What is a domain registrar?
Domain names aren’t actually bought and sold. In reality, they are only registered for a set period of time, usually one or two years. Once expired, anyone else may be able to register the same domain and claim ownership for a further period, unless the registration is renewed within a specific time period. Therefore, to take care of all those registrations, administer domains effectively and provide a service to domain name owners, private companies are accredited by ICANN and auDA to serve as domain registrars.
All top level domains – .com, .net, .org, .biz, .info, .us, .name, etc. – and many second level domains – .co.uk, for example – are administered by ICANN – The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers. For Australian domain names – .com.au, .org.au, etc. – the registry is called AusRegistry and is administered by auDA, the Australian Domain name Administrator.
These designated registrars can process your domain name registration on your behalf and will pass the costs of this process onto you, including additional fees for providing this service. They provide a domain search service, allowing you to search for domains and check their availability. Many also provide additional services which they include within the same registration fee. These services include customer service and support, administration tools and sometimes even a free single webpage you can tailor to your business while your final website is still being built.
When deciding upon a domain name registrar, it is worth investigating the various services and resources that come bundled with the domain name as prices can be radically different from one provider to another – sometimes more than 5 times more expensive.