Many people talk about how difficult it is to find the right web host, and the same thing can be said about registering a domain. There are hundreds of such services available online, and technically they each fulfill the same function. However, that doesn’t mean they’re all equal.
Just as with web hosts, not all domain registrars are the same. Choosing the right one can save you money in the long term and can make your life easier, depending on what its management features are like. That’s why it pays to do a little research before committing to any one solution.
In this article, we’re going to talk about what domain registrars are and the differences between their services. Then we’ll provide you with a few tips to help you choose the right one. Let’s get to it!
What Are Domain Registrars?
Registrars are services dedicated to helping you choose and purchase a domain for your website. They enable you to register as many domains as you want, and either assign them to a site or just save them for later. Either way, you’ll need to pay a yearly fee to maintain ownership of your domain after the initial purchase.
In general, domain registrars enable you to check if a given domain is available, often offering multiple Top-Level Domain (TLD) options. If they have a domain you want, you can register it by filling out a few forms and paying a fee, which varies depending on the domain and TLD you choose. Once you have it, you’re free to do as you please with your domain.
Just to be clear – registering a domain and hosting a website are two different things. You can tackle them in any order you want. However, many web hosts provide domain registration services, so you can check both tasks off your list at once. This is because domain services are an integral part of website management, and it’s only natural for people to want to take care of everything from one service.
Is There Any Difference Between Domain Registrars?
Once you register a domain, it’s yours – it doesn’t matter which service you purchased it from. If a domain is available, you can usually buy it anywhere you’d like. However, some domain registrars offer services or advantages that others don’t.
Let’s talk about a few key areas in which registrars tend to differ:
- Additional hosting services. As we mentioned, some platforms tackle both domain registration and hosting, while others only offer one service.
- Different prices for the same domains. Two domain registrars may charge you different prices for the same domain, for any number of reasons. That means it’s in your best interest to shop around if you want to save money.
- Support for different sets of TLDs. Some registrars only deal with popular TLDs, such as .com and .net, whereas others may include more niche options. A few examples of those include .wiki and .blog.
- Better domain management features. Ideally, you want to use a registrar that offers an intuitive user panel to help you manage your domains. At some point, you may need to transfer some domains over, or maybe modify their CNAME records. A convoluted control panel can complicate those tasks.
To use an example, here at A2 Hosting we enable you to manage your domains through a personalized cPanel. This is the most popular type of web control panel around, so chances are you’re familiar with it (which should make management more straightforward). Other domain registration services use their own custom panels. This isn’t necessarily worse, but depending on the service might involve a steeper learning curve.
In summary, it’s smart to be picky about which domain registrar you use. At the very least, you want to use a service that’s not going to make your life more complicated, which brings us to our next point.
What Should You Look For in a Domain Registrar?
Even if you only have plans to register a single domain for the time being, choosing a quality registrar can still pay off. After all, you will have to renew that domain at some point, and you may wish to register others down the line. Plus, transferring a domain from one registrar to another can be a pain, so you’ll want to avoid going down that road if possible.
With that in mind, here’s what you should be on the lookout for when choosing where to register your domain:
- An easy-to-use interface. This is vital for any online service you’re going to use regularly.
- Low prices for domain registrations and renewals. Shop around before you settle on a registrar, and see how much it costs to get the same domain from multiple places. Chances are the difference won’t be that much, but saving a few dollars never hurt anyone.
- Advanced domain management features. At the very least, any registrar you choose should provide you with the option to hide your information from people who want to peek at your domain’s records.
- Web hosting plans. This one isn’t a deal breaker, since a lot of people prefer to keep their hosting and domains separate. However, if you’d rather have everything under one roof, you should opt for a provider that offers both services.
If you’re set on using the same platform for your domain and web hosting needs (which we recommend), you should also check out what hosting plans they offer. In general terms, you’ll want to go with a provider that offers excellent performance, has great reviews, and provides plenty of plans to pick from.
Once you’ve decided which service to use for registering your domain, all that’s left is to pick the perfect name and make a purchase. Depending on the service you use, it shouldn’t take more than half an hour to get everything set up, which includes filling out forms and paying for your domain’s registration.
For your convenience, we offer domain registration services right here at A2 Hosting. If you register your domain through us, you can manage both it and your hosting from a single panel. Of course, it’s important to do your research first. Let’s recap what you should look for in a quality domain registrar:
- A broad selection of TLDs.
- An easy-to-use interface.
- Competitive domain prices.
- Advanced domain management features.
- Complementary hosting plans.
Do you have any questions about how to register your first domain? Ask away in the comments section below!
Image credit: Pixabay.