Affordable Domain Name Registration
This is a guide for people who are new to the internet, web hosting and
domain name registration. It is an informal look at various aspects of
the business, with the hope of developing good understanding in the
reader so they can make informed decisions. Finding affordable domain
registration and hosting is key to getting your information online in a
manner that's easy to access for the public, and a great way to save
money for your business.
First of all, while the technology of the Internet is quite complex, it
was designed to exchange information quickly, easily, and effectively.
Concepts such as web hosting and domain registration are actually very
simple and understandable. With the recent growth and availability in
online technology, it's becoming easier and less expensive to get your
own domain and develop a web site -- or even manage your own server.
What is a Domain Name?
The Internet is a network of computers, all speaking a similar language
so that they can exchange information and understand each other easily.
Each computer on this network needs to have a unique identifying number
so that communications can be directed effectively. This number is
called an "IP address", and looks something like this: 184.108.40.206.
You can think of this number as being very similar to a phone number.
While we usually think of them as being associated with a single
machine, they can actually be shared by several computers or web sites;
much like several people living together in the same home, sharing a
single phone number.
While IP addresses are very efficient, long numbers can be hard for
humans to remember. Domain names were developed to make it easier for
people to find, remember, and connect to the sites and information
they're looking for. Just like a phone book, the Domain Name Registry
is a huge index of domain names (like "SurfZen.com") which are
associated with their unique IP addresses.
So when you type a search for "www.surfzen.com" in your browser, you are
actually giving it instructions to open up the big Internet phone book,
find SurfZen's number, and connect to the site.
A Good Domain Name is Important
Short, evocative domain names are easier to remember than long boring
ones. If you see a web site address in a print ad or on TV, what are
you more likely to remember "www.surfzen.com" or
While domain names like "business.com" and "sex.com" have sold for
millions of dollars, it's important to note that some of the most
popular sites in the world do not have descriptive names like that (see domain name tips for more info).
Yahoo! (www.yahoo.com), for example, is the single most popular Internet
web site directory in the world, yet the name doesn't describe what it
is or what it does. So why is it so popular? Well, Yahoo! is a special
case, because they started very early in the Web world, and as one of
the only Web sites to index the Web, word of mouth quickly spread.
But Yahoo! also provides an excellent service, which again gives it good
word-of-mouth publicity. So, having a short, unique, memorable name
can be more useful in some ways than having a long, descriptive one.
What Should You Pay for Your Domain Name?
What you pay for a domain name, and whether you save money doing it,
depends entirely on what the domain can do for you. If you registered
"eBay.com" in the early 1990's, you wouldn't necessarily be a
millionaire today. While the name is short, unique, a "dot com", and
easily branded, it has little or no meaning without the service for
which it has become famous. So what is an affordable domain name?
Domain names can be purchased today for anywhere from $10 to
$10,000,000. While ten million dollars sounds outrageous, if the site
can generate ten million dollars a year in revenue, then it would
definitely be worth it. What name could do that? Probably
"disneyworld.com", "viagra.com", or "tvguide.com", to name just a few.
So if someone already owns the perfect domain for you, and they aren't
making good use of it, you should probably ask them if it's for sale,
and at what price. If you have a worldwide marketing campaign ready for
"Purple Fudge", then paying $10,000 for "purplefudge.com" is probably
On the other hand, if you can come up with an alternate name that hasn't
already been taken, say, pfudge.com or p-fudge.com you can snatch it up
for a song at a reputable domain name registrar.
SurfZen provides affordable
domain name registration at a fraction of the cost of the major
registrars (75% less in most cases), and with a host of features to make
it easy for you to manage and maintain your domain names online.
Domain Name Registration Tips
As discussed in the section on affordable domain name
registration, your domain name is an important aspect of your
online presence. A short, evocative domain name that's easy to remember
is an excellent start in building and maintaining your target audience.
In the early 1990's the registration of domain names was strictly
regulated. Originally, the .com extension was reserved exclusively for
registered businesses, the .net extension for network services (such as
web hosting, internet service provision, etc.), and .org was reserved
for community groups, non-profit, and other types of organizations.
Today, .com is used by almost anyone, for any purpose. The other
extensions tend to be used as alternatives when the .com is already
taken (though in general .org is still used for its originally intended
What's the Best Name for You?
The .com extension has become synonymous with Internet business and is
often used colloquially to describe the whole of the Internet culture,
technology, business, e-commerce, etc., as "dot com". For this reason,
.com domain names are often considered to be worth more. It is the
first extension people think of when they type in a domain, and it is
likely to garner traffic intended for other sites. For example, if you
register "myorganization.org", it is quite likely that people familiar
with your organization will type "myorganization.com" into their
browsers first, when trying to reach you. For this reason, many
organizations who use .org extensions also try to get the .com to go
with it, so their image is not harmed by confusion with other sites.
So, if you're planning on starting up a networking company or an
organization that should have a .net or .org domain name, you should
consider registering the .com as well to make connecting easier for your
visitors, reduce confusion and lost traffic to your site, and to
preserve your branding.
Many companies, groups, or organizations may find it beneficial or even
necessary to make their country of origin obvious in their domain name.
If you offer goods or services only in your country of origin, or offer
information uniquely targeted to a regional group, you should consider
getting a "country code" extension, also referred to as a "Top Level
Domain" or TLD.
There are literally hundreds of TLDs, though many of them require proof
of residence or registration of a business name in their country to
acquire a domain. Here are some examples of popular country TLDs:
Similar to Tuvalu, other country codes like .to, .at, and .it can be
used for marketing reasons other than to denote citizenship or location.
- .uk (United Kingdom), including .co.uk, .me.uk, .org.uk (company,
personal, and organization sites respectively)
- .ca (Canada), including domains similar to the UK domains, but
separated by province code (for example, .on.ca for Ontario sites)
- .us (United States), though .com, .net and .org TLDs
originally described American sites, their use internationally spawned
interest in and creation of the .us domain.
- .tv (Tuvalu), a British colony in the South Pacific, Tuvalu
sells its TLD on a sliding scale, due to the obvious application for
television (TV) based markets.
Finding a Good Domain Name Registrar
Good domain name registrars are hard to find. Most of them charge
extremely high rates for very limited services. They take advantage of
consumer ignorance to increase profits, but some companies have gone
even further than that. Many of the so-called "big name" registrars
have resorted to criminal activity to keep clients, gain new clients,
and literally steal clients from smaller companies. Before you
register, take a moment to educate yourself and become aware of the
pitfalls in the terrain. Later, we'll recommend registrar services you
can rely on.
Network Solutions and other "Big Name" Registrars in Hot Water
Registering domain names with "big name" companies like Network
Solutions is not only expensive (almost 5 times SurfZen's rates, for the
same service), the FTC recently found they were also using criminal
(fraudulent) business practices:
Network Solutions, Inc. has settled Federal Trade Commission charges
that its deceptive marketing practices unlawfully tricked consumers into
transferring their Internet domain name registrations to the company.
The terms of the settlement permanently bar Network Solutions from
misrepresenting that a consumer's domain name is about to expire or that
the transfer of a domain name is actually a renewal. The order also
requires the defendant to pay consumer redress pursuant to the terms of a
previously settled class action lawsuit. (Federal Trade Commission (FTC))
It is highly recommended that you stay away from the "big names" like
Network Solutions, eNom and Register.com, not only because their prices
are outrageously high, but because they simply can't be trusted.
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