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Get Your Own URL

By Traci Hukill

Filled with an inexplicable yearning to join the Internet party? Your first order of business is to secure a domain name, which is a series of letters and numbers (hyphens are also allowed) followed by .com, .net, .org or a country code (such as .to for Tonga). First check to see if the domain you hope to use is available at a search site such as Network Solutions' "whois" lookup (www.networksolutions.com/cgi-bin/whois/whois). As virtually all common words are already registered, you will have to be creative in coming up with something fresh by combining words and syllables, misspelled or otherwise. Domain names of up to 63 characters plus the suffix can now be registered, though many browsers only handle up to 26 characters. Another option is to use a country code, such as .cc ($100 for two years at www.nic.cc).

A .com domain generally costs $35 a year to register, and two years must be prepaid. You can register names at major registries like Network Solutions or register.com. Lower priced alternatives exist, such as discountdomainregistry.com, which claims to secure a registration for $14.99 per year, though there may be risks in dealing with a marginal player. If you need a name with some zing and price is not your chief concern, some good ones can be purchased from resellers for prices ranging from several hundred dollars to as much as $7 million; check sites such as afternic.com and greatdomains.com to see what's available.

You'll also need to find servers to host your domain, and the registrars will want the IP addresses of those servers at the time you register. If you don't have that information, then the easiest way is to go through an Internet service provider. ISPs often bundle online connectivity with web hosting and registration services at a package price. Or you can use Network Solutions' "Fast Track" service for $119, which includes two years of registration fees and a server on which to park your domain until you can launch your web site. Others, such as freedomainreservation.com, offer two-year registration and parking packages for as low as $70.

If a name you like is available, then whip out the credit card (they all want credit cards) and stake your claim; by tomorrow, someone else may have registered it.

The rush is on.


Streamlined Living: Pare down and live simply.

Put Up Yer Dukes: Don't get mad, get even.

Cruising: Transit made simple.

Soul Relief: Free your inner self.

Get in on the Gold Rush: Grab a fistful of cash and join the party.
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Domestic Bliss: Make your house into a home.


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From the March 16-22, 2000 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

Copyright © 2000 Metro Publishing Inc. Metroactive is affiliated with the Boulevards Network.

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