A Domain Registrar
Selecting A Domain Registrar
You need more than an idea and hosting plan to set up a web site.
You also need a domain name. A domain name is your unique address
on the Internet. Cheapwebhostingreport.com, google.com, microsoft.com,
and yahoo.com are examples of domain names.
Why "Free" is sometimes bad
Many web hosting companies will offer to give you a domain name
when you sign up with them. This can be a great deal, provided they
register the domain in your name. Unfortunately, some hosting companies
register the domain in their name. That means that they own your
address and they don't have to let you move your domain name to
another web hosting company.
This can be very bad. It would be like someone else owning the
name of your company. So before you take advantage of free domain
registration with the hosting company you choose, be sure that they
register the domain in your name. If they do not say they do, it's
probably safest to assume that they do not.
Fortunately, registering a domain name is simple and inexpensive.
Unlike a few years ago when one company had a virtual monopoly on
commercial domain names, there are now a large number of registrars
to choose from and competition has lowered prices and increased
the ease of domain name registration.
What to Look For
There are two important things to look for in a domain registrar:
reliability and location. No one knows exactly what will happen
if a domain registrar goes bankrupt. There are supposed to be safeguards
in place to protect domain registrants from losing their domains,
but you don't want to be one of the people testing these procedures,
so a solvent, reliable domain registrar is a must.
Location is important because domain registrars are subject to
the laws of the country where they are located and some have been
known to refuse to grant (or worse yet, grant and then take back)
domain names that are unacceptable under the laws of their home
country. A registrar in the US may be your best bet if you have
possible "freedom of speech" issues with the domain name
(or the site contents in some cases) you'd like to use.
What to Avoid
Most registrars now offer all sorts of additional features -- like
web hosting. Most of the web hosting plans we've seen at domain
registrars are feature poor and over priced. If you are tempted
by one, think twice and check out other hosts before buying web
hosting from your domain registrar.
Many will try to make it sound like it is a lot of extra work
to host elsewhere. It isn't. All you have to do is point your domain
account at the registrar to the nameservers your web hosting company
gives you. This involves typing two urls. It is not hard at all.
My clients and I have had good luck with the following three domain
First Choice: GoDaddy
Our current first choice of an affordable, reliable, US-based domain
registrar is one of the most popular domain registars, GoDaddy.
They can register .com, .net, .org, .biz, .info, ,ws, .us and .name
domains for $9.95 a year or less (and there are additional discounts
when you register for multiple years). If you already have a domain
name and are still paying $35 dollars a year for it, you can reduce
your domain costs by transfering you domain to GoDaddy and paying
just $7.95 (for most types of domains) to renew your domain for
an additional year.
Second Choice: Dotster.com
Dotster.com is our second choice of an affordable, reliable, US-based
domain registrar. They can register .com, .net, .org, .biz, .info,
.us and .name domains for $14.95 a year (discounted when you register
for multiple years). If you already have a domain name and are still
paying $35 dollars a year for it, you can save money by transfering
your domain to Dotster and paying just $8.95 to renew your domain
for an additional year.
Third Choice: Yahoo
Many of my small business clients like Yahoo Small Business. They
only register .com, .net, .org, .biz, .info, .us domains and they
charge $9.95 a year, but many small business people seem more comfortable
with a major name brand -- and Yahoo qualifies.
About the Author
Randall Stukey is the
chief editor of the monthly The Cheap Web Hosting Report (http://www.cheapwebhostingreport.com)
which lists the top five low cost web hosts and several special
purpose web hosts along with articles on web hosting, web site design,
and site promotion.