What is a Domain Name Registrar?

A domain name registrar is an organization or company that is accredited by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) to sell and register domain names. All domains must be linked to a registrar, and all registrations for domain names must be submitted through a registrar. A registrar also assists you with the renewal, transfer or termination of your domain name registration.

The Difference Between a Domain Name Registrar and a Registr

A domain name registry is an organization that manages top-level domain names. Domain name registries operate a database of which domain name maps to which IP address on the internet’s domain name system. Registries are also the ones who create and enforce the requirements for these individual domain extensions.

There can only be one registry for each TLD extension, as assigned by ICANN. Therefore, the domain extension of the domain name determines which organization controls them. For instance, VeriSign manages the registration of .com domain names and their domain name system (DNS). Other registries actually create and own the domain name extensions they manage, such as Radix, who owns the .WEBSITE and .TECH extensions.

Registrars essentially act as middle-men between the registry and the public, promoting and selling domain registrations for domain registry. Every time someone pays to register a domain at a registrar, the registrar must pay the corresponding registry a predetermined fee. For its trouble, the registrar then gets to keep whatever money is left after that fee is paid.

What does it mean to ‘own’ a domain name

Though registering a domain is often referred to as “buying” a domain, that is technically not the case. As a registrant, you never fully own a domain name. Instead, you can reserve them for a limited amount of time from a domain name registry. The maximum time you can reserve a name at once is 10 years. However, you can renew this registration indefinitely. So although you don’t officially own a domain, you can hold the exclusive rights for it for as long as you choose to renew your registration.

Are registrars the only ones who can sell domain name registrations

In addition to registrars, resellers can also sell domain registrations. They receive a commission from the registrars. For instance, hosting companies often sell registrations as part of a hosting package.

How do Domain Registrars Protect User Privacy?

Everyone who registers a domain name must fill out WHOIS information for that domain. This information includes the name of the person registering the domain, their email, mailing address, and phone number. This information is publicly available to anyone who performs a WHOIS search.

This creates an issue, as some people may not want others to be able to access such sensitive info. To remedy this, many registrars provide the option of a private registration, usually for an additional fee. In a private registration, the registrar’s information is provided in the WHOIS listing for that domain, with the registrar acting as a proxy for the registrant.

What should I look for in a Registrar

There are multiple factors that determine the quality of a domain registrar. Here are some of the most important ones to consider:

Price: Domain registrars determine what they charge for domain registration. Therefore, the price for registering a domain can vary depending on what registrar you choose. Many registrars have first-time user deals that you can take advantage of to get a discount on your domain registration. However, keep in mind the added value services that a registrar offers, such as customer support and transfer services. It may be worth spending a little extra on a more robust registrar than saving a few bucks and encountering inconveniences down the road.

ICANN Accreditation: You want the registrar you choose to be reputable. Luckily, ICANN provides a list of accredited domain registrars, so you can know if the one you are considering is legit. If the registrar you have chosen is a reseller of an accredited registrar, you should find out which registrar they are working with, and evaluate from there.

Fine Print: Each registrar has its own terms and conditions, and the rules can vary from one registrar to another. Before settling on a registrar, read its terms and conditions, as well as its ownership clause.

Registration Time: A domain name registration is usually instantaneous upon purchase. In any case, it shouldn’t take more than 48 hours.

Customer Support: Find out the level of customer support that is available. A good registrar will have at least email and chat support, and most have phone support as well.

Transfer Policy: You should be able to transfer your domain to another registrar without any restriction other than those enforced by ICANN. Check the registrar for other restrictions and curbs.

Domain Management: Many registrars nowadays have domain management panels, where a registrant can perform many domain name management tasks themselves, instead of having to contact support to make changes. Check the level of self-management your chosen registrar provides.

What Domain Names Are Available to Register

You can only register domains that have not been registered before. For instance, Walmart.com is not available to register, as it is already registered and is in use.

Different Registrars sell different domain extensions. While most registrars offer mainstays such as .com and .net, newer TLDs, such as .game and .brand, may only be available at certain registrars. To find out where a specific domain extension is for sale, simply do a google search for that extension, and you are bound to be hit with ads from applicable registrars.

What if I buy a domain that is already registered?

In the case where the domain name you want is already registered, it may still be for sale by the current registrant, or through a domain name marketplace. In this type of transaction, you still need to receive your domain at a registrar. The fastest way to receive a name once you bought it is to use the same registrar as the one the domain is currently at. If you do, the domain name transfer should only take roughly 24 hours to complete. On the other hand, if you want to transfer to a different registrar, ICANN mandates that there is a minimum five-day transfer hold between registrars, so be prepared to wait a little longer to receive your name.

All domain names for sale on BrandBucket are already registered at a registrar. When you purchase a domain at BrandBucket, you will be directed to create an account at one of our supported and reputable registrars before we can transfer the domain to you.

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