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10 things to know before registering a .CA domain name

You may have a lot of questions before you register your .CA so we put our heads together and came up with a list of the top 10 things to know.
By Kira Taylor

As far as we’re concerned, taking the plunge and registering a .CA domain makes you a CIRA Friend for Life. Aside from that, choosing .CA comes with several awesome benefits for you, your website and your business.

That said, we do field a lot of questions from rookie .CA’ers, like—“how much does registering my .CA cost?” “How long should I register my domain for?” “Is my personal info protected?” “What should I name my domain?”.

So, we put our heads together and came up with a list of the top 10 things to know before registering  a .CA domain! There are some real Canadian pearls of wisdom in there. Or maybe our editor’s just missing teeth from his last beer league hockey mishap.

Either way—pearls.

10 things to know before registering a .CA domain name

1. Naming your .CA domain is a very important step

As tempting as it might be to come up with something longwinded and/or wild and throwaway, naming your domain should be taken (somewhat) seriously. The name you choose should be short, punchy and easy for your audience to remember. Aim for the sweet spot of 5 to 14 characters—max! Your domain name should also reflect your business or the purpose of your website. Check out our guide on choosing a good domain name for more pointers!

2. Your privacy is protected from the get-go

Yet another thing that makes .CA maple syrup sweet? All .CA domains registered to individuals are provided with WHOIS privacy by default. What is WHOIS? It’s a massive, public internet database containing every registered domain, along with the names and contact info of each domain owner.

With WHOIS privacy protection in place, random people can’t just look up your contact info. Instead, they’d need to go through our stringent screening process first. Less spam (or other unsolicited contact) is never a bad thing!

3. Be sure to register your .CA domain name yourself

This tidbit probably applies more to business owners, but you shouldn’t let a third-party—like a marketing agency, or your third cousin Stevie—register your .CA domain for you. Why? This can put you in a potentially sticky situation if you ever break up with your agency (or send Stevie packing) and lose access to the account with the “keys” to your domain name.

4. You can register a .CA with French-accented characters

C’est vrai! The .CA domain supports all your favourite French-accented characters within domain names: é, ë, ê, è, â, à, æ, ô, œ, ù, û, ü, ç, î, ï, ÿ. This is particularly useful when catering to a French audience and is a great way to show that you’re a local business they can support.
As an added cool touch, all variations of your domain name with accented characters are automatically reserved for you exclusively.

5. You CAN still buy a domain name that’s already taken

Yep—just because your dream domain name is taken, doesn’t mean it can’t be had…for a price, of course. One popular way is via a domain name broker service. They can help track down the person (or group) that registered the domain, assess and negotiate a fair market price and then assist you with transferring the domain over and sending payment.

6. The price you pay to register upfront…might not be the price you pay to renew later on

Just a friendly heads up that you might be offered an enticingly low price to register…only to find out that the renewal fee has doubled—or quadrupled once your registration period is up in a year’s time. That said most registrars will show you both the registration and renewal price upfront. But do pay special attention so you’re not caught off guard.

7. It pays to shop around, compare registrars and read reviews

Not every registrar is the same when it comes to pricing, features and benefits. For instance, you might only want a domain name. Or—you may need other services, like web and email hosting, a website builder platform or email marketing. Depending on which registrar you choose, many of these services often get bundled in with your domain registration.

Also—take a few minutes to read reviews on the registrars you’re considering. Look at things like their domain transfer policy (is it free, or do they charge a small ransom?) as well as the quality of technical support they provide if you get in a bind.

8. You can renew your domain for several years

In fact, you can choose to renew your domain for up to 10 years! Of course, you’ll need to pay for those 10 years upfront…but it’s not a bad investment if you plan to keep your domain for the long haul.

It’s also a pretty much foolproof way to ensure you never miss your annual renewal date. As well—committing now means you lock down today’s domain renewal price, rather than risking unexpected price increases each year.

9. Registering multiple domains can lead to discounts

Generally, we recommend registering multiple variations of your domain name—especially if there are common misspellings (or alternate spellings) that a competitor or imitator might scoop up. Aside from protecting your brand, registering multiple domains can lead to discounted pricing—depending on the registrar you go with.

10. If it seems like a scam, it probably is

One of the most common domain scams out there is the “domain appraisal” scam. How it works is this: You’ll get an email from the scammer asking if you’re interested in selling your domain for a hefty chunk of change. If you agree, the scammer will then ask you to pay for a domain appraisal service in order for the sale to go through. However, as soon as you pay for the appraisal, the scammers take your money and promptly ghost you. Whomp, whomp.

Another scam you’ll want to guard against is the domain renewal scheme—also known as “domain slamming.” You might get an email from someone pretending to be your registrar warning you that your domain is about to expire. Then, they prompt you for payment information as well as your domain’s transfer code. If you’re not paying attention, it’s possible for the scammers to take your money AND take control of your domain name.
Now that we’ve bestowed our wisdom upon you, get your domain registration journey started by searching from our list of CIRA-certified registrars! Then, we’ll show you how to optimize your shiny new .CA.

About the author
Kira Taylor

Kira is the Marketing & Channel Specialist at CIRA. She focuses on content, digital marketing and channel strategies to help Canadian business owners make the right domain choice for their business website so they can find success online.