26 May, 2009

Domain steps

Some people have accused me of "confusing" domain registration with hosting. It's one of the less valid responses to my latest article for Computerworld, a review of three budget domain registrars, tucked away on Computerworld's site at

I certainly cover more domain hosting issues than domain registration issues, mainly because there's more to write about. You register a domain, it's registered. What you do with it after that...well...there's the rub.

I registered my first domains back in 1996, shortly after Network Solutions started charging some exorbitant amount for what had previously been free. Back then, Network Solutions billed you for $100 for two years' registration. The price later dropped to $70 for a two year period. Then in 1999, more registrars came on board--first Register.com, then a flood of them--and the whole business changed.

The first change was the standard billing period: It became annual instead of biannual. Another result of the competition was that pricing dropped to a "standard discount" rate of fifteen dollars per year per domain, and registrars started to lard on features to attract customers. It's those features that have changed and lowered the barrier of entry to becoming your own d0t-com entity.

The thing that prompted me to pitch this review to Computerworld is that you can now get a domain for around ten bucks a year--with POP email and some kind of site hosting thrown into the bargain.

I'm still amazed by this economy of scale. And if it leads to some confusion between registration and hosting, well, so be it. I'm no McDonald's corporation. I don't need heavy duty hosting. And I don't have a big budget for my online projects either. If I can get satisfaction for the price of a Happy Meal...I'll do it.

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