Everyone who wants an Internet domain has to purchase the name from a registrar. But finding the most reliable registrar isn’t obvious. And picking the wrong registrar can have dire consequences: your business reputation and operations could be at risk if your domain is mismanaged, for example. There are a few steps to follow and factors to consider when looking for a registrar.
Let’s start by picking the right name for your domain. As mentioned in this blog post, there are some easy ways to pick great domain names to add value to your business: shorter is better and something that is easily pronounceable. Also, finding a domain name that isn’t already taken can be a chore: don’t just look at the domains but all the other services that will contribute towards your brand. A great (and free) resource is KnowEm.com, which will search more than 500 sites such as social media, photo-sharing and the U.S. Patent and Trademark database.
Once you have the right name, the next thing to be concerned about is the price. Certainly, there is the price of the registration itself, but once you get beyond the simple annual fee, there are several other things to consider. Indeed, the actual annual fee is useful to know, but the transparency of the registrar in disclosing its terms and conditions and what is — and isn’t — included in this annual fee is more important. Part of transparency is not being needlessly upsold on “upgrades” to your domain that only appear on the checkout page, rather than providing you an explanation of these additional features and upgrade fees.
The next criterion is the types of support that are offered and how satisfied customers are with this service delivery. Typically, registrars offer a combination of telephone, email, frequently asked questions (FAQs) and knowledge databases as part of their support program. Network Solutions’ Help Center has a searchable knowledge database, along with a trouble ticketing system and online chat to answer your questions. Your evaluation of any potential registrar should include both live options that are available during the normal business day as well as how responsive the support is during off-hours.
Next are those additional domain services that accompany the simple registration of the domain itself. One of the more important services is the ability to transfer in your domain name from another registrar, so a business can consolidate its domain assets. Network Solutions offers a free one-year extension for all inbound transfers. You should investigate the domain transfer process, what you need to do to prepare the domain for a transfer and any settings you need to change on the existing registrar before you begin the process.
Another helpful service is Domain Forwarding, also known as website forwarding, redirecting or pointing. It’s an easy way to redirect multiple domain names to a single address. When used in conjunction with various other extensions, this can boost your site’s traffic. Web forwarding from Network Solutions is affordable and ad-free.
Other services include transfer locks (preventing others from moving your domain without your knowledge or approval), managing your renewals, setting up private registrations (to prevent your address and other ownership data from showing up in WHOIS queries and being accessed by spammers and telemarketers), domain expiration protection (which provides a year grace period in case you don’t or can’t renew your domain) and creating sub-domains. While you are checking out these various services, you should also examine the web portals to manage your domain and how intuitive it is to use and find the right menu options.
Finally, there is the longevity of the registrar. As many of you know, Network Solutions was the Internet’s first registrar back when private businesses could first obtain domain names back in the early 1990s. This is critical because you don’t want your registrar to go out of business or face criminal prosecution.
However, Network Solutions is focused on more than a legacy of excellence. With award-winning customer support and a wide variety of products, solutions and resources available, you’ll have everything you need from a reliable, trustworthy domain registrar.