Nigeria Internet Registration Association (NiRA)

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Authoritative and Recursive DNS Servers: What’s The Difference?

It is obvious the Domain Name System (DNS) is one of the most essential parts of the Internet’s infrastructure. The Domain Name System (DNS) comprises of two parts: Authoritative and Recursive Name Servers. The authoritative nameserver and recursive nameserver are important nameservers that enable DNS run seamlessly and actually respond to domain name request.

By using DNS, you can connect to a website like nira.org.ng without having to know the website’s IP address. The Authoritative DNS system provides resources of the zone whilst the Recursive DNS holds information of the host for a given amount of time specified by that Records Time To Live (TTL) value.

Authoritative DNS nameservers are responsible for providing answers to requests made by other DNS nameservers (Recursive Servers) with the IP “mapping” of the intended website. The authoritative nameservers’ simply respond to the recursive nameservers contains important information for each domain, such as corresponding IP addresses and other necessary DNS records. Essentially authoritative nameservers are like the name mapping database, that is, it contains relationship existing between a registered domain name and it corresponding IP address.

Recursive nameservers are the intermediary that respond to domain requests. It provides answer to the request if it has cached earlier, else it proceeds to the authoritative server. The caching of the name are based on the default time to live (TTL)

At the top of the DNS tree are the root domain nameservers. Every domain has an implied/hidden “.” at the end of the name, that designates the DNS root nameservers at the top of the hierarchy. Root domain nameservers know the IP addresses of the authoritative nameservers that handle DNS queries for the Top Level Domains (TLD) like “.ng”. It first asks the root domain nameservers for the IP address of the TLD server, in this case, “.ng.” (working on www.nira.org.ng).

Afterwards it asks the authoritative server for “org.ng”, where it can find the “nira.org.ng” domain’s authoritative server. Then “nira.org.ng” is asked where to find “www.nira.org.ng”. Once the IP address is known for the website the recursive DNS server responds to your computer with the appropriate IP address.

HOW TO PICK A GREAT DOMAIN NAME FOR YOUR WEBSITE

What makes a good domain name important is that it is the face of your business to the online world. It is on your business cards, email addresses, and it is your response when posed with the question “do you have a website?” It is also the name that would be associated with the lifespan of your business. The names used to launch the apps that facilitate and encourage online businesses.

Choosing the perfect and great domain name for your website is like choosing the best and perfect name for your child.  It is associated with you for life.

Having a good domain name is equivalent to having a nice sign board at the front of your office building/store, announcing your business to the world. Having an attractive domain name is to the benefit of your business. It announces/introduces your business online in so many ways. It gives people an idea of your type/brand of business. The domain name must be memorable, good for creating email addresses but most importantly with social media marketing you can be easily noticed in the digital space.

The value of a domain name starts from the conception of the name. The domain name needs to be created around words that will attract traffic,  generate intrigue and interest around the Internet when it is mentioned in conversations on the web.

The following tips can be used to create/choose a domain name for your website. There are 5 elements to a website domain name, that will mar or break it.

  • Traffic: How many people are searching for the target words or phrase?
  • Memorable: How hard is it to remember the domain?
  • Easy: Can people easily get there?
  • Eye-Catching: When people see your domain name, will they be tempted to click?
  • Relevant: Do the words in your domain accurately describe the site?

After taking into consideration the above five key elements, another very important element is the availability of the domain name. You have to check for the availability of the domain name. For example you can check availability of .ng domain names via the link (http://whois.nic.net.ng).  You should note that .ng offers a lot of interesting name strings. To learn more about .ng ccTLD, visit the NiRA website www.nira.org.ng.

DOMAIN NAME TERMINOLOGY

There are many terminologies in the domain name industry. For better understanding of the industry, we have put together an explanation of the basic domain name terminologies.

Administrative Contact: Person or organization authorized by the registrant to make changes to the domain name details.

The African Network Information Center (AFRINIC) is the Regional Internet Registry (RIR) and a not-for profit membership organisation responsible for the administration and management of Internet Protocol (IP) Addresses in the Africa Region.

Africa Top Level Domain (AFTLD), the association of African ccTLDs, is a non-profit organisation of domain registry operators in Africa for unity and co-operation.

Billing Contact: Person or organization that is invoiced for the domain name registration and/or renewals.

ccTLD: Country Code Top Level Domain is TLD assigned to countries derived from their two letter representation. Nigeria is .ng ccTLD.

Domain Name (i.e. switchto.ng) is the user friendly name (memorable for humans) associated with an Internet resource, assigned to an IP address. This name can only be approved and administered by an approved authority, i.e., .ng Registry. Sub-domain(s) and email address (es) can be created, using it as a suffix.

Domain Name System is the networking system that helps users find their way around the Internet; assigns web addresses (string of letters/characters) to be used in place of the IP addresses.

Internationalized Domain Name (IDN) is simply domain names created with native language characters.

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is an international organisation, not-for-profit that has responsibility for Internet Protocol (IP) address space allocation, generic (gTLD) and country code (ccTLD) Top-Level Domain name system management and root server system management functions.

