CATEGORY: How-Tos

Tip: Verify DNS & Route to Hostname

I came across this handy little tip last week when helping a customer who was experiencing propagation issues. By “came across” I mean our awesome system administrator, Robert, was kind enough to share it with me.

I’m sure some of us have experienced this:

You update your nameservers to point your new domain to your host, but then something’s fishy. Your site is not resolving. Or, it’s resolving for others, but not for you. What it comes down to, is your site is not working right. You’re frustrated and you don’t know whether it’s a problem with your registrar, your host, or your internet service provider (ISP).

If you find yourself in this situation, following these steps will provide enough information to help reveal any possible routing and propagation issues:

Windows

Start -> Run -> Cmd

Then, one at a time, enter these commands and hit Return:

  • nslookup yourdomain.com > c:\netcheck.txt
  • nslookup yourdomain.com 4.2.2.2 >> c:\netcheck.txt
  • pathping yourdomain.com -q 50 -w 500 -4 >> c:\netcheck.txt

This then creates a netcheck.txt file in your C: drive.

Mac

Applications -> Utilities -> Terminal

Then, one at a time, enter these commands and hit Return:

  • cd ~/Desktop/
  • dig yourdomain.com +trace > netcheck.txt
  • dig yourdomain.com @4.2.2.2 >> netcheck.txt
  • traceroute yourdomain.com >> netcheck.txt

This then creates a netcheck.txt file on your Desktop.

Now when you contact the support department of your registrar, host, or ISP you will have an incredibly useful bit of information to send them with the netcheck.txt file. If you’re not sure which support to start with, it never hurts to start with your registrar — they can always point you in the right direction.

Either way, providing the netcheck.txt file will show where the routing is breaking for your hostname and will help support determine what and where the problem is a lot quicker. And quick turnarounds make everyone involved a happy camper. 🙂

Podcast Episode #1: Support at Name.com

Length: 19:28

We’ve decided to take a stab at podcasting and we’re starting things off with an episode that gives an overview of what support is like here at Name.com. We had fun making it and it was a good learning experience. Mostly we learned that we need to keep it a little shorter, as 19 minutes even tests our own attention spans.

We hope you enjoy, and keep an eye out for more podcasts from us! They’ll be shorter, we promise. 😉

Domain Nabber Now Supports .MOBI!

We’re excited to announce that .MOBI is now one of the extensions we support with our Domain Nabber backorder service! This is just part of our continued efforts to help you get the domain names that you want.

There are a couple of different ways you can take advantage of this new feature.

If you want to pick and choose your .MOBI domains from a list of expired names that have dropped, you can check out our Domain Nabber page where you can fill out the criteria that you want.

But if you have something specific in mind, you can just do a regular search for that name and place your backorder directly from our search page.

As you can see, backorders for .MOBI run $39.95 and, as always, if you don’t get the name or you decide to cancel your order, you will receive a full refund.

Backorders Explained

*As of October 2016, backorders can only be placed on domains that have a set drop date. 

 

We recently announced some updates and improvements to our search page, and one of those was the addition of backorders to the search results. We thought it might be helpful to clarify how this works, in case you’re not familiar with our backorder service.

Choosing a Good Domain Name

You’ve decided you want to start a website, either for your business or a personal site. Now what do you do? If you guessed that finding a good domain name was at the top of the list, you’d be correct. This process can be somewhat daunting, so we’ve come up with a list of guidelines to help you pick a good domain.

Generic vs. Branding

Generic domain names are usually dictionary words with a broad range of applications, e.g., Books.com, Coffee.com, Golf.com, and so on. Generic domain names are great because they can lead to direct navigation traffic. This means that people in search of these specific things can bypass search engines entirely. These generic names are often very expensive.

But if you’re an everyday Joe looking to build your personal or company brand, choosing a domain name that matches your brand is the way to go. This not only increases your branding, but it will make it easier for your visitors to remember your name. Your brand is also what sets you apart from everybody else, so having a unique domain name that matches your brand will do the same for your website.

Just think if youtube.com went with something like streamingvideo.com. Not very memorable is it?

Hyphens Begone

In researching what others have said on this topic, I came across my new favorite domain name:

http://www.the-name-i-wanted-was-already-taken-so-i-used-a-lot-of-dashes.com/

Sure, it’s a little snarky, but it gets the point across. You want to avoid using a hyphen in your domain name if you can. It might be slightly better for SEO, but it doesn’t look very good and it can make your domain name harder to remember. It’s also harder for someone to verbally recommend your website if there are one or more hyphens in the domain name.

Keep It Short and Simple

Get creative! Try using two really good keywords; three or four if you must. Once you start using five or more keywords things can get a little ugly. Again, you want your visitors to remember your domain name, so you want it to be as easy as possible to type.

