If you are serious about your website, you need your own domain name. Your domain name is the identity of your website, so make sure you are registering a good domain name. A good domain name is short, easy to remember and describes the content of your website.

Various domains

There are many different domain names available for registration. If you need a domain name for a website with an international audience, one of the international domain names approved by ICANN will be the natural choice. For web sites targeting a country, the top level domain (tld) of that country is recommended. There are also some country-specific domain names that are usable for international web sites.

The most common international domain names are .com, .net, .org, .info and .biz. .com is the safest choice and can be used by almost all web sites. .net a was originally meant for network organizations and .org was meant for non-profit organizations, but they can be used for all kinds of web sites. .info and .biz are newer tld domains (launched october 2001) for general information and business web sites, respectively. They have not been as successful as the corporations behind them hoped for and the corresponding .com domain name is a safer choice for most web sites (if available).

Some country-specific domain names that can be used by web sites with an international audience, are .ws (World Site), .tv (for tv channels) and .cc. Some of these domain names are more expensive, and can have different pricing schemes and registration rules.

Warning!

New.net and various other 'registrars' sells domain names that are not approved by ICANN, like .chat, .game, .kids .shop etc. While these domain names may look good, and most of them are not registered yet, web surfers need a plugin to view your site and search engines will not be capable of registering your website. Do not buy one of these domain names to use it as the primary address of your website. They can at most be used as an easy to remember url. There is also a possibility that these domain names will be ICANN-approved in the future, so it is possible to snap up many domain names that just might become valuable if they are approved by ICANN.

Where to register your domain names

There are really only two options. Your web host or a dedicated domain registrar. There is a chance that your web host offers very cheap or free domain registration with their web hosting packages. You can save money, but be aware that this can mean trouble if you want to change web hosting provider. Make sure that you can change name servers any time you like, and that it will be easy to transfer your domain name to a different web host, or to a dedicated registrar.

By registering your domain name with a dedicated registrar your web host can not stop you from moving your web site to a new web host, but pay attention to the procedures for switching registrar and changing name servers. By registering your domain name with a dedicated domain registrar there are fewer potential problems than if you register your domain with your web host. So you should find a dedicated domain registrar with decent prices, a good control panel and all the features you need.

What to look for in a domain registrar

Price is not everything, but very important. Most domain registrars are charging something between $7 and $15, so there are considerable price differences. Don't waste your money.

If you are unhappy with your current domain registrar, you can transfer your domain to another registrar, but not all registrars are making this process as easy as it should be. Some registrars may charge extra fees for transferring your domain away from them, to make sure that you remain their customer. They may also demand a written confirmation with proof that you are the actual owner of the domain before they will do the transfer for you.

If the registrar is confident that they are offering a good deal, they will not force you to keep your domain registrations with them. They will instead offer great services, so you want to keep registering your domain with them. In other words, no extra fees and easy domain transfers are two good signs.

Domain registrars may also offer other services like url forwarding, email forwarding and sub domains. If you just want to forward the domain to an existing website on a free host, or use the domain for administrative purposes, check if these services are included with the registration price.

To make administration easy, you should have web based access to a control panel where you can modify name servers, forwarding addresses, and more. More features in your control panel is better and makes domain administration easier.

Most budget registrars offer all the necessary features so registering the domain names you need in a safe place shouln't be outside your budget.