I've put together this "Frequently Asked Questions" list to help in understanding all of the terminology and processes of becoming a web site owner.

I hope this FAQ helps you better understand what you're looking for. If you have any questions not answered here, please contact me.


  1. What is a domain name?
  2. How do I get a domain name?
  3. What is an anonymous or private domain name registration and why should I get it?
  4. What is the difference between .com, .net, .org, etc.?
  5. How will people find my web site?
  6. What is site hosting?
  7. What about free hosting sites?


1. What is a domain name?

A domain name is how your web site is identified on the web; it's your "web address". http://yourdomainname.com is a web address using a domain name. For example, one of the web addresses for this site is http://scorpionink.net.

When directing people to your web site, you would use the domain name you choose for your site as the address. So if you have an online store named Caramel Confections, you would try to purchase the domain name caramelconfections.com. Your web address would then be http://caramelconfections.com.

You can have more than one domain name pointing to the same web site. If your business name is important to you, and you don't want other people to use it (with a different TLD {Top Level Domain}), you could buy numerous domain names with different TLD's.

To explain, scorpionink.com was already taken when I went to make this web site. Since I didn't want there to be lots of other scorpion ink's floating around out there, I purchased the following domain names: scorpionink.net, scorpionink.org, scorpionink.info and scorpionink.biz. So let's say Caramel Confections doesn't want to have their customers accidentally going to another business with the same name; they could also, instead of just purchasing caramelconfections.com, purchase caramelconfections.org, caramelconfections.net, etc.

Some domain names may be taken. Check to see if the domain name you want is available. If it isn't, try it with a different TLD (.net or .org, for example) or try another name. thesitewizard.com has some tips on choosing a good domain name.

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2. How do I get a domain name?

There are hundreds of places on the Internet to purchase domain names from. GoDaddy.com is a personal favorite and is also the world's #1 domain registrar.

Going to the site, you type in your desired domain name to see if it's available. If it is, grab it. If not, try alternative spellings or TLD's to get the domain name you want. You might want to check out thesitewizard.com's tips on choosing a good domain name.

Remember that, unless you get a years-long plan, you will need to renew your domain name every year - otherwise it could be purchased by someone else once your registration runs out.

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3. What is an anonymous or private domain name registration and why should I get it?

All registered domain names must have contact information. With this, anyone can go to a Whois site, type in your domain name, and find out all of the information you registered the domain name with. This includes your full name, home address and even your telephone number. Godaddy.com offers this example of the information pulled up on public and private domain names.

If your web site is primarily going to be for a business, it isn't usually a problem, as such contact information is available anyway through many mediums; just make sure to register the domain name with your business's contact information and not your personal. Personal web sites, however, might not want such sensitive information out there for anyone on the web to grab.

To remedy this problem, dole out the extra cash for a private or anonymous domain name registry. GoDaddy.com offers this feature for $8.95 extra per domain name. Your personal registry information is kept hidden, and anyone doing a Whois search would see only generic information going back to Domains By Proxy, Inc.

Be careful, though, because some domain extensions do not allow anonymous registration. .us, for example, is one of these. If your site is caramelconfections.us, your personal registry information is going to be available. Make sure the extensions you purchase for your domain name allow private/anonymous registration (most do).

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4. What is the difference between .com, .net, .org, etc.?

These "extensions" are known as "Top Level Domains" and are simply part of the entire "web address" - the part where your domain name goes (scorpionink, for example) is known as the second-level domain. Learn more about Top Level Domains from ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers).

.com is the most commonly used and easily recognizable of all of the extensions. .net and .org come in second. All three of these can be used for any kind of website, though .org was intended for use by "organizations".

Newer and less popular extensions are .info, .biz, and .us. Even less known are .name, .tv, .ws, .cc, .de, .be, .jobs, and .at. For foreign web owners, there are .co.uk, .me.uk, org.uk, .co.nz, .net.nz, .org.nz., and .eu, to name a few. There are many more.

As the web grows, and names get taken, ICANN releases more extensions. Some are specific and can only be used by certain sites or businesses (.gov and .mil, for example). Others are open for any kind of web site.

The most important is .com, .net and .org. These are the extensions most people will type in when looking for you online.

Though most domain name extensions are created with specific web sites in mind, they are not always used for that. Here are the more common extensions and their intended use:

No regulations or specific uses. Original and most common extension.

Same as above.

Specifically for "organizations", especially non-profit ones, but this is not a required use. Used for all types of websites.

Can only be used by individuals or business in the United States. .us domain registries cannot be anonymous or private.

Created for businesses and individuals. No specific use.

Created primarily for businesses and to try and alleviate the crowding on .com domains. Has not yet gained popularity, but is starting to be seen in some places.

Another one created to alleviate the swelling .com's. Ws stands for "website" and can be applied to any...well, any web site.

Created with individuals and personal web sites in mind.

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5. How will people find my web site?

Even when it comes to web sites, you can't beat word of mouth. Make sure to tell people about your site, and include your web address on your business cards. It's also helpful to append a custom signature to the bottom of all of your emails with your web address on it - most email programs allow you to create a custom signature.

Scorpion Ink will, upon your request, register you with most of the free search engines out there (Google, Yahoo!, Excite, Alta Vista, etc.). Getting up in the search engines is the best way to get your site noticed.

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6. What is site hosting?

Getting your domain name and having a web site designed for you are the first steps, but where do you put all of it? That's where hosting comes in.

Where your web site resides is known as the "host". It is the actual server that holds all of the files that make up your web site. You can have a domain name and a web site, but with no where to host it, you won't be accessible.

The easiest way to envision it is this - you start a business and give it a name (domain name), then you buy a building and pay a designer to fix it up to your specifications (web site) - now you have to find a lot to place your building on (host). The lot would be where your business (site) is "hosted". The host server is simply where your web site resides.

There are hundreds upon hundreds of avaible web site hosts on the web, look around. If you'd like to keep things simple, however, Scorpion Ink offers hosting for $10/month.

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7. What about free hosting sites?

There are lots of great, free hosting sites that allow you to house your website for free. Usually the only downfall is that you will not have a unique domain name with your free site. If that doesn't matter to you, a free site is usually the way to go. Scorpion Ink will design your web site in any of the free hosting sites that you choose, if that is your wish.

Here are a list of some well-renowned free hosting sites, and an example of how your URL (web address) would look if you chose them:

Geocities is one of the top free hosting sites. They also offer low-priced hosting as well. A free account offers you 15 MB of space.

Using Caramel Confections as an example, the web address (URL) for a free site hosted at Geocities would look like:

Another well-known free hosting site is Tripod. Tripod has been around for quite some time, and is still a top hosting site. A free account offers you 20 MB of space.

Using Caramel Confections as an example, the web address (URL) for a free site hosted at Tripod would look like:

Well-known but less used, is Angelfire. Angelfire has been around for years as well. A free account offers you 20 MB of space.

Using Caramel Confections as an example, the web address (URL) for a free site hosted at Angelfire would look like:

Not as well-known, FortuneCity has also been around for quite some time. A free account offers you 25 MB of space.

Using Caramel Confections as an example, the web address (URL) for a free site hosted at Angelfire would look like:

There are many other free web hosting sites out there, but these are the most well-known and trusted.

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This website can be accessed at scorpionink.net

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