The Domain Name System (DNS) was established to overcome the problems that people were experiencing when attempting to use long binary strings or even the more user friendly dotted decimal notation system for IP addressing. This made the locating and identification of end systems (your computer and some website) a very unpleasant task especially for those actively contacting or colluding with many people on a daily basis. A better more efficient way had to be found.
It was out of this need for a more “user friendly” network and end system identification and management system that the Domain Naming System (DNS) was created. The organization created to coordinate and oversee the development and ongoing administration of the Internet’s names and numbers systems globally is the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).
Apart from ICANN each Top-Level Domain (TLD) is maintained and serviced technically by a sponsoring organization known as the TLD Registry. It is the TDL Registry’s responsibility to maintain the database of names registered within the TLDs they administer.
Domain Name Application
Anybody wishing to apply for a domain name must do so through an ICANN accredited domain name registrar. The way in which this is done is by each domain name registrar authorized to assign names in a given TLD forwarding those names to the corresponding TLD Registry which verifies that the applicant domain name is indeed unique, that is to say that there is no currently registered holder for that domain name and is therefore available for assignment to the current applicant.
The TLD Registry then publishes this domain name information using a special service; the WHOIS protocol. In this way domain names can be considered to be unique within a top level domain.
Registrars usually charge an annual fee for the service of delegating a domain name to a user and providing a default set of name servers. This transaction is considered to be a sale or lease of the domain name and the registrant is called an “owner”.
It is important to note that no true “legal” relationship is actually associated with the transaction and the applicant only obtains the exclusive right to use the domain name for as long as they pay their annual registration fee. It is probably more appropriate to view authorized users as “registrants” or as “domain holders”.
Published TLD Registries and Domain Name Registrars
ICANN publishes a complete list of TLD registries and domain name registrars in the world. One can obtain information about the registrant of a domain name by looking in the WHOIS database held by many domain registries.
DNS is used to assign domain names and map each of these domain names to Internet Protocol (IP) networks using IP Addresses. While each domain name is unique it does not follow that every domain name can only be mapped to a single IP Address. In fact quite the opposite is true and the term used to refer to domain names that have one or more IP Addresses mapped to it is hostname.
Once you have a FQDN you can create as many child domains as you wish. Note that design, coding, building and production implementation are considerably easier and far more streamlined than is the case when sharing a sub-domain with thousands of other sub-domains.
The recent introduction of approximately 240 new country specific geographical region specific suffix extensions to top level domains has meant that web developers and owners can target their websites toward specific targeted audiences. Thus; if you intend to promote your wares within a fixed geographical region you should look into obtaining a FQDN that reflects this. One of the easiest ways is through using a FQDN with country suffix.
Web Hosting Services
If you decide to use a domain hosting or web hosting service it is imperative that you establish prior to signing up that you will be able to take your domain name with you should you ever find the need to change hosting service providers or to take the plunge and host your own domain yourself.
Fully Qualified Domain Name (FQDN) Advantages
Recent research and consumer surveys conducted by Gartner Research have shown that more than 95% of respondents stated that the single most important factor in developing a successful online presence was having a Fully Qualified Domain Name (FQDN) rather than a sub-domain within a third party’s FQDN.
Respondents also consistently stated that they believed that a FQDN was crucial in controlling, projecting and maintaining “branding rights” on a global scale as well as implementing, projecting and preserving a persistent company, product or brand Internet presence. Other benefits include:
User and Search Engine “Friendly” – A FQDN usually means a shorter more “user friendly” easier to remember URL. This translates into making your website far more readily accessible to users and search engines alike.
Branding – Because Fully Qualified Domain Names (FQDN) are unique globally it is possible to create, market and service products and services that can be “branded”. Your trade names can be closely related to your organization.
IncreasedUser Confidence – Having a domain of your own helps to expand your Internet presence while promoting user confidence. Recent consumer surveys by the likes of Gartner Research (see above) have found that generally speaking consumers were both more trusting of and more likely to spend their hard earned money on a site with a FQDN.
For example: slimmers.com or inthepink.com or even bukisa.com. Consumers are rapidly becoming considerably less likely to spend money; especially using payment cards, at sub-domain sites such as bobsplace/general/chickenkiller.com. I do apologize to all parties if these are real sites.
Overall the general public is a lot less trusting of the isolated sub-domain category of website where the owner of the sub-domain is not the owner of the parent domain. The public perception of this category of websites tends to view them as being the source of major spamming activities and more recently phishing sites.
Target Audience – Using domain name suffixes such as the 240+ country codes can help to define and finesse the presentation of your website to specific geographic regions.
Resale Value – Because you “own” your domain name for as long as you continue to annually renew your lease by paying the relevant registrar’s annual fees you have the option to “sell” your domain “as is” or with value-added benefits to any interested purchaser.