SHCC WYSIWYG Article from January 2001

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This article appeared in the January 2001 WYSIWYG newsletter.

Creating Your Own Web Domain

by Rick Schummer

The following true story is the path I took and the trials and tribulations of registering your own web domain. The names of the innocent and not-so-innocent have not been protected. I hope that you might be able to learn from my mistakes and save some time and money in the  process.

It all started after the Keynote Session at the Visual FoxPro DevCon 2000 in Miami last September. We were discussing and debating many Visual FoxPro developer topics and web development. One of our friends asked a very good question (as he usually does <g>), so why don't you have your named  domain yet?

So why have I not registered RickSchummer.com, I asked myself after he posed the question. Well there were many reasons, none of them very good when ready to defend myself:

1. RickSchummer is not a company
2. I really do not want RickSchummer.com to be confused with other dot com failures
3. It is not necessary to spend money to register a domain while I have space already on Voyager.net
4. I really don't need to have my named domain to establish credibility in this industry

The reasons stated for owning your own domain were pretty darn compelling:

1. You own your own name in the web world, therefore nobody else can grab it and use it
2. It is cheap
3. It does add to your credibility (especially for software developers and all around geeks)
4. It gives you email that never has to change, like rick@rickschummer.com

The last item seemed most convincing. Never worrying about email changes in the future, even if I change ISPs or decide to anyone else would like to be RickSchummer.com, but I guess there might be another one that exists, or will in the future, so what the heck I decided to take the dive.

So we asked the knowledgeable folks who were already dot-commed (don't you love these techno verbs <g>), how do you go about getting this done?

The first step was going to www.networksolutions.com to register the domain name. In the past there was one company that had full control of this process. Now there are many. We used Network Solutions because several of our friends, including our boss, used them with success in the past. The web site was not all that clear because there are several options available. We looked several times and then guessed at the option we thought we needed.

1. Register your domain (for those that already have an DNS details to associate the web site to), $35 per year
2. Register and park (for those that do not have DNS information available), $40 per year
3. Register, 1 page web site, and forward to another web site (for established sites that need a real domain), $48 per year
4. And a host of other combinations that have web hosting and email, $68 to $129 per year

So we decided on door number 2, thinking that we needed to park the domain until we could get it pointed to our existing web site. After all, we did not need a 1 page web site since we already had them on Voyager. We paid the $80 for 2 years and felt like we  finally made the "real" step into the web. Emails flew from Network Solutions noting this accomplishment. Within days I was going to have the domain live, as RickSchummer.com.

Once the domain was established we tried to get the address forwarded to our existing web sites. Nothing on the Network Solutions Admin pages indicated how to accomplish this. So we called the toll-free help desk for some answers. To make a long story short, we did not select the correct option, nor would Network Solutions take our money to upgrade to the package that forwards domains to other web sites. They would not take our money! What we needed was the $48 per year package. We offered our credit card numbers and they said it could not be done. ARGH!

Voyager wanted lots of money for a registered domain because it is part of the business side of the house, not the residential package. Now what do we do. All dressed up and no place to go!

So we posted a message on the CompuServe MSDevApps forum where a number of our developer friends hang out. These are the same friends that egged us into this situation <g>. Naturally they came though and pointed us to www.yourdomainfree.com as one option. YourNameFree.com will register the domain name of your choosing, provide service on their computers (DNS Service), and provide a Free Welcome Web Page. All for FREE! The registrar (NameDirect.com) still charges the Internic $35 fee per year (or $60 for two years).

 The process was pretty painless. We had to pay an additional $30 to have the domain transferred, but this also added another year to our domain registration (for a total of 3 years). Since we have not owned the domain for 60 days they could not transfer the domain from Network Solutions. They provided the DNS information we needed to temporarily forward to NamesDirect, which is forwarded to our web site. At the end of the 60 days they took control and continue forwarding the RickSchummer.com calls to any web site I want. They also provide email forwarding. Now I control all emails sent to RickSchummer.com (with a maniacal laugh in the background <g>) and can specify 10 to be forwarded to a specific email address.

The administration of the email and web forwarding are all done online (what else) and it is a piece of cake. I am very satisfied with the service to date.

Lessons Learned
Either select the correct package from Network Solutions or go to a provider like YourNameFree.com (partners of www.NamesDirect.com). There are other providers that will do the entire thing for free. One of my friends registered his domain and forwards emails and did not pay a dime (www.domainzero.com). What he agreed to is to accept email spam from the sponsors of the free package. He did not get any of these emails in the first two weeks.

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