The first thing to creating an online presence regardless of whether it’s a personal website or organization, is to get a domain name. Domain names are used to identify servers and Internet resources connected to your website. They are similar to websites’ addresses of which visitors use to remember the websites by.
This explains why domain names are unique and that’s so that your visitors are able to find your website and not end up being directed to another website of a same name. You can also use domain name as part of your email address too. Examples of domain names are google.com; Wikipedia.org; parliament.uk and 100webhosting.com.
You can buy a domain name from a domain name registrar. You can also register domain names with many leading web hosting providers like Bluehost.
What is the difference between addon, parked and subdomains?
There are 3 different types of domain names that you should be aware of namely addon domain, parked domain and subdomain. Here’s a short description to highlight the differences between the three.
An addon domain name is an entirely separate domain name. Some people want more than just one website, perhaps for different businesses or interest. Each independent website requires a different domain name. Some web hosting providers like Bluehost allow you to host more than one website in one account. These websites can be control through a single centralized control panel.
Example of this is creating mydomain.com and mywebsite.com and then building 2 independent websites for both of these domain names. You will need to purchase these domain names and put them as addon domains under the hosting account. You will only need to pay for 1 hosting account if you go with a web host who supports this feature, for example Bluehost.
When you purchase a domain, chances are your website is not ready. Or perhaps you want to buy the domain names to reserve them for future use or to avoid being misused by others. The point is until your website is available, your domain name is pointing to a temporary webpage. This is called a parked domain name.
Another type of parked domain is when you register a new domain name but want the new domain name to point to the same domain name as your current website. An example is creating myotherdomain.com or mydomain.net and to have them redirected to mydomain.com.
A subdomain is an extension of your primary domain name. It helps you organize your website better. Subdomains are free to create. An example of a subdomain is blog.mydomain.com where usually a new subfolder named “blog” will be created which the sub-website’s files will be stored.
Bluehost allows their shared hosting subscribers to create unlimited subdomains, parked domains and addon domains. On top of that, Bluehost also offers a free domain name registration for the first year. This is valid for new subscriptions.
Domains can easily be managed from the Domain Manager. This tab can be found on your Bluehost’s cPanel control panel, under Domain Management. It lists all your domains with information on the respective registrar, expiration date, privacy, renewal options and other details.
From your Domain Management and Domain Manager, you can also:
- Register a new domain
- Transfer a new domain to your account
- Assign a domain to your cPanel account
- Manage domain names
Register a New Domain
Registering a new domain is easily done within Bluehost’s cPanel. The web host does offer stand-alone domain name registrations if you prefer not to purchase hosting services yet or wish to host your website elsewhere.
You can pay for the domain registration by credit card or PayPal. Bluehost is capable of registering .com; .net; .org; .us; .biz and .info domains. For other extensions like country specific domains, you will need to register them with a Registrar that is capable of doing so.
The domain names that are registered with Bluehost are automatically listed in the Domain Manager.
Creating new domains
You can easily register domain names with Bluehost regardless of whether it is to register immediately when you create your hosting account or afterwards.
Guide: Purchasing an Additional Domain.
Purchasing domains without hosting account
It is possible to purchase a domain name without purchasing hosting services. Should you decide to register only the domain name without hosting services, you are still able to manage your domains via the Domain Manager.
Free domain registration
Domains registration costs $14.99 per year. However, Bluehost is constantly having promotions so keep a lookout for them. Bluehost also offers a first-year domain registration coupon with a new shared hosting subscription plan.
Transfer a New Domain to Your Account
If you have a domain name that is registered elsewhere, you can choose to have it transfer to your Bluehost’s account. You are able to transfer .com; .net; .org; .us; .biz and .info extensions to Bluehost’s registrar.
Benefits of transferring your domain to Bluehost include:
- You can conveniently manage your hosting and your domains from one control panel
- Renewals can be automated at Bluehost so that you won’t have to worry about forgetting to do so
Bluehost does not charge any fees for domain transfer. However, ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) specifies that when a domain name is transferred to a new registrar, a one year extension is required. As such, Bluehost will charge this renewal fee.
The other thing to note when deciding to transfer your domain name is to verify that at least 60 days have passed since the domain name registration or since the previous transfer (if any).
Assign a Domain to your cPanel Account
Alternatively, you can opt to assign your existing domain that was registered elsewhere to your Bluehost hosting account. For example, you have a domain name registered with another company and now, you would like it to point to Bluehost’s server with which you have registered a hosting account.
It is not necessary to transfer your domain name to Bluehost. What you need to do instead is to change the nameservers to point to Bluehost’s nameservers. In this case, Bluehost’s servers will be managing your DNS and you can make changes directly from your cPanel account.
Managing Domain Names
Bluehost’s Domain Manager makes it easy for you to manage all your domain names and hosting from one centralized command center.
Renewal of domain name
You can choose to renew your domain name manually or by auto-renew. Bluehost does email renewal notices if you choose to renew your domain name and hosting services manually. It is recommended to select auto-renew in order to avoid your domain name being expired due to unforeseen circumstances like out-of-date contact information.
If your domain name expires, you will have up to 30 days grace period to renew before the domain name is placed under redemption. Should it fall under Redemption, you will be required to pay a redemption removal fee on top of the renewal fee to have the domain name back!
You can change the renewal options whenever you want to.
Guide: Domain Registration Renewal.
ICANN requires that all registrars maintain a WHOIS database for every domain name they registered. This WHOIS database consists of the domain owners’ personal information e.g. name, contact number, mailing address and email address. These information are to be made public!
You can however, choose to have your personal information hidden from public (especially spammers) by opting for Domain Privacy. Instead of your personal information, Bluehost on-behalf information will be shown. This service only costs $4.99 per domain per year.
Guide: Bluehost WHOIS Privacy.