The total number of domain names registered worldwide crossed the 215 million mark in Q2 2011 [source: Verisign].
The .com/.net renewal rate for the second quarter of 2011 was 73.1 percent, down from 73.8 percent for the first quarter.
To give you some sense of comparison, the number of registered domain names was a little over 200 million in December 2010 [source: Verisign].
I had a pretty intense weekend working on moving one of my domains to a new provider.
I was moving it to take advantage of the approaching renewal. To make a long story short, it wasn't the smoothest process. Not even close, not by a long shot.
The new provider was just as bad as the old one, even more unpleasant to deal with. Which is probably why I spent some time reading and sharing this guide to buying wines online. In Pennsylvania we're still dependent upon state stores, so it won't do me much good.
It gave me an idea, though.
With my own transfer and technical issues finally sorted out, it occurred to me that it might be useful to have a place where you can get to and share information about Web domain providers.
What is a domain name?
Here's a definition from Wikipedia
an identification string that defines a realm of administrative autonomy, authority, or control in the Internet. Domain names are formed by the rules and procedures of the Domain Name System (DNS).
Domain names are used in various networking contexts and application-specific naming and addressing purposes. In general, a domain name represents an Internet Protocol (IP) resource, such as a personal computer used to access the Internet, a server computer hosting a web site, or the web site itself or any other service communicated via the Internet.
Domain names serve as humanly-memorable names for Internet participants, like computers, networks, and services.
Choosing a provider
One of two things happen when you choose a provider. We either go with what the company we work at uses, or take a recommendation from a firend.
You would think something as important as a URL we have chosen for our business, blog, store, etc. we would apply ourselves and do more due diligence.
The truth is, we don't.
We could get lucky and land well, or our small expense (comparatively) could be come a frustrating time suck and threat our ability to trade online, as well as our sanity.
If you've ever thought you made a poor choice, you are not alone.
I would not particularly recommend any of the providers I have used so far. Instead, what I can do, is collect tips from the community and put the information in a place you can find again, both through search and bookmarking.
I put the question on Google+ and have already collected a few names. Although few have made strong recommendations so far. I will add your comments to the post as they come in.
Some of the following providers also do hosting and you can find information about that at their Websites.
Web.com - The site advertises registrations as low as $15/year and privacy at $1.95/month.They cater to small businesses and also do hosting.
FatCow - Free domain names with hosting packages that start at $38/year. You can pay a little extra for gold customer service support.
[both recommended by JD Savage]
Bluehost - Free domain names with hosting packages that start at $5.95/month now.
Joker -Pricing is $12.80/year for the first year. The site provides ample information about how they calculate pricing for transfers, European domains, and the reseller program.
[recommended by Esa Evik]
GoDaddy - New .coms are $11.90/year, transfers are $7.49/year, privacy is $9.99/year.
[used by Jari Huomo]
A2Hosting - Pricing is $12.95/year for new and for transfers.
[suggested by Armando Galvan]
Dreamhost - Domains go for $9.95/year.
[recommended by Jan Hemmingsen]
Register - Registrations are $35/year, $9/year on privacy. They apply a $12 fee to transfers.
[I use them, would not recommend due to cost/service gap]
1and1 - The cost for a domain is $4.99/year with free privacy. They apply a one year domain cost to transfers.
[I use them, I would not recommend due to slow service. And I am not alone]
Have I missed your preferred provider? Add it in the comments and I will update the post.
[chart by Verisign - also see a complete list of providers]