Domain names have two real uses. The first use is to setup a website and e-mail account for your website. The second use is to set up your own custom e-mail address without setting up a website in which is becoming a popular option for many people today. They can be quite expensive, but if you know what you’re doing, you can find one pretty cheap. Here’s how.
Choosing the right company to entrust your domain name registrations is vital. There are literally hundreds of companies offering domain name registration services, but how do you know how reliable they are? How long have they been in business? Do they offer all the extra services?
Will they hold your domain to ransom when you come to transfer away? Can you be in full control of your domain at all times? Is the company just another reseller of a reseller of a reseller?!
With so many domain name registration businesses out there how can you ensure you choose one of the more reputable ones?
Here are a few pointers that should help steer you in the right direction:
- Check to see how long the company has been operating. The Internet has been around for about 12 years or so now and so web hosting and domain registration businesses only began life about 10 years ago. DownDoggy.com, the company, known for recently bringing customers .mobi domains, was 10 years old in May 2006, so most DownDoggy.com members have only been members for 10 years or less. Check to see how long the domain name registration business you are considering has been around for.
- Make sure you can control every aspect of your domain name. Many domain name registration companies don’t let you make changes to your domains yourself. You have to enter a request via their support systems and then wait days for assistance. Simple things like changing IPS Tags and changing Name Servers should be possible via your control panel. Make sure you get a control panel and check out what the control panel lets you do.
- If you want to transfer your domain away will you be charged a fee? Many domain name registration and hosting companies charge a release fee. This charge is completely unnecessary. You should never be held to ransom over your domain name. Also, every time you change hosts and transfer your domains, on gTLDs(.com, .net, .biz etc) you will have to pay a transfer in fee. This can be avoided if you make sure you use a good domain name registration company in the first place. You’ll never need to transfer a domain again!
- Check to see if you get any email accounts. Most domain name registration services do not include email. If you want email services with your domain name, most companies charge you for email. In most cases you only get email forwarding. Even for straight forward POP3 email accounts some companies only offer 1 or 2 email accounts. You should make sure you get at least 15-20 POP3 email accounts included free of charge with your domain name registration. Most web hosting companies do not offer free POP3 email accounts. The reason for this is they offer domain name registration as an extra service. It’s not the mainstay of their business.
- Are they an ICANN accredited domain name registrar? You should choose a domain name registration company that is ICANN accredited. Firstly, they have had to go through all the ICANN accreditation checks which is quite an in depth process. Secondly, it’s not cheap! So you know the company is committed to Domain Name Registration as ICANN accreditation is a big investment and this should give you complete reassurance.
- Can you use their SMTP servers for outgoing email? Many hosting and domain name registration providers will not let you use their SMTP servers for sending emails. They assume you can send email via your ISP’s SMTP servers. However, a great many ISP’s and broadband providers will only let you use their SMTP servers on their branded email accounts; ie; davesmith_123@theirISP.net But if you use your own email address such as firstname.lastname@example.org you won’t be able to send email via their SMTP servers. There are workarounds but you shouldn’t have to go to the trouble. Choose the right Domain Name Registration provider who does allow sending mail via their SMTP servers. Also watch out, there are a number of the top hosting companies that will only let you use their SMTP servers on premium email accounts which incur an extra charge.
- Make sure you always retain control of your domain name. There are literally hundreds of businesses hosting their websites with a web host they’re not happy with. Poor service, surprise invoices, unreliable uptime and email issues are just some of the common issues customers are facing today. What most of them want to do is vote with their feet and walk out the door and find another web hosting provider. However moving all their domains to another host is perceived to be a complete admin headache, so disgruntled customers continue to put up with second rate services for fear of the hassle involved in moving to a new web hosting provider.
- Is there another way? Yes, there is. Businesses should be making use of a domain name registration company to centrally administer all their domains. There are lots of very professional domain name registration companies that have been in business for years and that provide fully functional control panels that give their customers full control over their domain names. Then, all they have to do is change the name server details from their old host to their new host for each domain.
- So go through this 7 point checklist and make sure you choose the right home for your domain name registrations and renewals. There are plenty of companies who rely on hosting and domain name registration providers to look after the very life blood of their online businesses. More and more companies are going online and a great many of them rely on their websites for more than 60% of their revenue. So it makes sense to ensure that your domain name is in the hands of a reliable, reputable and professional company. Check to see how long they’ve been in business, make sure you can control every aspect of your domain, check to see if there are any hidden charges if you want to transfer a domain, check to see if you get any free email accounts and how many, check to make sure you can use their SMTP servers for sending email, and always, always make sure you retain control of your domain names.
- .info stands for information
- .com stands for Commercial
- .net stands for Network
- .org stands for Organization
- .us stands for United States
- .biz stands for Business
- .edu stands for post-secondary educational establishments
- .mobi stands for mobile
- Before you buy a web hosting account with a free domain name, make sure that your domain name is in your complete control (provided you continue paying your annual renewal fees) and that you still have control over it even if you switch to a different hosting company.
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