Where can we register our domain name?

If you're thinking of creating a website for your business, your first task is to decide on a good domain name. Once you've come up with something suitable, you need to register it. So, what's the procedure for doing that?

Checks

First and foremost, you need to make sure that the domain name is available. For a domain name with a .nl extension, you can check on www.sidn.nl. If the name's already been taken, you can find out who's got it. Sometimes it turns out that a registered domain name isn't being used. In that case, you might consider asking the current 'owner' (known as the 'registrant') whether they want to sell.

See whether popular social media platforms will accept your chosen name as a business page name or account name. If someone's beaten you to it, it's usually best to think of an alternative. Google the name to find out whether there's anything negative associated with it, which might tarnish your business if you were to use it.

Finally, check with the Chamber of Commerce and with trademark registries to see whether the name has already been registered with them. If you're starting a new business, do the checks described above before setting the business up.

Registrar

Once you've done your homework and firmly decided on a suitable domain name, you need someone to register it for you. Businesses that register domain names are called registrars. There are lots in the Netherlands, so take a look and pick the one that suits you best. Check out our list of registrars.

What it costs

The cost of registering a domain name varies from one registrar to the next. Registrars set their own prices, so it's worth comparing before you choose. Often, domain name registration is part of a package of services, along with things such as website hosting and e-mail. However, there are also plenty of firms that will simply register a domain name for you. It can cost as little as a few euros a year.

Registrant

Remember: only the person or organisation whose name is on the registration contract (the 'registrant') is the lawful 'owner' of a domain name. Only they can sell the name or switch the management of its registration to another registrar. It's therefore important to make sure that your new domain name is registered under your name or your business's name. A registration made in the name of an IT staffer or a service provider can lead to problems later. Make sure that the contact details registered for your domain name stay up to date, in case an issue ever arises with the name.

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