If you have a business, you should seriously consider registering your own domain name. A domain name is a name like “facebook.com” or “thinkingbit.co”, which you can use to refer to your website. Note that you do not have to be a company or organisation to register a domain name.
Importance of a Domain Name
There are a number of good reasons for having a domain name:
If you ever change your web host (the actual physical location of your website files), your domain name goes with you. Your regular visitors or customers who knew your site name as (say) www.facebook.com would not have to be informed about a change of web address (also known as “URL”), since as far as they are concerned, the site is still at the same place. They would simply type your domain name and they’d be transparently brought to your new location.
If you are a business, a domain name gives you credibility. Few people will be willing to do business with a company that does not have its own domain name.
If you get a domain name that describes your company’s business or name, people can remember the name easily and can return to your site without having to consult their documents. In fact, if you get a good name that describes your product or service, you might even get people who were trying their luck by typing “www.yourproductname.com” in their browser.
If you want good sponsors (advertisers) for your website, a domain name is usually helpful. It tends to give your website an aura of respectibility.
Getting a domain name involves registering the name you want with an organisation called ICANN through a domain name registrar. For example, if you choose a name like “example.com”, you will have to go to a registrar, pay a registration fee that costs around US$10 to US$35 for that name. That will give you the right to the name for a year, and you will have to renew it annually for (usually) the same amount per annum.
Some web hosts will register it and pay for the name for free (usually only the commercial web hosts), while others will do it for you but you’ll have to foot the registrar fees.
Domain names disappear extremely fast. Many people claim that all the good domain names are gone. I doubt that — but it is probably true that most good domain names that are descriptive of products and services have been taken. If you want a domain name for your site, I suggest you act now, or face the anguish of having lost that name later. After all, US$10 (more or less) for a year’s ownership of the name is rather cheap when you realise that you’re securing a good name for your website.
Step By Step Instructions
If you want to register a domain name, here’s what you need to do. Please read it all before acting.
Think of a few good domain names that you’d like to use. It won’t do to think of only one — it might already be taken (it probably is!). You can find some tips on choosing a good domain name from my article, Tips on Choosing a Domain Name, at https://www.thesitewizard.com/archive/domainname.shtml
There’s more to it than meets the eye.
You will need either a credit card or a PayPal account to pay for the domain. This is a requirement of most if not all registrars. It will allow you to claim and get the domain name immediately on application. This is not an option (unfortunately).
List of Domain Name Registrars
There are numerous domain name registrars. Listed below are just a few, along with my comments, if I know anything about them. Note that the domain name industry is highly competitive, with prices wildly fluctuating throughout the year, every year, so it’s impossible to really mention accurate prices below unless I spend all my time updating this page. Please check their sites for the latest rates. (Note: all prices below are in US dollars.)
GoDaddy — This extremely popular registrar (probably the biggest today) offers .com domain names for $9.99 (plus 20 cents) per year (or $6.99 plus 20 cents if you transfer from another registrar). They have a web interface to manage your domains, free web redirection (where people who visit your domain will get transferred to another web address of your choice), free starter web page, free parked page or free “for sale” page, and an optional private domain registration where your domain is registered in the name of a proxy company. They offer .com, .us, .biz, .info, .net, .org, .ws, .name, .tv, .co.uk, .me.uk and .org.uk, etc. Note that (as with all registrars) the exact price varies depending on which domain you are registering (for example some domain suffixes are more expensive than others). Both credit card and PayPal payments are accepted.
1&1 Internet — This is primarily a large web host that is also a domain name registrar. Like all registrars, there are different charges for different domain suffixes. For example, at the time I last checked, you pay $0.99 for a “.com” on your first year, then $14.99 per year thereafter. The fee includes private domain registration, which means that your particulars are hidden from public view (done by registering the domain in the name of a proxy company). You also get a free email account and unlimited email forwarding, DNS management, a free SSL certificate for your domain, etc. Both credit card and PayPal payments are accepted by this registrar.
Namecheap — This company provides .com domains for $10.69 (plus 18 cents) per year ($9.69 if you transfer from other registrars). Along with your domain, you get free email forwarding, free web redirection (where anyone going to your domain is automatically directed to another address of your choice), free domain name parking, etc. For the first year (or at least, at the time I checked their prices), you can also have their WhoisGuard (where your particulars are masked from public view) for free. They have a wide variety of domain name extensions available, including .net, .org, .biz, .info, .us, .co.uk, .co, .de, etc. You can use either a credit card or PayPal for your purchases.
ThinkingBit.co— Thinking Bit is budget registrar provides fairly cheap domain prices ($10.00 per domain), a convenient web interface to manage your domains. They offer .com, .net, .org, .biz, .info, .us, .ca, .tv, .name, .cc, .de, .sr, .md, .co.uk, .us.com domains, etc.
In addition, as mentioned earlier, a number of commercial web hosts will give you a free domain name if you are hosting with them, as will many (if not all) of the registrars above.
After purchasing the domain name you need to host your site somewhere, you can check Thinking Bit site for purchasing budget hosting.