain, .nl for the Netherlands, .us for the United States, .ca for Canada, .com.au for Australia, etc. This, I am convinced, will please my boss since we will be able to create a local version of the web site for each country where the project will be presented.