In order to use a Domain Name it must be registered. Where it is registered depends on the Top Level Domain or TLD (in mydomain.com the 'com' is the TLD). The following information is designed to help you understand Domain Names, Registration procedures and the mysterious world of DNS servers.
The authority for all Top Level Domains (TLDs) lies with ICANN (The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) and responsibility for generic Top Level Domains (gTLDs) has been subcontracted to accredited registrars. for a full list of accredited registrars see this list.
Since 1st November 2000 the Canadian Internet Registration Authority (cira) has moved to a distributed model (like ICANN) in which the process of registration is handled by 'certified' Registrars who deal with customer requests and changes and in turn update the cira database. To find a list of certified registrars go to www.cira.ca then click your language preference then click the 'certified Registrar list'. This process is used for both Canadian National registrations (.ca) and Provincial registrations (xx.ca). ZyTrax can help you register a Canadian domain name as part of its services (we believe you should have your own domain name). Canadian and Provincial domains names now incur an annual registration fee.
A domain name is a unique identifier owned (or registered) by an individual or organisation e.g. if a web site is www.mydomain.com then 'mydomain' is the domain name part, the .com of the example is the Top Level Domain (TLD) and the 'www' is a server or service name. Once you own the domain name it is 'delegated' to you via a Domain Name Service (DNS) entry and the domain owner CONTROLS all naming to the left of 'mydomain'. So depending on your company you could create (and give public or private access to) systems with names like myhost.mydomain.com or uk.mydomain.com or plant1.ca.mydomain.com or anything you choose - and have valid DNS entries for. By convention (but only convention) the most commonly used entries are www.mydomain.com (world wide web) and mail.mydomain.com (or pop.mydomain.com or smtp.mydomanin.com).
|General business use
|For restricted use by SITA (airline industry)
|For restricted use by museums
|For family names
|For information sources
|For restricted use by co-operatives
ICANN is scheduled to complete negotiations about the registration processes and rules, fees etc. regarding these new gTLDs with their requesting registrars by year end 2000 after which the procedures for the use of the names must be approved by the ICANN board and only then can the names be used or allocated.
In certain counties restrictions do apply (e.g. Canada limits .ca domains names to one per company or individual and companies must have registered offices in Canada, individuals must be Canadian citizens to qualify). See the appropriate national registrar via this list for country specific rules.
Your .com domain name is accessible from every country in the world (as is every other domain name) but registering a .com does not grant you any rights in another country e.g. if you register mydomain.com then someone else can register mydomain.ca (Canada) or mydomain.tv (Tuvala) or mydomain.net.
A TLD is a Top Level Domain e.g. in www.mydomain.com, 'com' is the TLD. gTLD is used to describe the generic Top Level Domains (e.g. .com, .net. edu etc), ccTLD is used to denote the country code Top Level Domains e.g. .ca is Canada and .tv is Tuvala.
When you register a domain name 4 types of information are requested:
Administration Contact Details:
Typically the domain owner. This section requires the full name, address, telephone number, fax number and e-mail address. The Administration contact controls (and approves) any changes to the rest of the domain name details. When you have a domain name registered IT IS VITAL that the e-mail address in particular is correct, accessable by you and preferably NOT in your own domain name.
Technical Contact Details:
Generally the Technical contact also supplies the DNS service for convenience (but this is NOT essential). This section requires the full name, address, telephone number, fax number and e-mail address of the technical or DNS delegation authority.
Billing Contact Details:
The location where registration fee invoices are sent. This section requires the full name, address, telephone number, fax number and e-mail address. Certain registration organizations will send regular mail invoices and reminders so having correct information here is vital.
Primary and Secondary Name Servers (DNS)
This section usually requires both the name and IP address of the name servers that will be authoritative for your domain. Generally but not always these will be the responsibility of the Technical contact.
During the registration process you may be asked for an authentication method - typically you have a choice of MAIL-FROM (which uses an e-mail address) or an ENCRYPTION process (using PGP or other format). Most people choose MAIL-FROM. Whenever a change is made to the registration record the registrar will send you an e-mail to the address specified in the MAIL-FROM entry and request confirmation of the change (changes can be initiated by anyone). It is VITAL that the e-mail address you specify is valid and is accessible to you under all conditions because this is how you maintain control over your domain name. We also recommend that this e-mail address is NOT in your domain e.g. a free hotmail account.
Do not leave all this stuff to your ISP - keep control of the process, understand what is going on. IT IS YOUR ASSET MAKE SURE YOU OWN IT.
