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Using Your Domain Name

Last month’s article (Registering Your Domain Name) discussed how to select and register a domain name. Today I will discuss how to use that registered domain name to host e-mail and a Web site.The whole purpose behind obtaining a domain name (for small businesses anyway) is to tie corporate identity, the company’s Web site and its e-mail addresses into a cohesive package that sends the right message to customers. Ultimately, domain names allow companies to extend their company name into the virtual landscape we call the Internet.A domain name registration is simply the reservation and tracking of a specific name for a specific person or company. Additional steps are required to associate or link the domain name to services and servers on the Internet that provide things like e-mail and Web sites. The majority of this “linking” is done through a service called Domain Name Service (or DNS for short). DNS is an Internet service used to translate a domain name (like into the physical address of the server running the Web service for that domain name.For example, my company Web site runs on a server with the address Although it is possible to tell my customers to simply browse to, my customers would have difficulty remembering my Web site. People aren’t accustomed to remembering long strings of numbers. Instead, since people can more easily remember words and phrases, DNS services allow the use of words to describe a server’s location on the Internet. DNS will automatically convert the domain name typed into a Web browser to the address assigned to my Web server. As you can see, DNS was built solely to make it easier for humans to remember Web site names.Converting a domain name into an address also helps e-mail servers find each other on the Internet to relay our e-mail from place to place.So, how does knowing this help you use your domain name? There are two predominate ways to get e-mail and Web sites connected to the Internet and associated with registered domain names – these include externally hosted (external to your network) and internally hosted (internal to your network).Externally hosted e-mail and Web services are provided by most of the Domain Registrars discussed in last month’s article and countless companies doing business on the Internet. I showed in the last article how a company could register its domain name at In addition to registration, Stargate also provides servers for rent (aka “hosting”). These servers can be configured over the Internet allowing a company to host its Web site and/or e-mail services directly on the Internet (external to its network) for a small monthly fee. In this scenario, the DNS records that associate the domain name with the servers running Web and e-mail are handled by the Registrar (Stargate in this case) and point to Stargate’s rented servers.If a company already owns its own servers, they can be configured to run e-mail and Web sites directly inside the company network. In this scenario, the Domain Registrar’s DNS services are configured to link the company’s domain name with the address (es) of servers running each service (i.e. Web or e-mail services) inside the company’s network. The main difference between external and internal hosting is where the Internet traffic is directed. With externally hosted Web sites, Web traffic hits a server at the Registrars network. However, in a managed Web site the Internet traffic comes into the company’s network thereby using up bandwidth and increasing security concerns.Setting up and configuring a domain name, Web site, and e-mail server can be complex. It is advisable to seek expert help in setting up an internally hosted solution to ensure bandwidth, security, recovery and that information protection issues are handled effectively. However, for small businesses looking to improve their professional image through corporate e-mail addresses and simple Web sites, external hosting may be the answer. Domain Registrars provide tools and instructions that make it relatively simple and safe to host on their servers. Best of all, using externally hosted Web services can be cost effective – a small business can usually get a domain name, 50 e-mail accounts, and Web site space at a Registrar/hosting company for about $15 per month.Visit for more information. Send your comments or topic requests to Information System Technologies,

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