We are often asked to explain how domain names work (your website address) and how a person or company goes about getting one.
Let us start by saying that any person or company can very easily purchase a domain name for as little as $7.00 per year by clicking on one of the links below. In addition to the companies listed below, you could google “purchase a domain” and get pages of results. The Catholic Web Company does not endorse any specific company however we happen to use Hostgator and godaddy for 90% of our domain registrations.
Now let’s get nerdy!
A domain name represents a physical point on the Internet — an IP address The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) governs coordination of the links between IP addresses and domain names across the Internet. With this standardized coordination, you can find websites on the Internet by entering domain names instead of IP addresses into your Web browser.
Here’s an example: Think of a street address for a house or business — let’s say the White House. The street address, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, is an exact location — like an IP address. You might not know the exact street address, but when you visit Washington, D.C., you can tell your cab driver that you want to visit the White House and still get there. This is how a domain name is used: It’s an easy way to reach the exact location of a website without having to remember the numeric address.
When you purchase a domain, it will default to a parked position until you tell it where to go. Parked just means it’s not pointing to any particular web page or site and if the address is entered you’ll receive a message from the company you purchased it from the says “this page is parked for free” at so and so company…. “Click here to purchase hosting for your domain”. After your website is hosted (published on a web server), you can point your domain to that hosting account very easily. Regardless of the company that your domain is registered with, you can point the domain to any host you want. You can even point to a specific page on your existing website.
Sometimes parishes or organizations will find it beneficial to add or change their web site domain name to make it easier for people to remember. For example saintmarkscatholicparish.org can be shortened to smcp.org. This is particularly helpful for email accounts. email@example.com is a lot easier to type than firstname.lastname@example.org. Remember, the domain simply points to the website, so in theory (although not a good a idea) you could have 50 domain names all pointing to your website. If you do want change your domain,The Catholic Web Company recommends using both your new and old domain for a minimum of 2 years before retiring the old one.
Because domains are so inexpensive , it can be very beneficial to purchase a domain for a specific event or cause and point it to a specific page on your website. For example, if you were having a canned food drive you could, assuming the names were available, purchase the domain stmarkfooddrive.com or stmarkdrive.org. Or for your youth retreat you could purchase the name onfireforhim.com. If the name you want is not available, you can simply play with the words until you find a variation that is available. You can purchase a domain today for an event you are having next year - If you find the name you want, it’s best to purchase it before someone else does. When you are promoting your event, you’ll discover that using the domain onfireforhim.com is a lot easier for people to remember than stmarkcatholicchurch.com/onfireforhim.php.
Please contact The Catholic Web Company to get your new domain name set up and working for your next event or cause!