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@CloudExpo Authors: Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Cloud Best Practices Network, Kevin Jackson, Pat Romanski

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Thoughts on Web Hosting: The Importance of Domain Names

Call It branding, call it marketing or call it good business practices, owning your own domain name makes sense

So, here is the thing. Domain Names are important.

Recently we saw a glossy commercial while watching some Sunday NFL games. The ad was for the hosting company, 1 & 1. Although the ad was short, it was selling one thing and one thing only – Domain names.  Although we don’t have the exact copy of the ad, 1 & 1 was touting the importance of owning your domain name for business purposes.

The truth is, 1 & 1 is right – owning your domain name is vitally important for your business, both online and off. But why is this? What is so important about owing your domain name? If you’re a business utilizing a web hosting service, why is your “www.” so vital to your success?

Domain Names

Domain Names

For the uninitiated, a domain name is the URL (Uniform Resource Locator) attached to your website. Whereas your URL (domain name) is the text address search query, Ex. (http://www.dedicatednow.com/?services-onapp-cloud=), your IP address is the numerical label assigned to your website. Unlike your domain name which stays constant as long as you own it, your IP address can change depending upon what company hosts it. (Note: The following section is a side note covering IP addresses. Skip it if IP addresses mean nothing to you.)

IP Address

IP Address

A Side Note on IP Addresses: Without getting into it too deep, your IP address is determined by what governing body your host purchased your IP from. There are five governing international IP bodies – ARIN (American Registry for Internet Numbers), LACNIC (Latin American and Caribbean Internet Address Registry), RIPE NCC (Reseaux IP Europeens Network Coordination Centre, APNIC (Asia-Pacific Network Information Centre and AFRINIC (African Network Information Centre) – who are all governed by one international governing body, IANA (Internet Assigned Numbers Authority). Depending on what nation you live in, your governing body acquires large amounts of IP addresses from IANA which are then sold to hosting companies who in turn provision them for the end user. As an end user you can purchase a block of IP’s however 95% of end users have no need to and thus, they rely on the IP address assigned to their domain name by their hosting company. End side note.

The short of IP addresses and domain names are you can and should own your IP address however a single end user cannot purchase a single IP address. Now that we have IP addresses out of the way, why is owning your domain name so important? The answer: competition.

You own a business selling frozen orange juice. As you sell a commodity on the open market, you want your customers and potential customers to know where to find you. To do this online, you need a domain name. More importantly, once you register your domain name (more of this later), you want to ensure your competition has no way to leech off your good name. An example: As a frozen O.J. seller, you buy the domain name www.greatfrozenoj.com. However to make sure your competition doesn’t encroach on your online territory, it might also be wise to purchase www.greatfrozenoj.org, www.greatfrozenoj.co, www.greatfrozenoj.net, www.greatfrozenoj.biz etc. The more generic domain names you purchase the better protected you are from competition. A word to the wise, www.greatfrozeoj.com has not yet been purchased.

Although you have gone ahead and purchased multiple generic domain names to snuff out your competition, it is also important to purchase your domain name outside of the confines of your web hosting company of choice. Why?

Owning Domain Names are Good For Business

Owning Domain Names are Good For Business

The answer is simple. If you purchase your domain name within the confines of your web hosting company, if you should ever decide to part ways and find a new hosting company, your previous host can and will say they own your business domain name. As you might imagine, if you have to start a new website with a fully different domain name, you will have some issues. If, on the other hand, you purchase your domain name outside of your hosting company, if you choose to move hosting companies, your domain name comes with you. Call It branding, call it marketing or call it good business practices, owning your own domain name makes sense.

Sorry 1 & 1, we will not be purchasing domain names with you.

To learn more about Web Hosting, check out these two articles:

Thoughts on Web Hosting: What You Need From Web Hosting Providers

Thoughts on Web Hosting: Five Web Hosting Mistakes to Avoid

Read the original blog entry...

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