[svlug] Domain Registrar Reliability and Switching Interruption

Ian Kluft ikluft at thunder.sbay.org
Thu Dec 16 15:05:45 PST 2004

On Thu, Dec 16, 2004 at 01:06:40PM -0800, Mark S Bilk wrote:
> 1. Which registrars are cheap, reliable, look like they will be 
> in business for years to come, and have phone support for
> the transfer of a domain to them?

I use DomainDiscover.com.  They have phone support, so they're not the
cheapest.  ($25/year, with discounts if you have a lot of domains.)
Everything can be maintained online.  But the few times I've needed to
call for anything, they've been there and solved it.  They advertise the
support as part of their reputation.  I've been pleased with them.

I originally found them in 2000 from a registrar comparison survey where
DomainDiscover ranked well on all three of the survey's criteria: price,
support and contract language.  They were never the best on price, but are
competitive on price among those that have good support.  The contract
language part means you actually own your domain at a registrar like this
one.  The survey also put up red flags for strange terms in some registrar's
customer agreements.

You'll have to decide how you prefer to balance those factors in choosing
a registrar for yourself.  But this shows how I arrived at my choice.

Unfortunately, the registrar comparison survey that I used went away by
2002.  So it was only useful for comparisons as new registrars sprung up
after NetSoil's monopoly was broken.  I haven't found another registrar
comparison survey like it since.  The comparisons I can find today are
either on price alone, or only compare a few registrars.  But "domain
registrar comparison" does come up with hits on Google.  (Keep the quotes
to narrow down the search.)

> 2. Can I transfer my domain to another registrar without 
> getting _any_ interruption of my e-mail due to interruption 
> of DNS or anything else?

As others already mentioned, it depends if you already have your own
nameservers.  If you do, just keep using them and it should transfer
smoothly.  But if you use web/mail/DNS services at your old registrar,
you need to move them off to another host before initiating the domain

I don't know if NetSoil still does this.  But they failed to send
confirmation messages for some my transfer requests.  That of course
caused those requests to be rejected since I couldn't respond to the
messages they didn't send.  Interestingly, the ones they failed to
process were the ones that could be viewed as "highest demand".  That
was very suspicious.  I had to re-try two or three times to wrestle all
of my domains away from them.  I hope they've fixed that because they'll
just create more dissatisfaction with others like they did with me if
they keep doing that.

So it isn't a typo when I call them "NetSoil".  They earned that nickname.
They are dirt.

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