Understanding Domain Requirements

Domain name registrations are one of the building blocks of the web. You can create many unique combinations to represent your name, a company or business, a project you're working on, or something else entirely.

"What exactly is a domain name?"

Domain names are a location on the internet. The name helps any visitors to your website easily identify your website, and can also serve as a space to showcase your work.

You can work with whatever you want in the beginning (for example, reclaimhosting.com) as your root of the domain and there are a wide variety of domain extensions as well! Most folks know .com, .net, .edu, .gov, and .org, but did you know you can have extensions like .media, .photography, or even .yachts?

You can find the full list of available domain extensions on data.iana.org or by referencing Wikipedia's extensive list

This article will go over some of the specifics when it comes to domain name registrations and tips to ensure your domain name is set up properly. 

 

ICANN and Domain Hierarchy

First, domain names can fall under a lot of regulations. These regulations are overseen by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, otherwise known as ICANN.

"Who is ICANN and what do they do?"

This organization oversees and regulates all domain registrations. They impose options like the 60-day domain lock for all newly registered/transferred domains, domains to be verified within 15 days of registration, and verify any contact information changes via email. We definitely recommend checking out their website to get a look at how domain names work and their plans, as it can be a very helpful resournce when starting out in the wide world of web hosting.

ICANN oversees all different types of domain names right? So it just goes through one company? Not usually. There are so many different domain operators out there! These are different companies that are responsible for the extensions, so for example, .com, .net, and .name are all owned by a company called Verisign.

Each Operator offers different domain extensions to Registrars, which is the next step in the domain hierarchy. Registrars offer each domain extension to the general public. You may know some names, like GoDaddy, NameCheap, eNom, Google Domains, and DreamHost among others. You may even have a domain name registered with them! Reclaim Hosting works with eNom, Logicboxes, and OpenSRS to register domains. We are considered resellers of domains which is one level below registrars.

But, even with registrar hierarchies, users who purchase the domain names own those domain names. They can take those with them to another registrar or adjust their domain nameservers.

 

Requirements for Domains

In short, it's good to know that ICANN has a set list of requirements for domains, and Domain Registrars might also have their own set of requirements for domains. Ultimately, these requirements are set to prevent domain theft or spam.

"What domain requirements should I be familiar with?"
  • Domains are locked for 60 days after a major change happens. This can happen after a domain is newly registered or transferred to its current registrar. It is locked after any major contact information change, like changes to the registrant's email.
    • Email is a primary point of contact for domain names, so you’ll want to make sure to use an email you check regularly.
    • Within the 60-day mark, you cannot transfer the domain to another registrar. The domain is locked at its current registrar.
  • Verify your domain within 15 days of registration: This one is really important for folks just starting out. You need to verify your domain via email after the domain is registered. If you do not verify the domain it’s suspended and pointed away from the current hosting company.
    • Tip: Be sure to use an email address that you check regularly to sign up for a domain. Reclaim’s found that for users working with their University email, the email from our registrar does not make it to their inboxes. Emails from Gmail or Outlook are more reliable.

  • Make sure to use valid contact information. This includes a full billing/mailing address and email for the domain registration.

You can read through ICANN's list of FAQs and questions, they have an extensive list. Reclaim Hosting also has a guide to checking the Domain Name's Requirements within the Domain Registration and Verification section.

 

Domain Name Lifecycles

So, now that you know the hierarchy of domain names and you’ve registered the domain, what does the lifecycle look like?

  • Registration: Domains can be registered to start at 1-year increments and can register up to 10 years at a time from the date of expiry. 
  • 15-day Verification Period: Once the domain is registered, users will have that 15-day verification period. After it's verified the domain is good to go for its registration period or until any changes are made.
  • Expiry Date: this is the date that the domain expires, typically 365 day after registration.
  • Grace Period: During the grace period, the registrant can renew the domain at any time up to a certain period of time (roughly 30 days) after the domain's expiry date. 
  • Redemption Period: Lasting for another 30 days, the redemption phase requires an additional fee to renew the domain name as the domain is preparing to be deleted. The fee can range from $15-$200+ and is set by the particular registrar. 
  • Deletion Phase: After the redemption phase, the domain is moved into deletion where no one can renew or redeem the domain. The deletion lasts for 5 days, when it is released back to the public for anyone to register.

 

Domain Name Transfers

You can always transfer your domain name between registrars if needed as long as they meet these requirements:

  • Domains need to be with the current registrar for at least 60 days. This applies to new registrations and recently transferred domains.
  • Turn off the domain's Registrar Lock (or theft protection). The lock is enabled by default to help protect the domain.

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  • Disable privacy protection. This ensures you're able to receive the correct emails to confirm the domain transfer. 

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  • Get an EPP code for the domain name. This is a code specific to the domain name that confirms ownership.Screen_Shot_2016-09-22_at_1.07.56_PM.png

After you receive all that information and make sure the domain name meets the requirements you can transfer the domain name. The domain transfer all in all takes 7 days to process from the time the order is placed. You’ll want to make sure to leave enough time for the domain to transfer before it expires. You can read more about the domain name transfer process in our Help Center.

 

Content Migration

When transferring a domain name, you are not transferring any content hosted on the domain. You’re only transferring the domain name registration. The content remains where it sits. If you are looking to migrate content, feel free to check out our guides to migrating content and our Migration Project Assistance offering.

 

Further Reading

Reclaim Hosting has a ton of material regarding domain names and managing your domain name. 

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