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Attorney Website Design Blog

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Domains Simplified

Even though we're all about technology here at Amicus Creative, we have to admit that tech terms can be confusing. There are lots of them and when developing a website, many lawyers face the difficult task of familiarizing themselves with all of the basics of domains, websites, DNS hosting and email. To save attorneys time, we thought we'd create a little cheat sheet of key terms and how they are all connected when it comes to your law firm's website.

At the center of any website is the domain name. Simply explained, a domain name is the URL that someone types into a web browser to visit your site. Our domain name here is amicuscreative.com.  A domain name is of critical importance in online marketing so be sure to make your selection carefully and check out our top factors to consider.

All domain names are registered through companies called domain registrars. You've probably heard of some of the large registrars since they frequently advertise on TV and radio; these include GoDaddy, Network Solutions and 1&1.  Essentially, think of your domain as you would a phone number. To get one, you have to contact a telecom provider. Of course you can always move your phone number to another telephone service provider at a later time, but it must always be registered through an authorized “dealer.”

Once you have purchased your domain name, you can control your DNS settings through your domain registrar. Essentially the DNS settings tell the domain how to behave. There are two key components of the DNS settings which are commonly referenced in website development, the A record and the MX records.

The A record tells your domain how to respond when a web user types in your URL. The A record will point to your website host (your firm’s website provider should be able to guide you through this process). The MX records control any email addresses associated with the domain name. Often firms will have the A record point to their website provider while their MX records point to a mail provider (which may be a local IT group, an in-house exchange server or even the domain registrar which providers an email service). Given that there may be several players in the equation, it’s important that firms take time to understand the configuration in the event they need to make changes, or worse—that one provider goes down.

Whenever possible, attempt to streamline your website and email hosting to avoid confusion. At Amicus Creative, we provide both as part of our standard hosting package and are available to answer any questions you may have and provide unparalleled support at no extra cost to your office.
 


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