How do I use it?
You've decided to register a .coop domain name. Smart! Here's a quick rundown of other services that you might need in order to use your domain name.
If you have an IT service or in-house department or if someone maintains your website or email already, check with them first to see if these services are already available or included with current support packages.
If you don't have any of these options, then most of our registrars offer these services. You can also use your favorite search engine to locate literally thousands of options for any of these services.
Domain/Email Forwarding or Redirection?
You can use your new domain right away if you already have an existing web site or email service by using domain or email forwarding. These simply point someone using your .coop website or email address to the existing site or email. Most domain forwarding services also allow you to "mask" the real site name so that people really feel like they are on a .coop site rather than the original site name.
These services typically do not require any changes to your existing web site or email accounts but let you use your domain name immediately.
If you want to be able to directly define the location of your website or email hosting information then you will need to secure DNS Hosting. This is typically a more precise way of handling the services that are provided through Domain and Email Forwarding and requires that you enter the specific IP (Internet Protocol) address of your email or web server. This isn't as techie as it sounds! Any hosting provider (see below) will provide you with these addresses which are just an expanded postal code and is typically in the form of ##.##.##.##. Just type them in with your website name and you're set. These "resource" records are generally called A or Address records for your Web Hosting information and MX or Message Exchange records for your Email hosting.
If you're setting up your site for the first time, you'll generally need to secure DNS Hosting. But it is typically included in an Email or Web Hosting package or can be purchased from your Internet Service Provider, your Registrar or through many sites on the web.
One thing that's important. Whoever provides your DNS Hosting will provide you with 2 or more "DNS Server" names. These are typically in the form of ns1.name.xyz, ns2.name.xyz, but they can be named anything. These names will need to be added to the information on your .coop domain maintained by your Registrar. These DNS Servers are where your "resource" records are stored and if someone enters your .coop name on a web browser or an email address, the Internet will go and look on those servers to find out where your web site or email is hosted.
If you do not already have Email Accounts, you will need to secure Email Hosting which will allow you to provide email accounts for those associated with your co-op or co-op organization. Large organizations typically have their own Email servers or computers to maintain their email accounts but you can also use a service provider or even get email accounts for free.
Most registrars offer Email Hosting packages which allow you to use computers that they own to access and maintain your email messages. Some packages provide access through any Internet browser and some allow access through tools such as the Microsoft Outlook that you may already have on your personal computer.
To decide what type of Email Hosting you need, you need to examine how many email addresses you will need to support (1 for each employee or shared emails addresses?), think about how many emails (and attachments such as Word, PDF or graphics files) you might want to maintain, and how you need to be able to access your email (from your office? from any PC? from your cell phone?) Carefully compare Email packages on these and other areas such as trial periods, support access and, of course, cost before selecting your hosting package.
If you don't already have a web site, there are many options for where you can "host" or store your web site. Large organizations usually have their own servers or computers where this information is maintained. In addition, if someone is developing a web site for you, they typically will have hosting services that you can purchase from them as part of the maintenance of your web site. There are even services that provide free web site hosting if you just have some basic information that you want to make available on the web.
Most registrars offer Web Hosting packages which allow you to use computers that they own to store or host your web site. Besides considering the cost and the amount of space (typically in Gigabytes) that is provided, you also need to consider what tools are supported or provided with the hosting package. Is your web developer using a tool like Dreamweaver to develop the site and is it compatible with the environment provided? Does the site provide tools to evaluate which pages visitors to your site are using - or not using? Can you run site backups easily? Does it provide access to such database tools as SQL to add to options on your web site? Carefully compare web hosting packages on these and other areas such as trial periods, support access and, of course, cost before selecting your hosting package.
Help! I'm Confused!
If you're new to setting up a web site or email, contact us and we'll be happy to discuss your needs with you. We can't specifically recommend any particular vendor but we can get you get you started with potential options to consider so that you can get the most value out of your .coop domain right away. After all, education's one of the cooperative principles, isn't it?
And that's what makes .coop different!