Domain Name Guide: How to Find the Best Domain Registrar

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A good domain name can be worth millions. To get there you need a proper registrar to make your domain visible to the world.

There are over 166,599,095 domains out there, each that at one point or another needed a reliable registrar to buy their domain name from.

That begs the question: what is the best domain registrar?

Let’s figure that out.

For Starters, What Is A Domain Registrar?

Domain names help identify one or many IP addresses. Each of these digital addresses points towards a URL and a “plot of land” on the web.

When you come up with a domain name you have to buy some “land” from a Domain Registrar.

In reality, the “land” I’m talking about refers to a service that keeps track of IP records, and in this case, those records are official domains stored by ICANN-accredited registrars.

To that end, a Domain Registrar is a service that registers your website (or multiple websites) for you, establishing it as a real web address that people on the internet can access.

Each registrar is a landlord with a variety of different traits. Some make it harder to buy TLD’s (top-level domains) of specific types, some don’t. But at the end of the day, when you’re officially buying your domain it’s possible to choose DR’s with the best deals.

For clarification, a domain registrar is not a web host. Though, most will offer host packaging and services for you. This can be helpful when buying a domain for the first time.

Well, How Do I Pick The Best Domain Registrar?

When you’re buying a domain name you’re in competition with the millions of web-users who also want to establish their name on the front page of the internet.

This addresses one of the first points to keep an eye on when buying a domain name: look for a registrar that has the reach to find you an available option.

But there are key differences between each registrar, most of the differences don’t just involve pricing structures, so here are the main qualities you want to look for:

Strong Support Options

Almost every registrar out there has an option for online and call support.

When you’re buying a domain name from a registrar pay attention to their support packages. Some will cost you a pretty penny just to get call support for your site.

Some offer to host along with registering your domain. Those tend to offer online support, though they might try roping you into their over-priced hosting packages.

When you’re going through a domain name registration look for 24/7 support at a low price. This ensures that if your site isn’t showing up, or if your page-views are flexing, that you can check with your registrar immediately to resolve the issue.

Lastly, strong support is often defined by transparency. For instance, if you’re interested in transferring or renewing a domain, good support staff will direct you the right way without offering you a bargain the other way.

Security

In 2018 GoDaddy.com, one of the largest world domain registrars suffered a security breach. The security flaw resulted in over 31,000 GoDaddy servers to leak private customer information.

Don’t let this happen to you.

When searching for the registrar that best matches your need, your security should be at the top of your list.

Before plugging in though, some security offers can act as misnomers for basic filler that all other services offer. For instance, if a registrar offers you data protection, but doesn’t clarify what that means, it’s worth giving the Terms and Services a second look over.

Data loss protection is essential to a secure registrar service. This makes sure that data recovery time and backups are quick. Seeing this under the list of security benefits means that your domain is increasingly safe.

Furthermore, websites are often at risk for malware attacks and a plethora of modern viruses. Security scans like Sitelock can cover a lot of ground, often over 100 pages of data, leaving you with less fear about starting a successful website.

Domain hijacking is another issue that risks web-users. Preventing this is the difference between your website being taken over and transferred to another registrar – leaving you out of control of your original site – and done for.

This can be dealt with on a web owners level and on the web hosts side. Domain name protection should be an item on your list and if it’s on your registrars too, even better.

Scalability

What is scalability in terms of a domain?

If you’re interested in having a site for more than a year you’re most likely interested in scaling up your platform or user base.

When you’re looking for the best registrar it’s important you find one that can also give you options for scalability. Ones that do this increase the promise of you keeping your domain name for longer.

This also indicates that your registrar will be around for a while in case you need to register more sites.

Another key when referring to scalability: some scalability options can be self-made through a control panel like cPanel. This gives you the option to scale up without worrying about the whole mess when first buying a domain name.

Why Suffix Matters

TLD’s (top-down domains) are the last part of domain names.

To put it simply, TLD’s are the letters following the “dot” in your URL.

Each TLD is split into two different categories, generic (function) based, and country based.

Generic TLD is:

  • .org (organization)
  • .net (network)
  • .com (company)
  • etc.

What about TLD by country?

For Ireland, the TLD is: “dot” ie. Every other country has its own TLD. When you’re putting in your desired TLD for domain registration there are some important things to remember.

Domain names can sell for quite a lot. If you’re looking for a popular domain name and a popular TLD you can bet on the competition being pretty high.

More to the point: if you’re looking for a popular plot of land you’ll need to pay quite a bit.

