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:
- Buy a domain at a registrar
This is the actual purchase of the domain, you can do
this at dotster.com for $15/year or godaddy.com 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: mydomain.com is selling domains for $8.50, and they'll
do your DNS as well, so I recommend buying from them.
- 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 mydomain.com.
(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).
- 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:
- Go to dotster.com 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.
- Go to MyDomain.com and
add your domain (if that's not where you purchased it):
- Register a username at mydomain
- Add the domain to your account.
- Choose: "manage mydomain forwarding"
- Click on your domain name.
- 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.
- Under "Other Services" you want to set and save "Disable URL Forwarding", click update.
- 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:
- Under "DNS Management" add a new "A" record with IP address: 22.214.171.124 and click update
- 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 GeoCities.com.
There are also many good home page services, you can find some
cheap web hosts here.
- Email is tricky - you can setup the domain to forward all email to
a given address (such as email@example.com), 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 (onebox.com 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 bob.com but have your email be firstname.lastname@example.org.
Two free email options for Unix geeks are "freeshell.org" and "ductape.net"
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
fastmail.fm, that's where I get my email these days.
Info provided courtesy