Where to Purchase a Domain Name
At this stage if you have been following this blog you will be familiar with and aware of the following:-
You should now have selected a Domain Name or Names which you know is/are available to purchase. It is always wise to have a choice of more than 1 name. The reason for having a number of options comes down to the purchase price of the Domain Name. There can be a wide variation in the price of different Domain Names. The impact of the price variation means that your number one
choice which is available may be prohibitively expensive. If you are starting out on your internet journey or are just buying an additional Domain Name, unless you are a very experienced online marketer you want to avoid spending all of your monies on the purchase of a Domain Name. It is normally possible to get a similar name at a reasonable price.
Domain Name Registrar
All Domain Names are held on a Registrar. Therefore, when you attempt to purchase a Domain Name it must be purchased from a company accredited by ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers). ICANN is a non profit organisation which has been given the responsibility and authority to manage the Domain Name System. It carries out this role by crediting “usually for profit organisations” with the “license or authority” to sell available Domain Names.
When you attempt to buy a Domain Name you do not need to concern yourself that the selling organisation may not be registered with ICANN. The larger well known companies will be registered and it is these organisations from which you should make your purchase.
Without the domain name system all we would have is confusing and hard-to-remember IP addresses (i.e a series of numbers), instead of the easy to use and remember domain names we have today.
Most domain name registrars today make it simple to purchase and renew your domain names. Nevertheless you need to choose wisely. Each register has their positives and negatives. Later in this post a few of the positives and negatives will be highlighted.
As I provide analysis and advice below you will note the term “hosting” is referred to. In writing a “blog” it is not always possible or advisable to put all the information in a single “blog” (information overload). The other challenge is where two separate actions can take place concurrently. This is a long way of saying that before you purchase your Domain Name from any Vendor you may be wise to read my next “blog” which deals with “Hosting a Domain Name”.
How to Choose the Right Registrar
There are hundreds of domain name registrars to choose from.
Once you’ve found a domain name(s) that meets your requirements you need to consider a number of options when selecting a suitable registrar. Factors which you should take into account in your search are:-
1. Contract and Pricing
For most of us this will be our number 1 priority post selection of the Domain Name. It is always prudent to review what is on offer from a selection of Domain Name registrars and start to get a “feel” of the various pricing options. Options are that you can usually register your domain for a period of one, three, five, or even ten years.
If this is your first time registering a domain it is recommended just registering a Domain Name for one year. You can usually turn on automatic renewal, which automatically renews your Domain Name at the end of the year. My own preference is not to do this, as I like to keep control of my money.
You should also note that often the first years Domain Name fee can be very cheap with a large jump in the price of the Domain Name in subsequent years. If you are not satisfied with the performance of your Domain Name registrar and you only sign up for a year you can always transfer the name elsewhere at the expiry of the year.
If possible be sure to investigate any costs in dealing with domain transfers, cost of renewal, and any additional fees that may be added at the renewal date.
2. Pricing Up sells and Pricing Add on’s
Many domain registrars will attempt to add on additional fees just as you’re about to purchase your domain name. The most common added fees are WHOIS (this provides your personal address if you are a private individual) and privacy protection. Frequently the domain price being advertised is not always the final price.
Prior to completion of your purchase make sure you’re not paying too much for your domain when compared to purchasing the same Domain Name from another registrar. It does pay to “shop around”, and if possible try to ascertain a price for the second and subsequent years (it may not always be possible to do this).
Be particularly vigilant to watch out for up sells that you might involuntarily add to your total. Some examples of up sells are additional web hosting, multi-year domain registration, web site creation products and others.
Most registrars will offer additional web services above and beyond registering a domain name. Such services would be hosting, security certificates, web sites etc, etc. These services will be discussed in detail on the next blog.
3. Customer Support
For almost all of us buying a Domain Name (including seasoned professionals); excellent and timely customer support is a must. Receiving an answer to a problem 3 days after the problem arises is just not acceptable. As far as possible try to ensure support is responsive and helpful before you actually need it.
Do a google search on comments from customers on the various Domain Name registrars you are considering using. This search should lead you to Blog Sites etc containing a wealth of information of the “pros and cons” of the registrar(s) under consideration.
4. The User Experience
Once you have a domain name in your possession there are certain things you’re going to need to do to get your site up and running. These things can all come under the heading of “Domain Name Hosting” and will be addressed in detail in my next blog.