So, when it comes to TLD keep in mind which suffix appropriately describes your website, and how much you’re willing to spend.

Prices and Promotions

Each registrar that you come across will offer you different prices and promotions for things like:

  • Time your domain will be available
  • Web hosting Space
  • Web Traffic
  • Web Applications
  • Email Accounts

It’s key to notice when you’re buying a domain name you’re usually going to buy a hosting package as well. Each of these will come with prices per bulleted point listed.

In the case of promotions, you should choose a service that matches your promotional needs, whether they be full hosting or a need for customer service.

Promotions often distinguish services from each other and in the case of a first-time domain name, you’re behooved to look for promotions that match your current knowledge of the field.

How Do I Know I’m Not Being Ripped Off?

In the case of most Irish and UK registrars, you know you’re being ripped off if the essential security and service features aren’t met for your website.

In other words, you can tell that a registrar is going to be reliable if the price doesn’t seem “too good” or overpriced.

It’s like getting a spam email. If you’re being offered an absurd amount of money for something that isn’t relative to normal market prices, chances are you’re being lied to.

When it comes to good registrar services, they must establish the relationship between the domain user and the web host or registrar explicitly. Letting you know that your domain is yours for a reasonable price and that your hosting platform will keep you with good deals.

Transfer Out Fees

When you register for a domain name you’re charged a fee. If you ever decide to transfer your domain to a new host you may be charged for that too.

This is where it’s important to read carefully: there are some registrars that will overcharge you for transferring. This is an unauthorized practice on their end, but can still happen.

There are two sides to this coin. Though you should always read the fine print of Terms and Services, ICANN goes down hard on companies that try overcharging domain users.

That said, be sure to read the terms of service for your registration before going any further. This can save you valuable time and money.

Interest Fees and Annual Rates

When you’re reading (or not reading) the fine print of Terms and Services, some registrars will pull tricky annual fees on you.

Not just that, but when you’re buying a domain, you’re more so renting the “land” for a certain period of time.

Rates will be applied toward the time you choose to keep your website. Some of these can and will gain interest, and in some cases, overcharge you with a substantial annual rate.

Registration Timeframes

When you’re registering for a domain you’ll be given a certain lease on your website. The minimum stays around 1 year.

Search for a registrar that either offers multiple time frames or many deals per single time frame.

But, buying according to a time frame is not the best tactic. Some companies will lead you in with promising time-flexibility. So, be sure that when you are buying a domain that you don’t get mislead with over-promising registration timeframes.

cPanel Control Panel

Think of this as the control panel for all your websites that you’ve registered.

This is a graphical interface, like the UI for your domain, that allows for you to make server-side changes to your website.

In it’s most general sense, the cPanel is the back-end – to the extent you can have control of a servers backend – to your website’s server.

There are plenty of web hosts and registrars that won’t come with a package that includes cPanel or something like it. It’s a huge benefit to have cPanel for your domain.

In fact, cPanel is the counter-part to your domain. Meaning, that having a domain doesn’t necessarily mean that you have control over that plot of land. The best way for you to obtain control is to have a tool for functionality.

Some additional controls that cPanel enables are:

  • You can add multiple email accounts (something that comes in handy if your web host offers email accounts in its package)
  • You can create what is essentially an Admin account for cPanel for control
  • Add new domains and subdomains
  • You can also back up your site with cPanel
  • Full site management

Are There Additional Things I Should Look Out For?

Sales vs. Support

Learn the difference between support staff and salesmen. Sometimes your registrar will offer “support” but is really offering staff members whose sole job is to sell you additional services.

You should look for a registrar that offers straightforward and informative human support. If you’re going to stick around with a service for a while you should be able to get your questions answered and feel comfortable doing so.

Clear Rates and Services

Focus on registrars that give you clarity when it comes to renewal rates and services. This involves applying the “reading the fine print” to customer support and the main services being offered.

WHOIS Service

WHOIS is a public record of businesses that is replaced by forwarded directories to prevent spam and theft of domains.

In a more casual sense, when you buy a domain from a registrar you can also purchase privacy.

This privacy protection hides your data and name from anyone who would try to steal or harm your info in some way. It should be openly available on the registrars you come by and shows high marks for security.

What’s Next For My Domain?

You’ve done it. You have come up with a domain name that is sure to be remembered and followed on the web.

Your next step is to find the best domain registrar that you can trust.

Are you ready? This is your chance to make your footprint on the web.

Dive into your research, gather your wits, and get ready for success!