Your website domain name (the www bit) is stupendously important. Without it, it’s like losing your postal address. Your website will have no home, your emails will be undelivered and your online life will grind to a digital halt. Make sure you manage it and it’ll treat you well.

Don’t get caught out by low price offers

The Basics

These are a few basic things you have to specifically look for when choosing a domain name registrar to register your domain name with. They might not tell you everything up-front and could make it difficult to discover everything you need to know.

Don’t get drawn in by a super-cheap price. Saving a few pounds now, may turn against you later.

“Transfer-out” fees

Deep in the fine print of a registrars’ “Terms of Service” there is usually a hidden fee authorising them to charge you a “transfer-out” fee when moving your domain to another registrar.

This fee can be many times the cost of the original registration. We know of companies charging £75 to transfer a £5 domain name.

This practice violates ICANN policy for domain transfers and is just highly immoral. Registrars who do this play the numbers game because many people will do nothing more than just whinge about the charge but still end up paying it.

“Pay-as-you-go”

Multi-year domain purchases are like making a multi-year interest-free loan to the registrar.

You pay your registrar for 10 years (maybe to save a few pounds). You naturally believe that your domain name is now registered for 10 years. Wrong. Some registrars only pay the registry fee 1 year at a time and pocket the rest of your money.

Ask any reputable company to validate the real expiration date for your domain. The expiration date should match the number of years you paid for.
whois edit fees and locks

Each time you register a domain name, the details of that registration are published in a publicly accessible database, called WHOIS.

One function a registrar provides is the ability to change your WHOIS records, should you change address or other contact details.

Some companies register your domain for a dirt-cheap price, then hit you with an “administration fee” to edit your WHOIS record. This should be completely free.

Lockdown

Some companies may “lockdown” your domain for 60 days each time you edit your WHOIS record. Thus, you are prevented from moving the name to another registrar.

It is standard practice to lock a .com or .net for 60 days after purchase, but not for just changing the WHOIS details.

Domain parking

Did you know domain parking is very big business?

You may click a link or make a typo on a web address and be directed to general “search page” more often than not with lots of adverts on it.

This is called a parked domain and big companies park thousands of domain names making thousands of pounds using domain parking.

Some registrars offer domain registrations at rock bottom prices just to utilise the parked names. This may not bother you, but some people are paying for something their registrar uses to generate more revenue for themselves.

“free” URL Forwarding

You may wonder why prices vary so much for domain name registrations. You may wonder what the difference is between a registrar offering domains at £2.50 while others charge £15 for seemingly the same service.

Well, cheaper registrars may use other tricks to make money. They may add your domain to their parked pool (see above) or offer “free” URL forwarding.
With forwarding, the low-cost registrar sells pop-up advertisements on your domain.

Conclusion

There are many things to consider when buying a website domain name. You get nothing for free. The cheapest domain registrar may cost you the most in the long term.

If you are going to register a domain name start with your website design company first. They will have a good relationship with many registrars and will do all of the work for you. After all that’s what they are good at isn’t it?

Buying a website domain name yourself will only make more work for you. You’ll have to fill in all of the forms, sort out the payment, administer the domain name settings and all of the other technical’s.

Asking your website design company to do this, means that they’ll do all of the hard work and do it right first time. The difference between £5 and £15 for a domain name really isn’t worth all of the extra hassle that you’ll get yourself into for the sake of £15.