Online Policy Group Services:
A domain is a way to identify a certain location on the Internet.
Just as a postal worker
uses street addresses to deliver mail to a specific apartment or house,
email software uses domains to deliver email and
the web uses domains to locate specific websites.
onlinepolicy.org is an example of a domain, the
domain for the Online Policy Group. We send and receive email for the organization at
the onlinepolicy.org domain and you can find the OPG website
using the onlinepolicy.org domain.
Domain registration is the process of acquiring
a unique address for you or your organization. Then, you can set
up email and/or website hosting for the domain you registered
so that anyone can email you and/or visit your website using
that domain name. The person or organization that registers a
domain is a domain registrant.
A typical web address looks something like this:
The web address has the following parts:
- http: or https:
stands for regular or secure hyper-text markup language (HTML) transfer protocol.
- // indicates the top level of the web hierarchy.
- www introduces many World Wide Web addresses.
- The period or dot character (.) separates the sections of a web
address or domain name.
is the portion of the domain name unique to this particular website.
- .org is a top-level domain (TLD)
indicating what is often a nonprofit organization.
To register a domain, you have to choose a unique name and submit a
request to a domain registrar,
an organization responsible for maintaining official lists of domains.
Consider this analogy: whereas a website is the Internet equivalent
of an apartment, a domain name is the Internet equivalent of the apartment's
street address. Before you can start using the street address
for an apartment, you have to sign a lease or an ownership agreement.
That's like registering a domain for your website. Once you have
a registered domain, you can request hosting for your website, albeit an empty one.
In the Internet world, you get to choose your address, or domain,
if it is not already taken. When choosing a domain name, choose something
short and easy to remember and one that accurately reflects your organization.
Some common top level domains are:
- .com - Unrestricted use, intended for commercial entities,
which anyone, anywhere in the world, can register.
- .gov - Only for governmental organizations
- .net - Originally designated for organizations
directly involved in Internet operations, i.e. network providers. It is
increasingly being used by networks or coalitions of organizations, or by
businesses when the desired name under
"com" is already registered by another organization. Its use is also unrestricted.
- .org - Intended for miscellaneous organizations, including
- Country-code top-level domains (ccTLDs) are two-letter abbreviations of country
names, for example .fr for France. For a list, click
For more information on TLDs, click
Example: Let's say your organization is the National Goat Liberation
Organization and you wish to start a website on tin cans and their role
in oppressing goats worldwide. You have decided to use "goatsandcans" as
part of your web address. This would be the second-level domain. As a nonprofit
organization, you should use .org as the top level domain. Together, "goatsandcans.org"
would be your organization's domain.
Once you have decided on a domain name, you should verify that
the domain is not currently in use before trying to register that domain.
You can do this by visiting the Internic Whois web page using your web browser.
Follow these steps:
- Go to http://www.internic.net/whois.html
- Type the domain name (just the second-level and top-level parts) at
the Whois prompt, for example "goatsandcans.org"
- Click the Submit button
If the domain is available for registration, the Whois Search Results page
will display: NOT FOUND
If the domain is not available for registration, the Whois Search Results page
will provide some information about the registrant or registrar of that domain.
If no one has registered the domain you want to register, you can register
the domain by clicking here
for the domain registration form.
If you have already registered a domain with another registrar and you want
to transfer the domain registration to the OPG domain registrar,
for the domain transfer form.
Once you have chosen one of the above links, you will see a form
that asks for some basic information about the domain registrant and the organization
associated with the domain, if any. This information includes:
- Personal information
- General information about the domain registrant
so that in the event of a problem, we can contact you.
- Affiliation -
If you are representing any organization (e.g. National Goat
Liberation Organization) or group for the purpose of this domain registration,
choose Organizational Use and fill in the organization's name. Otherwise,
choose Individual Use. There is no formal definition for organization
in this context, so incorporation or legal nonprofit status are
- Description of
organizational or individual activities - A brief description
of the activities of the organization or individual registering
the domain (for example "All things goat-related").
- Annual Budget
- There are no restrictions to the use of this service
based on your organization's budget, though any support is greatly
- Usage - Domain registrations
by OPG are restricted to nonprofit use.
- Domain name requested
- This is the second-level domain, the unique part of the name.
Note: The domain name should be a single
word that is descriptive of the purpose of the organization or other purpose
of the domain registration (for example "goatsandcans.org"). Please
do not use spaces or non-alphanumeric characters other than dash (-)
or underscore (_) for domain names.
"goatsandcans" or "goats-and-cans" is okay,
while "goats and cans" or "goatsandcans!" aren't.
- Domain type - Choose .org or .net
Note: We are no longer offering registrations in other top-level domains except by
special request and with sufficient justification.
- Domain service
username requested - This is an online identity that you can to gain
administrative access to your domain along with the domain service password.
As the domain
owner, you can sign in using this identity and are responsible for
- Domain service password
requested - Along with the domain service username,
you can use this password to gain administrative
access to your domain.
Please keep this password in a safe place as you will
need the password to make any changes to your domain registration. We ask
you to type the password in twice to make sure that you specify
the password you intended.
comments - Type here any notes regarding answers to questions in
the form or any special requests you may have related to the domain
Note: Any information you give us is covered by our privacy
Once you have registered a domain name, you may request web hosting with OPG
You can click here
for a brief tutorial about website hosting.
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