However, keeping it short doesn’t mean you should resort to acronyms, especially if those letters spell anything funky.

You also want to be conscious of using keywords that share the same first and last letter, like hattricks.com or doggroomers.com. Sometimes you may not have a choice, but be aware that those double letters can be confusing.

Embrace Alternate Extensions

Despite what some domain purists may tell you, alternate extensions are your friend. In a world where most of the good .COM domains are already registered there are plenty of other options available to you.

  • Have your own video production company? Try using companyname.tv.
  • For a personal blog or resume site you might try using .ME or .IM to add a personal touch.
  • Non-profit? You might go with a .ORG domain.
  • If your business is only based in a specific country, why not use that country’s ccTLD (.US, .MX, .CA) to represent your business?

When it comes to alternate extensions you want to try and avoid using what are called domain “hacks”. This is when you use the domain extension to complete a word in your domain name. Sure they look pretty clever, but they don’t do much for you in the “easy to remember” category. Some examples of hacks would be: aweso.me, ilovefrenchfri.es, ridiculo.us, etc. There’s a reason delicious.com switched from del.icio.us, nobody could remember where the heck the dots went!

Be Careful With Trademarks

To quote Elmer Fudd “Be vewy, vewy careful.” Trademarks are no laughing matter and if you register a trademarked name, you can bet that the lawyers will be after you.

Check Your Spelling

It’s always a good idea to double, or even triple check your domain spelling before hitting that purchase button. Sometimes you think you’re getting a steal, but upon a second glance you realize you just registered pronnight.com instead of promnight.com. Doh!

The moral of the story is to get creative with your domain name. You want something that is unique, simple, and memorable. But remember, be careful not to step on any trademarked toes and always check your spelling!

Awesome WordPress Resources to Make Your Website..Awesome!

WordPress is a thing of beauty. An open-source blogging platform that gives you complete freedom to quickly and easily create, update, and manage your website. The only downside to having that much freedom is that it can get a tad overwhelming. Below is a list of WordPress resources we’ve stumbled across in our internet travels, and we hope you find them as useful as we have.

WordPress Codex

WordPress has done a great job of putting together this extensive knowledge base that covers just about everything you can imagine in relation to WordPress.

WPBeginner

Great beginner’s guide to WordPress.

Lorelle on WordPress

Fantastic resource from one of the volunteers that helps out with WordPress support.

The Ultimate Guide To WordPress Hacks And Customizations

Great blog post featuring links to various sources that show you how to customize your site.

Theme Lab

A nice collection of free and custom themes as well as a nice general resource for WordPress.

Free Theme Layouts

A new personal favorite of mine.

WooThemes

Awesome premium themes for people with a little bit more of a budget.

Plugin Directory

If you want to add something to your site, chances are there’s already a plugin for it. Trada also has a good blog post on a few plugins to help get you started.

WordPress Hacks

A site for the slightly more seasoned WordPress user.

We Love WP

A gallery of slick looking WordPress-powered site and a nice source of inspiration.

Page.ly

If you’re self-hosting your WordPress site, Page.ly is an awesome service that takes away all of the hassle.

WordPress Publisher Blog

Helping you get the most out of WordPress.
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The list can really go on and on, but these links should be enough to help get you started. If there’s anything you’d like to add, let us know in the comments!

Check Out Our GeoDomain Tool!

Name.com GeoDomain Tool from Name.com on Vimeo.

Here’s a brief walk through of one of our nifty search tools you probably didn’t know we had. The Name.com GeoDomain tool is a great domain name suggestion tool if you’re looking to target a specific region with your website or business. Check out our video and then bring on the feedback! We’d love to hear what you think of the tool and how we might improve it.

Full IPv6 Support here at Name.com

There are a lot of doomsday predictions out there about IPv4 address running out soon (there is even a countdown page/iphone app etc.). Whether they are true or not (there are ways to delay the inevitable using NAT etc.) we at Name.com know IPv6 is the future. We always strive to be on the cutting edge of the domain registration world so we are announcing full IPv6 support across both our domain registration platform and our DNS platform. What does that mean? It means if you want to support IPv6 on your network, and you are a customer of ours, we have you all covered. 🙂 You can submit IPv6 glue records to the registries, and if you host your domain on our DNS platform, we can support networks that use IPv6 for querying DNS. What does it mean for the geeks in the house? Well read below to get some more in depth details.

