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Domain names are formed by the rules and procedures of the Domain Name System (DNS). Any name registered in the DNS is a domain name. Domain names are organized in subordinate levels (subdomains) of the DNS root domain, which is nameless. The first-level set of domain names are the top-level domains (TLDs), including the generic top-level domains (gTLDs), such as the prominent domains com, info, net, edu, and org, and the country code top-level domains (ccTLDs). Below these top-level domains in the DNS hierarchy are the second-level and third-level domain names that are typically open for reservation by end-users who wish to connect local area networks to the Internet, create other publicly accessible Internet resources or run web sites.
An important function of domain names is to provide easily recognizable and memorizable names to numerically addressed Internet resources. This abstraction allows any resource to be moved to a different physical location in the address topology of the network, globally or locally in an intranet. Such a move usually requires changing the IP address of a resource and the corresponding translation of this IP address to and from its domain name.

If you're planning on selling a product, look for a web host that offers a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate, because it encrypts the data between the customer's browser and web host to safeguard purchasing information. You're probably familiar with SSL; it's the green padlock that appears in your web browser's address bar as you visit an online financial institution or retail outlet. A few companies toss in a SSL certificate free of charge; others may charge you roughly $100 per year for that extra security layer.
Domain names are often seen in analogy to real estate in that domain names are foundations on which a website can be built, and the highest quality domain names, like sought-after real estate, tend to carry significant value, usually due to their online brand-building potential, use in advertising, search engine optimization, and many other criteria.
The user gets his or her own Web server but is not allowed full control over it (user is denied root access for Linux/administrator access for Windows); however, they are allowed to manage their data via FTP or other remote management tools. The user is disallowed full control so that the provider can guarantee quality of service by not allowing the user to modify the server or potentially create configuration problems. The user typically does not own the server. The server is leased to the client.
If you're not sure of the type of hosting your business needs, you might want to start small, with shared Web hosting. You can always graduate to a more robust, feature-rich package of, say, VPS hosting or even dedicated hosting in the future. Unfortunately, some hosts don't offer all hosting types. Consider how much you expect to grow your website, and how soon, before you commit to anything longer than a one-year plan. It's worth spending the time up front to make sure that the host you select with is able to provide the growth you envision for your site, as switching web hosting providers midstream is not a trivial undertaking.

If you cancel within 30 days and your plan includes a free domain, Bluehost will deduct a non-refundable domain fee of $15.99 from your refund. This not only covers our costs, but ensures that you won't lose your domain name. You may transfer it to another registrar or simply point it elsewhere at your convenience. Please note newly registered domains cannot be transferred to another registrar during the first 60 days of the registration period. You retain ownership of your domain until the end of its registration period unless you renew it.
^ March 16, 1992 memo from Mariam Leder, NSF Assistant General Counsel to Steven Wolff, Division Director, NSF DNCRI (included at page 128 of Management of NSFNET, a transcript of the March 12, 1992 hearing before the Subcommittee on Science of the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, U.S. House of Representatives, One Hundred Second Congress, Second Session, Hon. Rick Boucher, subcommittee chairman, presiding)
3. CloudwaysCloudways, a managed cloud hosting services provider based in Malta, claims to be the best WordPress and WooCommerce hosting company.  Cloudways aims to give design agencies, ecommerce store owners, bloggers, and developers the power to set up websites and manage web apps with ease. The platform caters to the need of individuals, teams, and businesses in different verticals such as media, IT, healthcare, fashion/apparel, interactive design studios, and entertainment.Although the company doesn’t offer a variety of hosting services, its Platform-as-a-Service, cloud-based web hosting sets it apart from other hosting providers. Besides, its array of reliable features, including SSD-based hosting, pre-configured PHP-FPM, one-click backup, and PHP 7 ready servers, enable users to create better digital experiences, maximize growth, and scale operations faster. Its service is backed by 24/7 expert support, which is available via live chat and ticket.The solution combines multiple core services such as Varnish, NGINX, Apache, MySQL, and Memcached to deliver seamless experience without impacting code compatibility. It also boasts a network of 41 datacenter locations, which make it easy to provision from the industry’s leading infrastructure providers such as Google Compute Engine, Amazon Web Services, Vultr, and DigitalOcean.For WordPress users, Cloudways is not only highly reliable, fast, and secure; it is affordable as well. The solution offers diverse pricing plans, plus it comes with a free WordPress migration plugin designed to streamline migration on multiple hosting environments. Also, as a Cloudways user, you will probably find its one-click managed services to be particularly impressive. With the one-click installations, it’s a breeze to get your WordPress and WooCommerce website or online store up and running right from the Cloudways control panel, in minutes. 

