Setting up your domain name

Tips & Hints

Updated 30 October 2002

For years now businesses have been told they should register their domain names. But is what does a domain name do for a business? How do you go about setting one up?

Even if you don’t need a website, having your own business domain name protects your brand name, adds credibility to your business and flexibility to your Internet access.

Having your own domain means that you own the bit after the www or @, as in It also means you are not tied to one Internet provider. If you change providers, or your provider goes bust, you can take your name to another business.

Setting up a domain is fairly straightforward. You can do it yourself, or get your Internet provider, IT consultant or web designer to do it for you.

Internet Access

Without Internet access a domain name is useless. This can be any broadband or dial up account. A basic setup which will include access, at least one e-mail address and usually some web space on the Internet provider’s server.

The web address you will get as part of an access package will appear as The e-mail address will be along the lines of If you give put this address on your business card you are at risk if your Internet provider goes bust or you take your business elsewhere.

When arranging an ISP ask them how much it will cost to host your site or, if you're not having a website, to delegate your domain. Some ISPs won’t do it, some will charge an arm and a leg, but some charge as little as $5 a month to do it. You don't have to use your provider, there are plenty of companies that will receive or forward your e-mail and host your website.

Registering your domain

The next important step is to register your domain. There are a whole range of addresses from the ubiquitous .com and through to the less common, all of them have different criteria and charges. Your Internet provider, computer consultant or web designer can deal with this for you. Just make sure that you get all the registration details and that you are the registered owner.

The easiest to get are the dot-com addresses. They are so easy to get that most of the good ones are already taken. If you are selling overseas then a dot-com is probably the best option. There are hundreds of companies that can register these for you, but it is best to deal with Accredited Registrars. Expect to pay between 25 and 50 USD per year.

Australian addresses cost around between $60 and $160 for two years. Until recently, you had to have a recognised business name similar to the address you wanted. The Australian domains are sold by accredited registrars for . A good price comparison can be found at

When you register your domain name you will be assigned a NIC-handle and registry key. Keep these safe because these are your password or PIN that allows you to change details of your registration. If someone else has this, they can change your details. It’s also important that your company is nominated as the admin and technical contacts for the name.

Hosting and delegation

Now you have an address and Internet access, you need to tell the Internet where to send your mail and look for your website. For a small business this is best done by someone like a hosting company or your ISP.

Delegating a domain means your Internet provider directs e-mail and web traffic to your address. For example, e-mail to gets redirected to Web traffic to goes to

Delegating is a very cheap way of keeping your name on the net, it can be done for as little as $5.00 a month. The downsides to this arrangement are that webspace is limited, Joe has to sort the traffic to accounts, sales, Doris and himself, and if one person wants to collect mail while out of the office, things get cumbersome.

A hosting service hosts your website and often your e-mail as well. All your internet traffic goes to the space you rent on their server, you collect your mail from them and upload your web site to them. Your Internet provider may do it and there are specialist companies that will do it for you. The plans available vary according to your needs, basic web and e-mail hosting costs around $30 a month.

Once you’re up and running

Once you have your domain organised you need to get the message out about your new e-mail addresses. Get them on your letterhead and business cards, and tell your customers and suppliers. Don’t cancel your old e-mail addresses for a few months to allow people to get used to your new address.

If you are setting up a website then the work has only just begun. We normally recommend a web designer to small businesses. Life is too short to spend learning this stuff. Get a good professional in, your website will look better and it will cost you less to get it done properly.

Having a domain name is becoming almost essential to small businesses. As well as looking professional it gives you control over your e-mail and web addresses. Even if you don’t need a website, at least protect your business by claiming your domain name.

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