If you want a website, one of the first things you must do is register your domain name and your site’s address. You have many options for registering your domain name. Here’s how to choose the right one.
- You need to register your domain since there is plenty of competition.
- Registering your domain with a web hosting provider is not required, though it is common.
- Getting your domain name from the right place and considering price, speed, and additional features is important.
Why Do You Need To Register Your Domain?
Registering a domain gives you the exclusive ability to use it for your website for a set amount of time. After that period, you have to either renew the domain name so you can keep it, or it expires, and someone else can register it for themselves.
Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers
When a domain name is registered, it’s filed with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the organization that tracks who owns which domains since 1998. While registered domain names are filed away with ICANN, you pay a third-party provider to handle the actual registration process.
Once you register your domain, you’re listed as the owner for a set amount of time. In most cases, you can purchase domain names for at least one year and then renew your ownership.
Some domain name registration companies allow you to pay for multiple years at a time if you prefer. If you fail to renew your domain, you lose ownership of it — someone else could purchase the domain name and replace your website.
Do you have to register your domain with a web hosting provider?
One of the most common places to register domain names is with a web hosting provider. This is an obvious option since it handles your website anyway; you can pay a little extra to the same company to register your domain.
Some of the best web hosting companies even offer a free domain name for one year if you use the services. While it’s common to register your domain with a web hosting provider, that isn’t required. Many people choose to register their domains through one company and host their websites through another.
What To Consider When Choosing a Domain Registrar
Choosing where you want to register your domain is essential. While the service should be similar no matter where you go, there are some important things to consider to ensure you get the best level of service possible.
The following reasons demonstrate the importance of getting your domain name from the right place:
Price is likely the biggest difference between the various domain name registration companies. Some companies, for example, offer a low price for the first year and then bump the price up for renewing your domain. Others charge a set annual fee for as long as you own the domain. Make sure to look at all the factors related to the price of your domain before registering.
While buying a domain name is pretty straightforward, updating it properly may cause some confusion. A good customer service team at the domain name registration company is critical.
If you’re planning on hosting your website at the same company you register the domain with, make sure the company offers quality hosting. It should have various hosting types, such as shared hosting, virtual private service (VPS) hosting, and dedicated servers, so you can upgrade if needed in the future.
Speed of updates
If you want to update where your domain is registered or the hosting location of your site, update your account at the site where you bought the domain. If the provider doesn’t process updates quickly, this could cause delays in your move.
How Does Domain Registration Work?
Domain name registration is a simple process. Once you decide which company you want to register your domain with, go through the following steps:
- Choose your desired domain name and make sure it’s available
- Fill out the required registration details, including your name, address, and contact information
- Pay for the domain name
- Wait as the domain name registration company submits this information to ICANN for processing
At this point, you own the domain name you wanted. If you’re going to host your website with another company, update the nameservers your domain is pointing to. This is typically a fairly easy process — you paste the nameservers from your hosting company into your domain name settings. If you need help, the technical support team at your domain name registration company can assist.
Can You Change Where Your Domain Is Registered?
If you want your domain name registration handled by a different company, you can always transfer it to a new location. All reputable domain name registration companies have a simple process to get this done. In many ways, this is different than if you had sold your domain name and wanted to transfer it to the new owner at a different company.
FAQs About Registering Your Domain
What should you consider when registering your domain?
You must be aware of spelling, domain privacy, and price. Also, avoid using numbers, trademarks you don’t own, long names, and difficult words.
What are the rules for domain names?
Typically, domains can contain the English-language letters a through z, and the digits zero through nine. You may want to avoid hyphens — or at least not use them at the beginning or end of a domain name.
Does domain registration expire?
Most domain names can be registered between one and 10 years. They can be renewed while they are still active or reactivated after their expiration date.