When you register a domain name the authority for management of that domain is delegated to you via an 'authoritative' DNS (normally at your ISP). The DNS identifiers are defined in the registration record for your domain (DNS names and IP addresses - usually two but can be more) and are maintained in one of a number of centralised DNS that every DNS is the world uses. When your local DNS looks for a name, say, www.mydomain.com and cannot find it locally, it will ask one of these centralised DNS for the information. The centralised DNS will supply back the name and IP address of the DNS which contains the 'authoritative' information for your domain. The local DNS will then interrogate the 'authoritative' DNS for the domain ('mydomain.com') for the specific service or server e.g. www and get back the IP address of the requested service or server. The reason for having Primary and Secondary DNS is for redundancy purposes. A single DNS may become overloaded or even break down, so if the first DNS is not available the second is tried then the third and so on.
To change your domain information you must go to the Registrar with whom you registered the domain name and follow his procedure for Change or Modification. Remember that before any change is effective the Administration contact will have to authorize it via e-mail or the AUTHENTICATION scheme selected when the domain name was originally registered.
You must change your domain name record to point to the DNS servers of your new ISP or provider. Generally your ISP will carry out the changes but you as the administrator contact must authorize them. See here for domain name changes and here for additional information if you are thinking about using different suppliers for e-mail and web.
ICANN (The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) maintains a list of current ccTLD (country code Top Level Domains) registration authorities for all participating countries including .tv!
The organization responsible for all Top Level Domains is ICANN (The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers), now an independent non-profit corporation. ICANN sets the rules for domain name disputes, authorizes new gTLDs and delegates (or subcontracts) the registration process to 'accredited' Registrars for gTLDs and to specific country agencies for ccTLDs.
The .edu gTLD is available only for educational institutions in the United States granting four year degrees and is handled exclusively via Network Solutions, Inc.
The .gov gTLD is reserved exclusively for the United States Government.
The .mil gTLD is reserved exclusively for use by the United States Military.
The .int gTLD is reserved exclusively for organisations created by international treaties and may be registered here.
Most registrars operate a search facility that will let you know if a specific domain name is available or not (use this list of registrars for gTLDs (.com etc) and this for Canadian registrars. The alternative method especially if you will be checking frequently is to use a 'whois' utility. These are widely available for download either as freeware or shareware from many locations on the web. To find a whois utility for your PC either do a search on 'whois' on one of the search engines or try www.shareware.com . Whois databases are available across the net and will supply the definitive registration information about any valid domain name.
NOTE: Be VERY cautious before downloading and installing software on your PC, ensure that it does the job that you want and satisfy yourself of its fitness for purpose.
None. You can have your e-mail and web site with one ISP and get your Internet access via another. Remember you control this process! Check here if you are considering having your e-mail with one supplier and your web site with another.
This a little tricky and its depends upon your ISP. Your domain name information is 'delegated' to an 'authoritative' DNS. This DNS contains pointers (DNS A records for your web site and MX records for your Mail service) if your web and e-mail are with different suppliers then one of them must have the 'authoritative' DNS and must be prepared to add a record pointing to another ISPs site. Not all ISPs will do this (remember the DNS gets traffic - resolution requests - which someone has to pay for).
Until 16th November, 2000 the following was the complete list of gTLDs.
|No restrictions. Conventionally used by commercial enterprises.
|No restrictions. Conventionally used by network providers (e.g. ISPs)
|Restricted to US Military only.
|Restricted to US Government only.
|Special domain used for reserve mapping (Names to numbers) not available for registration.
|Restricted to organisations created by International treaty.
|Restricted to certain US colleges.
|Restricted to non-profit organisations but may be otherwise freely registered through any registrar.
After the 16th November 2000 these new gTLDs were added.
The URL www.mydomain.com is simply the name of a service (or resource). The www is the type of service (in this case www = world wide web), 'mydomain' is the domain name part, the .com of the example is the Top Level Domain (TLD). Once you own the domain name it is 'delegated' to you via a Domain Name Service (DNS) entry and the domain owner CONTROLS all naming to the left of 'mydomain'. So depending on your company you could create resources (and provide public or private access) with names like myhost.mydomain.com or uk.mydomain.com or plant1.ca.mydomain.com or anything you choose - and have valid DNS entries for. By convention (but only convention) the most commonly used entries are www.mydomain.com (world wide web) and mail.mydomain.com.
A Uniform Resource Locator (URL) is the string of letters that define the 'location' of a resource and how to get to it e.g. http://www.mydomain.com is conventionally a web service for mydomain.com using the HTTP protocol (will contain HTML). The URL is used (resolved) by a DNS and an IP address returned from an authoritative DNS for the domain. A Uniform Resource Identifier (URI) is subtly different and is a string of letters that defines the identity of a resource and which also, usually, includes its location e.g. in a URI of http://www.zytrax.com/isp/index.htm, the URL part is http://www.zytrax.com/isp/. A URL is always a subset of a URI.
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