Getting Started on Domain of One’s Own

1.Choosing a Domain Name

Choosing your domain name is the first step in getting started on Domain of One’s Own. Your domain name is really just a unique Web address that can be used to build out your own digital presence. As you make your choice, there are a few considerations to keep in mind:

Your Domain Name Must Be Available: Domain names must be unique, which means in order for you to claim your own, you need to be sure that it is currently available (and not being used by any one else or any company or organization). There are lots of tools to check on domain availability, and when you sign up on Domain of One’s Own, we’ll actually check the availability of your choice for you. If you’d like to spend some time thinking about your choice and checking availability before you actually sign-up, we recommend using

You Must Choose a “Top Level Domain” (TLD): The TLD is the suffix (or ending part) of your domain name. On Domain of One’s Own, we only allow you to choose from four TLDs:

  • .com
  • .net
  • .org
  • .info

You must choose which one you want to use (and the availability of your domain may depend upon the TLD you choose). Historically, .com domains were meant for businesses and commercial entities. On the other hand, .org domains were usually used by non-profit organizations. The .net domain was mean to be used by internet service providers.

All of that said, the “historic” uses of these TLDs means very little anymore. You may find that .com domains are easier for people to remember, or you may like the “non-commercial” message of using a .org. The bottom line is that your choice of a TLD is entirely personal: just make sure that you choose one of the TLDs allowed by Domain of One’s Own.

Choose a Domain You Can Live With: UMW will host your domain as long as you are associated with the University. Upon leaving UMW, you’ll be able to decide if you wish to take over payment for your domain and take it with you. Therefore, you should choose a domain name that you feel you can live with for quite some time. You should pick something that you won’t find embarrassing in the future. A good rule of thumb is to pick a domain that you would be comfortable putting on a future job application.

You May Wish to Include Your Name in Your Domain: There is no requirement that your domain reflect your specific identity in the form of your first and last name. However, choosing a domain name that includes your name may make it easier for you to achieve higher rankings in search engines when someone queries your real name.

Pick a Domain You Like: At the end of the day, your domain should reflect you. Pick a domain you like and are proud of. It can reflect your interests, sports you play, or your hobby. Or it could just be your name. The “right” domain for you is the one you’re comfortable with.

2.Signing Up on Domain of One's Own

To get started on Domain of One’s Own, you’ll need to register a domain and signup. Before you get started, we recommend that you review our information about Getting Started on Domain of One’s Own.

  1. To start go to
  2. Click Login/Signup button. You’ll use your UMW NetID and password to create access the signup system and to log in.
    UMW Domains login
  3. Once logged in, you will pick your domain name. The first thing you need to do is enter the domain name you wish to register. Type your desired domain name in the form field that appearsThen choose the desired Top-Level Domain (TLD) from the drop-down menu.  The system will check to make sure the domain name you’ve chosen is available.
  4. When you’ve found an available domain that you want, click Checkout Now. (Don’t worry, we won’t ask you for an payment information. It’s free for you!)
  5. On the Checkout page that appears next, you’ll be asked to review and agree to the Domain of One’s Own Terms of Service. Click the check box at the bottom of the Terms of Service. When you’re done click the Register Now button.
  6. Once you’ve submitted your order, it can take 20-30 seconds for your order to complete. Please be patient! When your order is completed, a confirmation page will appear.

That’s it. You’re now the proud owner of your own domain and Web hosting space!

3.Domain Verification

When you’ve recently created a domain with Domain of Ones Own, you are required to verify their domain with ICANN. This is a very simple process that consists of clicking a few buttons and, in some cases, resending verification emails.

If you fail to verify your domain within two weeks of registering, it will be suspended. When this happens, all of the sites and content you’ve created at your domain will still exist but they will no longer be available via a Web browser until you complete the verification process.

Step 1: Locate Your Verification

Ideally, your verification email should show up in your UMW email inbox shortly after you complete your domain registration. However, UMW’s email filters sometimes place domain verification messages into students’ spam/junk folders.

