Registration Basics

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Basic conceptual questions about and doman names in general.

What is a domain name?

A domain name is the address, or URL, of your website. For example "" or "" or "".

Every domain 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 .com, .net, .org, .info and more through us.

Why would I want a domain?

HA! That's an EASY one!

  • Permanent address for your site and email.
  • Much more professional than or even
  • Easier for people to remember than or even
  • Give out unlimited email addresses to friends, clients, family..
  • It's really easy.. anybody really can do it.
  • It's cheap. $9.95/year is about $0.80/month. Anybody can afford at least one!
  • It's FREE. Sign up for a full web hosting plan and your domain is free, no strings attached.
  • Being able to make your friends jealous so they can get one for themselves.
  • There is a limited supply. If you don't reserve the name you want now, somebody else could beat you to it.

Honestly, it'd be much harder to come up with reasons why you wouldn't want a domain].

Now that you've decided you want a domain, you might be wondering why you should get your domain from DreamHost.

Why wouldn't I want a domain?

Now that is a good question! We'll try to think of some:

  • Your site is already established at its current long and yucky URL.
  • Everybody already knows your old email address, and you're never going to switch ISPs anyway.
  • $9.95/year is cheap, but not as cheap as FREE!
  • You like that 1994 feel of not having your own domain name.
  • You don't want to be associated with the dot-com crash in any way.
  • You don't care about how cool or professional you look.
  • Anybody too lazy to type in your full URL (or email address) doesn't deserve to visit your site (or email you) anyway.
  • It's too easy.. anybody could do it.
  • It's fun to try later and come up with creative domain names that haven't been taken.

Honestly, it's much easier to come up with reasons why you would want a domain.

Why would I want to get a domain from DreamHost?

That's a good question. At their core, every domain registrar out there is offering exactly the same thing.. There really is no difference in the core service every registrar provides.

So what is the difference between registrars? Is there anything that makes one better than another? Should one just pick a registrar at random? No, actually there are some important things that individual registrars have control of:

  • The end price charged to users per domain per year.
  • The interface end users have to register, modify, transfer, renew, pay for, and generally manage their domain registrations.
  • The stability, speed, and security of that interface.
  • The customer service provided to end users.
  • Value added features they can think of to offer.
  • The domain registration agreement you must agree to.
So when deciding on a domain registrar, you should compare them on the basis of these six qualities. There is no other difference in the service they provide.

Here is a quick summary of how we do in those departments.

  • The end price charged to users per domain per year.
  • $9.95/year with no minimum commitment is definitely in the mid-range of the price scale. Many places that are cheaper require bulk purchases of some sort.

  • The interface end users have to register, modify, transfer, renew, pay for, and generally manage their domain registrations.
  • We have really prided ourself on making all aspects of managing your domain registration fast and easy to use, as well as totally automated and available 24/7. Our site provides all the tools necessary to do each of these things directly, while also taking the complexity out of registering different TLDs (such as .info and .la) by offering exactly the same interface to every tld.

  • The stability, speed, and security of that interface.
  • Our registration interface is built on the same foundation as our webhosting, which we started doing in 1996. Every day DreamHost is responsible for the uninterrupted service of over 500,000 websites. More than 1500 linux servers keep our systems up and running at a blazing speed. Our system administrators take an active stance towards security and we keep full back ups of all customer and internal data that we can recover in short order in the case of catastrophic failure.

  • The customer service provided to end users.
  • Our customer service team really is second to none. We recommend you view our DreamHost Accolades area to see what independently-operated webhost review sites have to say about us.

  • Value added features they can think of to offer.
  • We offer a free "coming soon" page for every domain you register with us, or the option to mirror or redirect your domain to any URL. We also offer unlimited email aliases for free just for registering it with us! What we don't offer are things like t-shirts with your domain name on it or trademark searches or search engine submission services (it's really easy to submit your site yourself if you need to). All our value added services are completely free, too!

  • The domain registration agreement you must agree to.
  • Ours is very straightforward and fair, available for your viewing here].

Well we hope that convinced you! But please, feel free to shop around at our competition and see how they meet each of the six criteria mentioned above. We think that for most of you, we will make an excellent choice.

Is there a way to get this domain for free?

YES! (why would we ask, otherwise?)

Just by signing up for DreamHost Web Hosting you'll get your .com, .net, .org or .info domain registration free for the life of your hosting plan!

Also see Free Registration.

What is the difference between domain registration and web hosting?

Registering your domain 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, just because you own the domain doesn't mean you've got a server configured to serve a web site at that domain or to handle email for that domain.

Web hosting provides that 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 our Account Control Panel.

How can I find out if the domain I want is still available?

Just enter your domain in the form at our "Domain > Registration" area, and then click the "Check Availability..." button.

If your domain is available, you will be given the option to register. If it's already taken, tough luck, try again!

Can I change my domain name?

No, sorry. That's the nature of domain registration.. once you have registered a domain name it's yours to keep. So be careful to double-check for typos!

What you can do of course is just register the new domain as well, and then let the old one expire after the period you've paid for passes.

Keep in mind that you may opt to re-direct the old domain to the new domain.

Does it matter which kind of domain I register (.com, .net, .org, .info or .la)?

No, you can register any kind of domain. All four of these are "unrestricted" Top-Level Domains, which means they have no restrictions on who can register what domain and for what purpose.

In terms of availability, it is the hardest to find good domains in .com, then .net, then .org, then .info.

Does registering a domain mean I can publish my site right away?

Not just yet, but you're almost there. 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. After registering your domain, you'll need to go to our "Domain > Add Domain" tab and add it to our hosting system!

In case you were wondering, there is usually a delay of about one to two days from when you first register your domain and it becomes available to everyone on the Internet, due to the inherent lag in the propagation of changes to DNS.

How can I view my list of domains?

Just go to the "Domain > Registration" area and at the bottom you'll see a list of all the domains you have registered through us!

What types of domains can I register here?

We can currently register .com, .net, .org, .info, .us, .de, .eu,,,, .biz, .es, .name, .asia, .ca, .in, .ws,,,, .bz, .cc, .co, .mobi,,, .me, .tv,, .mn

Yearly TLD / ccSLD
$9.95 .com, .de, .eu, .info, .net, .org, .us,,,
$12.95 .biz, .es, .name
$14.95 .asia, .ca, .in, .ws
$24.95 .bz, .cc, .co, .mobi,,
$32.95 .me, .tv,
$49.95 .mn