Sunday, September 12, 2010

It Worked for Me - Domain Registration

For the last couple of years I haven’t had any need to have an active DNS Domain.  However, a software project I have been working on has once again made this a requirement.  So over the last couple of days I have gone through the steps to establish one.

In my case registering a domain had two phases.  Phase one was to  to come up with a name and phase two was to find a Registrar.

Picking a Name

No matter what the project is naming naming something is always a challenge for me.  In the case of a domain name this was further complicated by the fact that any common name is already taken.

Faced with challenge I spent some time with google to see what help I could find and pretty quickly came up with a couple of sites.  I started with a search of “picking a domain name”.  This resulted in a number of sites that provide recommendations on the process of selecting a domain name.

I read several articles and armed with some information moved forward with coming up with a good name.  I found a couple of sites particularly useful in providing suggestions.  These sites are:

Along with generating names these sites both provide features to rapidly check the generated names.

After a while of playing around and a family vote I had a name and was ready to move on to the next step.

Picking a Registrar

I returned to google and typed in “domain registration review” and was completely frustrated by what I got back.  There was no shortage of sites / references returned.  There were primarily two problems:

  1. I was just looking for a registrar to register my names and then support DNS for me.  I wasn’t looking for a hosting package.
  2. Much of the information was dated.

After doing some reading I decided that I wanted the following features:

  1. Ability to register a domain name.
  2. The ability to host that domain name.
  3. The ability to privately register the domain name as I didn’t want my personal information accessible to anyone who ran a whois search.
  4. The ability to forward URLs and to forward Mail.
  5. An easy to use management interface.

My first stop was  These folks appear to have the largest slice of the market.  Looking over the information I found about them a number of people had very good things to say about them and a number of people had not so good things to say about them. 

By the time I finished looking over their information I was pretty sure they could support anything I wanted.  However, there was a comment that resonated with me from what I had read.  The comment which appeared in a number of places was that they really pushed to up sell.  Some up selling I can understand but this sounded to be beyond extreme so I decided to look further.

My next stop was a hosting company, Total Choice Hosting, which I had used a couple of years ago.  I had used them to host a website for a project I was working on.  I had found them to be an excellent hosting provider that earned high marks from me for reliability and support.  Also, when it had come time to cancel my account they were very good about doing it quickly with no fuss. 

For these reasons I would recommend them to anyone and was sad to find that their pricing appeared to be much higher than many other folks.  Based on this and the fact that I wasn’t looking for hosting this time around I decided to move on.

I checked out whose dynamic host service I have been using for a couple of years.  They have a free dynamic service as well as several services you can buy.  The challenge I had was that I couldn’t tell exactly what came as part of the registration/DNS hosting service.  For this reason along with the fact that they pricing appeared to be much higher than I expected I continued to look.

In my searching I looked at a number of other options:

  • domainmonster
  • yahoo
  • 1and1
  • hover
  • mydomain
  • namecheap

I finally decided to go with namecheap based on a best value approach. 

  • They were not the least expensive but they were very much in the ball park from a pricing perspective. 
  • They appeard to have a features I was looking for.
  • From there website it was easier to determine what service they provided.  (Domainmonster was another one that was good in this area.)
  • They showed up in enough reviews etc… to establish some sort of track record.


The last step was to register the name I had selected.  The registration process went very smoothly and when I was done I had a domain that was active and ready to use.

Next Steps

Beyond taking a bit of time with the management tool to get a feel for it I haven’t done anything with the domain yet.  As a result the real test of this whole process will have to wait for a week or two until I have the application up and running.

More to follow…