Choosing a domain name registrar is almost as important as choosing a domain name. The domain name registrar is the company that actually hosts your domain name. A domain name registrar you’ve likely heard of is GoDaddy.
A registrar allows you to search the database on their website for available domain names and select one for your business. Typically, a registrar will require you to pay a monthly or annual fee for your domain name. However, it’s not as simple as you might assume.
There are a number of privacy and security considerations to make before purchasing your domain. In addition, each registrar varies greatly in terms of hidden fees, customer service and technical capabilities. The goal of this section is to provide information you need upfront to make a well informed decision when you purchase and set up your new domain name.
As the owner of a domain your information will be public. That means that anyone can look up your domain and see who owns it.
Try it with your domain right now. Visit http://www.betterwhois.com then type your domain name into the search box. You’ll likely find your name, email address, physical address, your phone number, and the date your registration expires. If you don’t recognize the registration information, that means someone else owns your domain.
If you don’t want your information to be public, you’ll need to purchase Whois Privacy protection from your registrar. Research the fees and terms of privacy protection before purchasing your domain name.
Does Whois Privacy feel like a hidden fee? It’s not the only additional fee to consider.
Many domain name providers advertise a fee for domain name registration such as $9.99/year. However, they require a five year term of commitment to receive that price. The price per year if you aren’t willing to make a long term commitment.
Other possible fees include buying multiple TLDs, transferring domains between registrars, and additional hosting expenses.
Customer service is important. In order to set up your new website on your chosen domain you will need to do something called a DNS switch. This is the process of pointing your domain at your new website.
Other functions include editing the TTL, propagating a new site, editing A records or installing secure certificates. I don’t expect you to understand how to do all of these tasks. As a store owner, you shouldn’t need to know these things. However, you need to understand that these will be tasks you’ll likely need assistance with. Ensure that the vendor you choose for domain registration has quality customer support. When you get stuck, you’ll be thankful to have someone to talk to.
Not all registrars are created equal. In fact there is a wide variance. It is important to consider speed, price, ease of use, and third party integrations.
Without getting overly technical, understand that there is a “lookup” process that occurs when someone types a web address into a browser. We’ll cover the importance of load times later in this book, but it is important to have a domain name registrar that offers a speedy connection. Otherwise, you may set yourself up to have a slow loading website before you even start building the actual site.
Price will undoubtedly be a factor in choosing your domain. Why is there such a variance in price? Usually, there is a variance in speed, software, customer service, integrations and performance. Be sure to weight the specific factors associated with each registrar before using price as your determining factor. Not all domain registrars are equal.
How easy is it to use the back end software to manage your domain? Check out the content management system (CMS), before purchasing your domain if you can. Are things easy to find? Is it easy to navigate and set up everything?
Lastly, consider the integrations available. For example, GoDaddy may not be your first choice for other reasons, but they do have quality integrations with platforms where you’re likely to build your website. For instance, Shopify and GoDaddy have a tool called GoDaddy Connect which will allow you to automatically point your GoDaddy domain at your Shopify website simply by logging into GoDaddy through Shopify.
Be aware of signing up for overlapping services. This can be tricky. Registrars have all sorts of different models to help them earn a profit. Some services include web hosting along with domain registration. Other providers includes BetterWhois protection with registration. Be certain that you know exactly what services are included with your registration in order to avoid overpaying or paying for the same service with two different vendors.
There are hundreds of different vendors for domain registration. In this book, we won’t cover each registrar individually. We encourage you to research each registrar using the context provided in this chapter. However, we can provide a list of popular registrars to help narrow your search from the outset.
Choosing a domain registrar can be confusing. Take the time to research compare prices for services across multiple registrars. Use consumer reviews to research the registration businesses themselves as well. Of utmost importance, you want to feel comfortable with the company you choose to register your domain. This may mean you value certain features over others. Due diligence will ensure that you end up with the right company to host your store’s domain.
Content Management System