I was asked by a visitor whether he could be his own domain name registrar so that he could register any domain name he liked without having to pay annual fees for each of them. This article answers that question, as well as another on whether you can create your own domain name system so that your site can have any name, even without the traditional domain name suffix/extension.
Registering Domain Names With the Right Company is Crucial
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:
1. Check to see how long the company has been operating
The World Wide Web has been around for about 14 years or so now and so web hosting and domain registration businesses only began life about 11 years ago. Nominet, the registry responsible for .uk domains was 12 years old in May 2008, so most Nominet members have only been members for 12 years or less. However, there are only a few of the bigger players who have been around for all that time. So check to see how long the domain name registration business you are considering has been around for.
2. 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.
3. 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 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!
4. 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 main stay of their business.
5. 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.
6. Can you use their SMTP servers for out going 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. 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.
7. Are they a reseller of a reseller of a hosting company?
It makes no sense registering your domains through a reseller of a reseller! This simply adds extra layers in the ordering process that could go wrong. It is always better to register your domains with a Nominet member for .uk domains and an ICANN accredited domain name registrar for gTLDs. One way of finding out more about your domain name registration or web hosting provider is via Netcraft *See below.
By simply entering the URL into Netcraft you can then see lots of useful information such as the Nameserver Organisation, the Netblock owner(the company that is actually hosting your website) and lots of other information.
This will tell you whether your hosting provider is the actual hosting company or a reseller.
8. 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 8 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 see if the company is an ICANN accredited domain name registrar and a member of Nominet, check to make sure you can use their SMTP servers for sending email, check via Netcraft to see if they are a reseller or the actual hosting company and always, always make sure you retain control of your domain names.