Jenn Allen, whose passion is writing but now works in healthcare IT, shares what she learned from more than a decade in the IT industry.
Jenn wrote, "IT puts food on the table. My education was from Internet Service Providers (ISP) big and small. I worked for several ISPs during my career and have worked on DNS and website implementation for many customers (as well as my own). Domain Name System is the Internet system used to translate names into IP addresses.
"I've watched the DNS sub-industry transform from a monopoly held by Network Solutions. In those early days, it was closer to $100 than $10 to register a domain and there were few extra hoops to the diverse jungle of registrars and super-cheap registration service bundles it is today.
"The biggest thing to watch out for, if I had to summarize it, would be that cheapness never comes cheap, Registrars offering insanely low deals most likely cut corners on domain services and ease of use after you get the domain, or they have so many customers that you're unlikely to get an audience should anything actually go wrong.
"After I used a particular DNS company (name withheld) for their balance between cheap and featured, until I heard of some of its business practices ~~ difficulty transferring domains, holding domains 'for ransom' after they expired - it costs more to get a domain re-registered if you let it lapse, or did when I looked into it) and then I switched to Domain.com, and completely love it.
"It is a tiny bit more expensive (closer to $20 than $10), but I get all the features, less obnoxious ads, and I can also now point [my domain.com], instead of just [www.mydomain.com], which is a subtle, but important difference for someone who doesn't host a full web server in some colocation facility with static IPs.
"Ask these four questions of a DNS registrar to determine the real value:
- What process/fees are required hoops to transfer your domain to a different registrar?
- Do they provide free DNS? If so, do they point to the domain name, eg. register.com, or will they only point hostnames, eg.www.register.com, to a third-party server?
- What do they do if you miss your expiration date? Do they hold your domain hostage for 6 months, and then sell it to a third party reseller, knowing it's wanted?
- What are the renewal fees? Any hidden fees for contact info updates, DNS updates, etc.?