Here are 15 things people should know before registering a domain name.
As a resident “domain expert” among my friends, I get asked a lot of questions about domain name registration. So I thought it would be helpful to create a guide with frequent tips for domain registration. Does anyone ask you for help registering domains? You can point them here.
1. You don’t need to pay for Whois privacy
It used to be wise to pay for Whois privacy for your domain name. It kept your name, phone number, and address out of the public Whois directory, reducing the amount of spam and phone calls you received after registering a domain. But most domain name registrars now automatically keep your information off the public Whois to comply with privacy regulations. So, with the exception of a handful of domain name registrars, paying for Whois privacy is no longer necessary.
2. Prices vary widely from registrar to registrar
The price you pay for a domain name depends on where you register it. Registrars must pay the registry (essentially, the wholesaler who handles each top-level domain) a wholesale price per domain, but the registrar can mark up the price as much as they want. This means you can pay between $9 and $40 per year for a .com domain. And the price range is even wider for some other domain extensions. So it pays to shop around.
3. The best registrar is different depending on your goals
There is no simple answer to the question “Where should I register my domains?” » There are hundreds of domain registrars to choose from. In addition to their prices, consider their level of support and security.
When someone is fairly new to the stuff and needs help, I usually tell them to use GoDaddy because of their phone and chat support. But GoDaddy is a bit pricey if you don’t join its discount program (see below). There are other good registrars. Sav.com usually has the best prices for popular domains. PorkBun has a good user interface and fair prices for all areas. Dynadot is also a popular choice. And that only scratches the surface.
4. You can get discounts if you have lots of domains
The price that registrars publish does not have to be the price you pay. If you manage many domains (usually at least 100), your registrar may offer you discounted rates. Some registrars charge for joining discount programs. For example, GoDaddy has the Domain Discount Club. Other registrars offer reduced rates upon request. And you can often find discount codes on the internet as well.
So if your domain collection has grown from a few to a lot, ask your registrar if they will offer you special rates.
5. The price you pay the first year can be a hook
When registering a domain, don’t just look at the price you are offered for the first year. These are often eye-catching prices, and the price can increase 10 times or more in the second year. Most reputable registrars will display the renewal price next to the registration price. But double-check before committing to a domain for your website.
6. Renewal prices may increase
Oh, and that price you’re offered for renewals? It is subject to change. Prices for domain registrations and renewals tend to increase over time. With the exception of .com, renewal prices are not regulated. So you could end up paying a lot more to renew your domain than you were originally told.
7. Renew your domain for several years
You can register domains for up to 10 years at a time. You have to pay for all those years up front, but if you’re sure you’ll continue to use the domain, it’s a good idea. Every year, your domain must be renewed, it is possible that the renewal will not be successful. You could give up or your automated renewal could fail because your credit card is no longer valid. Oh, and when you pre-enroll for longer terms, you pay current renewal rates for additional years. You lock in today’s price, which will likely increase if you decide to renew later. So register or renew your important domains well in advance for several years.
8. Some domains have higher premium prices
All available domains are priced the same when you register a traditional .com, .net or .org domain. Many other top-level domains have “Premium pricing,” in which the best domains have higher-than-normal annual costs. Sometimes these prices are higher in the first year and then revert to regular fees for renewals, but most have higher upfront costs and higher renewal costs. Ask a registrar for clarification before registering a domain if you have questions about renewal prices
9. Your domain will be locked from transfer after purchasing it
Register your domain with the registrar where you want to keep it for at least 60 days. This is because some domains cannot be transferred after registration. All .com domains are locked for 60 days before you can move them to another registrar. Registrars also put transfer locks on domains for other reasons, such as if they’re newly transferred or if you change some of your contact information, so be careful if you’re planning on moving your domain to another registrar.
10. Even if the domain you want is taken, you may be able to acquire it at an affordable price
Many people move on to another field if the one they originally wanted is taken. But you might be able to buy the domain you want for a little money.
Not all domains cost millions of dollars to acquire. In fact, the majority of domains sell for $5,000 or less. It’s a small price to pay for the perfect business domain name.
Sellers also sometimes offer domains on payment plans. So instead of paying thousands of dollars up front, you can pay hundreds each month until you pay it back.
11. The person contacting you may not be your registrar
Beware of solicitations by e-mail and SMS that you receive after registering a domain name. The sender may claim to be with your registrar, but it’s actually someone who extracted your new registration information to try and sell you things like logo services, web design, etc It’s not as big a problem as it used to be, but be careful before answering a request.
12. Beware of these scams
There are two common scams that all domain owners should be aware of.
One is the domain review scam, where someone contacts you offering lots of money for your domain. Once you agree, they tell you that they need a review for their records and ask you to buy it from a particular site. They actually own this site, and once you pay for the assessment, they will ghost you.
The other is the Chinese brand scam. An entity in Asia will contact you to tell you that someone is trying to register domains similar to the one you registered. They want your permission before allowing this other company to register the domains. They try to trick you into paying to register these domains through them.
13. You don’t need to register .net and .org
The old advice was to register corresponding .net and .org domains when registering a .com. This was before hundreds of “new top-level domains” such as .guru, .xyz, .coffee, etc. do not enter the scene. Now, there are too many domain extensions to register the corresponding domain in each one, so you should be more selective. If you’re aiming big with a brand, consider registering relevant extensions. But you don’t necessarily need to register .net and .org.
14. Trendy domain extensions might actually belong to countries
Bitly thought its domain ending in .ly was cool, just like many other startups. Many were unaware that .ly is a country code domain “belonging” to Libya. This can create problems.
All two-character top-level domains are country code domains. You need to know which country controls the one you are thinking of before registering a domain. For example, are you comfortable basing your business on a .so domain? Did you know this is the national domain of Somalia? It’s not exactly the most stable place in the world.
15. You don’t have to register your domain where you host your website
It can be convenient to register a domain where you host your website, but it is not mandatory. The same goes for website builders like Squarespace and Wix. Although they encourage you to register domains with them, you can easily point domains registered elsewhere to your site. So don’t feel like you have to pay a premium to register a domain with your web host.
What was missing? Feel free to comment with suggestions.