How to choose, register and configure a domain name in 2020.

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Your web store adventure always starts with fantasizing. This can result from a hobby and sometimes a whim that works out well. But there is one thing everyone needs to start a web store. They must have a “company name”. And since you want to start a web shop you’ll need 1 or more domains. So this post will explain how to choose, register and set up a domain name account in the year 2020 and beyond.

These days, coming up with a good name is no longer that simple, or the domain name is already taken. Or the name is too similar to another domain name. In this article I will try to explain what you should pay attention to if you want to buy a domain name. I will pay attention to the technical aspects, to marketing and also talk about legal aspects.

Let’s assume that you already have a company name, and have checked that no one has the same or almost the same name. Is my domain name still available and which variants?

With almost all hosting providers that you visit online, you will be able to check a domain name for availability, so I assume that you will do that.

Good, now comes the first trick. See which domain names will be available to you. Here you have to take into account how you see things in business. Do you want to work locally within the US, or do you also want to look beyond the border?

My personal advice about which domain name extensions you need:

Do you only want the US: Look for the .us version and a .com version of a domain name variant.

Do you want International: Minimal .com, .net and .info.

Are you in possession of these domain names then you will get far.

If you want to approach specific countries, think of Germany as an example. Make sure you also have a .DE.

Altogether, enough reasons to register some more domain names than just that .com domain name, just to safeguard yourself in the future. Wouldn’t it be a shame if a competitor suddenly took your .us domain name?

Now the registration part:

When registering a domain name you have to pay attention to a number of points that are important for maintaining and managing your domain name.

When choosing a provider you’d better pay attention to the following:

Does the domain name provider already exist longer than a year?

There are 3 month providers, dropping everything as they came. The problem in such a case is that you can no longer log in to YOUR own domain name account. And then your own domain name must be recovered with difficult procedures and possibly at a high price.

Is the domain name registered on your own (company) name through the chosen provider?

A domain name holder is the owner according to laws and regulations. If you have a successful website you do not want to have the chance that someone suddenly steals your domain name while you can hardly do anything about it. And even if you could do something about it, the time it takes to bring everything back in order can be quite stressful. So make sure that the holder and administrative WHOIS contact are always on your own name!

Do you have DNS management control of the domain 24/7?

With the DNS settings, a domain name can be adjusted so that the domain name knows where your website is on the internet, including your email. If you experience a problem and you urgently need to make a change on Friday evening to make your website accessible again, then you certainly do not want to have to wait until Monday morning for someone from the help desk to be there to help you. In short, make sure that you can change your DNS settings yourself or have them changed, at any time of the day.

Don’t immediately look for the cheapest domain name supplier

Don’t save 2 bucks to buy a domain name from provider Y or X.
There are many providers in this market that offer a domain name very cheaply, but these are often the businesses that, after 6 months, are still pouring money into the business and then, finally, have to pull the plug. Or a year later they charge you 5 times the price of the first year registration.

Choose a provider that lasts longer, and don’t be afraid to pay 1/2/3 dollars more on 4/5 domain names. This is compensated for 90% by innovative control panels where you can manage WHOIS and DNS yourself. Eventually it will cost you maybe $15 more on an annual basis, but then you know at least that your domain names will not suddenly go offline.

If you do not understand what DNS means, then it would be better to register the domain name at your own web hosting company.

Nowadays hosting providers experiencing a malfunction will do everything to be back online as soon as possible. However, if it is a real big problem or even a website migration that goes wrong so that you urgently need to change IP or DNS server, then it can be a problem if you do not know how to modify it yourself. Hosting providers will adjust all their customers’ domain names in such a situation. If your domain name is elsewhere, they won’t be able to do this for you. If it happens on Friday evening, chances are that you will not be online for 2/3 days! So be aware of your own knowledge before buying services not offered by your own hosting provider.

Extra Tip regarding DNS: Set the TTL value of your important web store domain names as low as possible. (lowest setting is 3600 seconds, which is equal to 1 hour or 60 minutes). This is the time that an internet provider needs to check if there have been DNS changes. The default at 80% of domain name providers is 24 hours. That means that it can take a full day to actually see a DNS change on your computer. Now, for example, setting the TTL to 60 minutes (and leaving it there) means that you can see the DNS change on average in just 3 to 5 minutes. In short, if this is done correctly, you have achieved a minimal downtime setting in case you have to move to another IP or web server urgently.

I expect that, after reading this post, you are equipped with all the necessary knowledge on how to select, buy and configure a domain name in 2020. Good luck!

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