What Are Domain Registrars? Who is the Best Domain Registrar?
Domain name registrars are accredited companies with the authority to register domain names for users. There are several different types of domain name registrars selling several different types of domains. This article explains the ins and outs of domain registrars. The top domain registrars have the best service, lowest prices, and largest selection of TLDs. If you’re looking for the best domain registration company…think GoDaddy.
What Does Domain Mean?
Domain used to refer to the area ruled by a monarch or similar ruler. Today, it refers to virtual area. Domain in Domain Registrars is a reference to a URL’s top-level domain (TLD), the two or more letters that follow its final dot. The TLD is preceded by the second-level domain. A website names Charlie.com has a TLD of .com and a second-level domain of Charlie.
What Is a Domain Name?
A domain name is a specific combination of a second-level domain and a TLD. There can be different TLD’s all having the same second-level domain, for example:
Each of these is a separate domain name.
A person who wants to have a web presence needs to choose one or more domain names to represent him- or herself or his or her business. The name chosen cannot be one that someone else is currently using and it cannot contain an element that is trademarked or branded by someone else. I can’t call my soda company website betterthanpepsi.com. Names that have been previously registered sometimes come back to market for various reasons. When they reappear for sale, they are referred to as aftermarket domain names. Once such a name is purchased, then it can be used again.
Types of Top Level Domains
A person choosing a domain name may already have some ideas about the second-level domains, and these are unlimited with the exceptions stated above. But the TLDs are a closed set, of which there are two groups. Country code TLDs (abbreviated ccTLDs) are top-level domains that refer to a specific territory or country. For example, .us is for the United States, while .de is for Germany. There are a great many of them. Generic TLDs (abbreviated gTLDs), on the other hand, are part of the Domain Name System (DNS). Some of them are meant to identify the type of organization listed in the second level domain (like .gov for government and .edu for schools, colleges, and universities). Others can be used by anyone, as long as the second level domain is acceptable. In 2010, there were 20 approved gTLDs.
Registering a Domain Name with the Best Domain Registrar
In order for a domain name—either new or recycled—to be used, it has to be registered. That’s where a domain registrar comes in. The ccTLD domain registrars are authorized by the national ccTLD company that has the authority to do so. The gTLD domain registrars are authorized by ICANN, the International Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers. To be legitimate, a domain registrar must be approved by ICANN or have ccTLD authorization. Some domain registrars have both types of approval.
There are both wholesale and retail registrars, and registrars can compete with each other for customers’ business. The public can only register domain names through retail registrars: wholesale registrars use registration service providers (RSPs) as a means to resell domain registrations. Ways in which domain name registrars compete with each other include selling hosting and offering domain name registration for free along with a hosting plan, or offering hosting along with a paid domain name registration. Some may offer bargains for registering multiple domain names, and many have occasional sales. Some domain name registrations may also be offered for a lower price than others, often depending on the TLD.
There are only a few exceptions where a domain name registrar may act as a registrar as well as a wholesaler. Take the well known domain name provider GoDaddy for example. GoDaddy currently manages over 49 million domain names which makes them the world’s largest domain name provider in the world. Although GoDaddy provides a number of domain name services through their website, they also offer reseller programs where someone may join their program and sell GoDaddy domain names under their own business name. The GoDaddy API reseller program is an advanced program allowing businesses to offer GoDaddy names through their own website, at their own prices, while maintaining their own unique branding.
There are vast numbers of domain name registrars, and along with finding the deal best suited to your needs. For gTLDs, check the list of accredited registrars provided by ICANN here: http://www.icann.org/registrars/accredited-list.html You can either scroll down for a complete list or click on the gTLD you are interested in for a categorized list.
Authorized registrars of ccTLDs, can be found on the Internet Assigned Number Authority (IANA) website here: http://www.iana.org/domains/root/db/ Click on the ccTLD
Finding a Legitimate Domain Name Registrar
If you are registering a gTLD domain name, you can use the ICANN list of its accredited registrars here: http://www.icann.org/registrars/accredited-list.html Click on gTLDs above the chart for a list. Within the chart, click on a registrar name to visit the registrar’s homepage, and then click on the link beside the words “URL for registration services” under “Subdomain Information” for a list of accredited domain name registrars.
Even some of the best domain name registrars are limited in the number of TLDs they choose to offer and may have limited domain name services. This type of domain name provider may be a good choice and benefit for someone who is looking for a cheap domain name. But, for those that may be looking for a specialty domain name they may wish to choose a domain name registrar that offers a number of different or specialized domain name services such as aftermarket domains, domain name appraisals, or International domains. Naturally, as the world’s largest and best domain name registrar, GoDaddy.com offers domain name services to suit just about everyone’s needs. These are some of the best domain name services GoDaddy offers:
- Best Private Registration
- GeoDomainMap Tool
- Internationalized Domain Names (IDN)
- Domain Transfers
- Domain Backorders
- Bulk Domain Discounts
- Domain Auctions
Keep in mind, some best web hosting companies may include a free domain with the purchase of a web hosting package. These can be a great inexpensive way to get your website started. It’s a good idea to determine your domain name needs and long term goals so you may choose a domain name provider that suits your individual needs.