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Where’s the best place to buy a domain name from?

Need a domain name? Where should you buy one from? We take a look at what you need to know, the features you may not have heard of and things to look our for when choosing a domain registrar.

This is a great question that was asked by one of our members from our community, Digital Stars.

Can anyone recommend the best site to purchase a domain on?A Member Of Digital Stars

A domain name (YourBusinessName.co.uk for example) is a huge part of your business branding and online marketing. It can (and should) be used for your email addresses as well as your website.

We wrote a related article called “Using your own domain name for your email” which you may find useful. Click here to read that article.

You can essentially buy a domain name from anywhere (that sells them) because it is ‘just’ the name and most [decent] registrars will provide the range and breadth of services that you know and want.

Just to be clear, the place you buy your domain name from may well provide, but does not need to be the same that provides the associated products. Let’s look at those.

What services are commonly associated with domain names (DNS, Hosting & EMail)

Crossroad signpost saying this way, that way, the other way concept for lost, confusion or decisions

DNS

The Domain Name System (DNS) is the directory that converts the method we use to identify destinations for internet traffic (IP addresses) to the easy-to-understand names (domain names). Imagine using the ‘personal assistant’ on your smartphone to say “Call James Lane” – it looks up “James Lane” in your contact list and then dials +441914066382 – so you don’t need to remember the number, just my name.

server room 3d illustration with node base programming data  design element.concept of big data storage and  cloud

Website hosting

In order for your website to be ‘online’ (available) 24 hours a day, the files the site needs (page content, logo, other images etc.) need to be stored on a computer (server) that can be accessed by loads of people (we all want our site to be mega-popular, right?) without any downtime. This server holds your website’s files for anyone visiting it and serves them faster than ‘normal’ computers may be able to.

Mail Communication Connection message to mailing contacts phone Global Letters Concept

Email service

Your emails need to have a method of retrieving new mails (POP3, IMAP etc.) and sending (SMTP), these services can be provided through services like G Suite (formerly Google Apps for Business). Having email available to you all the time (up-time) and avoid customer from not being able to get hold of you is a must. There’s also loads of add-on services that something like G Suite offers you (shared calendar, cloud storage, collaborative documents, spreadsheets and presentions etc.)

So you can buy a domain from one provider, have another handle your DNS, another still provide your website hosting and a separate service entirely provide your email provision. We actually do this here at Hypestar – and I did this from a redundancy perspective to ensure that a single outage couldn’t cripple our communications – and also to ensure that I was cherry-picking the best fit for the right service.

Here’s what our structure/workflow looks like

We chose to split these services to ensure that we could choose the best, fully-featured, functionality – giving us the most robust solution. This is perhaps something you may want to consider. Though, you can have all of these provided by one provider.

So where is the best place to buy the domain name from?

Ok, so with all the above said, where should you be buying your domain name from?

Well, the reason I covered the above is that it really doesn’t matter as much as you might think. As the domain name is used, ostensibly, to simple provide the name – all the of mechanics is provided at the DNS level and on.

Cost is one aspect that you should look at – there’s no point buying a domain from one provide that will cost you £500 over ten years if you can get the same thing from another provider for £100.

Cost is something to look at over a longer duration of that product – some of the larger names in the industry may well have offers on at points that you could take advantage of – including ‘free’ domains, or 99p/c domains – these are often for the first year only, so check what that rate then goes up to in order to have a better view as to what your overall costs will be.

Some companies may offer a bundle with their domain names – this could be a free domain with one of their web hosting packages. Again, check how this breaks down over a longer period of time to make sure that it does represent genuine value.

Can I move my domain to another registrar?

For the most part, yes. If you’ve bought your domain name as a standalone product (i.e. not connected to any other service), you are normally able to move that domain to another provider if you choose to do so. This is a viable option if you’re looking to speed up your website (if you have slow hosting) and want to move it all (domain and hosting).

So even if your buy from one provider, don’t worry about it – you’re not necessarily tied to them and if you find someone else you’d rather work with, you can move.

As a starting point, here’s some places you can try. In the last 12 months, I have bought domains from –

*Other services are available from your local, high-street retailer.

Did I miss your favourite domain name provider/registrar? Let me know your go-to in the comments below and maybe we’ll add it to the list 👇

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