If you are creating a website for yourself or your business, you will need a domain name and in order to register your domain, you will need a domain registrar. Thanks to expensive advertising campaigns and sports sponsorships, some domain registrars are household names, while others are relatively obscure. How do you know which domain registrar is the right one for you?
What Is A Domain Registrar?
A domain registrar is a company that manages the registration of Internet domain names. These companies act as intermediaries between individuals, businesses, and groups that wish to purchase and register domains. Your relationship with your domain registrar is similar to an attorney-client relationship – an attorney acts as your official intermediary with the court system, and in a similar fashion a domain registrar provides the same relationship with a domain registry. One domain registrar company you have most likely heard of is GoDaddy.
The Cost Of A Registrar
There are a number of different reasons why one domain registrar may be preferable to another, but cost should not be a factor. Registration fees vary based on the top-level domain (“com”, “net”, “org”, etc.) that you choose to utilize, but the standard fee for registering a “dot com” domain in 2014 ranges from ten to twenty dollars annually, or 83 cents to $1.67 a month. Obviously the registration cost becomes more of a factor if you register tens or even hundreds of domains, but the majority of businesses only need a handful of domains or even just one, and most of us spend much more on coffee every year than we ever will on domain registration fees. It is important then to look beyond price, especially since using a “discount” register can have significant consequences farther down the road.
Choosing A Good Registrar
The domain registration and administration process is fairly simple, but when a problem arises with your domain, it usually becomes an immediate issue and can affect business operations. If your domain becomes non-functional, your customers won’t be able to access your website. If you provide email services for yourself and your employees, that could go down as well. It is therefore vitally important that you choose a domain registrar with exceptional customer service options.
Check Customer Complaints
At the very least, your domain registrar should have a public customer service number that allows you to speak with a representative over the phone. Be extremely wary of domain registrars that only offer a customer service email address, even if they claim to guarantee a specific turnaround time. Email always has a much slower respond time so it will take quite a bit longer to resolve the problem at hand. There are many websites online that track customer feedback of domain registrars, and if you notice a pattern of customer service complaints, it may be advisable to look elsewhere.
Upselling And Package Discounts
The domain registration business is extremely competitive and not very profitable. Smaller domain registrars must compete with the top companies of the industry and their dominant brand recognition, and often must keep their registration rates low in order to compete. Domain registrars, both big and small, often try to increase their profitability in two ways – by continually offering “premium” add-on services with domain registrations and by bundling domain registrations with other services such as web hosting.
When a customer decides to bundle their domain registration with hosting services such as website, email and blog hosting, registrars often waive the yearly registration fee. This can be useful for some businesses who are seeking an easy and convenient “all in one” web solution, but it is important to remember that not every great domain registrar is a great hosting provider, and it can be advantageous to seek out the best hosting provider for your specific needs.