When you’re looking to start a website, it can be easy to have your web designer take care of everything for you including purchasing your domain name. Why worry about the small details when this is semi-part of what web designers do on a routine basis?
The Potential Problems
There are many cheap solutions out there through companies like Yellow Pages, Verizon, etc. that will set you up with a cheap, inexpensive website. The first item we want to point out is that websites are not excluded from the ‘You get what you pay for’ saying. Cheap solutions are cheap for a reason.
A lot of times when you set up a website like this, your package includes your domain name free for one year. The problem is that it can be troublesome to gain control of your domain name when you want to leave those services. I understand that getting your domain name free for one year can sound enticing, but domain names generally only cost around $10 per year. Paying the $10 is well worth the hassle that you’ll avoid by purchasing your domain name from a reputable registrar.
We’ve seen it many times. A client used to use a cheap solution for their website, they let the account expire because they don’t want the website anymore, and now they want to keep their domain name on go elsewhere. A lot of times, the original website companies will charge a pretty penny to gain control of that domain name if you let those services expire. The trick is to get your domain name transferred into your possession before the services are set to expire.
Unfortunately the same thing can happen with a website designer. If you hire the wrong person to handle your website and they pay for your domain name, they may try a similar stunt if you want to gain control of your domain name.
What To Do If You’re In This Type of Situation
If you know that you’re looking to move your website away from a cheap solution and that company has control of your domain name, get your domain name transferred into your possession right away. You want to do that well before you’re ready to put up a new website. Sometimes it can take up to 7 days for a domain name to fully transfer. So don’t wait until 2 weeks before your domain name and hosting is going to expire to start this process. Plan ahead and take care of it right away.
Just Getting Started? Then Buy Your Own Domain Name
We typically recommend using http://www.dynadot.com when purchasing domain names. Their service is great, their website is easy to use, and support team is very helpful. Popular solutions like GoDaddy will work as well, but GoDaddy will try and up-sell you on a million items before you finally get to pay for your domain name. If you know that you’re planning on getting a website and the domain name is available, just go out and get it. Domain names are on a first-come-first-serve basis, so don’t put it off.