Steps to help you register a Domain on Whois

These steps will help you register a Domain on Whois, some people are not always sure how to go about this process so it would be nice to share the steps I take when buying a domain name. I will be exclusively be dealing with Whois.com since it is in my opinion the safest way to complete this process.

Why should I register a domain by myself?

There are many options when buying a domain name, some of the finer details when choosing a domain name can be read here. But the primary reason I believe you should register your own domain is security, many hosting companies will complete this process automatically although you could be scammed by a unscrupulous host that does not list you as the owner even though you payed for the name. This could become problematic if your website becomes popular and your hosting company suddenly closes down but this is not the norm and 95 percent of hosting companies would never try such a thing.

If you register the domain yourself you eliminate any possibility of theft and you can sleep easy at night knowing you have the log in details to manage your chosen domains. There are however many places that allow you to register a domain by yourself including GoDaddy, Register , and Whois.com "The one I will discuss here."




How to look up a domain name

So when visiting Whois.com you are presented with a large text field with a big green Search button, what could be simpler, if you wanted to look for the name "plumberlinks.com" all you have to do is type "plumberlinks" and hit the Search button. Depending on availability you should see a results set as shown below. As you can see the .com version of the name is taken but the .net extension is still available. You can continue to search for names until you find one that suits your needs. Since this is a demonstration we were happy to purchase plumberlinks.net so simply click the check box and click Register Selected.

Domain Lookups




Paying for your domain name

After choosing a domain name you will be redirected to another page, if you have not used whois.com before you will have to create an account. This is simple and should not take very long. You can then choose to pay via credit card, I suggest you simply pay via PayPal since its safe and secure.

Create Account




After you have paid for your domain you will receive an email to the same account you registered with, it should have some important information so keep it in a safe place. From that email you will see a link to your control panel as shown below, this is where you go to update the name servers for your new domain.

Email Verification




How to update my Name Servers

A name server will be given to you by the hosting company you select, they are nothing more than a link from your new domain name to your hosting company. The basic idea about this link is that when you type a domain name into your browser it will map that name to an Internet Protocol address. This link is automatically done using DNS or "Domain Name System". Your hosting company is actually giving you a key that allows your new domain name to reside on their IP address.

So we simply need to change our name server to the one that gets provided to us by our hosting company. We do this from within the control panel and all registrars work in this exact manner. From your Whois control panel find the menu called "Manage Orders" as shown below. Then select List/ Search Orders

List Orders

You will be redirected to a list of domains that you currently own, simply click the domain you want to manage.

Your Domain List

Now we are almost ready to update our domain location, all you have to do is click name servers.

Whois Name Server

From here you will see a pop up with a few text fields - this is where you enter the name servers provided by your hosting company. Sometimes you use 2 field, other times you use 3. It really depends on your host and what they provide to you. Once you have entered the information you can click update name servers.

saving name servers




What is domain propagation?

Once you update your name servers it can take anywhere from a few hours to a few days to correctly map your new domain name to the server it is located at. An ISP "Internet Service Provides" will obtain your new records and notify other ISPs of the change, this change depends entirely on how often they update their records. This process is known as domain propagation and the changes will only reflect on your browser once your ISP has been updated. Another user in another geographical region may be able to see your website before you do - this is unfortunately just how domain propagation works.

When should I update my Name Servers?

If you are moving an existing website from one host to another you may only want to update your name servers last since you dont want it to display your website when you have not tested your website on the new server. This gives you some time to upload your website files, create and import your database, and test your website "provided your hosting company has a testing area for you".

A domain that has thousands of images and pages may first need to be transferred and tested before you actually update your name servers. From my experience it takes about a day to move a large website, especially if there are many images.

I hope this helped anyone who had some questions about domain registration, comments are welcome.



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