The very first thing to do with a domain name is to decide on the domain name ending FIRST. The most popular choices in Ireland are .ie, .com and .co.uk - the domain name ending (shown in red below) is more correctly known as the TLD (or Top Level Domain).
Decide the TLD first
The TLD is the .com, .net, .co.uk, .ie part
How not to buy a .com (or .net, .org)
- Never buy a free/cheap .com with webhosting!
- Learn how to register a .com the right way instead
Registering a .ie domain name
Register your .ie domain name with any approved Irish webhost. Find a list of approved Irish webhosts at https://www.iedr.ie/accredited-registrar-list/. Under Irish law, your rights are protected. Make sure the .ie domain is registered in your name (not the brother-in-law, daughter, the CFO or the apprentice). As long as you register with a company on the approved list, you are free to avail of bargain prices and retain your statutory rights.
You can buy a webhosting/domain name bundle together if you want. This is because under Irish law you are protected - provided that you buy from an approved webhost.
Documentation is required
Even though the IEDR has relaxed it's rules, you'll still need to provide documentation (if you're a company, or self-employed), or prove a connection to Ireland. The webhost you choose will be able to help you with that.
To learn more about the documentation requirements for a .ie domain see https://www.iedr.ie/document-requirements/
Registering a .com, .net, .org domain name
This is a totally different story from registering a .ie domain. Most of the generic TLDs (.com, .net, .org etc) are owned by American companies. In these cases US laws prevail. You do not have much protection if things go wrong.
Registering a .com, .net, .org domain name THE RIGHT WAY
DO NOT EVER buy your .com, .net, .org domain name in a "cheap domain name plus webhosting" bargain! This is because you will most likely never have access to the account that controls the domain name.
Instead, purchase it from an ICANN approved Top Level Registrar - there are a few Irish ones on this list at https://www.icann.org/registrar-reports/accredited-list.html
- ONLY buy the domain name (.com, .net, .org etc)
- Do NOT purchase webhosting yet, no matter how cheap or tempting the offer
- Park the domain (this means you have not yet bought webhosting)
When you have found the webhosting that you want, return and login to your domain name account - with whichever Top Level Registrar you bought it with.
- Ask the new webhost what are the nameservers for your new webhosting account ( eg ns1.besthosting.com, ns2.besthosting.com)
- Login to your domain name account - with whichever Top Level Registrar you bought it with - and enter the nameserver information that the webhosting company gave you
- After about an hour, your domain name will connect to the webhosting and you are good to go using the new webhosting account.
If you do it the way I've shown you - you will have 2 accounts, likely with separate providers, one for your domain name, and another for your webhosting. And guess what? You own and control both. No heartache down the road.
There's a detailed tutorial and videos on how to register a domain name.
In the next article in this series, we'll look at how to choose a good name