All About Domain Companies
The first step of creating a website is buying a domain name. This in itself is a daunting task – finding an available domain isn’t always easy. Plus, you have to come up with the best name to represent your brand. Of course, if you already have a business, coming up with a name is more or less a done deal.
Another challenging part of buying a domain name is choosing which domain company to buy it from. At Domain Name Sanity, we can help you find domain names in various popular extensions. We also offer additional features such as email hosting, website hosting, and site building to help get your business or idea online.
But with so many options out there, how can you know which domain registrar is a good choice?
Don’t worry, because we’re here to answer the most important questions about domain companies: what they are, what they aren’t, and how to choose one.
What a Domain Registration Company Is…
A domain registrar is a company that’s been accredited by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), or otherwise a country code top-level domain, to sell domain names over the internet. The ICANN is a non-profit organization which manages the global Domain Name System.
The ICANN’s Domain Name System connects a website’s IP address to its domain name. This makes it much easier for users to search the internet and reach the website they want to visit. If it weren’t for the Domain Name System, we’d have to remember individual IP addresses, and that would be impossibly difficult. For instance, Google’s range of IP addresses includes 220.127.116.11 – imagine having to keep a log of website’s addresses in this format instead of just remembering google.com!
In a nutshell, domain registration companies allow you to purchase and register a domain name. They have access to a wide range of domain extensions that you can choose from for your new web site.
Now, choosing the right domain name isn’t the end of the story – you also need to choose the right domain extensions. The two main categories of domain extensions you want to aim for are country code top-level domains (ccTLDs) and generic top-level domains (gTLDs).
Whether you opt for a ccTLD or a gTLD depends on your target audience. ccTLDs target specific countries or geographic regions, so if your audience is local, this would be a good choice. Some examples of ccTLDs are .de, .uk, .au, and so on.
On the other hand, gTLDs aren’t region-specific and can be promoted globally via search engines. gTLDs are search engine’s most preferred types of domain extensions, and include .com, .org, .net, and .info.
Keep in mind that some domain extensions which were originally created as ccTLDs are treated by ICANN and search engines as gTLDs since they’re perceived that way by webmasters and internet users. For instance, domains such as .tv (which initially stood for Tuvalu) and .me (Montenegro) are treated by Google ads as gTLDs even though they are ccTLDs.
Another example is .io, originally the ccTLD assigned to the British Indian Ocean Territory. This domain extension has come to mean input/output to tech companies, and has become very popular with startups.
Bottom Line: A domain registrar company is an authorized body that can sell unique domain names on the internet.
How Do Domain Companies Work?
Let’s say you want to start a digital advertising company and you’re now in the process of setting up a website for it. You picked a name like Digital Rabbit, or hopefully something less nonsensical, and entered digitalrabbit.com into our instant domain search tool to see if it’s available.
So if your domain is available, you can simply buy it. (Incidentally, at the time this article was written, it wasn’t. We checked because we got curious.). If it isn’t available, the domain registrar will give you alternative suggestions, like changing the name a bit (ex. digital-rabbit.com), or altering the domain extension (digitalrabbit.net).
Bottom Line: A domain registrar company provides you with a list of available domains and sells them to you.
Anyway, buying a domain name is really easy, but the quality of service and features does vary from one company to the other. So while the buying part is easy, the choosing part requires a bit more work. We’ll go over this, too – what you should look out for when choosing a domain registrar company. But first things first. Let’s see what…
What a Domain Registrar Company Isn’t…
People frequently confuse domain registration companies for web hosting companies. And it’s not their fault – there are a number of companies (like us) that provide both services – domain name registration and web hosting. Another reason why you may not be too clear on the difference between these two is because they go hand in hand. A website can’t exist without a domain, and it can’t get published online without a web host.
To get a clearer picture, let’s go over the differences between a domain name registration and a web hosting plan, and then take a look at how they work together.
Domain Registrar Companies Vs. Web Hosting Companies
The main difference between these types of companies are the services that they offer.
We already talked about domain registration companies – they allow you to register and purchase a domain, or internet address, which will direct visitors and clients to your website.
Web hosting is the service that allows your website to go online. Web hosting companies have servers where they store your website and all of its data, and publish it on the internet.
Once you hook up your domain to a web host, they provide you with the necessary storage and bandwidth for your website to run. Depending on the size of your website and your predicted site traffic, you can choose a web hosting plan that’s most suitable for your needs.
Web hosts own servers that you can lease to run your site. There are dedicated servers, which are only for your website, shared servers, where you share resources with other clients, cloud server (cloud computing), where you scale resources, and everything in between. A good host will also help you with backend stuff, manage your website’s software, and provide you with 24/7 customer service.
Technically, you can build your own server, but it takes work and technical know-how. Most people prefer to buy hosting from a company like us.
Bottom Line: Although they’re different services, an important thing to keep in mind about domain registrars and web hosts is that they work together. While a domain name company will sell you your website’s address, a web host will keep your website afloat. You can’t do anything with only a domain name or only a web host.
How To Choose a Domain Registrar Company
Here are a few tips on what to look out for when choosing the best domain registrar company to purchase your domain from.
Unless you go for a domain that’s in high demand, most domain names are quite affordable. Unique name-based domains with .com/.net/.org extensions usually cost about $20 per year. On the other hand, some domain extensions are more expensive, like the .io extension which costs about $60 per year. There are also some premium names available from companies like BrandBucket or HugeDomains, which come with a larger upfront purchase price but can then be transferred to us for ongoing renewals. Considering that running a website comes with a number of additional fees – such as web hosting and perhaps security plugins – an expensive domain can put a strain on your budget.
On the other hand, you should be wary of domains that are too good to be true, or rather too cheap to be true. Because when something’s too good to be true, it usually isn’t.
Namely, some domain companies lack transparent pricing. You think you’ll be paying $1-$2 for your domain per year, but the fine print you didn’t notice has some additional fees – like transfer fees (if you want to move to a new domain registrar) or huge price hikes in the second and subsequent years.
So try to be aware of every possible fee and trick when buying your domain name. It’s always a good idea to Google your company of choice, and see what customers have to say about it.
You want a domain registrar that has good customer support, offers automated renewal (so your website doesn’t suddenly disappear after a year), offers free Whois Privacy Protection (a.k.a. domain privacy – hiding your website’s owner information to prevent receiving spam email and calls), and has a decent variety of top-level domains.
Optional additional features you may want from your domain registrar include discounts for bulk domain purchasing, website builders or templates, SSL certificates, website hosting, and so on.
Bottom Line: Make sure to thoroughly check what your domain registrar of choice has to offer before settling for their services. If you’re ready to get started with Domain Name Sanity, head over to our domain search tool to find the name of your dreams.
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