About Domain Names

This page updated 4/16/2014
A. About Picking Domain Names:
Picking the best domain name, may be MORE important, than where and how you build  the website.  I make this statement, because  you can "rebuild" the website at a later date, or even have different versions in multiple locations.

But your domain name is like your phone number; once a domain name is taken, NOBODY else can use it.  So it's important to find the best one you can, then make sure you "hang on to it".

You want to pick a domain name that is ideally (1) available, (2) short, (3) easy to SPELL, and (4) easy to remember.  Usually these objectives conflict -- i.e. the name you want is usually already taken, so it's a matter of finding the best compromise.

B. For More Information:
  1. You can view the Billtown Web YouTube Video About Domain Names .
  2. You can do a YouTube search for "picking the best domain name" to find additional videos.
  3. You can view the Track2.com information page on  Domain Names.
  4.  You can also do a Google search for "picking the best domain name" to find additional web pages.
C. Forwarding Domain Names vs Not-Forwarded:
  • After you register a domain name, the easiest way to configure it, is to "forward" it to wherever your website is located (like a forwarding telephone number).
  • You can forward a domain name to just about any web site, whether or not you have control over that site.
  • A BETTER way, although somewhat more complicated, is to "map" the domain by changing the "DNS settings" -- so the domain name and your actual website are "connected".  This is better for search engines, and also looks more "professional".
  •   This requires you to modify some settings both (1) at the Registrar, and (2) at the hosting site.
D. Comparing Registrars:
  •  Currently I use Namecheap.com for my own domains, and Godaddy.com for "customer" domains.  Users seem to consider Namecheap to be one of the best.  But they don't have telephone support, so I tend not to use them for customers who are not comfortable using computers.
  • For more opinions, Google a phrase similar to "compare registrars NameCheap.com versus Godaddy.com" or "compare registrars NameCheap.com versus 1and1.com".
  • (+) Considered by many to be one of the best registrars; low prices, no pushy 'upselling'.
  • (+) Low prices; most domains are around $11-$12/year, compared with $15-$16/year with Godaddy.
  • (+) Private registration is currently available at $2.88/year.  (Versus additional $10/year with Godaddy.)
  • (-) No telephone support.  All communication must be done by email.
  • Email Addresses:  They allow 6 forwarding email addresses per domain, and each can only forward to 1 address.
  • (+) Has good telephone support; staff located in US and speak good English.
  • (+) For me, least confusing interface of these 3 registrars.
  • (-) Prices a few dollars higher than Namecheap, pushy 'upselling'. (It's like dealing the the telephone company.)
  • (-) Private registration costs approx. an extra $10/year.
  • Email Addresses:  They allow one free address per domain name. (You can purchase more.)
  • Comments:   I no longer register any new domains with this registrar.  They initially had low prices -- which they promised would stay low, but bad support and a clumsy interface.  
  • Now they've raised their prices so they're among the most expensive, but we're stuck with the bad support and interface.
  • (+) Email Addresses:  Most flexible email forwarding system.  Can create many forward addresses; can change the forwarding address and still keep the same recipients.
  • (-) Higher prices, poor support (hard-to-understand people in Manilla who often are not very helpful), clumsy interface.
  • (-) Cannot forward a domain to a 'anchor' (somewhere in the middle) on a page like Godaddy; only can forward to a page.
  • Email Addresses:  Most flexible email forwarding system (can have multiple forwarding emails).  They allow you to create free forwarding email addresses, and each address can forward to up to 3 recipients.  But this works ONLY if you forward the domain.  (If you 'map' the domain, the email does not work without a lot of really-complicated workarounds.)
  • This is useful for creating contact addresses on web pages, where you can use a forwarding address that does not expose peoples real addresses to Spammers.).

An Expert Opinion:   

At 11:42 AM -0400 8/23/12, Charles Ormsbee wrote:

For my business I use namecheap.com.
I like their online interface and over the years I have transferred all of my domains to them from various registrars. I have never  had an issue with them. Domain registration is one of those things that is just there and I don't think about much.

But since I am thinking about it now, I like how I can do everything online in my account without having to make any phone calls. That is just a personal preference. I take advantage of their privacy guard that is just a dollar and change a year so that I don't get spammed with marketing offers by mail or email. I think that is important no matter who you use for domain registration.

The email issue is not one I have as I only use purchased hosting accounts and I can have all the email accounts I want on each of those accounts. With hosting costs so cheap these days I don't use any free hosting services anymore.

You might want to check into getting a hosted account - it is very easy to set up a Wordpress self hosted site these days (almost automatic) and I think you would find that a lot of the technical issues would disappear as there is no need to forward things from here to there. I got an email the other day from Namecheap and they are offering hosting for a couple of dollars a month. Then you would not need to do any forwarding of emails.
I haven't used their hosting but I have heard good things.

Hope this helps.