As you may know by now, to register your domain name you have to use the services of a registrar. If you don’t know how to sort through the many competing companies, you may consider reading my post entitled A registrar. Let me insist that it is important not to treat this selection process lightly. You need to choose a reliable, reputable domain registrar. As far as I am concerned, I have decided to entrust Gandi.net with my domain name. This is it – the registration process.
The registration process on itself is straightforward. However, you will have to provide two pieces of information: a domain dame (duh!) and contacts for the domain name. Of course, you will also have to pay (re-duh!).
Finding a good domain name is not an easy task; a little planning and forethought are necessary. It helps to have some guidelines (see A domain name), but picking the perfect domain name can be thorny (see CogitActive.com).
Unfortunately, the domain name you want may not be available (anymore). It is therefore a good idea to
have some variations prepared1. Keep in mind that using an alternate top-level domain (TLD) because the desired .com domain name is already taken is a bad idea.
The registrar will ask you to provide various contacts and technical information that makes up the registration. Indeed, there are four contacts for a domain name:
The Registrant is
the one who controls the domain name1. Certainly, this is the most important contact and it is imperative to be listed as the Registrant. The Administrative Contact has full authority to manage the domain name (on behalf of the owner). It is usually, though not always, the owner of the domain name. If it is not the case, care should be taken in selecting the appropriate person to nominate for this role. The Technical Contact is the person responsible for maintaining the Domain Name System nameservers associated with the domain name. If you don’t have the technical skills to do so,
it can be useful to have the person or company helping you listed as the technical contact1. Last, the Billing Contact, as the name suggests, is the person responsible for paying registration and renewal fees.
For my part, I intended to be listed as four of the four contacts. Indeed, I didn’t need to attribute rights to manage my domain to third parties.
I am in control of my own domain name.
Time for action
As I said, the registration process on itself is quiet simple. Nonetheless, if you prefer to see how it goes before to get started, you may consider watching this video from Lattepress. Just skip the beginning, as it is not relevant: jump directly to 01:47 (the actual registration demo starts at 03:42).
Briefly, here goes my own domain name registration with Gandi.net. I went to this address – https://www.gandi.net – and checked whether my desired domain name was available by typing it in the search bar. Fortunately, it was and I clicked on the shopping cart icon next to it. In the case of an already taken domain name, I could have scrolled through the other suggested options, or tried again with an alternative domain name (hence, the variations you have prepared). Once done, I clicked on the Checkout button (on the top right).
After making sure that everything was correct, I had to create a new account (Sign up). Naturally, I provided a valid e-mail address, a non-obvious username and a strong password. After accepting the Services Conditions, clicking the Create button brought me back to the shopping cart.
By default, Gandi assigned my contact information to all the four contacts of the domain; that was fine with me (see above). I had to read and accept some contracts related to the use of my chosen TLD. I double-checked everything one more time and move on to the next step.
For payment, Gandi provides several ways. After choosing one method, I proceeded through the checkout process. Depending on your chosen domain name, you may have to go through an e-mail validation step (it is important to do so; otherwise
the newly registered domain name . . . will be deactivated after 15 days2). Lastly, I received a confirmation e-mail:
The creation was successful. Your domain name will be fully available within a maximum of 24 to 72 hours.
Protection and Security
Given the critical importance of domain name security, I immediately logged in to my account and double-checked that the following security features were activated.
At the time I registered my domain name, Gandi offered the possibility to hide the WHOIS data. I opted to activate this so-called Private Domain Registration during the registration process. Now, this option – WHOIS privacy – is activated by default3. It hides your information (i.e. obfuscated) and replaces your name by the mention “REDACTED FOR PRIVACY”4.
In keeping with privacy concern, Gandi also offers an Anonymized E-mail Address service. This option, activated by default5, allows replacing your email address by an anonymized one in the form of “firstname.lastname@example.org”.
