If you want to start a website you need two key elements. First, you need a hosting provider which will be the company that stores and provides access to your website. Next, you need a domain name of your own.
Even though most web hosting companies will give you a subdomain such as yourdomain.plesk.com you will still want your own domain name – otherwise your website will always be dependent on the website host that you are using.
An independent website really needs its own domain, so – mydomain.com and not mydomain.plesk.com. A dedicated domain name for your business is a better way to present your company, it’s brand and the products and services you offer.
Understanding domain names
In easy terms, a domain name is an easy way for humans to refer to the IP address that represents the server on which your website is hosted. In other words, a domain name (managed by the domain name service or DNS) is a human readable link to an IP address. However, some domains may have multiple IP addresses associated with them.
A domain name is also indicative of who owns the domain. When you have registered a domain name nobody else can use the domain. Also, when you move your website to a different website host you can keep your domain name, even if the IP address for your website changes.
Domain name services you need to know about
When registering a domain name for your website you need to make sure that the company you register it with provides you with key settings for the domain name. This should include comprehensive management of your DNS settings (including popular DNS records such as A records, CNAMEs, MX and NS records as well as TXT records).
You also need to be able to obtain an EPP key from your registrar and need access to switch the registrar lock on and off. Finally, your registrar should also give you access to WHOIS, the public database for domain name information where your contact information and other domain details such as registrar and registration date is published.
Also note additional domain services which can include domain privacy protection, URL and email forwarding, email sending as well as domain parking. These additional services can be of real value in the long run.