If you have a web site, you should seriously consider registering your own domain name. A domain name is a name like "digitaliz.in" or "thefreecountry.com", which you can use to refer to your website. Note that you do not have to be a company or organisation ("organization" if you use a ) to register a domain name. Any individual can do it too.
Importance of a Domain Name
There are a number of good reasons for having a domain name:
If you ever change your web host (the actual physical location of your website files), your domain name goes with you. Your regular visitors or customers who knew your site name as (say) www.digitaliz.in will not need to be informed about a change of web address (also known as "URL"), since as far as they are concerned, the site is still at the same place. They can simply type your domain name, as before, and be transparently brought to your new location.
If you are a business, a domain name gives you credibility. Few people will be willing to do business with a company that does not have its own domain name.
If you get a domain name that describes your company's business or name, people can remember the name easily and can return to your site without having to consult their documents. In fact, if you get a good name that describes your product or service, you might even get people who were trying their luck by typing "www.yourproductname.com" in their browser.
If you want good sponsors (advertisers) for your website, a domain name is usually helpful. It tends to give your website an aura of respectibility.
Getting a domain name involves registering the name you want with an organisation called ICANN through a domain name registrar. For example, if you choose a name like "example.com", you will have to go to a registrar, pay a registration fee that costs around US$10 to US$35 for that name. That will give you the right to the name for a year, and you will have to renew it annually for (usually) the same amount per annum.
Some web hosts will register it and pay for the name for free (usually only the commercial web hosts), while others will do it for you but you'll have to foot the registrar fees.
My personal preference is to register the name directly with a domain name registrar rather than through my web host. I've heard stories, in the past, of less-than-reputable web hosts that registered the domain under their own name, making them the owner of the domain rather than you (although I don't know if such web hosts still exist today). Registering direct with a domain name registrar allows me to make sure that I am registered as the owner, the administrative and technical contacts. Being the owner is vital — if someone else places himself as the owner (such as your web host), he can always decide to charge you some exorbitant fee for the use of the name later, and there is little you can do. The various other contacts are less vital, but may still play important roles, depending on your registrar. For example, for some registrars, the administrative contact's approval is required before a domain name is transferred out of a web host (or at least, it used to be). If he/she cannot be contacted, the technical contact is used.
Domain names disappear extremely fast. Many people claim that all the good domain names are gone. I doubt that, but it is probably true that most good domain names that are descriptive of products and services have been taken. If you want a domain name for your site, I suggest you act now, or face the anguish of having lost that name later. After all, US$10 (more or less) for a year's ownership of the name is rather cheap when you realise that you're securing a good name for your website.
Step By Step Instructions
If you want to register a domain name, here's what you need to do. Please read it all before acting.
Think of a few good domain names that you'd like to use. It won't do to think of only one. It might already be taken (it probably is).
There's more to it than meets the eye.
You will need either a credit card or a PayPal account to pay for the domain, so make sure you have this before continuing. This is a requirement of most if not all registrars. It will allow you to claim and get the domain name immediately upon application. This is not an option (unfortunately).
Once you are at the registrar's site (see below for a list of registrars), you will be given the option to enter the domain you want, usually into a search box of some kind. The site will then search to see if the name is available. If it is, and you still want it, proceed to enter your details (name, address and telephone number) and pay for it. On completion, the domain will be yours.
List of Domain Name Registrars
There are numerous domain name registrars. Listed below are just a few, along with my comments, if I know anything about them. Note that the domain name industry is highly competitive, with prices wildly fluctuating throughout the year, every year, so it's impossible to really mention accurate prices below unless I spend all my time updating this page. Please check their sites for the latest rates. Unless otherwise stated, I have listed everything in US dollars, although if you go to the registrar's site, you may see the prices in your local currency.
GoDaddy — This extremely popular registrar (probably the biggest today) offers .com domain names for $9.99 (plus 20 cents) per year (or $6.99 plus 20 cents if you transfer from another registrar). They have a web interface to manage your domains, free web redirection (where people who visit your domain will get transferred to another web address of your choice), free starter web page, free parked page or free "for sale" page, and an optional private domain registration where your domain is registered in the name of a proxy company. Besides .com, they also sell .us, .biz, .info, .net, .org, .ws, .name, .tv, .co.uk, .me.uk and .org.uk, etc. Note that (as with all registrars) the exact price varies depending on which domain you are registering (for example some domain suffixes are more expensive than others). Both credit card and PayPal payments are accepted.
Domain.com (also known as Dotster) — This registrar provides fairly cheap domain prices (eg, $9.99 for ".com"), a convenient web interface to manage your domains, an optional privacy facility where your domain name is registered in the name of a proxy company, etc. They offer .com, .net, .org, .biz, .info, .us, .ca, .tv, .name, .cc, .de, .sr, .md, .co.uk, .us.com domains, among others. If you're transferring a domain to them from other registrars, the price is even cheaper ($8.29 for the initial transfer term). Both credit card and PayPal payments are accepted here.
123-reg — This registrar, one of UK's largest, offers .com domains for £6.99 per year, .uk and .co.uk for 99p per year, and so on. For this price, you also get free domain privacy protection, which means that your particulars are hidden from public view (done by registering the domain under a proxy company). Both credit card and PayPal payments are accepted.
Namecheap — This company provides .com domains for $10.69 (plus 18 cents) per year ($9.69 if you transfer from other registrars). Along with your domain, you get free email forwarding, free web redirection (where anyone going to your domain is automatically directed to another address of your choice), free domain name parking, etc. For the first year (or at least, at the time I checked their prices), you can also have their WhoisGuard (where your particulars are masked from public view) for free. They have a wide variety of domain name extensions available, including .net, .org, .biz, .info, .us, .co.uk, .co, .de, etc. You can use either a credit card or PayPal for your purchases.