Recommendations and things to consider for when buying and registering your Web Domain Name…
When looking to acquire a new domain name, there are plenty of things to consider and a lot of options available to you.
Be sure to read around a check for reviews of the different domain providers before choosing which one to use. Some are great for value and cheap domain prices, but their pricing might lock you into price hikes in later years, or their customer service might be atrocious.
Things to look for when buying a Domain Name
All the big name domain registrars are much the same. Their websites are full of products and add-ons and can quickly be confusing, but here are some pointers:
- You can usually buy a .co.uk / .net / .org for cheaper than .com – and the going rate (as long as it’s not a premium domain) should be in the range £5-10 per year.
- A premium domain is usually something that’s obviously very commercially valuable or marketable. Something like “highstreetshop.com” or “groceriesdirect.com”. Domain Names such as these can cost thousands and often go to auction etc.
- Once you search for your desired domain name, it’s common to be bombarded with offers for alternatives similar to your preferred domain. Typically you will be presented with your desired domain name, but also with various other extensions (e.g. .uk / .london etc.), often at reduced prices.
- It’s often the case that your first choice domain might already be taken in its top-level format (e.g. thewebputsimply.com). However, it’s often then case that a near match such as thewebputsimple.com is still available. You might also find a variant like thewebputsimply.co is available, and at a cheaper price.
- Typically a domain provider might offer your preferred domain name for a great first price of say £1.99 for first year, but then normal price of £12.99 for consecutive years after that. Watch out for this common pricing strategy, and make sure you’re happy with the longer-term pricing plan upfront.
Keeping your Domain Name
- Once you’ve registered a domain, you should then get priority and notification in advance to renew it. This should come through when the renewal date comes around the following year.
- One option is to register a domain name, and then do nothing with it until you are ready. These domains are commonly referred to as ‘dormant’ or ‘parked-domains’. This practice is often done by those who aren’t yet ready to launch their new site or business. It can also be useful if you want to sit on a domain name which you think might be valuable in the future.
- At the end of each registration period, if you want to keep them, you can just renew each of your domain names and pay the renewal fees.
- It’s often the case that your domain name purchases will be set to auto-renew once the initial 1, 2 or 3 year period is up. The “auto-renew” option will be in the settings/preferences of your Domain hosting account (once you’ve bought something).
- There will often be a check box instructing your domain registrar to automatically renew on your behalf. You should get advance notice in the run up to the renewal, but it’s usually the case that if you do nothing, the default is to renew and charge you the cost.
Other things to consider when buying a Domain Name
- Domain name add-ons can be a minefield! Domain name registrars will offer a range of paid services. These might include for things like the right to hide your registration details, or have an SSL certificate etc. – all for different prices.
- In many territories around the world, it is required by law that details of the persons or registrars who own a domain name are publicly searchable. A good example if Google: who.is/whois/www.google.com.
- This same is no longer true for European countries as of May 2018. With the roll-out of the GDPR regulation across Europe, it is now the case that contact details of users within that region are no longer publicly available.
- If you do live in a region where domain registration details are publicly available, then you have some options. The information which populates your Whois records, is provided by your domain name registrar (e.g. GoDaddy). So if you don’t want your home address/personal details to be searchable; then the removal or obfuscation of this is one of the add-on products that providers typically offer. Note that hiding your contact details might not be possible for certain top-level domains, dependent on your territory and local laws.
- SSL certificates are all to do with certifying that your site (usually eCommerce) is secure and safe. If your site will be handling sensitive customer details, then security should be paramount, and you really should research and consider SSL protection.
Next Steps – Web Hosting
- With regards Web Hosting – you can buy/register a domain name through one provider (e.g. GoDaddy), but host your actual website (the files on a server) – using a different provider (e.g. JustHost). This can become a little confusing and convoluted to get setup correctly, but is certainly possible with all good providers.
- Hosting packages can be super cheap, or more expensive. This will all depend on whether you’re hosting a small personal blog site, or a huge eCommerce site like Amazon!
- Pricing for hosting packages is usually based on things like physical size of site (MB to store on the servers), expected traffic and how much data your website visitors will be downloading from the servers while using your site, etc.