Domain names can be registered through companies and organisations called “Domain Name Registrars”. When you register a domain name, the registrar pays the operator of the domain a set fee.
For example, when you register a .COM domain name, the registrar needs to pay a fee to Verisign and a smaller administration fee to ICANN. The different between what a registrar pays in fees and what they charge a customer for registering a domain is their profit.
Registrars do not make a huge amount of money on each domain sold, however they make up for this with the sheer volume of domains that are registered through them. A few dollars per domain sold quickly turns into a lot of money because of the number of people registering domains. Additionally, their profit margins on extra services such as website hosting, email accounts, and domain privacy, tend to be much higher.
Domain name registrars have to abide by the rules that a particular domain name is governed by. That is why the information required for registering one type of domain extensions may be different to another extension.
It is common for website hosting companies to offer a free domain with shared hosting plans and VPS hosting plans. Hosting companies normally offer domain registration services too, though it is important to note that website hosting companies are not domain registrars and simply reselling domains on behalf of an accredited domain registrar.
My advice is to never use a hosting company to manage domains. It is much safer to register domains through an established domain name company and keep your domain and hosting accounts separate.
This article lists many established domain name registrars that you can use to register domains. Popular domain resellers are also noted.
Founded in Germany way back in 1988, 1&1 charge $14.99 for .COM domains and $16.99 per year for .NET and .ORG domains. They have a great deal where in the first year you only pay $0.99 for a .COM, $2.99 for a .ORG, and $8.99 for a .NET.
The company also offers website hosting, custom-made websites, email and office tools, and an eCommerce website builder.
Founded in Washington, USA, in 1997, eNom are one of the largest domain reselling companies online. Buying direct from eNom or one of its official stores such as eNomCentral or BulkRegister can be expensive.
Thankfully, domain prices from eNom resellers are very competitive.
Gandi are a French domain registrar that was founded in 1999. They are quite unique among domain companies as they do not spend any money on advertising. Instead, they rely on “Word of Mouth” from existing customers to generate new business.
Prices start at 12.54 euros for .COM domains. They also offer website hosting and SSL certificates.
Founded in 1997 by the controversial Bob Parsons, GoDaddy is the largest ICANN-accredited registrar in the world. They are a huge company with thousands of employees.
They have a lot of enticing domain offers. For example, registering a .COM domain will cost only $1.99 the first two years and then renew at $9.99 per year. Be careful when you purchase a domain as they display pages upon pages of other domain and website hosting related services in the checkout area. It can be easy to purchase an additional service by accident so be sure to check everything before the final checkout page.
A division of the third largest domain registrar Tucows, which was founded back in 1993, Hover was launched in 2008 when three other domain companies merged.
Hover have built up a great reputation among website owners as being one of the most reliable places to register domains. Their customer service has won many accolades. Their .COM prices are $12.99 for registrations, $14.99 for renewals, and $10.99 for transfers.
When you consider that all registrations through Hover feature domain name privacy as standard, you realise how competitive their prices are. This is a feature that most other companies charge around $10 for.
A domain registration company that offers domain registration, website hosting, email accounts, website building, and an aftermarket domain brokerage. The company was founded in 2003 in Denver, USA, and is known to support many good causes.
Domain transfers start from only $8.25. Most popular domain extensions retail at $10.99 per year
NameCheap are an ICANN-accredited domain registrar that manage millions of domains; though for many years they were actually registering domains as a reseller of eNom.
Their domain pricing starts at around $10.69 for .COMs and $12.88 for .NETs. Discounts are available for new customers.