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Choosing a name for your business is one thing, but choosing your domain is another. Millions of names have already been taken, either by real businesses or squatters – people who buy up names in the hopes someone will want to buy it off of them for a sizable fee.

However, there are still plenty of great names available and registering a name is relatively straightforward.

There are any number of registrars online where you can register a name. They all use the same central database to register and manage names so it really doesn’t matter who you use. That said, be wary of some organizations, particularly those related to Domain Registry of America. They make it easy to register, but they take control of your domain name record and it’s difficult to get it back from them. This is also true with Registration is easy, but if you ever want to move your server to another provider, it’s is very difficult and time consuming.

Some registrars also simply disappear overnight, leaving your record in limbo. In some respects, you get what you pay for.

We recommend using an established domain registry, such as, or These companies have been around for a while and are stable. As noted earlier, Network Solutions was the Internet’s original registrar. They are now owned by VeriSign, the leader in web security technology.

A domain name registration can cost anywhere from $5 to $35 per year. There are usually price breaks for registering for multiple years. Many registrars also provide you with free or add-on services, such as domain name forwarding (think call forwarding) and email.

You can use any of these services to find an available domain name. Don’t be too concerned if the .com or .net name is already taken. There are now many other domain roots available, including .cc, .biz, .name, .us, etc.

There are some basic rules to follow in searching for and registering your domain name:

1. Be careful that you don’t register a name that is already trademarked. While most companies that have trademarks have already locked up all the possible combinations for their name, you don’t want to invest time and effort marketing a name that will get you into litigation or be taken away from you.

2. Try to avoid names that are hyphenated. Customers may type in your name without the hyphenations and end up with an entirely different site.

3. Choose something that is hard to misspell. Complex names or plays on words can lose business. You may think it’s cute to have a name like but your customer could type it any number of incorrect ways, including, or

Some registration tips

When registering your domain name, make sure that it is registered to you. Don’t let someone else do it for you, unless you trust that they will put it in your name. There are countless horror stories of trusting souls who allowed others to register their name, only to find that registry rules means they then own it. It can take a lot of paperwork to clear this error up. The best way to avoid this is to not let it happen in the first place.

Once you register the name, be sure that you keep your registration information in a safe, yet accessible place. This includes the login and password you received from the registrar when you registered the name. You will need these any time you change the company that hosts your site (see below). We can’t begin to tell you the challenges that arrive if you want to change server hosts and you don’t have the original login and password from the registrar.

Finally, be sure who your registrar is. Some unscrupulous companies send bogus invoices out telling you it’s time to renew your domain name. If you send the company money, you are giving them permission to transfer your domain to them and their servers and it can be very hard to undo this once it’s been done. As mentioned earlier Domain Registry of America is one of the most notorious of these types of companies and has hundreds of complaints against them. Google “Domain Registry of America” and you’ll see what we mean.