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How do I register a Domain Name?

When you type an address like dreamhost.com or google.com into your browser, how does it know where to look? These domain names can represent your brand, a catchy phrase, or something else memorable, and finding one to call your own makes all the difference in how easily other people can access your online presence. Fortunately, domain name registration is simple with a good hosting service.

How the Internet Works: Domain Names and IP Addresses

To allow for the possibility that the internet would someday hold billions of pages, its creators set up a system that relies on IP addresses. These long strings of numbers function like street addresses for individual servers, so they're easy for machines to navigate.

Unfortunately, it's much harder for people to remember a seemingly random string of 12 or more numbers every time they want to visit a given page. Domain names are convenient, human-readable replacements that act as stand-ins for IP addresses. Think of it like being able to type a friend's name into your smartphone instead of having to recall everyone's numbers individually.

What Is Domain Name Registration?

For the domain name system, or DNS, to work, there needs to be a universal directory that contains all the domain names and individual IP addresses associated with them. Fortunately, humanity learned its lesson from tedious systems like phone books and Rolodexes to devise something much better.

When you want to associate a specific domain name with your server, you simply reserve it through an organization called a registrar. The registrar then stores the record in a universal DNS database. If someone halfway around the world types your domain name into their browser, their computer obtains the corresponding IP address entry from their nearest DNS registry so that they can connect to the server containing your site.

How Do I Obtain a Domain Name?

In the early days of the internet, there was only one registrar, but now you don't have to settle for dealing with a monopoly. Domain hosting services typically offer domain name registration along with server packages.

This setup provides you with many viable options. For instance, you can purchase a server for your site and a single domain name, or you can buy multiple domain names to capture more traffic. Registering different domain names is also a handy strategy if you're the type of serial entrepreneur who likes to create partner businesses.

Some companies use multiple domains to provide different services to distinct user groups. Suppose that your servers house a public-facing sales website as well as an internal application where your retail workers can log in to track their hours. Providing access via different domain names is a good way to reduce the visibility of your private company content.

Can I Buy Domain Names on My Own?

Many online marketplaces focus exclusively on selling domain name registration, but they're often extremely limited. The advantages of registering through a reputable hosting service include being able to:

  • Purchase a broader range of domain extensions, like .com, .net, .co, .uk and .io
  • Get free hosting with your purchase
  • Easily manage your DNS server info and records
  • Set up subdomains, like news.yoursite.com or blog.yoursite.com
  • Protect your domain from being hijacked by scammers

We make domain name registration painless. Find out how by signing up with DreamHost today, or transfer your existing domain name to us and discover what you've been missing.