Domains are like cars. Kind of.
When buying a car, you decide on the model that you want, compare sellers' prices, pay for the best deal and drive your shiny new wheels home. Unfortunately, that's not the end of it. There's still fuel, insurance and maintenance costs to be paid, going forward, and it soon is apparent that the initial price is just a portion of the total cost of ownership.
A domain registration usually last one year. Like with a car, you end up forking out additional monies, each year. In this case it's to renew your registration. OK, so domains are not really like cars but I couldn't think of a better analogy. I'm sure, however, that you still get the point.
When shopping for domains, we often focus on the first year price and ignore rest. Some domain providers, being the sneaky guys that they are, take advantage of this and hide large renewal prices behind low first-year prices or special offers.
Registering a .us with Go Daddy will cost you $4.99 for the first year. However, subsequent years goes up to $19.99.
1&1 currently have an offer for .com at $0.99 but this rises to $14.99.
In these cases, the first year price only account for approx 5% and 1.5% of the total cost, over a five year period!
So what to do? The most obvious thing is to paying attention to renewal, as well as initial registration prices. Some providers are better than others in this respect. For instance, IWantMyName and gandi.net have pretty flat on-going rates, where as Go Daddy and 1&1 are worse offenders.
You are, however, not bound to your first provider. After an initial period (usually 60 days), you are entitled to transfer to another.
In offering an initially low rate, providers are hoping that you're too lazy to move, the next year. This means that if you are not lazy and transfer to the cheapest provider each year, there is money to be saved!
Let's take a look at .com prices. We take two of the cheapest providers and compare the cost of sticking with them to transferring to each other, each year.
Total price, after 5 years
In this case, shopping around each year saves you over 60% of the otherwise cheapest prices. If you have multiple domains, or more expensive tlds, then this scales even more.
The main take-aways are
- Keep an eye on renewal prices
- Transferring is often a better option than renewing
I hope this has helped at least some of you in saving some monies. Happy domain shopping!