Registering a Domain
December 11, 2003 10:08 PM   Subscribe

I'm, finally, looking to register a (.com) domain of my own. What's a good, cheap, fair registrar? And any tips on registering without having hosting (and therefore dns) set up yet (maybe it's all self-explanatory)?
posted by Utilitaritron to Computers & Internet (43 answers total)
I registered my first (and only) domain at Go Daddy based on the recommendation of several Mefites. It's fairly self-explanatory, and tells you how to "park" it at no charge until you have a place to host it.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 10:11 PM on December 11, 2003

dotster has always been good to me.
posted by Hackworth at 10:11 PM on December 11, 2003

I went with godaddy too, no problems so far.
posted by bobo123 at 10:11 PM on December 11, 2003

Third for Go Daddy.
posted by Hildago at 10:20 PM on December 11, 2003

Fourth for Go Daddy. I've never used it, but I'd trust Hildago with my life!
posted by The God Complex at 10:28 PM on December 11, 2003

posted by normy at 10:34 PM on December 11, 2003

Second for dotster.
posted by beth at 10:34 PM on December 11, 2003 for me. Been using it for several years. They may not be the absolute cheapest but domains come with an easy-to-use control panel and I've never had a complaint. You can park a domain, direct it to a single page or forward it using a number of methods, including using another DNS provider.
posted by cbrody at 10:40 PM on December 11, 2003

Sixth for Go Daddy.
posted by oissubke at 10:50 PM on December 11, 2003

i have 15 or 20 domains at dotster. totally problem-free for several years, they even managed to transfer away from netsol some domains that are particularly important to me (or clients) without any difficulty. nice, easy to use web interface. options for DNS, parking, forwarding etc. which i have never used so can't review those.
posted by quonsar at 10:59 PM on December 11, 2003

So far all the suggestions are very good. I also recommend DirectNic, their services and customer service are way above average.
posted by bluedaniel at 11:31 PM on December 11, 2003

I've got half my domains at dotster, half at godaddy, and a few old ones at

Dotster has been slightly flaky, not sending out email when a domain was up, whereas joker has been rock solid on that front, giving me warnings a month in advance, two weeks in advance, etc.

Godaddy's been ok so far, the signup process is a minefield of stupid partnership deals for almost anything you can imagine (I swear I had to uncheck something or I was buying a George Foreman grill once). The killer feature at godaddy for me is the private domains. I hate that you have to put a real address (fake ones can get your domain booted) for domain records, and godaddy offers domains-by-proxy letting you hide your home address, phone, and email from spammers, scammers, and other undesirables. I haven't had a domain long enough at godaddy for it to go out, so I'll wait and see what their warning process is like.
posted by mathowie at 11:33 PM on December 11, 2003

Any registrar in the US won't guarantee that you own the domain name for the period of registration. & are great in that aspect, they clearly say that you own the domain for the period you of registration.

Half my domains are at and the other half at

Both have a good policy of sending out timely reminders at least a month in advance before the contract is up.
posted by riffola at 12:14 AM on December 12, 2003

dotster has always been good to me.

No worries here, either.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 1:30 AM on December 12, 2003

I second gandi - I use - good service, nice interface, affordable prices. Ideal for Europeans since it's situated in France, but that's probably not a factor for someone in the US.
posted by adrianhon at 1:46 AM on December 12, 2003

A lot of people use GoDaddy, and I recommend them too, but if price is an issue, go to Hostway. I have used them for 3 domains and they are awesome, they have the best price anywhere. You can register a domain for $6.95... check it out.
posted by banished at 2:39 AM on December 12, 2003

I have about ten at GoDaddy and have had no problems. I can't recommend Joker, not because of any problems I've had with my own domains but because I don't like their business practices. Email me if you want more info.
posted by anathema at 4:56 AM on December 12, 2003

I have domains at GoDaddy, and they work well, though their interface can be a bit slow. I wouldn't recommend their add-on services, though. A go-through with their mail service did not bode well.
posted by benjh at 5:34 AM on December 12, 2003

It probably goes without saying, but avoid Network Solutions. I have ended up using GoDaddy for all but one of my domains. I had several domains at Gandi at one point, but they suffered some downtime at an inconvient moment for me, and I find their interface a bit more time-consuming than I would like. My experience with Joker is that it is very difficult to transfer a domain away from them; they make you jump through hoops, and their customer support is not very good.
posted by tranquileye at 5:39 AM on December 12, 2003

on a related note, can anyone help me with registering a Cuban domain name?
posted by twine42 at 6:28 AM on December 12, 2003

Another vote for GoDaddy. Lousy name, I know, but I have used them for 3+ years, about 12 domains, and have never had a single problem with the service. Cheap, too -- believe it's only $8.95 for a one-year deal, a bit less for multi-year registrations.