Name Server is a specialized server on the Internet that handles queries or questions, by various programs and other name servers, that converts domain names to IP Addresses.

NiRA Dispute Resolution Policy (NDRP) derived from ICANN UDRP and composed to benefit the Nigerian domain industry.

NiRA Policy Development Process (PDP): process by which NiRA develops policies, which is available for all stakeholders to make contributions.

Queries per Second (QPS), is the unit of measurement used to know how many queries a DNS server receives.

Redemption Grace Period (RGP) is the period after the expiry date of the domain name when the registrant is given extra days to be able to renew the domain name. In some cases the domain name is rendered inactive but unavailable to be taken by another registrant and it may also be active till end of the period but the number of days taken from the period is counted into duration renewed for. For the NiRA domain life cycle, click on https://www.nira.org.ng/images/Policies/NG_Domain_Name_Life_Cycle_Policy.pdf

Registrant is the owner of one or more domain name(s).

Registrar is the person or organization through whose platform the registrant registers the domain names.

Registry is the organisation managing and administering the TLD/ccTLD/gTLD. The authoritative, master database of all domain names registered in each TLD. NiRA is the Registry for the .ng ccTLD.

Registry Lock is a security measure that protects a domain from attacks like DNS hijacking. The domain is locked at the registry level so series of processes and verification of proper authorized contact for the domain name would be required to access/modify anything.

Reseller is a third party who offers domain name registration services through a registrar.

Root Servers is simply the network of servers stationed at various locations for quick and easy data access; they contain the IP Addresses of all TLDs registry organisations (gTLDs and ccTLDs) worldwide.  There are 13 named server authorities and these are the authoritative servers of the DNS root zone.

Secondary DNS Server is the slave of the primary DNS server. It stores/contains the same information/data of the zone file on the primary DNS server but as a read only copy. It offers back-up service for the master, the primary DNS server and shares in its workload.

Single Point of Failure (SPOF) indicates that a domain has and depends on only network or a service provider to handle all its DNS. This is only suitable for low-traffic domains but very unsuitable for high traffic as it is most likely to deter its uptime rate.

Start of Authority (SOA) Record is the first record created in a zone file. It contains the serial number and how name servers get the information.

Technical Contact: Person or organization that maintains the domain name registrant’s primary name server.

Thick/Thin Registry is about quantum of information displayed on Whois for a domain name. A Thick Registry displays registrant information, administrative and technical contacts, registrar, registration/expiry dates, registration status, delegated name servers. A Thin Registry displays less information limiting it to registration status, registration/expiry date, registrar and the name servers. NiRA runs a Thick Registry.

Time To Live (TTL) is time specified for a server to cache DNS information to stay in the cache before it leaves it. This duration is set by the domain owner.

TLD: Top Level Domain, is the last label of a fully qualified domain name (FQDN), being the highest domain level in DNS. Administrators of TLDs control names which are registered at the second level in that TLD.

Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) is a collection of protocols used to connect devices/machines to the internet or local networks. This carries out error-checking and also serves packet orderly.

Unicast Name Server is a name server with one network destination.

Uniform Domain-Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) is an ICANN policy for resolution of disputes on the registration of domain names.

User Datagram Protocol (UDP) is a collection of protocols used to connect to the Internet using applications. This is a faster protocol than TCP as it doesn't carry out error-checking but serves packet data in order.

Whois is used to search for domain name availability and domain name information. It can show the time the domain was registered, who registered it, expiry date, name servers used and security status. http://whois.nic.net.ng/ is NiRA’s whois search engine.

Whois Accuracy Program (WAP) is a verification program that will demand that the registrant details be proved authentic and not responding/verifying the details within the given time will lead to DNS suspension until fully verified.

Whois Data Reminder Policy (WDRP) is a reminder to registrants that providing false information in the Whois record can lead to cancellation of their domain name registration. On discovery of false or inexistent details especially contact details the WAP process is triggered.

Zone File is a file that contains the information of services under a domain name like e-mail, website, servers responsible for the services and subdomains.

Keep Your .ng Domain Name Registration Contact Information Current

It is advised that upon registration of a domain name, the registrant ensures the registrant contact details are accurate and current. This is important as regular email is sent to registrants on the status of their domain name(s). Thirty (30) days to expiry of your .ng domain name, for either its renewal or deletion from the system, the registrant is sent regular email by the Registry and the registrar on the status of the domain name.

It is very important you don’t ignore the reminder email for the renewal of the domain name. If you don’t receive the email from the registry on the status of your domain name, it is advised you check the contact details on the NiRA WHOIS website via the link http://whois.nic.net.ng/whois.jsp

The procedure for the NIRA WHOIS search engine can be accessed via the link https://www.nira.org.ng/images/pdf/NIRA_WHOIS_SEARCH_ENGINE_PROCEDURE.pdf .    

You are required to confirm that your contact information as the registrant, associated with your domain name is accurate and current and if not, take the necessary steps to make the corrections. It's important to keep your contact information up-to-date.

