Choosing a Domain Name RegistrarOnce you have finished Choosing a Website Domain Name, it is time to actually buy and own it. Or, to be more exact, you are leasing the name for a set period of time. All domain names are leased for periods of time from 1 year to 99 years. You can of course keep renewing and renewing but in the internet world you never own a name "for all time until eternity". You can set your name to auto-renew (and auto pay for it of course!) but it is good to remember to keep track of that process. I've had several friends who forgot to renew their ownership of their domain name, lost control of it, and someone else owns it now.
So what does it mean to own a domain name? This is completely separate from the content of the website or traffic to that website or what your website looks like. This is solely about owning rights to the name that people type in. The only thing this process involves is that when someone types in a sequence of letters - for example LisaShea.com - that they go to where you point them - say computer XYZ. It has nothing to do with where computer XYZ is or what is on that computer. That is all a completely separate step.
The only thing a domain registrar does is:
1) give you rights to use the URL LisaShea.com (or whatever you choose)
2) Point that URL LisaShea.com to a destination computer (whereever you tell it to go)
3) Has features to allow you to auto renew and get customer service easily
So in short it is really easy to choose a domain registrar. They are doing a very specific thing. They are maintaining your ownership of a domain and helping ensure you do not lose the ownership by forgetting to renew. They should have great customer service and nice auto-renew options.
There are many options out there, some cheap, some expensive. I personally use Network Solutions (that is not an affiliate link, just an honest to goodness straight link) because I have worked with them for many years for very serious high end websites. Yes, they are expensive. But to me they have been there day or night, have never gone down, my URLs are always redirected in lightning speed when I need them to be. Most people can go with a less expensive option like GoDaddy or other choices.
Whoever you buy your URL from, make sure they have good renewal options. The #1 issue with owning a domain name is forgetting to renew it when it comes due, and having your URL "stolen" from you by someone who then charges you thousands of dollars to give it back to you. Make sure you always renew your domains early, to retain that ownership of the URL you've spent years building traffic and recognition for.
Once you have paid for your URL it is time to move on to:
3. Choosing a Website Hosting Company
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