Go forth!
posted by davidmsc at 6:29 AM on December 12, 2003

I got a domain for $6.95 (I think) for one year when I signed up for hosting at 1&1 (which is still having a 3-years-free-hosting deal, through mid-Jan) Can't comment on ongoing service quality yet, it's only been a few weeks.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 6:55 AM on December 12, 2003

Also at Godaddy with no problems. I was especially impressed when I called them to ask a tech-support question and a human being answered on the second ring and was able to answer my question. Think about that.

A friend who manages a lot more domains than me, and is pickier about technical and privacy matters, uses Dotster.

FWIW, Cuba's NIC is
but they don't seem to offer .cu addresses (then again, I don't really know Spanish, so I may well be missing something.
posted by adamrice at 7:09 AM on December 12, 2003

[this is useful]
posted by carter at 7:17 AM on December 12, 2003

I use Dotster. Never had a problem. 'Course, we'll see how things go when my domain comes up for renewal in May. Maybe I should renew early, just to be safe...
posted by eilatan at 7:18 AM on December 12, 2003

Best answer: I use The things I like about them are

1. cheap [about $11-12/year depending on Euro exchange rate]
2. easy web interface to work with your domains
3. they're in France
4. you DON'T need a hosting provider just to register a domain, see #5
5. gandi does email and URL redirections as well as secondary DNS ... helpful if you want to grab a domain but not sure what you want to do with it. Also if you want to host a domain yourself on a box at home. This means I can register and have as a redirected email address to whatever email address you already use. You can also do this with the URL, so if you have webspace already with an address like you can have your domain redirect there. Basically people can type in the URL and get to your pages, which is an important first step.

I have had domains with Gandi for years and have transferred domains to them, moved domains around and done a lot of administrative junk there and it's worked well. The main thing to know though is that they have NO PHONE SUPPORT, so if you need that sort of thing, they are not your best fit.
posted by jessamyn at 7:44 AM on December 12, 2003

Register with
Host at
posted by armoured-ant at 8:28 AM on December 12, 2003

I'm in the process of registering a domain name for a personal site. What are people's thoughts on .com vs. .net?

I'd post this as a new question but this one was only posted yesterday....
posted by kelrae3 at 8:44 AM on December 12, 2003

God bless you Utilitaritron for asking this. I need the same info.

Also, can anyone recommend a nice easy hosting service for the totally clueless? I'm not looking for cheap as much as a lot of hand holding and a self explanatory site building program. (The high point of my techie life was learning how the HTML to make links here at MeFi. Don't laugh - I was so damn proud of myself.)
posted by CunningLinguist at 8:45 AM on December 12, 2003

Oh man. Go Daddy has actual human beings you can call who will explain stuff to you!

I love metafilter. Thank you thank you thank you.
posted by CunningLinguist at 8:53 AM on December 12, 2003

I'm also happy with - I've only had it for a few weeks as well, but it's pretty straight forward.
posted by kelrae3 at 8:56 AM on December 12, 2003

CunningLinguist, will you be setting up Because I think that name might be taken.

Anyway, after very many poor experiences with many hosts since 1994 I currently host everything at; I have been with them since 2000. Their packages are excellent and they provide mostly wonderful support, though you cannot expect any host to teach you HTML :-)

If you are going to host a blog, then I suggest you take a serious look at Typepad, a hosting service from the Movabletype people (you should ask around for a discount code).

As well, I have signed up at 1&1, which is providing free hosting for three years; they seem fine but you won't get much support.
posted by tranquileye at 8:57 AM on December 12, 2003

I use Joker for all of my new registrations, though I still have several domains that I need to migrate away from NetSol. Joker's been virtually hassle-free from the start and, as stated above, their notification policy is among the best.

