When you’re gearing up to get your business rolling, it’s easy to remember the big stuff. Business name? Check. Awesome new logo? Check. Great new location for your store? Of course, check. But what about your presence online? These days, your online presence is as important as your physical location. And the first step towards establishing that online presence is your domain name. But wait, what about the people behind the domain? Trust me, it’s important to know how to select a domain name registrar.
There are several factors you’ll want to consider beyond simply choosing a great domain, one of which is selecting a reliable domain provider.
Below, we’ll discuss some factors you’ll want to think about when selecting your domain and your domain registrar.
How to select a domain name registrar
There are quite a few things to think about when it comes to how to select a domain name registrar. But let’s break things down a bit before going into actually choosing a registrar.
“Registrar” refers to a company, such as GoDaddy, that manages the domain name registration process. Different domain extensions (referred to as gTLDs and ccTLDs) are managed by their respective registries, but those registries don’t sell domains directly to users. That’s where the registrar comes into play.
So, now that you’re a bit more familiar with how the registry/registrar relationship works, let’s take a look at what you should consider when selecting your domain registrar.
ICANN (or the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) is the governing body over domain name registrars. They provide guidelines and enforce rules that all accredited registrars must follow. This is important, as it normalizes the domain name registration and management system (such as domain transfers, domain WHOIS updates, etc.). It also allows the domain customer a route for further assistance if they feel that their domain registrar isn’t abiding by the rules set out by ICANN.
Since your domain name is your online identity, this additional layer of governance is vital. Most registrars are accredited with ICANN these days, but if you’re not sure, you can check through ICANN directly.
Complete control over your domain
There are some registrars that only provide partial control over your domain. This could include the registrar adding their own contact information to portions of your domain details (which can make transferring your domain to a different provider much more difficult), or even preventing you from making critical updates to your domain settings (such as the ability to point your domain to your desired hosting provider).
Your potential domain provider should be able to tell you their policies on this before you register your domain name, so don’t be afraid to ask if you’re going to have full control of your own domain before you register it.
Quality 24/7 support
What’s the benefit of having full control over your domain name if you’re not able to get support for any questions that might have come up?
It’s vital your domain name operates as expected. It’s the address for visitors reaching your site, and the last thing you need is to miss out on potential traffic because of a hiccup with the registrar. A quality support team might even be able to assist you with choosing a domain. They can bring your attention available options, which will help you to make an informed decision about your domain.
Pricing and domain options
Domain names aren’t generally going to be a huge expense. Most of the common domain extensions are available for $10 to $20 per year. But something that you might want to consider are additional options for your domain, such as bulk registration, domain privacy, theft protection, etc.
But what do some of the domain options do for you? Let’s take privacy, for example. Several domain providers offer this feature, and while privacy isn’t required for your domain, it can go a long way in protecting your personal contact information. Domain registrars are required to provide valid contact information for registered domains on WHOIS searches. While there is a benefit to having valid contact information available there, the unfortunate downside is that spammers and scammers love to gather email contact information from WHOIS directories.
Privacy on your domain is a great way to protect your personal contact information. Make sure it’s available with your domain registrar before purchasing a domain.
What about additional extensions? While many businesses choose .com domains for their primary web address, there are tons of new domain extensions available you might find more appealing. Not all domain providers will have a wide selection of domain extensions, so if this option is important to you, make sure they’re available through your selected registrar.
Now that you know how to select a domain name registrar, you’re ready for the next step — registering your domain!