Easy Instructions on how to get your own domain

A domain allows you to have an easily accessible web presence as well as a permanent email address.

I host a lot of domains for my friends, so here are the directions I give to them about how to buy a domain.

If you want to get your own domain, you have to do three things:

  1. Buy a domain at a registrar
    This is the actual purchase of the domain, you can do this at for $15/year or for ~$9? I tried godaddy for a while, but I prefer the service and connection to mydomain that dotster has, so I've moved my domains to dotster.
    Update: is selling domains for $8.50, and they'll do your DNS as well, so I recommend buying from them.

  2. Get someone to do your DNS (Domain Name Serving)
    DNS is like the yellow pages. It is how other computers actually find out how to connect to your domain, it's a way to get the actual "address" of a computer using a domain name. You can do this for free through (or alternatively, check out
    Update: dotster and mydomain actually work together now. MyDomain is free for now, but you can help support it by buying your domain at dotster. Having MyDomain for free is worth a few extra bucks in my opinion (and I'm actually not sure why they do it for free).

  3. Put up the web pages somewhere
    There are a number of ways to do this for free.

And here's the summary of how you do these three steps the way that I do it for my domains:
  1. Go to and search for an available domain and purchase it. When you register the domain it will ask you for "nameserver" information. You want to enter:
    It takes about a day for the purchase to go through, but you can start the next steps while waiting for that to happen.

  2. Go to and add your domain (if that's not where you purchased it):
    1. Register a username at mydomain
    2. Add the domain to your account.
    3. Choose: "manage mydomain forwarding"
    4. Click on your domain name.
    5. Towards the bottom you should see "Order DNS management" or "mydomain forwarding service" or some such. Click on that and you'll see it in your "shopping cart" with a price of $0.00, click on continue.
    6. Under "Other Services" you want to set and save "Disable URL Forwarding", click update.
    7. Set whatever email forwarding you want, click update.

      If you're one of my friends and I'm hosting the site for you, then you also need to:

    8. Under "DNS Management" add a new "A" record with IP address: and click update
    9. Let me know that you've done this.

    If I'm not hosting the site, you can use the "URL Forwarding" feature to point to one of the many free web services like If you want more power than the free web services can give you, you can pay for a dedicated server. I use ServerBeach and they're great. If you go with ServerBeach, then please do me a favor and use my referral code: 5YJN4CG2TM and you'll save $100 (and make me some money too! :)

  3. Email is tricky - you can setup the domain to forward all email to a given address (such as, but when you send mail out it will look like your normal email. This is usually the address that people will store in address books and whatnot, which is probably not what you want if you want to permanently use your domain email address. Some online email providers and almost all ISP mail services allow you to set what your outgoing email address. If you're doing online email (email through a web page), search through the preferences for the ability to set your reply-to or your email address. Some online email will charge, such as yahoo, where others ( did or does) are free. It's really worth having the right email for your domain - it's very unprofessional and kind of dopey to own but have your email be

    Two free email options for Unix geeks are "" and "" which give free unix shells. Most unix clients can set the "Reply-To" field so you can have replies go through your domain address. (I can tell you how to do this for 'elm' but you're on your own otherwise).

    If you need more control and are willing to pay for email, check out, that's where I get my email these days.

Info provided courtesy Daveola of GetDave & Marginal Hacks