Buying A Domain Name & DNS is a guide to buying a domain name and setting up the DNS. This article is part of a larger whole. It is not intended to show a variety of companies or methods. Instead, the purpose is to demonstrate one example as part of a more extensive tutorial on setting up an Opensimulator server and managing it. Many companies provide domain names and DNS services. In this example, Hover is the company of choice. Two factors contributed to the selection, firstly familiarity and secondly on a personal level; Hover has always acted professionally and promptly to me.
What is a Domain Name and Why are they nessasary.
Domain names serve two purposes. Firstly they are an online identity, and secondly, they act as a dynamic address for a server. Understanding this requires a basic understanding of how one computer connected to the internet finds another. Therefore, the following description is very simple.
IP addresses act like an address in the physical world. Since it is computers looking up other computers, they use numbers rather than words. However, the process remains the same.
IP address Lookup compared to a physical postal system for letters.
Postal System for physical letters (simple version)
International mail is then sent to the other country, where the process reverses until the mail arrives at its destination.
A person puts a letter in a post box
Postal workers collect the mail and take it to a local sorting office
If the destination address is outside the local office area, it sends it to a regional office.
Again the destination is checked and either its sent to a local sorting office or it is sent to a national sorting centre.
At the national level, the address is checked and sent either to a regional sorting office or onto the national sorting office of a different country.
The national sorting office in the other country then reverses the whole process, going to a regional office, then local before finally reaching its destination.
IP Address version (simple version)
The data is sent up a series of computer systems until it meets one who knows how to deal with that destination address. Then the process reverses, sending it back down a similar chain until the destination is complete.
How Domain names come into this
Domain names serve two primary purposes, then. Firstly they provide human-readable versions of an IP address. Secondly, when combined with DNS, they act similarly to a PO-Box for physical letter mail. It is an address that has another address associated with it. If a company moves address, it must notify all its clients and providers of the new address. Alternatively, if it uses a PO-Box, only the address associated with the PO-Box needs updating. Domain names use similar principles.
A request to send data to a domain name is made
The domain name provider keeps a register of DNS service providers for the domain.
DNS service provides the IP address associated with domain name.
Ip Address is sent to the computer wishing to send data.
The initial computer then uses the IP address in the way descibed above.
Many steps are not in this simple version. However, it provides a basic idea of the process. It is possible to run an opensimulator service and website without a domain name. However, it is not usually desirable. People like words rather than long lists of numbers. Additionally, if a server changes, it is simple to point the domain to the new server.
Buying the domain name
Visit the Hover Home page
Enter something relevant to see available domains. For example, to find a domain name suitable for a personal site, I could use Sara Payne as the search. After clicking search, it shows a list of potential domain names which match.
Click the plus symbol next to a proper domain name, then view the cart by clicking on the button in the top right.
Email services are likely to be necessary for an Opensimulator grid. However, there are better ways than what is on offer here. First, complete the checkout, then log in to the account.
Setting the DNS
The domain can use any DNS servers specified. By default, it uses Hover’s own DNS. Hovers DNS settings for this domain are available by clicking on the DNS link near the top right of the page.
In the Hover DNS Records image, the top two entries contain an IP address. Change this IP address to the IP address of the server the domain should point to.