To find your verification email, open your email and first check your main inbox. If the message is not there, then open your spam/junk folder.

When you locate the message, it will be clearly marked with a subject line similar to “IMMEDIATE VERIFICATION required for []”. If the email is not present anywhere, skip to Step 2. Otherwise, open the message; it will resemble the screenshot below.

Sample email for domain verification. Subject line: IMMEDIATE VERIFICATION required for [domain name]Click on the link in the message to verify your email. A Web page will appear notifying you that your email has been verified.


Step 2: Go to the Site

If you can’t find your verification message and your domain has already been suspended, you can resend the message to yourself by visiting your site.

Enter the URL of your domain in your browser. A page similar to the screenshot below should appear.

Domain Verification screen showing captcha and Resend Verification Email button.

Enter the captcha in the prompt on the screen and click the Resend Verification Email. Be patient;  the message may 10-20 minutes to find its way to your email.

4.What Can You do with Your Domain of One's Own Account

Your ability to do things on Domain of One’s Own is dictated to a large degree by the limits of your imagination.

To spark your imagination, here are some ideas that might help you get started.

Install a Web Application in Your Space

Domain of One’s Own makes it very simple to install certain Web applications in your Web space. Web applications are just special software that run on a Web server. Usually they allow you to build and manage a Web site. The kind of site you can build depends upon the type of application you install. Here are some examples of applications that you can easily install within the Domain of One’s Own Web hosting interface.

WordPress LogoWordPress: Probably the most popular application among Domain of One’s Own users, WordPress is a blogging application. While it allows you to quickly and easily set up a blog, it also comes with a set of features that really make it possible to set up any kind of basic Web site without much difficulty. WordPress is also the application that runs UMW Blogs and UMW’s main Web site.

ZenPhoto iconZenPhoto: This application is a good choice if you’re looking for a way to share images in your Web space.

OwnCloud iconOwnCloud: If you’ve used DropBox, the concept of OwnCloud will be familiar. It allows you to upload and access files from anywhere with Web access. You can also share those files and sync them to your devices.

These are just a FEW of the open-source applications that are available to you in your Domain of One’s Own Web space.  We encourage you to read more about what Web applications are and which ones are available to you through this project.

Set up an Email Address

Through your Domain of One’s Own Account, you can set up an email address (or several) of your own. Addresses can be linked to complete inboxes (which you can then access through a webmail client or by setting up another email client), or they can just be forwarding addresses which you point to an existing email you already have. We have instructions available about how to set up your own email address.

Organize Your Site with Subdomains and Folders

Through this project, you’ve received a domain name that you can actually subdivide and organize any way you like. One easy way to organize your domain is to create subdomains, in which you can then install other applications. In addition, you can just set up subfolders for your site (which can also have their own applications installed in them). Here’s an example of how you might organize your site (using the subdomain vs. the subfolder approach)

Subdomain Approach Subfolder Approach (“root”) Install WordPress as your “main site” (“root”) Install a second WordPress instance for a course you’re taking Install ZenPhoto for a public photo gallery of your photos Install OwnCloud so you can access your files on your laptop and at work


This is just an example of a way to organize your site and then use different sections to do different things. There is no one solution to this challenge, and what you do should be driven by what makes sense to you. To start, you may just want to install one thing at the “root” of your domain, and then let the rest evolve as you get to know more about what’s possible.

Map Your Domain (or a Subdomain)

If you already have a digital presence that you’d like to pull into your Domain of One’s Own space, domain mapping is an option you may wish to explore. This allows you to assign your domain (or a subdomain) to another service. Some services that work with domain mapping are:

When you map a domain, users who visit your URL will automatically see your space on one of these services. It’s a great way to incorporate you activity elsewhere into your domain, and it might be a good first-step if you’ve already established a presence somewhere else and just want to point your new domain to that space.

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