Step 1: Find out who really owns your Domain Name. Before we go any further, there are some basic concepts you need to know about how this stuff works. You likely should know what Domain Name is by now. It’s at least a part of the website address before the “.com,” “.org,” “.gov,” or hundreds of other “.”s available today. I say, “at least a part” because other things can also appear before the “.”, for example “subdomains” like “attorney.southernbizlaw.com” (<–the word “attorney” in the example is not a real subdomain). But the part you should concern yourself with as your virtual real estate is mainly just the Domain. Why is that? It’s because we have to “register” our domain names with one of a handful of Domain Name Registrars, like GoDaddy. (I will mainly talk about GoDaddy, because that is the one I know best.) For a quick guide to Who’s Who in Domain Name registration we turn to the folks in charge of regulating registration, ICANN, which provides this helpful chart: [caption id="attachment_878" align="alignnone" width="743"] Courtesy of ICANN. https://whois.icann.org/en/domain-name-registration-process[/caption] So, what does all of this mean? When you “own” an Internet Domain Name, you actually are paying an annual fee to “rent” that virtual real estate for as long as they like (right after you create it for the first time). That makes you the “Registrant” on the chart above. After you, as Registrant, decide you no longer want the Domain (or if you forget to pay the rent), the Domain is either released back to the Registrar (who usually then tries to re-rent it to someone else) or the Registrant can give or auction it to someone else. That new person will become the “Registrant.” When the Domain is sold, given, or auctioned, the process used is called, “Assignment.” The Assignment process used is much the same from Registrar to Registrar, but always involves a kind of “transfer of title” undertaken by the Registrant that releases that his, her, or its claim to the Domain and makes somebody else the Domain’s new Registrant. Oh, and just for completeness, a “Website Host” can be a service entirely different from a Domain Registrar, but most Hosting companies also resell Domains. Whether your Registrar and Host are the same business or totally different businesses, however, the process for making your website actually show up when someone types in your domain name works the same:
- You (including your website builder) (a) put a bunch of data together that will constitute your finished Website, and (b) upload that Website data to your Host.
- You host will give you some information that uniquely identifies itself to the Registrar, and you give that to the Registrar.
- The Registrar then sends all requests for that Domain Name to your Website when someone types your Domain into the address area at the top of their web browser (such as Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Internet Explorer).