When the registration of your domain name is about to expire, an email notification is sent to the registrant contact email address. If the email address is not accurate and current, the email notifications won’t get to the registrant and the domain name registration can expire. The recovery of that domain name may take considerable length of time and can prove very expensive to recover, or it may not be recovered at all, especially if it is a good domain name in hot pursuit by other registrants.

Another important reason to keep your contact information up to date is to ensure that you receive notifications should changes be made to your domain name registration. These notifications are for your protection, so that you can verify and confirm the validity of the changes made, or take appropriate measures in the case of unauthorized changes. Hackers can use malicious means to gain access to your account and make changes to the information associated with your domain name registration to lock you out of your account and hijack your domain name. It is important to keep your domain name registration contact information up to date to protect yourself and/or your business.

Registrants must note that giving wrong information/details at registration, or failure to update registrant information promptly if there is a change could lead to total loss of the domain name. This could also happen if the registrant does not respond to notifications for renewal of the domain name when about to expire.

If any of your contact information (email, postal address, phone number, etc.) changes, contact your administrative contact to update your information against your domain name. as soon as possible to prevent disruption or loss of your domain name registration. NiRA cannot update your contact information for you as it would be a violation of the rights of the registrant; the administrative contact for your domain name is responsible to carry out the changes.

Due to the prevalence of security concerns such as phishing attacks, if you have any doubt or questions about the legitimacy of emails about your WHOIS data, you can always contact your registrar directly. If you believe you haven't been receiving reminder emails on your domain name(s), you need to contact the Registrar immediately.

The accuracy of the NiRA WHOIS is a collective responsibility of the Registry, Registrar and Registrants. We need ensure accuracy and currency of the data we are store on the .ng database.

DIGITAL MARKETING

The definitions of digital marketing vary according to an author's point of view, background and specialization.

According to Chaffey, Digital Marketing is the use of technologies to help marketing activities in order to improve customer knowledge by matching their needs. (Chaffey, 2013.)

According to Strauss and Frost, Digital Marketing is the use of electronic data and applications for planning and executing the conception, distribution and pricing of ideas, goods and services to create exchanges that satisfy individual and organizational goals. (Strauss and Frost, 2001:454)

 We can also say that Digital Marketing is a new philosophy and a modern business practice involved with the marketing of goods, services, information and ideas via the internet and other electronic means. It encompasses all initiatives undertaken by a firm to maintain an online presence and to promote its products, brands, campaigns etc. using tools such as official websites, social media pages, mobile apps, blogs etc.

Brief History 

The first search engine started in 1991 with a network protocol called Gopher for query and search. After the launch of Yahoo in 1994, companies started to maximize their ranking on the website. (Smyth, 2007).

In 2001, the market was dominated by Google and Yahoo for search optimization. In 2006, the rise of search engine optimization grew for major companies like Google. (Smyth, 2007). In 2007, the usage of mobile devices increased the internet usage and people all over the world started connecting with each other more conveniently through social media

Digital marketing's development since the 1990's and 2000's has changed the way brands and businesses utilize technology for marketing. As digital platforms are increasingly incorporated into marketing plans and everyday life, and as people use digital devices instead of visiting physical shops, digital marketing campaigns are becoming more prevalent and efficient.

Exploring Digital Marketing

Smith and Chaffey, 2005 defines marketing as achieving marketing objectives by applying digital technologies. Digital marketing is not only a fast growing force in the current marketing playing field, it is set to be the future of marketing, and digital media might soon replace more traditional forms altogether. In developed world, companies have realized the importance of digital marketing in order for businesses to be successful, they will have to merge online with traditional methods for meeting the needs of customers more precisely. (Parsons, Zeisser, Waitman 1996).

Digital marketing strategies involve utilizing existing and rising communication and data networks to inform personalized and uninterrupted communication between the firm and its customers and to provide worth above customary networks (Watson et al, 2002). It is more convenient for businesses to conduct surveys online with the purpose of getting relevant information from targeted groups and analyzing the results based on their responses. Potential customers can look for reviews and recommendations to make informed decisions about buying a product or using the service. On the other hand businesses can use the exercise to take action on relevant feedback from customers in meeting their needs more accurately.

Digital marketing techniques such as Search Engines Optimization (SEO), Search Engine Marketing (SEM), Content Marketing, Influencer Marketing, Content Automation, Campaign Marketing, Data-driven marketing and E-commerce marketing, Social media marketing, Social Media Optimization, E-mail direct marketing, Display Advertising, E-books, and Optimal disks and games are becoming more common in our advancing technology.

The Search Engine Optimization (SEO) maximizes the way search engines like google find your website. For example, a consumer gets on the internet and types in a keyword related to country code top level domain system. Thanks to your company's Search Engine Marketing (SEM) strategy, your company is listed on the first page (perhaps even at the top). The consumer clicks on the links to your company's website and completes contact information. The lead goes to one of your registrars who then provides the needed services to the consumers.

Digital marketing has a broader scope than internet marketing since internet Marketing (IM) refers only to the internet, world wide web, e-mails, while digital marketing includes all of that plus all other E-marketing tools like: intranets, extranets, mobile phones etc.    

 

 

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