Category Archives: Domain Management

What you need to know about domain name renewals

Buying domainsI’ve been messing about with websites both professionally and for fun for over 17 years. In that time I’ve registered many domain names including lots with the .co.uk extension. Until fairly recently i.e. 1st May 2012, the rules were that .co.uk registrations and renewals had a minimum registration period of two years. From that date however, they can now be registered for one year at a time instead of a minimum two years. That’s fine except that single year renewals apparently incur a registry surcharge, which is only slightly less than adding the second year.

The obvious conclusion is that a single year renewal is not very cost effective (unless you definitely only want to keep the domain for one year).

My domain registrar charges a mere £2.79 per year for a .co.uk registration.

I don’t want to renew for just one year (especially if there’s a surcharge) so imagine my surprise when a couple of domains auto renewed for one year at £4.99 each, which is £2.79 plus a £2.20 surcharge. The annoyance was that every previous auto renewal had been the (now defunct) statutory two years.

I contacted my registrar, Domain Monster, to query their logic. Initial reactions were not good and they claimed that once the domain names were renewed they couldn’t do anything about it. However, after a follow-up email from me expressing my disappointment but praising their previous customer service, they re-considered.

Domain Monster stated that it is their standard policy in all Domainmonster.com accounts to set the default auto renewal term to the least expensive option. In most cases, this is a reasonable approach but DM agreed that in this case it was not the most cost effective way to renew the domains. As a consequence DM agreed to revert the renewals and the domains were renewed for a two year period at the standard rates. Result.

It is to Domain Monster’s credit that they not only understood the sense of the argument but they also acted upon it immediately within the working day. Experience has taught me that this sort of efficient and helpful level of customer service is a rarity.

For any domain registrar that you may use, make sure that your auto renewals are set to two years for all domains ending in .uk including co.uk, me.uk and org.uk, if you want to avoid paying a surcharge. Also make sure that you check for inflated renewal prices when buying cheap domains and the policy for transferring to another provider. On both these counts Domain Monster are excellent.

Domain Monster provides a full range of services for domain registration and management and remains my favourite domain registrar. Their prices are very competitive and their customer service is outstanding. Their website claims to offer “the best support in the industry” and I don’t disagree. I highly recommend them (and I’ve tried quite a few other providers over the years).

Domain Name Registration

Cheap domain names from Fasthosts

UKRegAlthough Domain Monster is my current favourite domain registrar (as they’re such nice and helpful people), I see that Fasthosts (via UKReg) is currently offering 12 months .com domain name registration for only £5.99 ex VAT (previously £9.49).

Note that renewals are not discounted and are priced at £10.49 exVAT, which is more than their previous registration price and probably set high to claw back the discount – swings and roundabouts.

So my advice is to register new domains with UKReg and transfer out to Domain Monster near to renewal.

See http://www.ukreg.com/

.co.uk.com.org.uk.net
Fasthost/ UKReg£2.95£5.99£2.95£9.49
Heart Internet£2.79£8.49£2.79£8.49
Domain Monster£2.99£8.49£2.99£8.49
123-Reg£2.99£9.99£3.29£9.99
Donhost£6.99£12.99£6.99£12.99
Prices are ex VAT.
*Standard registration is 2 years for .co.uk and .org.uk and 1 year for .com and .net

Take control of your domain names

When it comes to registering domain names, the temptation is to let your web  developer do it for you or simply to do it through your hosting company, as many companies offer a free domain name as part of the package. Neither is recommended as your domain name is a vital asset for your business and should always be under your total control. The danger is that when changing providers or switching developers, you can be held to ransom over transferring your domain name or it can simply be made very difficult to take your domain name with you. As long as it remains within their registration account then you have no real control.

So keep your hosting and domain registration separate and use an ICANN accredited provider. Over the years, I’ve used a few different registration companies, including Fasthosts (UKReg), Heart Internet and Domain Monster. All have similar prices and all have Control Panels that allow you to change basic and advanced settings for your domain and all offer competitive pricing.

I also look for good technical support by which I mean a fast, knowledgeable and relevant response (hopefully you wont need it but when you do it’s important). Relevant means that replies to my queries are not in the form of stock answers or refer me to the FAQ page but are proper communications from a real person.

My current favourite is Domain Monster who fulfil my basic requirements but also have very efficient, friendly and helpful support staff.

Domain Name Registration
It should be easy to transfer domain names into the service (free for .co.uk and a standard registration fee, extending your registration period, for others such as .com and .net). Transferring out of the service should also be easy and you should not be charged a fee.

The registration company will let you know when your domain needs to be renewed but beware of scam emails or letters from unscrupulous companies offering to renew for an exorbitant fee. Unless it’s from your registration company delete the email or bin the letter.

See the special offer from UKReg and price comparison table here.