All domains on the internet have been registered, from google.com to href.com.
To find out who owns a particular domain, you need to do a WHOIS search. These searches are free, and offered by most registrars. If you are working with a domain outside the United States, e.g. .co.uk or .com.au or .co.nz, then you need to find a registrar in that country and use their WHOIS search engine.
The price of registering an internet domain varies between about US $7 and US $120 per year. Most places charge about $10 for .com domains, with a discount for multi-year registrations. Prices for country-specific domains can be much more expensive. For example, in Australia prices range from AUD $7 to $99 per year (as of 2011).
The most common mistakes that people make are (a) letting an unscrupulous party register a domain that they want and (b) losing track of the password that they were given for their domain registration. These mistakes can cost anywhere from $150 to $15,000 to rectify. In many cases, small businesses are forced to switch to a different address, requiring changes to stationery, all their contacts' address books, and so on.
For all of these reasons, we encourage people to register their domain themselves rather than having a third party do it for them. It only takes a few minutes and it is not really that complicated.
The most important thing to look for in a domain registrar is a so-called control panel, which lets you login at any time to make adjustments to your name servers. If you cannot get control of your name servers, you might as well not use the registrar at all, at any price.
We highly recommend using 007names to register your .com domain name, or, in Australia, pick someone from the list of accredited registrars for a .com.au address, and consider using crazydomains.com.au which is accredited (but under the name of AustDomains). Be careful, and read the fine print. Many registrars force you to purchase add-ons in order to qualify for so-called low pricing, which is a disadvantage when all you need is to register the domain.
A hosting provider is a company which hosts a web site, email accounts, a database, etc., on your behalf. Hosting services can be bundled with domain name registration but that does not guarantee optimal service. While domain registration is very, very straightforward, web and email hosting is not.
For small businesses, for professionals working from home without an IT department, it is important to find someplace which can listen to your requirements and act accordingly.
There are many reasons that people need to change hosting providers over the years. One reason is, of course, price. But there are other reasons which generally boil down to lack of customized service.
In order to change hosting providers for web or email, you generally need to (re)gain control of your domain and the definition of the so-called name servers which provide DNS. The name servers cause a name, such as ns1.sonic.net, to resolve to an internet address (number) such as 22.214.171.124. Each hosting provider has machines with unique numbers. If you want to move a web site from a old/bad host to a new/groovy host at a new address, you absolutely must be able to control the identity of the name servers. Usually there are at least two name servers used for each domain.
The WHOIS record for a domain always reports the identify of the name servers. You should check those and make sure that they are with a company that you trust, either a good registrar, a good hosting company or a good web design firm.
In some cases, it is worth transferring domains to save ongoing annual fees. This can be tricky because, these days, domains are locked, meaning that they cannot be transferred without the owner taking extra steps. (And this is because too many people stole domains away from their rightful owners, before locking was available.)
Before you transfer an existing domain, you should capture the current DNS records by going to network-tools, putting in your domain name, and retrieving the DNS information. Print that - and/or save the information to a file. You will need it.
To transfer a domain, you login to the old/bad/expensive registrar's web site and UNLOCK the domain. You then go to the new/good/inexpensive registrar's site and request a transfer of your domain to the new place. A series of emails will be sent by the registrars to confirm that the whole process is legal, and you will need to confirm the transfer. Usually you will also have to pay one year's fee to the new registrar, and that will extend the life of your domain by a year (so you do not lose any money, you are only pre-paying early).
We recommend hosting all static content with Amazon, using their S3 service.
Your first step is to sign up for the S3 service. Signing up is FREE and right now Amazon offers you the first year with 5GB storage FREE. You should take advantage of this offer NOW. They will show you the pricing when you start the signup process.
Once you have an account, you create a BUCKET with the same name as your web site, e.g. www.href.com. The BUCKET has Properties which control when it is made into a public web site, and its domain name.
You have to go into your DNS control panel (e.g. on www.007Names.com where the DNS service is FREE) and make a CNAME entry to map your 'www' subdomain to the name provided by Amazon to you as a property of your BUCKET.
You transfer files to your S3 web site using and of the following:
You can read more about this in an excellent article in PC World Business Center.
Announced 29-Dec-2012: Amazon supports naked domain hosting as long as you use their DNS.