Choosing a Good Domain Registrar

Are you thinking about starting a new website with a new domain? Or maybe you have a domain that is about to expire and you are wondering if you should move to a new registrar? Here are some things to consider before you make a decision.

The most important issue you must consider is keeping your domain under your control. This is one of the main reasons that prompted me to move from Network Solutions to 1&1. I registered my first domain over ten years ago when Network Solutions was my only choice. Although I have been satisfied with Network Solutions for several years, in recent years I had started hearing bad stories about them. And as the registrar field began to open up with competitors, moving to a new company would cross my mind each time I had to pay my fee for another two years of Internet security.

In 2009, I finally decided to move one of my newer domains from Network Solutions to 1&1; but I kept the old domain with Network Solutions. I had originally planned on moving them both to the same company that was hosting the websites for each domain, but then the Network Solutions’ customer service representative pointed out to me that it was not a good idea to have my domain registered with the same company that would be providing the web hosting.

Think about it; what happens if your domain registrar goes out of business suddenly? If your webhost is also your registrar and that company disappears or you have a disagreement with them, you are in deep trouble. This problem is especially serious for online businesses. A website that is offline due to DNS resolution issues or a domain that is hijacked by the domain registrar can prove fatal to a business’s survival or harm the brand and its future revenue. Here are some pointers that will help you minimize these issues:

  1. Ensure that you choose a reputable registrar. Do not confuse reputability with popularity! While Godaddy.com is undoubtedly the biggest domain registrar, it is notorious for poor customer service. A good domain registrar will advise and warn you of possible trademark infringements or registration problems and will not demand a costly ransom to head off possible disputes.
  2. Some domain registrars have been known to lock domain names when customers are searching for it; thus “forcing” customers to register the domains with them. This is known as domain squatting and Network Solutions had been caught attempting to do just this. Businesses and individuals who lack the technical knowledge of the domain registration process fall for this trap and are victimized by unethical domain registrars.
  3. Unless you are absolutely sure of staying with your Web Hosting Provider forever, do not accept any “free domain registration” offer from them. The ultimate aim of any Web Host is to retain its customer base and this may tempt them to use aggressive tactics. Some single entity web hosts and domain registrars are known to lock up your domain name and prevent it from being transferred to any other registrar. Then if you switch hosts, you simply have to relinquish your domain name. Choose your domain registrar and web host from totally different entities.
  4. Check the Privacy Policy of the registrar. Look out for promises and adherence to protecting your privacy online and their policies on DMCA take down notices, subpoenas, etc. Also keep a lookout for your own personal privacy online. Some domain registrars offer Who-is Privacy Protection Services for free. This is a plus for anyone who is concerned about their privacy online.
  5. Most important of all—read the fine print!!! This is something we always ignore…while purchasing a product, installing a software or in this case, registering a domain. This is human nature. We place a level of trust on our supplier to honor the unwritten codes of etiquette and this is what some domain registrars capitalize on to screw their customer once they have their customer’s money. Do not fall in this trap. Shop around, read forums, especially where savvy webmasters exchange information about their experiences.

Have you ever been victimized by a domain registrar? Please tell your stories via comments and let’s make the public aware of the risks of choosing the wrong domain registrar…

Blue Gifts

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