Get a domain name
About Domain Names
A domain name
of your own makes your Web pages easier to
It also lets you create email addresses.
If you follow the instructions on this page, your Web site and email
will work as soon as your registration goes through, often overnight.
Sometimes you will hear marketing people say ``Web address.''
The correct term is domain name.
Marketing people sometimes say ``address extension.'' The
correct term is
top level domain name.
Choosing a name
Use the ``telephone test.'' A name should be so easy to say and
spell that if you use it in a telephone conversation the other
person will get it right.
Avoid spellings that are not obvious.
Avoid specifics like years or offices, that become useless on
a certain date.
Do not choose a name with multiple possible spellings and then
try to register all variations.
Avoid using the digit 4 to represent the word FOR; it fails
the telephone test.
A Green candidate should register
GREENJANESMITH.ORG, not JANE4ASSEMBLY2002.ORG.
Registrars and registrants
Top level domain names
belong to the Internet Corporation for Assigned
Names and Numbers.
to create and rent
second level domain names (such as
notice the one dot)
to organizations and individuals.
These renters are called registrants.
many accredited registrars.
(The Registrar's Web sites and the media always say the Registrar
"sells" the name, but it seems to me
it's a rental agreement. The "owner" pays the Registrar to
mention his name servers to the Master Registry
of known name servers and remember to do it again as needed
during the year.)
We've had good results with registrars
and 007 Names.
We've had bad experiences with
these registrars to avoid.
A registrant (such as Green Party of California)
is allowed to create third level domain names.
Most registrants create third level domain names
Here in California we defined one we could put on literature
for our slate of candidates.
Notice the two dots in
A Registrar might say "primary name server."
They mean "master."
They might say "secondary." They mean "slave."
Some registrars want to sell you name service.
In most cases you should get master name service from your Web host.
If your registrar offers free slave name service, take it.
Free slave name service:
Zoneedit (It's hidden in the advanced settings.),
The Public DNS.
$20 one time: MyDynDNS Secondary DNS.
What to tell your registrar
When you register a second level domain name, the registrar
will ask you what name servers to use. If your Web pages will be here, you should use
mine. Then I will be able to create third level domain names for you easily.
Please do not buy ``Web forwarding'' or name service from your Registrar
if you do not understand exactly what those services do. If you buy them,
you will be responsible for your own name service. In that case, read the
section below, ``What if you don't want my name service.''
What to tell your Registrar about me:
- GANDI: My ID is
Use that for Technical Contact.
You will have to
create a new ID
for your Administrative and Billing Contacts.
- Verisign, aka Network Solutions Inc.: My
NIC Handle (for your Technical Contact) is
Choosing a contact address
The contact addresses (Registrant and Admin Contact) have proven to be the weak
link in the security chain.
If you can't receive mail at your contact address, you lose control
of your domain.
Servers come and go. IP numbers change.
That gung-ho ``geek'' who showed up at your meeting and took on all
computer-related work can disappear just as quickly.
You have to be able to change your
DN server info. If you can't, and your DN servers move, your domain stops working.
If your Admin contact person turns hostile, [s]he can hijack your
For your registrant address, use your group's post office box if you're sure
it won't change for years to come. Otherwise choose a
reliable person in
your group and give her or his street address. For admin contact, it is
best not to use a ``free'' mailbox provider. Hotmail may terminate your account arbitrarily without reason or notice.
Mail.com, Excite, and Yahoo are not much better. Use an address
you expect will be stable for years to come.
When you're finished with a domain name
Don't just abandon it. If it's got a woman's first name in it, the day
it becomes available the porn operators will grab it.
They're counting on any links your site may have earned to
bring them accidental traffic. There will be Green Web pages
with links to porno sites with your name on them.
If the name is truly useless, log into your Registrar account and do the
Registrar's procedure for terminating a domain name registration.
Then (here's where the Key Value
of ``Personal Responsibility'' comes in)
do a thorough Web search for links to your now-useless name.
Notify every Web author that the link is no good.
If there is any chance the name you have registered will continue to
be valuable to progressive organizers, keep it alive! Transfer it
to a cheap registrar (see above) and find someone to adopt it.
Whatever you do, don't just walk away and let the contact
info go bad.
What about the .WS top-level domain?
It stands for Western Samoa.
The government of Samoa says it stands for ``Web Site''
it as an alternative to .com or .org.
The only registrar for .WS is
which is just another Verisign storefront.
The big commercial registrars resell .WS names also.
If you register with SamoaNIC and use my name service, your
technical contact is clssamoa.
Please do not register .WS domains.
There are no good registrars. There is no good Whois service.
What if you don't want my name service
Cases may arise where you want to use a domain name that someone else
Suppose, for example, that you're the Dean of Eclectic Studies
at Exact Middle Pleat University. The school's Gothic Information Services (GIS)
department administers the DNS zone EXAMPLE.EDU and they have
agreed to let you locate VERDES.EXAMPLE.EDU with me,
but they refused to delegate it to me as a DNS zone of its own.
That is, they will run your DNS and I will run your Web and mail servers.
Ask them to install the following Resource Records:
Troubleshooting your DNS with the
Avoiding second-level domain names
Does your project really need its own second-level domain name?
Would http://vote.greens.org/yourcandidate work?
How about yourlocal.txgreens.org?
Does your state's Green Party have a second-level
Consider asking them for a third level name under it.
The ".USA domain" is a scam.
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