Who’s my Website Registrar anyways?
Part 3 of 4 – How to get started building a website
A registrar is a company where you purchase a domain name, such as GoDaddy, Domain.com or NameCheap. These companies – and others – manage the reservation process for domain names (you can reserve one for yourself which means no one else can purchase it until you release it, or you can purchase your domain name outright). Currently, my favorite place to buy a domain name is NameCheap.com.
Back in the 1990s, companies which were website registrars did only that one thing. Due to internet laws, you as the domain owner choose to change who manages your domain, meaning as a domain owner, you own a small piece of the world wide web! But not any company can act as a registrar – they must be accredited by ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers). Then they must operate in compliance with specific guidelines.
When purchasing your domain name and choosing your registrar, I recommend to go with what’s termed a top-level domain for your URL. Meaning what? Well, the extension after your company name should, ideally, be .com. Others – such as .biz, .co, .net, or .org – might be harder for your clients to remember. If you are creating a not-for-profit website, I recommend using .org as that is the standard.
Look at more than just the available business name, though, when reserving or purchasing your domain from a registrar. Pay attention to what other things they include – both good and bad – as well as other user reviews. They might offer these:
- Email hosting and branded email addresses
- SSL certificate
- Customer support
- Privacy (who purchased the domain & phone number)
- Additional fees and add-ons
The only thing that you should make sure you purchase when getting a domain is privacy. Otherwise your name and phone number is listed in the public ICANN registry and you will get spammed phone calls. Currently, NameCheap offers privacy for free with a domain purchase which is the reason they are my favorite registrar.
When you have decided on your domain name, type in your desired name you want in the search bar for any of the registrar companies; they’ll tell you if it’s available and how much to purchase it. Also pay attention to promotions which might lower your first-year purchase cost or give you something else as an incentive.
While you can change your registrar at any point, check into transfer fees or any other additional costs. In general, I don’t find that it is necessary to transfer to a different registrar, unless there is a conflict with them. The most important thing is to ensure it is renewed on time. Use a “forever” email address to register the name and use a credit card that you use for business that is not expiring soon. This is very important, because you do not want someone else to purchase your domain name. You will lose your brand, your online presence, and your clients.
If you purchased your website domain a long time ago and you can’t remember where you bought it, put your url to the ICANN registry here. Under the words “registrar”, the ICANN results will tell you where you purchased your domain. I have to this quite a bit when a new client forgets where they purchased their domain.
Once you have created your website, it is important that you know who your domain registrar is. In order to point your domain name to your website files, you will need to change some settings in your domain registry. A website developer can do this for you or if you purchased your website hosting and domain name at the same place, many times, the settings are already in place and you do not need to do anything.
Below a quick fun video to watch if you want to know how domain names came to be.
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