To protect your domain name from unauthorized transfer, Gandi provides a transfer protection mechanism, namely Transfer lock. Simply, when the lock is activated, the domain can’t be transferred.
Last, yet importantly, I chose to enable the Automatic renewal service. Granted, Gandi will send Renewal reminders, but if you forget to renew manually (and if you don’t have specifically activated the Automatic renewal service), your domain registration will expire, and your domain name will be deleted. Importantly, you have to register a payment method; obviously, founds need to be available in the chosen prepaid account.
Beyond domain name registration
Aside from choosing Gandi to register my domain name, I was also interested in their dedicated e-mail hosting service. Indeed, when you register your domain, you get two mailboxes (with 3 GB of disk space each) free of charge.
What is so exciting about having another mailbox or even two? You may already have one from your Internet Service Provider (ISP) or perhaps you are using a free e-mail service. However, your e-mail address may end in something like @ispname.com or @gmail.com, respectively. When you purchase your own domain name, you can have an e-mail address that ends in @mydomainname.com.
It looks definitively more professional. Moreover, customizing your e-mail address with your domain name contributes to enhancing your brand recognition. It is also a good way to promote your website (instead of your ISP or Google mail). Whatever your reasons to do so are,
aligning your e-mail address with your domain name provides a sense of legitimacy, longevity, and purpose6.
You will generally see that your web hosting gives you the possibility to create such personalized e-mail addresses. That you should use your hosting control panel to set it up. While it is true that you can do it there, you don’t need to have a web hosting to do so. You don’t even need to have a website. Indeed, I was able to create mine directly through my domain’s administration area at Gandi. I didn’t even have to wait for the aforementioned
24 to 72 hours to be able to set them up or use them: I was able to send and receive e-mails immediately.
Some important considerations, though. When you pick the name for your e-mail address, that is what goes before “@”, you want to choose something
professional and easy to remember6. Moreover, you want to avoid using common terms such as “info” or “contact”, as
spammers automatically include these on their lists1.
Last, but not least, you want to use your e-mail address as much as possible, especially for communications that involves your website. Yet, don’t publish it directly on your web pages if you don’t want crawlers to get it. If you wish to do so anyway, place it in an image.
Whereas e-mails addresses are generally connected to a mailbox (i.e. space on a server), there are some that don’t have their own account and simply get redirected to an existing mailbox. They are called Aliases. An alias is simply a forwarding e-mail address, which makes available the e-mails to an address on the same domain name.
There are easy to set up and very useful. For example, you can create aliases for each areas of your website (e.g. support, consulting). Alternatively, you can use them to prevent issues with common misspellings (e.g. a first name with multiple spellings). They can also be useful when you want to make a temporary e-mail address for a special event. Similarly, you can create aliases to sign up for online services, and delete it if you stop to use the service (or get many spams after signing up).
You can create as many of these aliases as you like. Enjoy!
Domain names are valuable assets, not just a memorable way to find an Internet Protocol (IP) address (see A domain name). Having a domain name is the first step to your online identity. As you can see with the personalized e-mail address, its function goes beyond the creation of website. Furthermore, getting one is easy – at least with Gandi.net – and cheap. Just make sure it remains yours by choosing a reliable registrar.
24 to 72 hours…
1 George Plumley (2011) Website Design & Development: 100 Questions to Ask before Building a Website. Indianapolis, Indiana: Wiley Publishing. ^
2 See Gandi’s Online Documentation. ^
3 Recently, the European Union has enforced new rules – General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) – regarding personal data processing that took effect on May 25, 2018. Gandi modified its WHOIS protection services accordingly (in order to be 100% GDPR compliant). ^
4 For some TLDs, this option doesn’t apply because your personal data are protected at the registry level. ^
5 As described for WHOIS privacy, some TLDs do not support the anonymized e-mail address option either. ^
6 Peter Pollock (2013) Web Hosting For Dummies. Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons. ^