How to Choose a Domain Name Registrar:
This guide on how to choose a domain name registrar will go over some of the most important things to consider when choosing a domain registrar. Read on to learn how to choose the best domain registrar and then when you are finished be sure and check out our free tools for finding great domain names.
ICANN Accredited/Reseller Licensed:
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is a non-profit corporation that was created in 1998 to take on the responsibility of assigning unique identifiers (the letters and numbers used to form a domain name) across the world. Before the formation of ICANN in 1998 Network Solutions had a monopoly on assigning out these unique identifiers to people and businesses looking for an Internet domain name.
Ok, why the history lesson on the birth of ICANN? Well, the existence of ICANN means that you and I and everyone else that is looking for a domain name has plenty of different choices when it comes to looking for a place to register their domain names.
There are many different domain name registrars and domain name resellers. It is important that you chose a domain name registrar that is ICANN accredited or choose a reseller that is affiliated with an ICANN accredited domain registrar. Ignore this important first step to choosing the best domain name registrar at your own peril.
Choosing a Cheap Domain Registrar
Of course you knew that price would be one of the most important things to keep in mind when searching for a registrar. What is maybe even more important to keep in mind is that price is not everything. Choose a registrar that has a history of strong customer service, an easy to use interface, and all of the other things that we will cover in just a moment. As far as price goes two of the cheapest domain registrars that still offer a solid mix of additional features and strong customer service include GoDaddy and 1and1.
Typical domain registration fees average around $10 per year although some registrars charge upwards of $30 per year. Some registrars also levy additional fees for addons like private domain registration. At the time of this writing 1and1 offers free private domain registration and GoDaddy offers free private registration when 5 or more domains are purchased.
Watch out for some of the smaller domain name registrars and resellers that may highlight very low initial domain name registrations but then sneak in a lot of extra fees.
Since customer service can sometimes be a hard thing to measure and quantify here are 3 questions to ask yourself about a registrar’s customer service:
How can I contact their customer service/support team? (web, email, phone, etc)
Are they available 24/7?
How quick is their response time?
If a problem should ever develop with one of your domain names then you should feel secure in knowing that you can quickly and easily contact a support rep at your registrar who can competently and courteously help you remedy the problem.
Some registrar’s domain management interfaces are easy to use, others take a little getting use to, and some are just downright horrible. The single best clue for finding a registrar with an easy to use interface for managing your domains is the registrar’s website. For the most part the usability of the interface will mimic the usability of the website. If you can navigate and perform tasks easily on a registrar’s website than chances are their interface for managing your domain names will be set up just as well (One important note is that if you are a domainer or someone who has a lot of domain names then choose a registrar that has tools for performing bulk domain management tasks rather than having to perform the same task on only one domain at a time. Some registrars with strong bulk management features include GoDaddy and Moniker .
Control of the Domain
Make sure that the registrar or reseller you choose allows you to fully control the domain name by listing your contact information as the administrative, billing, and technical contact. Of course, if you choose to register your domain name privately then your contact information will not show up on public WhoIs lookups anyway but it is still a good thing to make sure that you have full control of your domain name and not your registrar. Almost all large domain name registrars give you full control of your domain names this way.
Registrar Addon Services
Almost every registrar out there will try and upsell you on some of their other services like hosting, email, etc. If any of these services come free then great but be careful because many of these free services are either of sub par quality, ad supported versions, or worse. You should choose a registrar for the best domain name registration and not necessarily for their addon services. It’s great if you can find domain name registration and hosting from the same company but chances are the best registrar wont necessarily be the best host and vice versa. Once you need hosting for your website then be sure and first read our how to choose the best hosting plan guide.