There’s more to choosing a domain provider than just the price of registering domains. Sure, the cost is something to consider; however, many factors come into play. This article shows you what to look for.
There are some questions you should consider when picking a domain provider. Like, do they offer bulk domain purchases for your agency? Or, can you quickly transfer a domain? What about customer support? And more…
So, how do you determine which domain provider to go with?
We have a breakdown in this post, along with some insight on what registering a domain entails, to help you make a good decision. Plus, we’ll show you a glimpse of why you should consider choosing WPMU DEV (wink, wink) for your domains!
We’ll be looking at domain-related topics, such as:
Paid or Free Domain Protection
Simple Domain Transfer
Purchasing Domains in Bulk
Include Hosting with Domain
Expired Domains Policy
Domain Managment Console
By the end of this article, you should have a good idea of what to look for before registering your domain(s) with a specific company — and feel good about your choice!
But, before we begin, let’s quickly touch on…
What a Domain Provider Does
In a nutshell, a Domain Provider is a company or business that handles the reservation of domain names and the assignment of IP addresses for those domain names.
They permit the purchase and registration of domain names that are accredited by ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers). ICANN supports domains by helping companies apply for accreditation to become domain registrars and sell them to the public.
Domain name registration is allowed by ICANN to make adjustments to the domain name’s information in the database on your behalf.
There are over a thousand domain registrars available for this service.
Factors in Determining the Best Domain Provider
With all of the options for domain providers – how are you supposed to choose? There’s a lot to think about, so let’s break down some components that might help you make a clear decision.
Here are the main factors to consider:
1. Paid vs Free Domain Protection
There are precautions to take when purchasing a domain, so luckily, there is Domain Protection. And depending on your domain registrar, it’s either free or it comes at a price.
Just for context, signing up for a domain also includes providing specifics for a WHOIS directory– a resource database of all the registered domains in a country. It’s available to lookup users who have purchased a domain and/or created an IP address – including the contact info, name, and more.
Domain information for WPMUDEV.com.
It’s so that the public can find information about any person with a domain name. So, spammers are big fans of this directory. It grants them easy access to different people all around the world.
With WHOIS Protection, the WHOIS data about your contact information will be hidden. However, it doesn’t hide any DNS records or IP addresses.
When determining the right domain provider, you may want to consider if there’s a fee for WHOIS Protection – or if it’s included. Many other providers have it set up automatically as well.
However, if it’s not included, expect to pay an extra $12-$15 a year for protection.
2. Extension (TLDs) Options
When it comes to domain name extensions (TLDs — Top Level Domains), like .info, .bike, .shop, etc. – make sure the company you’re with has plenty of options or specific ones you want to use.
A good domain provider should have ample extensions to choose from.
3. Simple Domain Transfer
Ensure that the domain company you decide on makes it easy to transfer domains.
It’s probable that you will transfer your domain (or many) at some point. Making sure that the domain company that you’re with has a clear path for domain transfer is vital.
Remember that transferring a domain can take a while, and very few domains don’t charge a transfer fee (about 5%). Though there’s usually a fee when you transfer a domain name, you get an extra year of registration along with the transfer.
4. Purchasing Domains in Bulk
Bulk purchasing domains are the norm if you own a web development company. Therefore, check and see if the domain company has bulk purchasing options. Also, see about a bulk discount.
If they do, make sure it’s simple to do. Plus, ensure there are no upsells or hidden fees.
5. Include Hosting with Domain
Many companies offer to host services with domains as bundles – or discounted rates.
Though getting a discount is tempting, be careful lumping the two together. When doing so, you lose some flexibility that you may want down the road. For example, if you ever want to change web hosts or domain registrants, you may encounter some complications.
However, there can also be advantages of having everything under one company, such as it’s easily manageable and accessible.
Be sure to know how simple it would be to transfer services (e.g. domains) to a new company if you ever decide to do so and how it would affect the price.
6. Expired Domain Policy
Considering domains are registered for a specific amount of time, be sure you know what happens when they expire with your company, and there’s a grace period.
In most cases, features like autorenewal can prevent expired domains, but look into the domain company’s expiration policy. Do they have an ample grace period?
Also, what’s their redemption period? The domain might be released to the general public when the redemption period is over.
Rules can differ for this, but this process of expired domains is generally the norm. So, make sure you know the guidelines on this to prevent any mishaps down the road.
Does the company you purchase domains through offer good support? You shouldn’t need them in most cases (if transferring, implementing, purchasing, etc., is simple to do – which it should be); however, ensure that they are accessible if needed.
24/7 support is the best bet and shows a dedicated company’s seriousness about its domain business.
Make sure that the company you’re with has a good, established reputation. Look for things, like Trustpilot, on their website. Or reviews from other sources. After all, you’re looking for a long-term relationship when it comes to domains, you want to ensure that you – and the domains – are in good hands.
9. Registration Period
Check and see what type of registration period the domain company offers. For example, do they have it, so you can register a domain for more than a year? Also, do they have convenience, like auto-renewal?
Most domains can be registered for up to 10 years at a time, so ensure that you have some flexibility when registering.
