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How to register a domain name

How this whole getting your own dot-com thing works.

On this quick tip, I show you how to register a domain name. Watch the video, then come back here for the details.

First, a quick look at how domain names work. When you type in a domain name, a request goes out to find out what server has that site.

The domain name is changed into a set of numbers that identifies that machine. The register table that tells what domain names go with what numbers is a registry. So to get a domain name you need to find a registrar.

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers assigns a registrar for every domain--Verisign handles .com for instance.

Verisign in turn authorizes other companies to act as registrars, such as GoDaddy.

Different registrars offer different prices. Once you've settled on one, and do make sure it's an official registrar, then search to see if your domain name is available. If it is, you can buy the domain.

Now almost all registrars will try to sell you extra services, but you don't have to pay for anything but the registration. Just enter your name, an accurate address, like maybe a P.O. Box.

The good registrars will let you park the domain for free, which means it just points to a page that says the domain is taken and more is coming soon. You may also have free functions such as domain name forwarding, which sends one domain name to a different address on the Web.

A lot of registrars will offer to host your Web site. I recommend shopping around before you do so. But we'll leave picking a Web host for another Quick Tip.

Now that you know the basics of how to register a domain name, you just need a good domain name. So choose carefully.