It’s a good question because there are literally tens of thousands companies to choose from (sometimes I think there are more people selling domain names and hosting than there are websites).
Where on earth do you start?
A quick Google search brings up a minefield of options, but try not to be overwhelmed. It’s a good thing and keeps the prices down. The first thing to do is identify what you want the domain names for. Most of us fall into two categories:
1) “I want to get a website online”
You’re after a domain name and a hosting package in one (this is where you register an address such as www.example.com and buy the hosting at the same time). If you fall into this category your best bet is without doubt to choose a reliable web host with good customer service – rather than going for the rock bottom cheapest. Why? Because if you’re creating a website it’s imperative it doesn’t suffer from downtime and you want reliable, available customer service on hand in case something goes round. The good news is that you can usually get your domain registration free when you order a hosting package.
Who to use:
I personally recommend and use JustHostMe (although Web Hosting UK are also excellent). Both companies are based in the UK and their customer service is second to none. They also offer something called ‘Cpanel’ which for non-techies is by far the most user-friendly interface.
Incidentally if you’re wanting to set up a WordPress website you can do it using either of these hosts (or any Cpanel host) in just 7 clicks. I’ve written a walk-through article showing you exactly how to do this here:
2) “I want to buy multiple domains to store in one place (park) and then sell on later
If on the other hand you’re looking to buy a stack of domain names that you’re not looking to turn into websites (i.e. if you just want to ‘park’ domains) then you’re best bet is to choose one of the big, low cost companies who offer cheap domain registration.
The no definitive ‘best option’ because at any one time they’ll be dozens of companies offering sales and discounted domain registration (and you may be able to pick up a bargain so it’s always worth shopping around).
However if you’re looking to store all your domains in one place with a reliable outfit I would recommend going for either of the following: GoDaddy or NameCheap. They’re a bit like the Tescos of the Internet and offer ridiculous cheap domain registration for .com and .org domains because they operate such high volumes.
If you decide you want to host a website on any of these domains I would highly recommend buying the hosting from a different company (like one the one’s I’ve mentioned above). You can do this by changing the nameserver address – don’t worry, you’re host will be able to explain how it works – it’s a 2 minute job.
I hope that helps answer a few questions. If you’ve had a good (or bad experience) with any domain registration or hosting companies please feel free leave a comment below and add to the debate.