(And, if you didn’t know, you can’t permanently purchase a domain. Think of them as a lease – not permanent — unless you renew regularly.)
Many companies offer a low price to get clients “hooked” into purchasing a domain and then become sticker shocked once up for renewal. Make sure you read the fine print and ensure the renewal price won’t break the bank.
All of this information should be easy to find in any good domain registrar. Plus, a good business model is not to hike up the prices tremendously (or at all) upon renewal.
11. Domain Management Console
Easily managing domains and having them under one roof in a domain management console is great for running your WordPress development agency.
Any management system that allows you to bill, renew, edit contact information and more can save you a ton of time and streamline the domain management process.
This is especially useful if you’re managing multiple domains for numerous clients as an agency.
What Are the Average Costs of a New Domain Name?
Now that you know what to look out for, it’s good to be aware of what a fair price to pay for a domain is as you decide which company to go with.
They all vary by companies and extensions, so there’s no exact figure for them; however, for a regular .com domain, prices tend to range from as cheap as $7 to $15 per year.
Also, some offer package deals, such as a free domain with hosting. Or discounts and promos are often available (especially for new customers). Additionally, discounts can be added if you pay annually instead of monthly.
All this being said, often, renewing a domain can cost more. Hence, if you know you want a domain for the long term, it’s usually a good idea to purchase for an extended length of time (e.g. ten years) right away.
A Note on Premium Domains…
If you purchase an existing domain, the owner can determine the price. This can become very expensive, depending on the domain and business. It’s different from buying a brand-new domain at a regular price.
Domain Extension Differences
We mentioned that it’s important to see what extensions a domain provider includes if you wish to use some specific ones other than .com. That being said – what’s the difference between them?
The most popular is .com. Then some other popular TLDs include .org, .net, .edu, and .gov. There are thousands of others to choose from.
A big difference between them all (as we touched on earlier) is the expense. Some extensions (such as the ever-growing .io and .co) are becoming more popular, thus, more expensive.
Also, some extensions are restricted, and you can’t purchase them unless you meet specific requirements. Several of these include .edu and .gov because they are related to education and government.
Probably the biggest reason for various extensions is to be unique to your site. Have a dance studio? You might want a .dance to fit in with your business.
An extension often won’t make or break a website, but that being said, they do make a difference and should be unique to your specifications.
Why WPMU DEV is a Good Choice for Domains
We’ve covered quite a bit of information in this article (whew!), and we’d be doing ourselves a disservice if we didn’t mention our domains here at WPMU DEV. Why? Because we check a lot of the boxes on what to look for when choosing a domain provider.
After all, our main goal IS to be the best domain provider around, so we want to make sure we have as much covered on our end, and make you aware of it, too.
Here’s a rundown of what we offer.
Paid or Free Domain Protection: Our domains automatically come with WHOIS protection, so it’s covered without additional costs.
Extension Options: We have over 120 extensions — and will be adding another 100-150 very soon.
Simple Domain Transfer: Coming soon, you’ll be able to quickly and easily transfer 3rd party domains to WPMU DEV, and if you need to transfer out of our platform, that will be simple, too. Stay tuned for updates on this…
Purchasing Domains in Bulk: Considering we sell our domains purely at cost, we don’t need a bulk domain discount. They’re already as low priced as they can get. You can purchase as many domains as you need.
Hosting & Domain: Though they are two different features (domains are not included with hosting), we have fully dedicated hosting and credits with our Agency plan.
Expired Domains Policy: An expired domain will enter into a 40-day grace period and can be renewed during that time by simply paying the renewal costs. Then, the domain enters a 30-day redemption period.
Support: We offer 24/7 support.
Reputation: We’ve been around for a while (since 2006!) and have extremely high marks from Trustpilot. Additionally, we’ve been a repeatedly “Top Choice” for web developers, won awards for our plugins, and have high reviews from over 5,000 places worldwide.
Here’s a sample of what our reputation consists of.
Registration Period: Domains can be registered for 1-10 ten years (except for a few examples, like .co — which can only be registered for five). Read more about registration periods in our documentation.
Price: As mentioned earlier, with purchasing domains in bulk, we charge purely at cost and won’t sticker shock you on renewal. We offer domains exclusively through our Agency Plan, so we can keep them at a discounted rate. It’s strictly for our members’ benefit to have domains; we’re not in it for profit.
Domain Management Console: All domains are in one place in The Hub. From here, you can set up auto-renewal, edit information, set registration periods — and much more. Be sure to read our article about setting up domains from WPMU DEV.
For more about our domains, be sure to visit our domains page for more info — or to get started!
Providing You Info for the Right Domain Provider
Hopefully, this article answered some questions and helps you understand what to look for in a domain provider. Whether it’s price, the convenience of a domain console, or support — whatever it is, it’s important to choose the right company to go with. After all, there are over a thousand options out there, and it’s not always simple to decide on a single platform.
On top of that, you got a glimpse of what we can offer regarding domains here at WPMU DEV. We’re proud to be able to offer them at cost with our Agency plan and provide the best in many categories when it comes to domains. If you’re not a member yet, give us a trial run (for free!) today!
Make sure that whatever domain provider you go with, make sure it’s (dot)amazing!