A domain is a name that identifies IP addresses on the internet. The domain name Yahoo.com represents about fifteen (15) IP addresses. Domain names are used to identify Web pages. For example, in the URL http://www.gohome.com/index.html, the domain name is gohome.com.
You register a domain name by registering with a domain name services registrar. The domain name industry is regulated and overseen by ICANN, which is an organization responsible for providing standards and procedures for certifying companies as domain name registrars.
Domain name registration has grown over the years. Network Solutions was the first domain name registrar to ever provide such a service. That was over ten years ago but today there are many accredited registrars. Only a domain name registrar is permitted to access and modify the master database domains that are on InterNIC servers. The fee is determined by the registrar as far as getting a domain name and some registers have special domain name packages.
Do You Really Need a Domain Name?
You use a domain name to create an identity on the World Wide Web and domain names can also be used for branding purposes, such as Wal-Mart, K-Mart, etc. In picking a domain name, the title shouldn’t stray far from what your company is all about. This will allow you to market your web-site as a subsidiary of your business and put your domain name on business cards and advertisements.
Once you select a domain name, you must register it with a domain name registrar. This is a task you can do easily. Many ISPs offer a complete package that includes hosting and the registering of the domain name for you. Fees probably will include a one time set-up fee for all of the backend technical work that needs to be accomplished. Then pay your service provider a monthly, semi-annual or annual fee for Web site hosting services.
Many domain registrar services have competent online tools to help you get your domain name and hosting site up and running.
There are different types of hosting services that you can choose from depending on what type of web development and web site that you want to host.
Dial-Up Access Hosting This is the most basic access/hosting service and these providers also provides a web page for hosting your site. Dial-up access hosting was the first hosting available and is still around. Most ISP’s specialize in just internet access and it’s rare that you will see an ISP do both. These companies make their money off of providing access to the Internet.
Development Hosting – Web site developers are buying their own servers and offering independent hosting services for their clients. This is called development hosting in which they provide web development services along with a host server located at their place of business. The consumer gets charged for the development and the maintenance of the web-site.
Web-Hosting ISP’s. These are companies that specialize in hosting business web sites. There is no dial up access needed and site owners access their pages via File Transfer Protocol (FTP). This is what the majority of small businesses use to put their site information on the internet. Other services are also included in the Web Hosting ISP package depending on their service plans.
These types of hosting plans are usually for corporations that need a lot of bandwidth to run their web applications. These companies run T1 access lines for big packets of internet data and have multiple connections to an internet backbone. They have fully staffed data processing facilities and the prices are substantial for using these types of services.
Corporate/Industrial Hosting – Companies like Hewlett Packard, Dell or IBM, run the server infrastructure for most of these host companies.
The SOHO business owner will usually need the Web-Hosting ISP services. It is the middle ground between the basic and advanced services.
If you are a customer that wants total control of your web site administrative functions then you might want to look at unmanaged web hosting services to give you complete remote control administration over your server. The technical side of the server can be controlled by a designated administrator that you pick to handle your web information.
You have to have a technical person to install the server and manage the server if you don’t have the expertise because you as the customer will be responsible for maintaining the server environment. That’s why unmanaged servers are recommended for individuals and businesses with server administration resources.
As far as developing applications and controlling the applications without going through technical support personnel on the managed server side, these types of servers are usually used when companies are developing real time response systems on the internet, such as geographical, science, engineering and multimedia/entertainment applications.
Unmanaged servers allow you to add extra hard disk space to increase your space capacity and many computer companies sell physical servers that are configured for unmanaged hosting applications. Companies like Dell and HP have software programs that not only will run an office network but also handle web server and development applications.
Small businesses that don’t need a server on site and deal with administrative web packages should go with the managed host packages that provide assistance and administrative support. Managed applications will do just fine because of the costs that are incurred with maintaining an unmanaged server. Unmanaged servers need constant upgrades of software and hardware constantly which could cost your small business a big chunk of change.
Unmanaged servers are expensive to maintain and run unless you are a small firm that develops in house web applications. The best advice is to have a consultant draw up an IT plan to see if you need this type of hosting service or not.