A domain name is a string of text that maps to a numeric IP address, used to access a website from client software. In plain English, a domain name is the text that a user types into a browser window to reach a particular website. For instance, the domain name for Google is ‘google.com’. The actual address of a website, is a complex numerical IP address (e.g. 220.127.116.11), but thanks to DNS, users are able to enter human-friendly domain names and be routed to the websites they are looking for. This process is known as a DNS lookup.
Cloudflare Registrar is a service for registering domain names that doesn’t mark up the price for doing so. It offers essentially the same services as other domain name registrars but without markups, without increased renewal fees, and with some additional security features. In essence, Cloudflare Registrar is free – the only cost is what is charged by registries and by ICANN.
In the DNS hierarchy, a top-level domain (TLD) represents the first stop after the root zone. In simpler terms, a TLD is everything that follows the final dot of a domain name. For example, in the domain name ‘google.com’, ‘.com’ is the TLD. Some other popular TLDs include ‘.org’, ‘.uk’, and ‘.edu’.
TLDs play an important role in the DNS lookup process. For all uncached requests, when a user enters a domain name like ‘google.com’ into their browser window, the DNS resolvers start the search by communicating with the TLD server. In this case, the TLD is ‘.com’, so the resolver will contact the TLD DNS server, which will then provide the resolver with the IP address of Google’s origin server.
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has authority over all TLDs used on the Internet, and it delegates the responsibility of these TLDs to various organizations. For example, a U.S. company called VeriSign operates all ‘.com’ and ‘.net’ TLDs.
Another purpose of TLDs is to help classify and communicate the purpose of domain names. Every TLD will tell you something about the domain that precedes it; let’s look at some examples:
.com is intended for commercial businesses
.gov is for U.S. government entities
.uk is for domains from the United Kingdom
TLDs themselves are also classified into one of several groups.
Generic TLDs: Generic TLDs (gTLDs) encompass some of the more common domain names seen on the web, such as ‘.com’, ‘.net’, and ‘.org’. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) used to heavily restrict the creation of new gTLDs, but in 2010 these restrictions were relaxed. Now there are hundreds of lesser-known gTLDs, such as ‘.top’, ‘.xyz’, and ‘.loan’.
Country-code TLDs: Country-code TLDs (ccTLDs) are reserved for use by countries, sovereign states, and territories. Some examples are ‘.uk’, ‘.au’ (Australia), and ‘.jp’ (Japan). The Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA), which is run by ICANN, is in charge of picking appropriate organizations in each location to manage ccTLDs.
Sponsored TLDs: These TLDs typically represent professional, ethnic, or geographical communities. Each sponsored TLD (sTLD) has a delegated sponsor that represents that community. For example, ‘.app’ is a TLD intended for the developer community, and it is sponsored by Google. Similarly, ‘.gov’ is intended for use by the U.S. government, and is sponsored by the General Services Administration.
Infrastructural TLDs: This category only contains a single TLD: ‘.arpa’. Named for DARPA, the U.S. military research organization that helped pioneer the modern Internet, ‘.arpa’ was the first TLD ever created and is now reserved for infrastructural duties, such as facilitating reverse DNS lookups.
Reserved TLDs: Some TLDs are on a reserved list, which means they are permanently unavailable for use. For example, ‘.localhost’ is reserved for local computer environments, and ‘.example’ is reserved for use in example demonstrations.
Now, there are so many TLD options available that the choice can be overwhelming for someone trying to register a new domain name. For years ‘.com’ was seen as the only option for businesses that want to be taken seriously. But experts predict that as the supply of ‘.com’ domains dwindles and some of the newer TLDs continue to pick up steam, we will see a major shift in the perception of alternative TLDs. With big companies like Twitter and Apple starting to adopt alternative TLDs for their products (t.co and itun.es, respectively) we are already seeing that shift in action, so it may be better to create a clever and memorable domain name using an alternative TLD, than to insist on a ‘.com’ domain.
Purchasing a domain name is the most important step into creating your website. Either it is personal or for business, in order to get noticed by the world wide web, your domain name should always reflect your type of activity. These days you can choose from a large variety of domain extensions in order to achieve the highest indexability rate. Of course, you can purchase a domain from a national TLD Provider or, a more smarter way to do things would be to go with extensions that reflect and integrate harmoniously with your brand name. The first step is the most important step of all steps, because based on the decisions you will make, the entire construct of your web presence will come to life and at the same time get the identity built.
There are plenty of registrars out there, who can help you get a domain name, but before doing that, you should know a few details about how things work. Currently, composed domain names from the exact same words as your brand, may be considered premium, therefore, you will only be able to purchase them at a higher rate. Being said, your brand name should be composed under multiple criterias like trustworthiness, brevity, generic value and keywords.
It is very important, that you do some research before choosing to purchase your domain name, because transactions for this kind of product are not refundable and can vary in price depending on your current needs. The first choice you should have in mind when it comes to registering your domain name, should be Cloudflare. Why? Because it offers more then domain registration services, it can also facilitate the connection between your domain name and server IP address. Most of the registrars do that, but when it comes to Cloudflare, they offer extended Enterprise services which help you stay better protected against online hacking and they also practice the lowest fees for annual renewal transactions. Sometimes you will discover offers from other registrars very tempting when it comes to pricing. These companies tend to offer a very low registration fee for the first year, and then, next year they might increase the costs more then you expect or afford. Cloudflare practicing the lowest fees will determine you in future to transfer all your domain names from other registrars, and that is why we recommend finding what you’re looking for, using their registration system.
In order to properly finish your account registration, make sure all required information you enter, is correct. Once you’re in, initiate a domain name search, by navigating from the left menu to Domain Registration > Register Domains. If you’re on the right page, then it should look as it follows.
Enter the name you want to search for, then browse between available extensions.
Hit the purchase button to proceed with the domain name registration.
Before finishing the process you should know a few things. In this page you can select the number of years as a registration period for your domain. You will notice that the price will change according to your selection. After you’ve made this decision, you’ll have to fill in the following fields. These fields are required by all domain registrars. Under no circumstance add any random information, use only real data. In case of spam or other unusual activities you’ll be required by the registrar to answer in the name of your domain. Rest assure that the information you fill into these fields are hidden from public records. The privacy of domain ownership is managed by Cloudflare, and in case of any requests, they will forward them to you based on the registration information you enter. Know that other registrars will ask for another fee in order to offer you this service. Exposed domain registration records, can open the door for third parties, who take interest into collecting and data mining for marketing purposes. Always keep your information protected if you don’t want others to snoop around.
Once you add all your details and finish payment for your domain, you will see a page similar to the next one. This page is the confirmation for a successful domain registration on Cloudflare. When you get here, the next move is to Manage your domain and as you can see Cloudflare has already made it even easier for you to do so, by placing a button. Hit the Manage domain button and see you in the next chapter.