Quick guide to domain names

Having your own domain name means being able to use the same e-mail address or website URL for as long as you like.

Here’s how to register a domain name, get it set up for e-mail, and point it to another website. These instructions assume you’re using Namecheap; adjust them if you’re using something else.

  1. Pick a domain name register. I like NameCheap (affiliate link, 15% commission on first sale) because they’re reasonably priced and they aren’t a pain to work with. Open the domain name register’s site.
  2. Enter the domain you want, and click on Search.
  3. Pick which domains you’d like to register. Click on Add to Cart.
  4. Put in your coupon code. NameCheap’s always running one promotion or another, so search for coupons.
  5. Click on Express Checkout.
  6. Create an account, or log in if you don’t already have one.
  7. Choose your payment source, and go through the payment dialogs. You can skip anything you don’t understand. Use Namecheap’s DNS.

When you’re done with the registration process, sign in again if you need to.

Then you can set up e-mail forwarding and URL forwarding if you like.

If you use Gmail to send mail, you can send mail using your new e-mail address in the From: field. Check out these instructions: Adding a custom ‘From’ address.

You can do more with domain names than what I’ve described here, but that might require some geeking out. =)

  • Registering a domain name isn’t very expensive (on the scale of less than $10 per year).

    One feature that I haven’t had to use — but became important to a colleague — was telephone support. The ability to actually get a human being on the phone makes a difference, when domains get messed up.

    I had recommended Domains Made Easy to that colleague, and he was so happy that someone picked up the phone. Of course, none of us ever forget a password at the same time that we change addresses …. Most times, e-mail or web support works, but when it doesn’t, it generates more than a few dollars of effort.