What is IPv6

Here is the Wikipedia page about IPv6. Basically it’s the next generation IP addressing technology that provides a MUCH larger address space (2e128 to be exact). Unfortunately, a host/network has to specifically support IPv6 to receive traffic and so some key systems (like the DNS) have to specifically support IPv6 for two IPv6-enabled networks to support it. The nice thing is IPv4 and IPv6 traffic can ride over the same network, so no need to rip out the existing Intertubes, hardware just needs to support it (most newer computers, wirelress routers etc. already do). The are three ways a network can support IPv6 so that two hosts can communicate:

1. Not at all/IPv4 only The network can only send traffic over IPv4
2. Split IPv4/IPv6 If a source host wants to send traffic to a destination host, and both hosts support IPv6, the traffic is sent over IPv6. If only one or none of the two hosts support IPv6, the traffic must be sent over IPv4
3. IPv6 only (VERY RARE) The two hosts only support IPv6

Domain Registration/Glue Record Support

To support #2 above, the DNS has a special record type called a quad-A record (AAAA). It provides the IPv6 address of a hostname (similar to how an “A” record gives the IPv4 record for a hostname). An example:
Here is the IPv4 address for ns1.name.com

$ dig ns1.name.com a
ns1.name.com. 172800 IN A 173.192.28.4

Here is the IPv6 address for ns1.name.com

$ dig ns1.name.com aaaa
ns1.name.com. 172800 IN AAAA 2607:f0d0:1002:95::2

You can see the same hostname has two different IP addresses. What generally happens is a host that is enabled for IPv6 and IPv4 that wants to communicate with another host will first look up it’s AAAA record to see if the destination host also supports IPv6. If there is no answer for the AAAA record (meaning the destination host doesn’t want to or can’t speak IPv6) the sending host then looks up the A record and sends the traffic over normal IPv4. Name.com now allows a domain registered on our platform to submit IPv6 glue records to the various registries. This means if a customer hosts their own DNS, and their DNS servers support IPv6, they can submit those glue record entries to the registry.

DNS Platform

If a customer hosts their DNS on our platform, previously they could not support a recursive DNS server asking for the DNS information for their domain over IPv6 (remember recursive DNS servers ask the questions, authoritative DNS servers answer those questions – read more here at Wikipedia about DNS). We now fully support IPv6 transport to both ns1 and ns3.name.com, so if an end user of one our customer domains is on IPv6 only, or IPv4/IPv6 combo networks, that network can get the customer’s DNS information over IPv6.

Are that many people using IPv6?

Not a ton – BUT usage is growing steadily, and like other things (DNSSEC for example – a post will be coming shortly about this) – eventually a critical mass will be reached and a registrar MUST support it at that time. We just want to be ahead of the curve. 🙂

Why did we do this?

Because we want to be the coolest and most innovative registrar on the planet. Cheers!

Name Tip: How to Ensure a Smooth Domain Transfer

Here at Name.com we like to think of domain transfers like square dances — it’s easy to get tripped up, but when you know the steps it’s simple and straightforward.

There are a few tips you can follow before you start your transfer to help ensure that the experience will be as smooth as the dance floor at a senior center…wait…well you get the idea. However, should something go wrong along the way, our support staff is always here to help.

The following should be verified before you initiate your domain transfer:

  • The domain is unlocked.
    • This is a setting you can access from within your account control panel that allows you to transfer out your domain.
  • You have not registered the domain in the past 60 days.
  • You have access to the administrative contact email for the domain.
  • Your current registrar has no other reason to block the domain.
    • Sometimes registrars will deny a transfer if you have updated your contact information within the past 60 days, or if you catch them on a bad day. 😉

We also have some information about these tips on our transfer page.
Currently transfers to Name.com are starting at just $7.75, and in addition to getting great tools and customer support, transferring to Name.com also renews your domain for an additional year, leaving a little extra money in your pocket at the same time.

Hopefully these steps will help you with your next transfer. If your next transfer happens to be to Name.com, we look forward to working with you!

Name Tip: Better SEO with WordPress Permalinks

We’ve seen quite a few blogs recently that are running WordPress and using the default setting for permalinks. It’s unfortunate that this is the default, because it really does nothing for you in the way of SEO. However, there’s a quick fix for this that should help your blog posts get a little more notice.

If you log in to your WordPress blog and scroll down, you will see a “Settings” section on the left hand side. Clicking the arrow will drop down a menu and one of the options will be “Permalinks.” Clicking that will take you to the Permalinks page where you will see the different options you can choose.

The default looks something like http://blog.name.com/?p=167 and that doesn’t really tell readers or search engines anything about your post.

This can be easily changed on the Permalinks page by selecting either the Day or Month options, or even adding your own custom structure using the syntax that WordPress provides. You probably want to stay away from the Numeric option, as that won’t do much for your SEO either.

After saving your changes, your blog URL will look like http://blog.name.com/2010/06/name-tip-better-seo-with-wordpress-permalinks/, which is not only better for SEO, but now your readers have information like subject and date just by looking at your URL.

We hope that helps some of you out there that may not have even known this setting existed. Cheers and happy blogging!