Source: Hosting Tribunal (2019)Getting reliable hosting is the most important decision you will make: without it, even the best-crafted site won’t make any sense. Adjusted to your scope of operations, hosting will eliminate the risk you’re taking by adhering to free-to-use networks and services, and put you in absolute control over how your data is accessed and managed. Better yet, paid-for hosting unties your hands to brand a website as you want it, and use all the tools and plugins that can help your business. Meantime, hosting pulls the strings of all key performance metrics such as the site’s promotion on search engines and its loading speed.The king of all benefits will nonetheless remain security—unless you’re ready to bounce off attacks and intrusions all by yourself.Which are the best web hosting companies? There is no standardized answer to this question, as each site owner has a unique list of requirements a service must respond to. At the beginning of this demanding process, however, we should shortlist the systems that cater to our needs, which we can afford.1. InMotion HostingInMotion Hosting also pleases clients with reliable hosting tools (cloud, VPS, dedicated), but also offers web design and development services for users who’d rather have their online journey launched from a single dashboard. Depending on the website you’re creating, you can consider one of their business-exclusive hosting packages, or have the service optimized WordPress performance or upselling.InMotion prides itself on its commitment to open source and features sponsorship with three platforms next to one with WordPress (Joomla, b2evolution, and PrestaShop). It is also a suitable choice for developing and growing business as it is very scalable and makes the transition to a different package seamless. It may be of interest that they work with PCI compliant data servers and constantly invest in new technology, and have been praised all over user forums for being professional and supportive.
If you aim to have a web presence, you've got to have email. It's a convenient way for potential customers and clients to send you a message, Word document, or other files. Thankfully, most web hosts include email in the price of their hosting plans. Some web hosts offer unlimited email account creation (which is great for future growth), while others offer a finite amount. You, naturally, should want unlimited email.
To sweeten the deal, all of InMotion's plans come with a ton of great free features that other services might charge extra for – think malware and DDoS protection, basic backups, 'spam-safe' email and a WordPress-based website builder (if you're looking at WordPress options specifically, take a look at our dedicated guide to the best WordPress hosting services).

ICANN publishes the complete list of TLD registries and domain name registrars. Registrant information associated with domain names is maintained in an online database accessible with the WHOIS protocol. For most of the 250 country code top-level domains (ccTLDs), the domain registries maintain the WHOIS (Registrant, name servers, expiration dates, etc.) information.
When it's time to set up shop, look for a web host that offers the aforementioned dedicated servers, as well as advanced cloud server platforms (such as Amazon Web Services or Google Cloud), custom server builds should you need it, and 24/7 customer support. Depending on your business' focus, you may need a web host that can handle pageviews or visitors that rank in the high thousands or millions. Many busy hosting plans offer an onboarding specialist that can help you get started, too.
During the 32nd International Public ICANN Meeting in Paris in 2008,[10] ICANN started a new process of TLD naming policy to take a "significant step forward on the introduction of new generic top-level domains." This program envisions the availability of many new or already proposed domains, as well as a new application and implementation process.[11] Observers believed that the new rules could result in hundreds of new top-level domains to be registered.[12] In 2012, the program commenced, and received 1930 applications.[13] By 2016, the milestone of 1000 live gTLD was reached.

GlowHost earned our kudos for its 91-day money-back guarantee. It's six days short of DreamHost's 97-day guarantee, but with these numbers, who's quibbling over a few days? The company also offers 24/7/365 phone support option and free cPanel offering for most plans. The company operates 18 data centers worldwide. Finally, the company garnered extra kudos by driving all its hosting services with wind power. 

