Monday, 20 January 2014

Where to buy domain names?

A question many of us have is where is best to buy a domain name from? and also should I try a new supplier? That's what I asked when I wanted to buy a domain name. Here is my journey.

I've been using 123-reg for almost a decade now for some basic reasons. Mainly because they fit the bill at the time. That was

  • They don't lock your domain in. You can move it to another host at any time. I heard of companies acting as though they own your domain and expect a release fee for it or won't even let it go.
  • Good prices: One of the cheapest at the time
  • Redirecting: I just point my domain colchambers.co.uk at this blog. No extra cost.
  • Easy renewal
  • Simple tool to find the best domain name at the right price. checks for all major domains e.g. .com, .co.uk, uk.com etc at once. Tells you what is available, price options etc
  • Ok admin panel: You can do all the basic things I might need to do. Change where your domain points. change DNS and nameservers, web forwarding
  • Ok support site: So far I have found the answers that I need
They were the best on this criteria years ago and seemed ok since. Yesterday though I tried buying another domain name and was frustrated with all the extras they kept trying to sell me. It felt like if I forgot to remove each one in each step then I would get overcharged. 

I hate that style of business but I thing this has always how 123-reg have done it and I just put up with it. I know I don't need the extras and I don't buy domain names often so I ignore it. 

I just felt it worth checking to see if there is any thing better out there. Just a quick check. I know 123 and they don't seem to have changed much but it's always nice to look around. 

New features: Do I need them

The reason I'm looking again is because I have forgotten whether I need the stuff 123-reg tried to sell me. Things like:
  • Mail accounts: My memory is that this is irrelevant to your domain. Tied to your hosting instead. Hosting isn't something I would get with 123-reg. 
  • Whois privacy: A new thing to me. I assume it's just ex directory for domain names. I dont want to hide my address at this point. Some people will. 
  • hosting: as for mail. I get it elsewhere

Providers

123-reg email forwarding

This quick check reminded me about email forward.
  • Tried to set it up email forwarding at 123-reg that worked fine
  • Forwards show on the manage email admin screen only when you choose the relevant domain
  • Tried the advice on adding a catch all forward it didn't work at first. Said "incorrect forward recipient". Not helpful and frustrating. Turns out I already had a catch all forward set up. didn't know because the manage email screen doesn't show yoru forward rules by default. Removed it then added the new one.

Results

I stayed with 123-reg in the end. Mainly because I've not had any problems yet and the others I found weren't any better. I only had 20 minutes to compare but the key point is that with these guys I'm not locked in. So the price was right and the risk is minimal. The admin screens are very clunk but for now I am getting what I pay for.

After sales

This is often most important to me. So I thought I would share a little of what you get and why I'm not in a rush to change once I find a company that's ok. Domains are cheap but crucial. With the wrong supplier you could lose control or not renew or something. 

Don't worry about who I'm with. It's more about know what you should be getting. I don't know everything I should be getting because it's just one aspect of putting a web site and app or blog together. 

ICANN verification

I got this straight after my purchase. I haven't shared the whole mail. Just the important intro bit

Please be advised that as of the 1st January 2014 it has now become a mandatory requirement from the Internet Corporation for Assigned Name and Numbers (ICANN) that all ICANN accredited registrars verify the WHOIS contact information for all new domain registrations, domain transfers and registrant contact modifications.
You have received this email as you have recently registered one or more domains from 123Reg/Webfusion with the following registrant details:


  • Invoice: Obviously key.  Came through instantly with attached pdf. e

Direct Debit

Direct debit confirmation: I set up a DD and the email confirmation came through quickly with full details of supplier 123-REG, 5 Roundwood Avenue, Stockley Park, Uxbridge, Middlesex, UB11 1FF, UNITED KINGDOM, dd@123-reg.co.uk, 17 / Jan / 2014 the mail gave the correct details and support info was

If any of the above details are incorrect please call Customer Services as soon as possible on 0845 450 2310or email us at dd@123-reg.co.uk. However, if your details are correct you need do nothing and your Direct Debit will be processed as normal. You have the right to cancel your Direct Debit at any time. A copy of the Direct Debit Guarantee is below.

For information, the collections will be made using this reference:

References for support were given so I should be able to contact customer support and have a correct reference number making the process much faster.




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