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Domain Name and Other Services Overview

This article attempts to provide a simple explanation of what domain names are, how they function and how they relate to other services. In the interest of keeping things simple, some basic technical terms will be used so you can familiarize yourself with them, although every attempt has been made to minimize confusion.

Is it easier to remember numbers or letters?

The obvious answer is, of course, "That depends." 3478 is pretty easy to remember. What about 64.156.24.172? Or would it be easier to remember sdsinternational.com? Either way is fine by us, although most people would likely agree sdsinternational.com is easier on the gray matter. That's where domain names come in.

I would really like a short domain name.

Wouldn't we all? :) The fact is, most simple domain names are currently in use, or command a very high price should you wish to purchase one. Virtually every English word, or short combinations involving them, are already registered. Fortunately, this process evolved over time to allow longer domain names. Although domain names are limited to the use of letters, numbers, and the hyphen (-), domain names can be up to 64 characters in length, depending on the specific domain name being registered. This length limitation includes the ".com" or other TLDs. When entering a name, you should never include "www" as part of the name you wish to register. Enter either only the name portion (e.g., sdsinternational), or the domain name with a specific TLD (e.g., sdsinternational.com). Some registration tools allow you to enter either, while others permit entering only the latter.

In this case, it is not only polite to point, it is required.

Every Web site sitting on the Internet has an Internet Protocol (IP) address, which is used by computers to find your Web site. Your site can have either a shared or a dedicated (only used for your site) IP address. Unfortunately, this IP address is not very friendly to humans. That's why when you type "sdsinternational.com" into your browser and click enter, special computers perform the task of translating or resolving the text you entered and "point" your browser to the computer where the desired Web site content can be found.

I want a domain name that is hot AND cool.

When planning for domain name purchases, there is something that quickly becomes obvious: The domain name you want is almost always already registered by someone else. When you encounter this situation, there are two options (assuming that you don't have a potential legal right to the domain name you want). You can either choose another domain name or negotiate to buy the domain name you really want. The .com extension (also known as a Top Level Domain or TLD) is certainly considered king, although there are currently more than 275 other extensions or TLDs available.

Yeah, I was able to register a domain name! Now what?

It's decision time. You can either hold the domain name and try to sell it to someone else in the future, you can put it to good use, or you can do nothing. If you choose the latter, you'll frequently find something other than what you expect when you type the domain name into your browser. Unless you proactively specify otherwise, the company that actually performed the registration for you (known as the registrar) is already looking to make money off of your name. This is commonly done through the use of what is known as a parking page.

Hey! No parking!

If you don't want a registrar to utilize your newly-registered name in this fashion, there is an easy fix. Simply change the Host Records to where YOU would like the domain name to direct users. There are a number of options available to you, and each is explained in the help section entitled Manage Domains. There is no requirement that your domain name resolve anywhere, so simply deleting the existing entry by erasing the contents and saving the record removes access to the parking page. Anyone attempting to visit your site will now receive an error message in their browser indicating nothing can be found using the address they entered.

I like my privacy.

To comply with regulations, and in some cases law, you are required to provide valid contact information for your domain anme, and keep it current. There may be reasons why you don't want your personal information exposed to the world, and SDS International understands that. For a small annual fee, our It's PrivateTM service will keep your personal information private, while ensuring your compliance with current and future regulations. Additional information about this and other services can be be found in the All Products & Services section of our Web site.

I need my space.

Most people want to exercise control over the content (like pictures and other cool stuff) available on their Web site. To do this, they need space. Some companies (like us) that register domain names for their clients offer space for basic sites at no additional charge. Most Internet Service Providers (ISPs) will provide their customers with a limited amount of space where content can be stored for the world to see. Such space is fine for uploading basic content, but more space with additional features and flexibility is almost always required. For example, if you want to install applications, store or retrieve information to and from databases, etc., the basic site space provided free from your registrar or ISP just won't cut it.

Here comes the "gotcha", right?

Nope. If all you need is the basic space provided by your registrar or ISP, don't let anyone sell you anything more, including us. Our philosophy is to sell you only those products or services necessary to achieve your goals. Would it really help our business reputation if everyone looking for Web space was sold more than they needed? Of course it wouldn't. Start small and upgrade as necessary. All Web hosting accounts that have additional package options above and/or below the current package can upgrade or downgrade at any time without hassles or fees via their client portal. When upgrading, any additional amount due SDS International will be billed to the client's account. When downgrading, any amount owed to our clients will be posted to their account and available for immediate use.

Security is our top priority.

There are multiple types and levels of security when it comes to Web hosting. The first is physical security of the hardware itself. All servers hosting our client's accounts are housed in modern facilities with strict security procedures in place. Things such as armed guards, mantraps, biometric access stations, and other devices help keep unauthorized persons out of SDS International's data centers. The next level of security involves electronically restricting unauthorized access to all data stored on our servers. Additional information can be found in our Business Web Hosting Overview or Personal Web Hosting Overview.

The weakest links in security typically come in two forms. The weakest by far is the use of passwords that are easy to guess. An effective password consists of numbers and case-sensitive letters, and is at least ten characters in length. Adding symbols and increasing the password's length greatly reduce the possibility of it being compromised. Any good security process includes changing passwords at frequent intervals.

The other weak link in security involves those that do not secure access to their computer while away from it. This often provides a curious or malicious child or co-worker with the opportunity to discover or recover passwords stored in Web browsers, computer files, or even emails. Determined individuals can even use email access to obtain passwords by acting as the registered user.

SDS International's approach to security includes a policy of encrypting, or "hashing", passwords before they are stored in our database. This means that NO ONE can recover passwords. Passwords can still be reset via email as part of an automated process, and clients would discover this when their attempts to log in failed due to an invalid password. Best practices dictate that you lock your computer while away from it, or in the case of a family sharig one computer, simply install a separate user account protected by password to minimize risk.

In Summary.

You need three things to establish an effective online presence: A domain name, a place to host content and an email address so others can reach you.

CONTENT LAST UPDATED March 2019

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