Selecting the right Domain Registrar for an individual or business is important. There are many things to consider when selecting a Domain Registrar, but first of all, what is a Domain Registrar? A Domain Registrar is a company that manages the registration of domain names (website names). All domain registrars must themselves be registered and accredited. ICANN, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, is an international non-profit organization that creates contracts and regulations for Domain Registrars to follow.
These regulations make the internet usable and accessible across all platforms. For a list of accredited domain registrars go to ICANN.org and review the domain registrars who are compliant with the RAA, Registrar Accreditation Agreement. Only choose a Domain Registrar who is accredited with ICANN to ensure proper service.
What to Consider
The pricing for domain name registration varies widely and depends primarily on the type of TLD, Top Level Domain, desired. A Top Level Domain refers to the suffix attached to the end of the domain name. For example, in www.example.com, the '.com' portion is the top level domain and 'example' is the domain name. In the past there were only a few types top level domains available, such as '.com' and '.org'. Now there are hundreds of different TLDs to choose from ranging from '.agency' to '.discount' and more. The more specific or exotic the TLD, the more it will cost to register the domain name.
Not all domain registrars offer a wide selection of TLDs. Domain registrar, NameCheap.com, does offer many of the newer top level domains and you can browse them here. It is good to shop around because different registrars will have varying prices for the same domain names. Domain names with '.com' still continue to be the least expensive and most reliable TLD available, with an average price of $10 per year.
Length of Registration
The length of registration for a given domain name factors in to the cost of the registration. All domain registrars offer yearly and multi-year plans, all with renewal options. When registering for a plan it is important to note exactly how long the domain name will be registered for, what the renewal fee is, and whether it is an automatic renewal.
Register a domain name can expose your personal information such as name, email, address, and phone number to other person that can be easily checked by WHOIS Lookup tool. WHOIS privacy is a common practice because all of that information is free and accessible to anyone with an internet connection. It is not unusual for someone to begin receiving spam or even email phishing scams after registering a domain name without WHOIS privacy.
Some Domain Registrar's offer WHOIS privacy protection for free. This protects the registered domain owner's information from display publicly. Instead the information comes up as private with some contact information for the Domain Registrar. If a Domain Registrar is offering WHOIS privacy for a fee, it is probably because their service is inexpensive to begin with.
Registrar-Lock is a function of top level domains where the domain name is locked, or unchangeable, from the name of the authorized registered owner of the domain. The registrar lock prevents any unauthorized activity, such as domain transfers. A good Domain Registrar will automatically enable registrar lock on every registered domain.
Unlike WHOIS privacy, domain name registrar usually offers this service for free without any extra cost. To unlock the domain, the client would need to contact the Domain Registrar to have the domain unlocked or possibly the client has the ability to do this themselves through the Domain Registrar's website.
Some domain registrars have a fee associated with moving to a new domain registrar or 'transferring-out'. If there is a chance of needing to transfer the domain registrar for a website, it is important to check how much the transfer fee is to move the domain from the registrar and also be aware of a 'transfer-in' fee from the new domain registrar. Some domain registrar's do not charge a fee for domains transferred into their service, but will often charge an additional year of whatever the cost is of registering a domain for one year.
For example, if Joe moves Joe.com from his previous registrar to a new one, his new registrar charges Joe $10 for one year or registration and an additional $10 for the transfer itself. If Joe's previous registrar has a 'transfer-out', Joe will be paying even more.
Easy to Use
Domain maintenance can be relatively simple and require little effort beyond the initial registration. However, this can be a problem once you have many domains under the same account. Good domain registrar should have a good bulk domain management system allowing its user to easily manage multiple domains at once instead of updating it one by one.
In addition, user should be able to log in to the Domain Registrar's website and easily navigate to the different areas of interest such as renewals, transfers, or authorization codes. A good member portion of their website and good user interface is indicative of good quality.
Good customer service is irreplaceable. Many good domain registrar's offer 24/7 customer service availability for email and good hours for phone and webchat. This service is absolutely essential when something is not going as planned, both technical and billing problems.
Good customer service goes beyond being available. It is also about not constantly attempting to sell clients more than they have already paid for because they are calling for help with a service they do not understand or a product that is not working. Good customer service is a positive indicator that a Domain Registrar is doing their best for their customers.
It is imperative to read the fine print. This is important for any contract. Registering for a domain name is entering into a contract with the Domain Registrar. The fine print is where the information about domain authorization codes, transfer-in and transfer-out fees, renewal fees, and other potential 'hidden fee's may be found. Scrolling to the bottom and clicking 'agree' could lead to surprises that a domain buyer was not previously aware of. Taking the time to read the contract and understand what is being agreed upon is essential to keeping hidden fees at bay.
It is best to choose an ethical Domain Registrar. An informed buyer will not choose a company that offers the cheapest, rock-bottom pricing for their domains, nor one that charges far more than a domain is worth. Taking the time to read reviews and customer feedback of potential Domain Registrars and taking special consideration for the topics mentioned in this article will ensure domain name buying success. Or just simply look at our top domain registrars list.