Gone are the days when Network Solutions would charge you astronomical fees to register domains. Actually, their fees are still heavy, but they have competition now. There are hundreds of Domain Registrars on the Internet today most which charge considerably lesser than Network Solutions to register domains. But with so many registrars, how exactly do you go about selecting the one for you? When you register domains, here's what you need to pay attention to.
First and foremost, you check if provider is an accredited ICANN domain registrar. This is important because ICANN only certifies businesses with the right technology and processes. Besides that, if you register domains with an ICANN accredited registrar, and they do foul up; you always have the choice of complaining about it to ICANN. So always look for an "ICANN accredited" seal on the registrar's site before you go ahead and register domains with them.
Secondly, before you register domains, you should know what kind of domains you may need in future. Almost everyone will register domains with Top Level Domains (TLDs) like .com, .org and .net. But not all registrars will register domains with international extensions such as .in, .fr, .eu, .cc, or even specialized extensions such as the more recent .mobi. Of course, when a new TLD or ccTLD is approved by ICANN, it takes time for registrars to upgrade the applications and pay fees to handle the new extensions; so users (such as yourself) may experience a delay before being able to seamlessly register domains in new extensions. But, in any case, your registrar should be proactive in doing it. Otherwise, you will end up depending on several registrars to register domains in these other fancy TLDs. This means more control panels to look after, more usernames and passwords, and often, more headaches every time you register domains. However, there are some people who prefer to do this, but for different reasons entirely: They will register domains with the lowest cost registrar for a particular TLD at that time.
Another point worth consideration is how powerful and feature-rich the control panel of your domain registrar is. Some registrars only let you register domains with basic services: they won't let you set your own child name-servers, or they will make the domain transfer process overly complex and time consuming (so that you will be stuck with the registrar that you register domains with). You might also want a separate account manager of a domain or a group of domains, while you look after billing and renewals. Other features like alternative name suggestions, whois data privacy, and, added services like email and hosting differ from provider to provider and may not be included at all when you register domains with them. So before you go ahead and register domains with any old registrar, you need to consider what features you want, and how much you are ready to pay for them.
Again, if you are looking to register domains in bulk, you should look for a registrar that allows you to do so at a considerable discount. Most registrars offer bulk discounts to good customers. If you do want to register domains in bulk, or want to become a reseller, you should check if your registrar provides customizable web pages or APIs (interfaces) that allow you to sell domains with your own prices and branding. Of course, there are additional costs involved for this. These are levied on a subscription basis. Also, as the API and web pages will reside on your provider's servers, uptimes and service quality become an important point to check. If you plan to do a lot of business after you register domains, you should stick with providers with a good reputation. With competition just a click away, lost business never comes back.
You should pay attention to the price last. Most competitive providers allow you to register domains in .com, .org and .net, at a price near 9 USD (inclusive of the 0.25 USD ICANN surcharge). However, the cost per domain varies a great deal if you are looking to register domains in other extensions and ccTLDs (Country Code Top Level Domains). If you are just a casual buyer, or are just interested in registering domains with .com, .org and .net extensions; the price shouldn't bother you much. But if you are registering domains in bulk, cost savings of even one dollar per domain becomes huge when you talk numbers. Before you decide to register domains, and especially if you are looking to invest in domain names, you should check out a few registrars, as prices change almost every day. Good hunting.
For great information on how to choose the right registrar, which registrar is best, and how to make money with domains, I highly recommend the Domain Name Ebook. It is the best way to make money with domains. You'll love it!