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Domain Registration

Until fairly recently, domain registration was handled exclusively by 1 company, Network Solutions Inc., also referred to as Internic, NSI, or, occasionally, big brother. Fortunately for those of us looking to save some money, Network Solutions is no longer the only option. ICANN, maintains a list of all the accredited registrars.

The elimination of NSI's monopoly created competition, and the usual result of competition is to drive down prices. Strangely, however, the base price of registering a domain name with the vast majority of ICANN's authorized registrars, US$70, is the same as the cost of registering with NSI; in fact, it's the same as what NSI charged before it lost its monopoly. There are a number of possible explanations for this, one of them having to do with the fact that the new registrars still have to pay NSI an annual fee for each domain name they register. The important thing, however, is that they aren't all this expensive. One registrar, in particular, seems to be cheaper than the rest: Joker.com.

Joker.com's user interface isn't nearly as slick as those that you'll find at some of the other registrars, but from all that I've read, and from my own personal experience, Joker.com offers fast, reliable domain registration and maintenance. The kicker is that they do it for just a little more than half the price charged by most registrars. They will register domains (.com, .net, and .org) for €24, or about US$20. This registration lasts for 2 years, after which renewal is €12 per year.

Registering your domain through Joker.com is fairly uncomplicated; simply register on main page, and then order a domain choosing the Go Advanced option. Most of the information that you'll have to provide is straightforward: contact information and a credit card number.

The only technical information that you'll need, and the reason for choosing the Go Advanced option, involves your name servers. You'll find out more about what name servers are all about in the next step (called, coincidentally, "Name Servers"). For the time being, the important thing is that The Public DNS Service will provide name servers for free (DNS stands for Domain Name Service).

Although setting up the name server takes place after the domain name registration is complete, in order to complete the registration you'll have to briefly put the proverbial cart before the proverbial horse and get some information from The Public DNS Service: you need to provide Joker.com with the names and IP addresses of the 2 name servers that you'll be using. This information is available from The Public DNS Service site (you can get the names of the servers there — you'll have to use the names to query NSI's whois database in order to get the IP addresses), and it probably wouldn't be a bad idea to have a look around there at this point, especially at the FAQ. However, in case you're lazy or in a hurry, here's the information you'll need (please note that the currency of this information can not be guaranteed; to be safe, I highly recommend that you verify it yourself — it has changed before and it may change again):

  1. Primary Name Server: ns1.granitecanyon.com;
  2. Secondary Name Server: ns2.granitecanyon.com;

With this name server information, your contact data, and a credit card, you should have no problem registering your domain name through Joker.com. Once you've completed and submitted your order, you'll receive a receipt at the e-mail address that you provided during registration. You'll have to wait a little while for your new domain name to become active, but eventually (up to 2 days later, but it only took an hour when I registered) a notice will be sent to that same e-mail address informing you of your domain's activation. You can verify your ownership of the domain by typing your new domain name into the whois query form on the CORE site; typing the URL (Universal Resource Locator, i.e. address) into the address bar of your browser won't take you anywhere, however, as there are still a number of things you'll have to do to get your site up and running.

At this point, if you want to avoid getting too technical, you can register with myinternet.com and begin the process of transfering your domain there in order to take advantage of their services. If you don't mind getting your hands dirty, however, and you want to have a little more freedom and a little better understanding of how the whole domain thing works, read on.

The next step toward getting your domain up and running is to complete your name server configuration, which you can do immediately.

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