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How to Choose, Register or Transfer a Domain Name
Copyright 2002 Herman Drost 

Every professional business should be keeping up with the 
demands and needs of its customers, if it is to survive. One of
the essential tools of any business these days is to have a
professional web site. This begins with choosing and registering
a domain name that will clearly identify and brand your business
online for many years to come, so you need to choose wisely. 

How to choose a domain name
1. If you want your web site to have an added advantage in the
search engines, think of a domain name that includes keywords
visitors would search for in the main search engines. 

2. Make a list of all the possible names that would suit your
business (i.e. contains resources for building
your own web site or getting one built). Use for
researching domain names. NameBoy will generate domain names
based on the keywords you enter. If the dotcom name you want is
not available, create a longer name that describes your business
or use names that include hyphens (i.e. 

3. If possible, keep your domain name short so it is easy to
spell and easy to remember. Take into account someone may
remember the name but forget there is a hyphen in it – you then
miss out on those potential customers. 

4. If the dotcom name is not available, try the other new
abbreviations such as .BIZ .US,.INFO, .TV. These are not as
popular as .COM, however you may get closer to the name you

How to register a domain name
1. Any company that sells domain names must be registered
and accredited with iCann - The Internet Corporation for
Assigned Names and Numbers (
You can get a domain name for under $10 from
Read carefully what’s on their site as you go through the
registration process. It’s easy to inadvertently sign up 
for other services you don’t need.

For a current list of companies that are accredited as 
registrars by iCann, visit Internic ( 
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2. Register your domain name in your own name, not someone
else’s. Sometimes your host may do this for you. This could
cause you problems in the future, should you decide to transfer
your domain to another hosting company. 

3. Renewal - you have had your site on the Web for a year, sales
are pouring in when suddenly, your site disappears – it won’t
show up anymore! What happened? Well, you forgot to renew your
domain name. Hopefully this will never happen to you! 

When you sign up for a new domain name, make sure your domain
name registrar will send a reminder when your domain name is
about to expire. 

4. When asked about DNS server (domain name system) or Name
Server information, insert your Primary Name Server and
Secondary Name Server information – ask your future Web Hosting
service for this information, if you don’t have it handy.

What is the DNS system?
It is the computer action of changing domain names into 
numeric Internet protocol (IP) numbers which enables 
computers to locate web sites and e-mail. 

If you haven’t chosen a Web Host, then park your domain name
with your domain name registrar (this is a temporary location to
store your domain until you are ready to have it hosted). 

How to transfer a domain name.
There may be several reasons why you would want to transfer:

-Renewing Domain Names
There is a good chance that you could save money on domain
name renewals by transferring them to a different registrar.
Check out the prices from different registrars at

Before renewing a domain name, make sure you know which
registrar the domain name is actually registered with. is the only WhoIs known that handles
the CORE registrars as well as the ICANN ones. 

-You parked your domain name and have now found a Web Host
to upload your site to.

-You are not happy with the service or are paying too much for
your current web host and want to switch to another. 

1. If you are transferring your domain name to another web host,
download (copy) all files to your computer from your old host. 
Sometimes files may be stored on your host but not on your
computer, so doing this will ensure you downloaded the whole site.

Keep a copy of your files on the old host, while you transfer to 
another host, so you won't experience any downtime of your web site.

2. Open a new hosting account.

3. Change the DNS (domain name system) or Name Server information 
on the current domain name to the new hosting company name servers. 
You can find this information by going to the domain name registrar
(the place where you registered your domain name).

Your domain will take some time (24-72 hours) to propagate over
the Internet, before it appears on the new hosting company servers.

4. Upload all files to the new host.

5. Amend and test your web site. Check that all files have been 
uploaded from your computer and that your web site appears 
exactly as it did before.

6. Cancel the previous hosting account when you are satisfied 
with the transfer of your domain name to the new host.

A Great Tip for registering several domain names.
Since domain names are so cheap these days 
(they used to cost $35/year), you can afford to own several
domains. Each domain can have its own web site. Most
small sites use less than 5MB of hosting space, so you could
host several sites for a small price.

What are the benefits of doing this? 
Linking each of these web sites together and submitting them to
the search engines will increase your sites search engine rankings.
It will also broaden the places visitors can access your business. 

Generating a continuous traffic flow leads to more sales. 
You have now implemented and solved one of your crucial
marketing strategies.
Herman Drost is a Certified Internet Webmaster (CIW)
owner and author of 
Low Cost Hosting and Site Design 

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