If your business has any presence on the internet then having your own internet domain name is a must. Here’s everything you could possibly need to know about choosing a domain name.
As well as adding credibility to your website or email address, yourbusinessname.com.au is also factored into search engine result listings. If a ‘company’ address doesn’t suit your organisation, there is a range of other domain name endings like .org, .biz, .info and .net and some restricted ones like .gov for government agencies.
Domain names give people a ‘friendly address’ to find your website or email server, but there are a few special details behind the scenes. First, you have to register this name and pay an annual registration fee (which may be passed on as a two year minimum). You can’t register a name that somebody else has already registered. If you forget to pay your fee when it’s due for renewal, your website and emails will stop working. So who do you pay this fee to and how much is it?
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) approves which ‘top level domain’ codes can be used, like the ones we’ve mentioned above. In Australia, .au Domain Administration (.auDA) is the policy authority and industry self-regulatory body for names ending in .au. It accredits and licenses companies to be domain name registrars and it’s those companies you’ll deal directly with. Registrar names like Crazy Domains, Melbourne IT, Planet Domain and Netregistry may sound more familiar. The registrar deals directly with people who want to register a new domain name or renew an existing one and that’s where your payment goes.
Paying for the domain name is only the first part of the process though. You also need a ‘DNS hosting’ service, where you set the details of your actual website server or email system. And then you need a website hosting service and email hosting service or your own server to perform these functions. That may sound slightly confusing, but it’s important to know that these extra pieces in the puzzle are actually vital to making everything work.
This is where it starts to get interesting. Domain name pricing can range from $28 for two years (for new registrations only) to $140 for two years. Why such a big difference for the same thing? The catch is in what is included or not included. For example, the $28 registration then asks if you want to add DNS hosting at $15 a year and a one off search engine submission for $50. The $140 price comes with an extra $149 worth of freebies (including free DNS hosting, web forwarding and a search engine starter pack). Also, as the end of the Australian our financial year rushes towards us, even the domain name registrars are having sales, with that $140 price reduced to $58.80 until 30 June. So now our $140 registrar is just 80 cents more expensive than the cheaper option and includes a lot more.
If you are looking to register a new domain name or renew an existing one, it pays to do your homework. Don’t be dazzled by the $1 specials until you have looked into the details of what they are including or what they will charge you extra for.
You can save yourself some money on your overall domain name package as long as you make sure that all of the vital components are covered one way or another to make your website and email work.