Registering a domain name on your own is a process that can be quick and easy. There are some simple steps to follow to make sure it all goes smoothly too. A lot depends on whether the domain is your own name, and whether it’s a branding exercise, or descriptive, so keep those things in mind as you consider different options. These five points should give you some idea of what the process involves and what to check for.
1) Find a reputable registrar
A registrar is a company that is set up specifically to take care of the technical side of your domain name registration with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). ICANN is the body that holds information on web domains to allow for speedy resolution of technical issues, and to ensure that domains comply with relevant copyright, trademark and consumer protection laws. The ICANN Registrar Directory contains listings of registries by name, location and language to help find one that suits.
Top tip: Make sure any registrar you are considering is ICANN accredited. You should see from their website whether they are. If they aren’t, or you aren’t sure, ask them directly and if in doubt choose another registrar.
2) Confirm details for the whois database
The registrar will be responsible for updating information on the publicly available database for domain names – called whois (www.whois.com). Make sure you fully understand any registrar agreement terms and conditions, and are aware of what is and is not appropriate behaviour. For example, if a registrar promises a registration for 5 years, make sure that is how long it is registered for on whois.com, and that they are not pocketing extra money. You should not be charged a huge administration fee for any changes to your details on the whois database either, and should know whether your domain name may be locked out for a period of time when changes are made. This would be important if you wanted to sell the domain name in the next couple of months, for example.
Top Tip: Confirm everything in writing/e-mail with the registrar and if in any terms are unclear or seem unreasonable investigate, don’t assume something is ‘normal’ for the industry
3) Choose a memorable domain name
This is self-explanatory really. Do some searches, including on whois and find out what’s available and ask for prices before committing to anything. We’ve published an article previously here that might help you choose the right domain name for your business.
4) Consider what extensions you need
There are a number of different domain name extensions, or suffixes and depending where you plan to do business, what industry your business is in and what type of business it is you might want a few different ones. Consider endings such as .tv, personal endings such as .me, .pro or .pm and different country endings that you might be interested in. Speaking with a registrar is a good idea, but an independent consultant can also give advice and won’t have an interest in you registering the name with them.
5) Make sure you don’t breach any trademark or other IP laws.
If you’re unsure whether or not your domain and activity breaches any trademark or IP laws, Dtrade can help with this, and if we can’t answer your question we can refer you to a professional who can.