Choosing a Domain Registrar
All websites and blogs have a domain name or a sub-domain name.
A domain name is what a person should type in a browser to access a website. It is something like www.yourdomainname.com. Of course the .com can be anything else like .net, .org, .info, .tv, .co.uk among many other possibilities. It needs to be “purchased” from a domain registrar. I have put the word “purchased” between inverted commas simply because, unlike when purchasing a commodity, the domain name does not become all ours. In fact, we register the name for specific period of time ( 1 year, 2 years etc). After that period, we shall have to repay for renewal otherwise you run the risk of losing the domain name.
A sub-domain name is usually obtain for free from several hosting services. It may something look like yourname.hostingservice.com. It is forever free in most cases.
What do you prefer?
Do you prefer to have your website with a free subdomain name from your webhosting service or would you prefer to pay for your own domain name?
Why choose a domain name over a sub-domain name?
There is nothing wrong in using a sub-domain name provided by your web hosting service. However, it is believed that a personalised domain name adds credibility to our website. Many visitors may conclude that we are not serious, especially when our website involves collecting money (sales, subscriptions). Given sub-domains are free, it may give the wrong perception that we may simply scam and disappear. Also, sub-domain names make the site URL look too long. However, when we pay for a domain name, it indicates we are serious and committed about our website and business.
What information we need to know when choosing a domain registrar?
Interesting question, isn’t it? Well, it is always good to learn about a product before buying it. Like, if you want to buy a mobile phone, it is always good to know what mobile phones can do generally and what features specific mobile phones have. Then you would try to match your needs (and wants) and budget with specific models. You would certainly choose the one which is most compatible with your needs and means.
In the same way, before buying a domain name from a particular registrar, other than the price, it is good to know what registrars usually offer. The following is a list of services commonly offered by registrars when buying a domain name.
1. Domain name.
Of course, this is what you are looking for primarily. There is nothing much to explain here. Any registrar will give you the name you actually typed in provided that it is available because someone else has not yet registered it. If the name is not available, you may be prompted to choose from a list similar names.
2. Domain forwarding and masking and Website/ URL forwarding.
Basically, these mean using a domain name to visit a different website while still seeing the domain name one has typed in the browser. It’s like visiting www.abcde.com but seeing www.abcde.org in the browser. This means others can still access the site www.abcde.org while typing and seeing www.abcde.com in the browser.
This feature is very essential for those who host their website with a service provider other than the where the domain name is bought. Taking my own example, my website is built and hosted at weebly but I bought my domain name at namesilo. As such, there have been configurations at namesilo so that my domain name points to my website at weebly (which has been using a weebly sub-domain for nearly four years.
3. Domain locking, also called registry locking.
Unlike what it may seem, it is quite possible to lose a domain name be it accidentally or fraudulently. Usually, passwords are required to have access to ones account with a domain registrar but to unlock a domain additional security levels are provided which may include secret questions and answers. As such, if ever someone has been able to get access to your account, it is quite unlikely for that person to answer your questions to unlock the domain. And without unlocking, the domain cannot be transferred.
4. Domain protection.
While domain locking is a feature of domain protection for some registrars, others draw a line between them as domain protection may be much more than domain locking. It includes accidental or unauthorised changes to domain name, grace period after domain expiry giving more time for renewal and avoiding loss of domain name.
5. Private registration/ WHOIS records.
When one registers a domain name, one is referred as a registrant. For a domain name without private registration, information like registrant name, registrant organisation, address, telephone numbers and email address are easily obtained when a person performs a “whois” on the domain. Opting for a private registration will conceal these information. Over the internet, many persons tend to prefer anonymity. In addition, private registration prevents unsolicited and undesirable emails. Registrars like 1and1 and namesilo offer this service for free while it is a paid service at most other registrars.
6. DNS control.
This allows one to manage nameservers records, create and manage sub-domains and emails. A very important feature available with all domain registrars. It is also free with most of them but not all registrars have it simple and straight forward, especially as desired for persons who are not so conversant with technical terminologies.
7. Sub-domains of your own domains.
While one may use sub-domains of hosting services for free, upon buying one’s own domain, it sometimes become necessary to have a separate website offering information and services closely related to main website. In this case, instead of having a completely different domain name, if is common practice to use sub-domains of one’s own domain like a blog at blog.yourdomain.com. Such facility varies from registrar to registrar. Free and unlimited with a few, free but limited in quantity with others and yet paid with some registrars.
8. Email with ones domain and email forwarding.
An interesting feature especially for businesses. Given one owns a domain name, it is always desirable to have personalised emails like email@example.com. Some registrants offer such facility for free for a limited number of email addresses, others paid while few of them do not have this feature.
Some registrars, while not providing free email with one's domain, they still provide email forwarding service. This means customers write to firstname.lastname@example.org but the email actually lands in the mailbox email@example.com.
Resource on amazon
Several other services can also be considered, to my opinion, the above features/ services are the most important and can be used to compare domain names and select the one which suits your needs best. The most important criterion remains the price.