- What is a domain name?
- Why would I want a domain?
- Do I need to register a domain name?
- What is the difference between domain registration and web hosting?
- Once I register my domain name, can I change it later?
- Does it matter which kind of domain I register (.com, .net, .org, or .info)?
- Does registering a domain mean I can publish my site right away?
- Should I register my domain with "www" in front?
- How often do I renew my domain?
- How long does my registration last?
- What Top Level Domains (TLDs) can I register at DreamHost?
- After registering a domain, how do I host it?
A domain registration is an ownership of a specific domain name. This article lists the most frequently asked questions regarding domain registrations in general, as well as specifically with DreamHost.
Effective December 1, 2016, ICANN is revising its Transfer Policy. Any change made to the registrant's name, organization, or email address will put the domain in a 60-day transfer lock; it will also trigger notification emails that are sent to the old and new registrant notifying them of the change.
Please visit the following article for further details:
What is a domain name?
A domain name is the address, or URL, of your website. For example, ‘dreamhost.com’ is a domain name.
Every domain name is unique across the entire planet and are assigned to whomever registers them on a first-come first-serve basis.
You can register domain names followed by many extensions, such as .com, .net, .org, .info and more through DreamHost.
Why would I want a domain?
There are many good reasons to register your own unique domain name, including:
- Permanent address for your site and email, as long as you keep the domain registered and have an active web hosting and email service linked to the domain.
- A unique domain name looks much more professional than a URL such as ‘yoursite.example.com’.
- Easier for people to remember than ‘yoursite.example.com’.
- Registering a new domain name in your panel is simple and only takes a few minutes.
- If you purchase a shared hosting plan through DreamHost, you receive one free credit that you can use on specific domains. This is for the first year of hosting. You can read more about this on the Free Registration article.
- Once your domain name is reserved, you own that domain name until you choose to let it expire. If you don’t reserve the domain name you want, someone else can reserve it before you get the opportunity.
Do I need to register a domain name?
If you want to own your own top-level domain (TLD) name, then the answer is ‘Yes’. But DreamHost also offers the use of a free subdomain name under the ‘dreamhosters.com’ TLD. So, you don’t need to purchase a domain registration if you do not mind your site showing with ‘dreamhosters.com’ at the end. (For example: example.dreamhosters.com).
If you purchase a DreamHost shared hosting plan, you are entitled to one free domain registration for the year as noted in the following article:
What is the difference between domain registration and web hosting?
Here is a comparison of differences between domain registration and web hosting:
- Domain Registration
- Gives you sole ownership and rights to the name of your site. No one else has access to the actual name of the domain and it is taken off the market.
- However, owning the domain registration is only half of the process needed to have a website or email at your domain – you also need to connect that domain name to a service that offers you server space and bandwidth for your website content and email.
- Web Hosting
- Provides the server, its network connection, its configuration, and its upkeep. You just need to upload your site to the server and configure your email via an online account control panel.
- DreamHost offers both, and you can manage everything in one place via the DreamHost Panel.
Once I register my domain name, can I change it later?
Unfortunately, as the registry does not allow for domain names to be changed after purchase, this is not possible. Once you have registered and reserved the domain name, you own that domain name through its expiration date. Be sure to ensure that the spelling of your domain name is exact when you register it (i.e., ensure that there are no typos or misspellings).
If you did register a domain that was not spelled correctly, or want to change the domain name completely, you may also choose to just register the new correctly-spelled domain name. Then, let the old one expire after the period you have purchased it for has passed.
Does it matter which kind of domain I register (.com, .net, .org, or .info)?
No. You can register any kind of domain. All four of these are "unrestricted" Top-Level Domains (TLDs), which means they have no restrictions on who can register what domain and for what purpose.
When it comes to securing the name that you want, these four domains are some of the most popular. In terms of availability, .com is the most popular. If you can’t find your desired domain available as a .com, you may want to check if it’s available as a .net, .org, or .info domain.
Does registering a domain mean I can publish my site right away?
When you buy a domain, you have the sole rights to that name for as long as you registered it for.
However, there's a difference between registering a domain and having a site published on the Internet. When you first register a domain, it's added to your panel as PARKED. This means it's been added to your account, but it's not available online yet. You must add a hosting plan if you want the site to be visible online.
If you have an active hosting plan on your DreamHost account, you can link that hosting plan to your new domain so you can start publishing content online by following the steps at:
You can also point your domain name to another provider for hosting. In order to do that, please contact your external hosting provider for instructions on how to point your domain name to their hosting services.
There is usually a delay of up to 72 hours from when you first register your domain and link it to a hosting service, until the time it is viewable online. This is due to DNS propagation which DreamHost does not control.
Should I register my domain with "www" in front?
No. There's no need to register the domain with "www" as the ‘www’ portion isn’t actually a part of your domain name. Just register EXAMPLE.com without the ‘www’. When setting up hosting for the domain, you can set up the ‘www’ record to be hosted for the domain name as well.
How often do I renew my domain?
You can renew a domain for up to 2 years, with payment required upon renewal. You can also set an automatic renewal option to your domain registration as well. You can read more about that here:
How long does my registration last?
Depending on the domain extension, you can register domains for 1–3 years in advance. Some registries have limits on how far in advance you can register a domain.
You can also set your domains to renew automatically every year in your panel, on the (Panel > 'Domains' > 'Registrations') page. To set your domains to automatically renew, simply click the “yes” link under the “Auto Renew” column to set this domain to renew automatically each year. You can also set all of your domains to renew at the bottom of the table.
What Top Level Domains (TLDs) can I register at DreamHost?
You can visit DreamHost's TLD webpage for a current list of domain extensions with pricing.
After registering a domain, how do I host it?
Visit the adding hosting article for full instructions.