For more than a decade, Jeffrey L. Wilson has penned gadget- and video game-related nerd-copy for a variety of publications, including 1UP, 2D-X, The Cask, Laptop, LifeStyler, Parenting, Sync, Wise Bread, and WWE. He now brings his knowledge and skillset to PCMag as Senior Analyst. When he isn't staring at a monitor (or two) and churning out web hosting, music, utilities, and video game copy, Jeffrey makes comic books, mentors, practices bass and Jeet Kune Do, and appears on the odd podcasts or convention panel. He also collects vinyl and greatly enjoys a craft brew. You can a find Jeffrey online at jeffreylwilson.net, or send him a tweet at @jeffreylwilson

If you're not sure of the type of hosting your business needs, you might want to start small, with shared Web hosting. You can always graduate to a more robust, feature-rich package of, say, VPS hosting or even dedicated hosting in the future. Unfortunately, some hosts don't offer all hosting types. Consider how much you expect to grow your website, and how soon, before you commit to anything longer than a one-year plan. It's worth spending the time up front to make sure that the host you select with is able to provide the growth you envision for your site, as switching web hosting providers midstream is not a trivial undertaking.


6. GoDaddyWith a reputation similar to HostGator, GoDaddy sets up multiple examples of how the best website hosting is supposed to function. This publicly-traded American Internet domain company went beyond HostGator’s head-spinning success and currently serves over 17 million users and supports 72 million domains all around the globe. In that aspect, GoDaddy can be considered as the world’s largest domain name hub and hosting service provider, and also praised by users for being highly secure. What makes GoDaddy unique is its focus on the corporate community – there are business-friendly .store domains that have been highly appreciated by online shoppers, as well as affordable SSL certificates that guarantee the safety of each user’s data. In a fashion reminiscent of HostGator, GoDaddy offers a hands-on website builder tool for novice users, lets owners retain control of what is happening on their websites, and comes with a 24/7/365 support and professional assistance. 

Source: Hosting Tribunal (2019)Getting reliable hosting is the most important decision you will make: without it, even the best-crafted site won’t make any sense. Adjusted to your scope of operations, hosting will eliminate the risk you’re taking by adhering to free-to-use networks and services, and put you in absolute control over how your data is accessed and managed. Better yet, paid-for hosting unties your hands to brand a website as you want it, and use all the tools and plugins that can help your business. Meantime, hosting pulls the strings of all key performance metrics such as the site’s promotion on search engines and its loading speed.The king of all benefits will nonetheless remain security—unless you’re ready to bounce off attacks and intrusions all by yourself.Which are the best web hosting companies? There is no standardized answer to this question, as each site owner has a unique list of requirements a service must respond to. At the beginning of this demanding process, however, we should shortlist the systems that cater to our needs, which we can afford.1. InMotion HostingInMotion Hosting also pleases clients with reliable hosting tools (cloud, VPS, dedicated), but also offers web design and development services for users who’d rather have their online journey launched from a single dashboard. Depending on the website you’re creating, you can consider one of their business-exclusive hosting packages, or have the service optimized WordPress performance or upselling.InMotion prides itself on its commitment to open source and features sponsorship with three platforms next to one with WordPress (Joomla, b2evolution, and PrestaShop). It is also a suitable choice for developing and growing business as it is very scalable and makes the transition to a different package seamless. It may be of interest that they work with PCI compliant data servers and constantly invest in new technology, and have been praised all over user forums for being professional and supportive.
4. HostGatorHostGator is our top choice on our 20 best web hosting companies list without a doubt. It specializes in website, VPS hosting, and dedicated services for over 9 million users so far. Their cloud-hosting packages are among the most affordable packages of this kind in the market, and yet guarantee 2x faster performance and 4x enhanced scalability, with a dashboard that is very easy to use. For WordPress users, HostGator offers built-for-speed plans with advanced security and free migrations, while VPS hosting users will benefit from full root access and scalable resources. A Dedicated Hosting package, on the other hand, will equip you with an end-to-end management package for ultimate performance, and a price scaled to meet your specific needs. What HostGator is best known for is providing a streamlined hosting experience, as a support team is there to assist you  24/7 and to guarantee the company’s impeccable 99.9% uptime. Plus, you can have your existing website seamlessly transferred to a HostGator location or use their handy Website Builder to create a brand new one. As a HostGator user, you’ll also be entering a millions-wide user community, and be able to exchange opinions with website owners worldwide. In case you’re not satisfied, you can rely on the company’s 45-days money-back guarantee.
Beyond that, DreamHost is a top website hosting company for many reasons. It operate its own control panel, which is convenient and easy to understand. While phone customer support isn't available 24/7, it is responsive to live chat and tickets. The company uses super-fast SSDs for all its storage, has a free SSL certificate (for more secured web browsing) and provides SSH access for those plans that are intended for more technical users.
As you might expect with a cheap hosting plan, you can only operate one website on the Hatchling plan. And you won’t get a free domain name for a year, either. But we like the super-low pricing and the free transfers for new accounts within the first month after you’ve signed up. A 45-day money-back guarantee means that if you’re not happy with the service, you can cancel it.

