In this article, we explain who registrars are and share some top tips when it comes to choosing one.
Let’s start by exploring a few definitions:
Domain names: Domain names are the string of characters which are used to identify websites online like “ourhomeonline.wales”. Domain names like .wales and .cymru, help you secure your very own part of the internet through professional website and email addresses.
Registrars: Registrars are online retailers from whom you can buy domain names. You won’t fully own a domain name, but essentially, you’ll be ‘renting’ it from a registrar and if you want to continue using your domain name, you’ll need to keep ‘renting it’ by renewing it with them.
When it comes to choice, there are hundreds of registrars who offer a wide range of services, and this could make choosing one seem quite daunting. The right registrar for you will come down to the services you need and what’s important to you, so it’s worth taking some time to research a number of options through different providers and speak with them to discuss your exact needs.
To help you get started on creating a shortlist, we’ve shared four top tips below.
1: Research the options available and shop around
Start off by creating a list of the services you need in addition to a domain name, this could be anything from you’d like a website builder included (so you can use your domain name to build a site) or you’d like to use your domain for email addresses too.
Once you’ve created this list, make sure you keep referring back to it as you begin to search through the different packages registrars offer. It’s important to pay careful attention to what’s included in the price alongside the domain name, for example some registrars offer access to a website builder alongside the cost of the domain, or they might include a certain number of email addresses in a special offer.
Spend some time shopping around to find a registrar that offers the service or range of services you need and get some competitive quotes. Remember, the cheapest price is not always necessarily the best deal, it’s a good idea to check your contract for any ‘hidden’ charges.
2: Make sure you check the small print
We’ve already mentioned that it’s common to find packages or special offers when it comes to buying a domain name. While this can offer a great range of options, it’s important you check the small print to be aware of whether this might have an impact on price in the future, say once a special offer has expired after the first year.
It’s also important to fully understand the Terms and Conditions for the registrar, so you’ll be aware of your rights around cancellation or moving a domain for example. Some key areas to look at include:
- Read or ask to see the Terms and Conditions for domain name registration so you can make sure you fully understand the contract you’re entering into
- Double check the registrar’s Terms and Conditions to ensure your domain name will only be registered specifically to you in your name and not in another name, such as that of the registrar or a third-party
- Pay attention to your rights to move your domain name and other services to another registrar, and whether this is something you would be charged for
- Confirm the renewal policy and understand whether you would also need to renew your hosting service (if you took this option with the registrar) at the same time
- Check any other Internet Services that you have – can these be renewed or amended separately from your domain name?
3: Listen to feedback
Just like when you read product reviews before buying a new pair of shoes or before you choose a garage to MOT your car, listen to feedback on your shortlisted registrars. This will help you understand how others have found the experience of registering a domain name through them, how many happy customers they have and the level of customer support they offer.
You might be able to find qualifications, reviews, testimonials, awards, accreditations or memberships on their website. You could also try running a search to find out more about the company, including on third-party review sites and how they respond to customers on social media.
4: Check the level of support offered
As you do your research, you’ll likely come across reviews and feedback on customer service. The level of support a registrar offers is important to consider, for example say buying a domain name and setting up a website is new to you, you’d likely benefit from knowing the registrar you’ve chosen offers a high level of customer support such as a quick and easy web chat service which is available 24/7.
It’s important to consider technical support alongside customer service and when the services are available. Make sure you also confirm whether you’ll be dealing with the registrar themselves or a third-party non-accredited company that also sells domain names (who are called resellers) and how to contact them directly. Lastly, don’t forget to check where the registrar is based, especially as you may have a preference or business need for a registrar that is based in the same time zone or country as you.
If you’re looking to find a .wales or .cymru domain, you can use our handy search tool below or take a look at some further support articles around choosing a Welsh domain name.