When it’s time to register your company’s domain name, the options for domain registrars can seem endless. There are so many, it’s almost like anyone can start their own domain name registry!
In fact, it’s very easy to start a registrar, so it’s especially important to do your homework before entrusting one with your valuable domain. Once the competency and reliability of a registrar has been vetted, there’s still more to consider before picking the right one for your business needs.
This article explains how to determine the legitimacy of a registrar, the different services they provide, and other factors which may influence your decision.
The very first standard you should hold to any registrar on your shortlist is that they be ICANN accredited. The International Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) awards accreditation to those registrars which are operating under sound infrastructural and financial means.
There can be many levels of resellers with registrars, so if you are looking to work with an reseller domain name registrar, the parent affiliate should be checked for accreditation.
Aside from a few exceptions, it’s always best to register your domain name for at least a few years. The maximum length of time a domain name can be registered is 10 years, though some registrars will limit you to 5 years or fewer.
When managing multiple domain names, services which alert you to upcoming registry renewal are particularly valuable. Most domain name registrars offer expiration notices, while automatic renewal is somewhat rarer.
Many customers find it convenient to receive web hosting services from their registrar, and so need other services to help them manage their website. For this reason, good domain name registrars also offer services like SSL certification, website building, scripting support, SEO tools, and email services.
Shop locally if you use a domain name registrar as a full web service provider. Search engines provide more accurate results within a country from local servers. For instance, an Australian company would choose a domain name registrar in Australia in order to provide better, faster service for their customers. Since page loading speed is a large factor in how well your site ranks in search results, it’s important that your server is as close to your customers as possible.
In a business with so much competition, price is the focus of both registrars and customers. The average price for a year’s domain name registration is between $10-20, but can go as high as $50 and as low as $0.99. Because registration is so affordable, it’s recommended that people choose their registrar based on factors like customer service and additional features, and not based on reduced rates.
Saving a couple dollars a year for registration may come back to haunt you when it comes time to renew, transfer, or alter your accounts. If you insist on using a budget registrar anyway, be sure to carefully read all their conditions and contracts.
A lot can happen after the honeymoon phase with your registrar, so make sure it’s easy and cost effective to transfer your domains to another registrar BEFORE signing on the dotted line. Many registrars which try to limit your access to admin and webmaster controls on your domain, those which limit your ability to transfer domains are likely on the shadier side of things.
Of course, no company wants to lose customers, so it’s not going to be a walk in the park no matter which registrar you choose. At the same time, you should retain the right to your domain and also the right to take your business elsewhere. Always have a plan B, and never sign up with a registrar who limits your ability to transfer.
There are thousands of options when it comes to domain name registrars, but only a few of them are worthy of your business. With a little research, you’re sure to find the right fit for your next website.
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