.com vs .net? Aside from the long-forgotten concept of .com being for commercial sites, there honestly isn't much of a difference. The most important aspect of a domain is length; the shorter and more relevant to content, the better.

I was a Dreamhost customer from 1998 until November 2003, but could no longer tolerate certain issues I was experiencing. Their prices are good and their support is generally responsive, but system stability suffers in an expansive virtual hosting environment. If you plan on developing something rather complex, or will rely on the machine being up and stable all the time (i.e. business functionality), you may want to shop around. I hear good things about Pair.

On the other hand, if anyone is looking for dedicated hosting, check out ServerBeach (Debian server + 700GB/month transfer for $129; grab the referral code from Mailinator for another $100 off!) or Aktiom.
posted by Danelope at 9:17 AM on December 12, 2003

Wehn researching webhosts, I strongly recommend that you do some digging at Webhosting Talk Forums. All you need to do usually is run the host you are thinking about joining through their search engine and read about past experiences, etc.

I am currently hosted by, for $60 a year, I get 1GB of webspace, I forget how much bandwidth, I think it's 5GB or 6GB a month (I am not worried about exceeding it, but your needs might differ), and the ability to host unlimited domains as "reseller", I just use that to host all my domains there.
posted by riffola at 9:41 AM on December 12, 2003

As for renewals at dotster, I remember for one of mine, I was warned well ahead of time. I am a terrible procrastinator and I let it lapse, but amazingly they still let me renew it and I was able to keep the domain. There is a finite window of time in which you can do this, however.
posted by beth at 10:31 AM on December 12, 2003

Count me in with the crowd - I have tried a few registrars and is the best by far in terms of price as well as service.

Avoid - I think that the service at is the worst I have ever had to endure online and their prices are not even competitive any more so there is no reason to use and every reason to avoid it.

Avoid They are, in my opinion, too expensive and their constant "renew before this day to take advantage of this discount code" e-mails (sent even when the domain was nowhere near expiry) were annoying. To be fair, the service was generally good (but for that price it should be).

If you are looking to host a blog, TypePad has my vote. TypePad's ease of use lets you focus on content. TypePad's fast and friendly service is excellent. I would recommend the Pro version.
posted by cup at 12:05 PM on December 12, 2003

I have my own site hosted at DR2. Although they had some outages associated with growing pains a little while back, they've been solid since. They're dirt-cheap, and the main admin is telepathically connected to his e-mail. Pretty generous allocations for bandwidth and server space, unlimited POP accounts and MySQL databases. So I'm happy with them.

Like many other web hosts, they use Cpanel, which makes some pretty powerful site-administration tools available to relatively non-technical folks. They also have one-click install for PostNuke, Gallery, and some other web tools, if you're into that kind of thing.
posted by adamrice at 12:36 PM on December 12, 2003

Yet another vote for GoDaddy. Great customer support, no problems at all.
posted by punishinglemur at 2:14 PM on December 12, 2003

avoid ukreg like the plague. when i signed up for a .org they gave me a free domain. then, when it expired. automatically billed me for the update without my confirmation (using the payment details for my original domain). they refused to refund the money.
posted by andrew cooke at 3:15 PM on December 12, 2003

Regarding DreamHost, I hate hosts that charge set up fees, especially for something so automated as setting up a web site. With control panels, it takes a whole 3 seconds.

For GoDaddy, I will say even though I didn't like their e-mail service, and it didn't work properly, they did sit on the phone and go over it with me, a human being.
posted by benjh at 6:35 PM on December 12, 2003 for me thanks. So good, so cheap. After that, who cares.
posted by zpousman at 8:27 PM on December 14, 2003

avoid: Domainamesystems. At first I thought they were great, cheap and no problems. Then one day I discover that my domain name is pointing to an online casino. I bought and paid for it 1999, it was paid up until 2004 - and I had a lock on the domain. Somehow they messed up and sold the domain to someone else while I still was the owner. When I logged in at domainamesystems the domain was still there and 'mine', however all the worlds root servers showed different. They never did get back to me with an adequate answer to how that happened and I quickly moved all of my domains over to Joker instead.
posted by dabitch at 7:56 AM on December 15, 2003

I swear I had to uncheck something or I was buying a George Foreman grill

You FOOL! That was your one chance to knock out the fat!
posted by squirrel at 2:10 PM on December 17, 2003

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