Hosting issues can be a nightmare if the hosting companies domain management systems are hard to use. If this is your first time purchasing a domain or even if you have previously purchased a Domain Name , then be sure to choose a domain registrar that is user friendly.
Listing of 10 Domain Name Vendors?
A search on Google will provide you with an extensive list. I have for your convenience listed out 10 Domain Name Registrars below (this is for information only and is not a recommendation of any of these vendors). This listing is by no means an exhaustive list:-
A Brief Analysis/Comment on Four Domain Vendors
Bluehost appears to be primarily interested in the provision of hosting. They seek to sign the purchaser up to a monthly hosting plan and provide a free Domain Name. There are bound to be restrictions on the selection of a Domain Name as depending on the “desirability” of the Domain Names some names are much more expensive to purchase than others.
They have three different hosting plans all of which provide you with a single Domain Name. Another feature which is not highlighted and which someone new to Domain Names would not be aware of, is that they automatically load your Domain Name onto the hosting platform and load WordPress Software onto your site.
I have never used this company but it appears suitable for both novice and experienced users provided you can get the desired Domain Name as part of the monthly fee. If you end up having to separately purchase the Domain Name then you need to consider the cost of monthly hosting and the cost of the Domain Name with other alternatives.
GoDaddy has been in business for a considerable time.. They are both a domain registrar and a hosting company, so they can do a lot for your site without you having to turn elsewhere. They are the world’s biggest domain name registrar and they also sell a lot of other services to support larger sites, eCommerce sites, and much more.
They tend to have a very varied pricing structure. However, the good news is they are forever running promotions where you can register a domain for as little as $0.99. If you have a lot of patience and are very savvy you could end up with a very good offer for the first year.
GoDaddy offers a great range of services, but I have often struggled with the layout of their site and what exactly I end up signing up for. In plain English I did not find their site intuitive. The site is very promotion and marketing driven and often they are so busy bombarding you with offers that it is difficult to see the “wood from the trees”.
Their support is adequate but in my opinion not “first class”.
My biggest hate about GoDaddy is the hard sell once you select your Domain Name. The extras that they try to add into your basket is way over the top. In addition if you do purchase something and omit to tick the correct boxes you are subsequently bombarded to your email box with additional promotions and offers. As I am a person who does not like to be intimated with offers and having used them once I never used them again for the reasons listed in this paragraph.
Namecheap has a site which is probably one of the most intuitive and easy to use in this business. Having stated this; even then, I get myself into confusion periodically but please read on. They offer reasonably priced domains (especially after the first year), and have a number of free services including SSL encryption which will be referred to in my next blog.
Registering a domain with Namecheap is relatively straightforward and there is no pressure to buy additional up sells.
Where issues arise in setting up your domain they have numerous easy to follow tutorial videos. However, they do only offer person to person phone support, so you won’t be able to speak to someone if the need arises. That being said, their online chat support is incredibly responsive, helpful and patient and is available 24/7.
As a user of this online chat support I have found it second to none even when they are dealing with what seems a routine query. As a side issue, may I say there are no routine issues, all issues no matter how trivial are important. The difference is some take longer than others to resolve. Another issue of importance is that they are usually able to solve your issue on the online chat support within 24 hours.
HostGator tends to have similarities with Bluehost. Beyond registering domains they’re mostly known for their hosting. They offer low-priced hosting and free domain registration bundles plus Email for the first year.
If you do purchase a bundle package and decide to get hosting as well, then you’ll be happy to hear that they have a 99.99% up time, meaning your website will very rarely, if ever, go offline.
HostGator provides a solid foundation for you to start your online journey They are promotion and marketing driven but just not to the same level as GoDaddy.
This has been a long blog post, but I trust you have picked up many “nuggets of information”.
There are no perfect Domain Names, but applying the advice given in this post can help you strive towards a suitable Domain Name at a reasonable price with good support available when issues arise (which they will)!
Do not fall into the trap of “Paralysis by analysis” which is the state of over-analysing (or over-thinking) a situation so that a decision or action is never taken, in effect paralysing the outcome. At times you will just have to go forward on a best judgement. Most expertise only comes through a degree of trial and error and with the passing of time. They call this experience and there really is no substitute for experience.
On a personal note my recommended Domain Name registrar would be Namecheap, for reasons of ease of use, support 24/7 and also reasonable pricing especially when renewals are due.
Do not beat yourself up if your first efforts cause you problems. We have all been there. As long as you do not waste all your money on a single effort you will be able to try again. A positive is, that it takes little money to purchase and host a Domain Name.