This post was updated on November 30, 2017, to include information on easy-to-use features.
You’re in the process of building your new nonprofit website and going through the checklist of all the things you need to figure out. Let’s be honest, “register your domain name” is probably not the most exciting thing on the list. But it’s absolutely essential, and there are benefits to registering with Namecheap over their competitors.
Choosing a Domain Name
Your website’s domain name is, essentially, the web address for your homepage. Our domain name at Wired Impact is wiredimpact.com. For your nonprofit, you’ll want to choose a name that’s branded to your organization and easy to remember, ideally something like nonprofitname.org. Check out these tips on selecting a domain name to register.
Make sure you check that the name you’d like is available before trying to register it. You won’t be able to use a domain name that’s already registered to someone else unless you work it out with them beforehand. If they’re available, you might also consider buying up related domains, such as .com or .net variations, as well as the one you plan to use. This could help you control your brand down the road and prevent you from losing traffic to a similar organization. Check to see if your domain name is available.
First things first: we’re not getting any compensation from Namecheap to write this post. We’ve worked with various domain registration services through our nonprofit clients and have experienced the differences first hand.
When it comes to your domain, company stability matters. That means a relatively big company who’s been around for a few years and that won’t disappear on you as soon as you need something or something goes wrong. And if you’re not planning on managing your domain yourself, you’ll need to be able to give permissions to the person that does, usually your website developer. Some companies make it easier to provide these manager permissions than others.
We believe that Namecheap is currently the best place for nonprofits to register their domain names, based on the following criteria:
Keeping the user in mind, Namecheap is easy to navigate and makes it simple to get things done without jumping through unnecessary hoops. The following features may not seem revolutionary, but they’ll save you time and frustration when managing your domain names.
Store Contact Information
For each domain purchased you’ll need to provide the name, address, phone and other information for different types of contacts, such as administrative, technical and billing. If you have multiple domains or need to change your contact information down the road, adjusting this information can be tedious. To help save you time, Namecheap provides an address book where you can save contact information and automatically populate it when needed so you don’t have to type everything up multiple times. They’ll also allow you to adjust the contact information for multiple domains at one time.
Domain ownership changes can be a long and arduous process with lots of back and forth between the new and old owner, and the domain registrar. However, ownership changes within Namecheap are as easy as entering a Namecheap username or email. It’s also easy to share access to one (or more) of your domains with another user without giving them ownership of the domain or even access to your entire account.
As you’re setting up connections on your website for services like email and Google for Nonprofits, many domain registrars will have you enter very specific technical settings and records that you (most likely) won’t be able to guess offhand, making the integration process stressful and confusing. With Namecheap, certain settings can be easily configured for you. For example, if you use Gmail for your email service, simply select Gmail within the mail settings and you’re home free.
To prevent those annoying spam emails and phone calls, you can take steps to protect your personal information as you’re registering your domain. Once you register, your name, email, address and phone number will automatically be added to the WhoIs database. So to make sure that information isn’t readily available to every spammer on the Internet, you can subscribe to WhoIsGuard. Although the cost isn’t high, in our experience Namecheap will usually give you the first year free.
Add Two-Step Verification
For additional security, Namecheap offers two-step verification when signing into your account, meaning you’ll enter your username and password but then also (for the second step) a code that they’ll text to your cell phone. We’ve all been there, having to track down the staff member whose number is listed on the account to get the verification code. To save the hassle, Namecheap lets you add more than one phone number to your two-step verification, allowing multiple team members easy access to your nonprofit’s account without having to sacrifice security for convenience.
Unfortunately, there isn’t currently a discount on domain names for nonprofits through Namecheap. However, we’ve found Namecheap’s prices to be remarkably reasonable. They often have sales where they offer the first year of domain registration for up to 50% off of their standard price. Generally, one year is about $12.50, with a slight discount when you purchase more than one year at a time.
To register your nonprofit domain name with Namecheap, you’ll need:
- A Namecheap account
- The domain you want
Have any lingering questions about Namecheap for nonprofits or why we recommend them over similar services? We’d love to get those answered in the comments!