When it comes to server operating systems, Linux is typically the default option. Still, some services offer a choice of Linux or Windows hosting. If you have specific server-side applications that require Windows, such as SQL Server or a custom application written in .NET, then you need to make sure your web host has Windows hosting. But don't let the idea of a Linux host intimidate you. Nowadays, most web hosts offer a graphical interface or a control panel to simplify server administration and website management. Instead of typing at the command line, you'll click easily identifiable icons.
Shared hosting is web hosting in which the provider houses multiple sites on a single server. For example, Site A shares the same server with Site B, Site C, Site D, and Site E. The upside is that the multiple sites share the server cost, so shared web hosting is generally very inexpensive. In fact, you can find an option for less than $10 per month.

If you're planning on selling a product, look for a web host that offers a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate, because it encrypts the data between the customer's browser and web host to safeguard purchasing information. You're probably familiar with SSL; it's the green padlock that appears in your web browser's address bar as you visit an online financial institution or retail outlet. A few companies toss in a SSL certificate free of charge; others may charge you roughly $100 per year for that extra security layer.
A dedicated server is best suited to anyone looking to build complex websites that need to look after hundreds of users in a no-compromise environment. (Think Amazon.) It’s like having your own computer: you don’t have to share your space, power or resources with anyone else. Dedicated servers are usually the fastest and most powerful choices available, though some of the high-end VPS options can give the lower performing dedicated servers a run for their money – so check the specs.

Next are third-level domains, which are written immediately to the left of a second-level domain. There can be fourth- and fifth-level domains, and so on, with virtually no limitation. An example of an operational domain name with four levels of domain labels is sos.state.oh.us. Each label is separated by a full stop (dot). 'sos' is said to be a sub-domain of 'state.oh.us', and 'state' a sub-domain of 'oh.us', etc. In general, subdomains are domains subordinate to their parent domain. An example of very deep levels of subdomain ordering are the IPv6 reverse resolution DNS zones, e.g., 1.0.0.0.0.0.0.0.0.0.0.0.0.0.0.0.0.0.0.0.0.0.0.0.0.0.0.0.0.0.0.0.ip6.arpa, which is the reverse DNS resolution domain name for the IP address of a loopback interface, or the localhost name.


The user gets his or her own Web server and gains full control over it (user has root access for Linux/administrator access for Windows); however, the user typically does not own the server. One type of dedicated hosting is self-managed or unmanaged. This is usually the least expensive for dedicated plans. The user has full administrative access to the server, which means the client is responsible for the security and maintenance of his own dedicated server.
SSL certificates are needed because they encrypt the data exchange between your website and the visitor’s browser, making it impossible for hackers to get access to this data. This is especially important if you store your customers’ credit card information. For a complete website hosting experience, HostPapa provides you with a Let’s Encrypt SSL Certificate completely free of charge!
7. BluehostThe third representative of the ‘web-hosting trinity,’ Bluehost also belongs to those services one could hardly dispute on any grounds. You will certainly appreciate its easy to use interface, extremely low pricing plans (featuring a free domain and site builder), and the dedicated 1-click installer for WordPress users. WordPress. org recommends Bluehost as the #1 provider for easy installation and management, and the two companies partner to provide you with the best possible hosting experience for free. The cloud solution is also surprisingly affordable, knowing that even low-tier users are provided with advanced mastery features and the expected 24/7 support for their needs. The company also offers VPS and shared hosting, dedicated services, and reseller hosting, and will help you leverage Google and Bing advertising. 
Some domain name registries, often called network information centers (NIC), also function as registrars to end-users. The major generic top-level domain registries, such as for the com, net, org, info domains and others, use a registry-registrar model consisting of hundreds of domain name registrars (see lists at ICANN[21] or VeriSign).[22] In this method of management, the registry only manages the domain name database and the relationship with the registrars. The registrants (users of a domain name) are customers of the registrar, in some cases through additional layers of resellers.
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