How do I register a domain name?

Put simply, a domain name is a a user friendly address that points to your website. The true address is a string of numbers (IP), but you’d never want to try and direct a user to one of those. Imagine trying to remember that after glancing at a van on the motorway!

All domain names are unique, and registered for a minimum of one year. They’re an important asset, so making sure you’ve registered your domain correctly is paramount.

Who are domains registered with?

All UK domains are registered with an organisation called Nominet, but you can’t go direct, you must go via a registrar. There are hundreds to choose from. Some, like big organisations such as 123-reg, fully automate the process via their website. Smaller registrars, like me, will take details from you manually and then register the domain with Nominet.

It’s a similar process for international domains, but the organisation responsible for adminstrating the extensions will differ. There may be fewer small registrars of, for example, .com domains, because the cost of membership to become a registrar for that extension is relatively high. In fact, even some relatively large domain sellers will resell from another registrar for that reason.

How do I go about registering a domain?

It depends on the extension and the registrar. Usually their process will be simple and you need only fill in a series of forms on their website, beginning with a search to make sure your desired name is available. In practice, though, I’ve come across a lot of people who’ve fallen into pit holes, usually only causing issues years after registration. Here’s a few pointers to make sure you have a smooth experience:

1. Register your domain to the right entity

If you’re a limited company, your domain should be registered to it. If you’re an individual, your domain should be registered to you personally. If you’re a club or association, make sure you put it in the name of that club or association. Even if you’re not officially registered as a charity etc, please don’t let an individual put it in their name just for ease. This causes so many problems down the line when members leave, committees change, and you suddenly find Bob who played cricket with you eight years ago owns the club domain and he’s gone to live in Spain, untraceable and taking all access to the domain name with him. Even if an admin contact for the domain disappears, if it’s registered to the right entity, you can go through a process of confirming ownership with the registrar or, in the case of UK domains, direct with Nominet.

2. Don’t use a third party, go directly to a registrar

It’s tempting to let your web designer, IT support company, or a more knowledgeable friend register your domain name, but unless they’re a registrar, you’re creating an unneccessary middle man. Just go direct to the registrar, create your own account with them in the correct name, and then all support requests and changes are directly in your control.

3. Keep good records

You’d be surprised how many people have no record of who their domain is registered with. They can’t even remember when their renewal date is, and how long they registered for. You don’t want to end up scrabbling around for details when you want to change host or, worse still, lose your domain because you didn’t renew it, so stay on top of what you have and where. It’s also important to keep your details up to date with your registrar, for the same reasons.

She was fast, thorough and incredibly straightforward in her approach.

Tessa Lamb

She is always quick, efficient and gets you back on track whilst also calming you down.

Lisa Bentley

Jo was great, with a totally Can Do attitude and actually delivered the poster ahead of when we expected. There were a couple of edits we asked for which she turned around very quickly and to a high standard. Thanks Jo!

Charlotte Galloway, Cardiff Dragons

In short, Jo is great value for money and easy to work with.

Vanessa Rhone

Excellent, efficient service from Jo. Highly recommend.

Xan Rice