Domain Name FAQs

Selecting a Domain Name

Registering Domain Names

Transferring Existing Domain Names


What is a "domain name"?
A domain name is the label used to identify your web site; for example: MyCompany.com. It usually describes some aspect of your site and is easier for your visitors to remember than your Web address, also known as your IP address.

In order for visitors to access your site on the Internet, you must select a unique domain name and register it with an accredited domain name registrar. MouseWorks can register your domain name for you.

What kinds of things should I consider when choosing a domain name?
Because your domain name will represent your business, you should make sure that the name you choose is memorable, descriptive and that it instills confidence, particularly if you plan on selling goods and services on your site.

Your domain name can be up to 67 characters long and can include any combination of letters, numbers and dashes (although it cannot start or end with a dash). A domain name must end with a domain extension, such as .net, .com, .org or .edu. The letters "www" at the beginning of a name are not considered part of the domain name.

What kind of domain name extensions can I use? Can I use international domains such as .tr, .ch, .ca, .us or .au?
You can use common domain extensions such as .com, .net and .org as well as international domain extensions such as .fr, .ch, .us and .au. MouseWorks can provide hosting for any of these domain types.

MouseWorks can register domains with .com, .net, .org, .info and .biz extensions, as well as a number of international domains.

I picked out a domain name. How can I find out if it is available?
You can quickly check to see if a domain name is available using the WhoIs database at
Network Solutions. Type in the domain name you are interested in where it says "Enter a search term" and then click Search. The database will be searched to see if that name is currently available. If the domain name is already registered, you may want to try variations of the name.

Remember, the domain extension is part of the domain name -- mycompany.com is not the same as mycompany.net.

Someone else is already using the domain name I want. Is there anything I can do?
Once a domain name is registered, it belongs to the person or company that registered it. If you are really interested in having a domain name that is already registered to someone else, you can contact the owner of the domain name to find out if the name is for sale or you can wait for the registration to expire.

Can I have more than one domain name? Can they both point to the same web site?
You can have as many domain names as you like. You can have each domain name point to a different site, or you can have multiple domain names point to the same web site (but not to different pages within the same web site). Many companies register several domain names and have them all point to the same central web site. This is known as a "domain alias."

Registering multiple domain names for the same site not only brings the largest draw to your site, but it also can prevent competitors from poaching your potential customers. When picking multiple domain names -- or aliases -- for the same site, consider variations of your name such as common misspellings, as well as both singular and plural versions of the name.

I have decided on my domain name. What is the process for registering it?
Once you have decided on a domain name and have checked that it is available, you will need to register it. MouseWorks can register your domain name for you at a cost of only $14.95 per year (for most extensions). You may register it yourself, but you'll need to record your registrar username and password for later use in configuring your domain name to work with your web site.

I want to reserve my name, but I'm not ready to post my site yet. What are my options?
You have a number of different options. If you think you may want to get your site up and running in the near future, you can go ahead and register your name and sign up for a hosting plan now. MouseWorks will create an "Under Construction" page that all your site's visitors will see until you are ready to publish your site.

If you think it may be a while before you are ready to publish your site, or if you want to reserve your name "just in case," you can select a plan that offers only domain name registration. With this plan, your domain is registered so that no one else can use it, but you do not have to pay for web site design or hosting yet. This is sometimes referred to as "parking" your domain. If you decide you want to go ahead and publish a web site later, you can quickly upgrade your plan.

How do I register my domain name?
Once you have decided on a domain name and have checked that it is available, MouseWorks can register your new domain name for you. The domain name
propagation process normally requires 48 to 72 hours.

What does it cost to register my domain name?
The costs for registering your domain vary depending upon the domain name extension. Most domain names are $14.95 per year.

How long will it take to register my new domain name?
MouseWorks registers your domain name immediately after receiving your request. The
propagation process normally requires 48 to 72 hours.

I already have a registered domain name. How do I transfer it to MouseWorks' registrar?
The transfer process depends on the registrar with whom you registered your domain name. MouseWorks can transfer your domain name for you, but will probably need your username and password to log in to your current registrar's system. The transfer process typically takes several days.

I don't remember who my registrar is. What can I do?
You can go to the WhoIs database at
Network Solutions. Type in your domain name where it says "Enter a search term" and then click Search. The resulting page will include your registrar's name, domain name expiration date, etc.

How long will it take to transfer my domain name to MouseWorks' registrar?
Typically the transfer should be completed within about 48 to 72 hours. You may want to check with your registrar to see exactly how long it should take to complete the transfer.

How long will it take for my domain to be active?
There may be a brief delay between the time your domain name registration or transfer is completed and the time when your domain is active and can be accessed by everyone over the Internet. This is due to the
propagation process.

What is propagation?
When visitors type your domain name into their Web browsers, their request is referred to a nameserver that indicates the physical location (the IP address) of your domain on the Internet. When your site location changes to a new IP address, or when you deploy a new site with a new domain name, nameservers around the world must be notified of the change. This process of notification is referred to as propagation.

Propagation typically takes 48 to 72 hours. During this time, if you are transferring your domain, some nameservers will still refer to your site's old location while nameservers that have already been notified of the change will refer to the new location. As a result, visitors accessing your site may be directed to either the old or new location, depending upon which nameserver they connect to.

If some visitors are still being directed to your old site location after 72 hours have elapsed, you should contact your previous Internet Presence Provider and request that they update their DNS and delete your domain from their servers. Once this has been done, and this change has been completely propagated, the transfer to your new location will be complete.

If your site is new, your site may not be recognized by all nameservers until the propagation period has completed.

During the propagation period, you will need to use your Temporary URL to view your site. MouseWorks will provide this information.

How can I avoid downtime while I wait for the new information to propagate throughout the Internet?
While waiting for the new nameserver information to propagate throughout the Internet, we recommend maintaining your site at your current host to avoid down time for your site. During this time, you can use the temporary Web address (URL) that we gave you to mirror your web site on MouseWorks' servers until the transfer is complete.

If your site is new, you can use your temporary URL to view your web site while you wait for the propagation period to complete.

My site is not showing up when I type in my domain name. What's wrong?
If you have recently set up your account, this probably means that your domain name has not been propagated to all of the possible domain nameservers.

Test your domain by typing your temporary web address in a web browser. If you can access your site using the temporary web address (URL), wait a day or two for the propagation period to complete. If after 72 hours the domain name still does not resolve correctly, contact MouseWorks.

 

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