It really is a case of ‘buyer beware’ when purchasing domain names and services online. What can look like a great cost-saving, can in fact end up costing you more money in the long run. This is particularly the case if you use an overseas registration service for your domain name.

I was recently asked to forward two new domain names to an existing website. But I was stopped in my tracks fairly quickly when I discovered I could not set up a web forward without activating ‘DNS Management’ at an additional cost. The actual domain name registration cost advertised on the site was very cheap – half the price I would expect to pay normally. However, if you added the cost of the DNS management fee, then the REAL cost of having your domain name with the registry is about $10 more expensive than other registries that include DNS management as part of the registration fee.

In all my years of working in the web industry, I do not recall coming across the ‘pay for DNS management’ before. Domain name registrars can have quite different control panels to manage domain names and sometimes it’s hard to find where to manage the DNS (such as A Records and MX records), but invariably I discover where to make the change, or if not, an email to the domain registry requesting the change does the job.

So if you are considering registering a domain name, it would certainly pay to check with the domain name company that you will have access to set up domain records as part of the cost of domain registration. Otherwise, you will be possibly paying another fee to set up domain records to activate an email account, URL (web) forwarding and A record changes (which are necessary for putting websites live).

I suspect the extra DNS fee is a way of making additional money from customers that park a domain name at a domain registry that offers amazing deals and then go off and use the web hosting services or email services of another company.

Many of these domain name registries are also offering web hosting, and if you host with them and do your email with them, then you won’t require additional DNS services – as they will manage everything. I’m guessing that’s what they are trying to achieve.

Just remember, you get what you pay for online, and if it’s too good to be true… well you know the rest.

Here’s a list of New Zealand domain registration companies I would have no hesitation in recommending:

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