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Domain name registration - John C. Kirk

Apr. 10th, 2008

01:09 pm - Domain name registration

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Today I needed to register a new domain name, so I had a look around at the various companies who offer this service. My own domain is registered with UK Shells, but that's mainly aimed at people who use their hosting services, so I investigated some other options.

UKreg looked quite promising: cheap prices, and a handy tool to check on which domain names are available and suggest options. In order to register a domain name, you need to have an account, so I went through the steps of creating one. The final step says:

We need your card details to activate your account.
We will not charge your card at this stage.


I put in the company credit card, but that was declined, so I tried my own debit card. I entered the correct expiry date (July 2009), but it said "The card has already expired". (I tried this twice, just in case I'd made a mistake.) That's a bit weird, and I'd like to think that any webpages which handle credit cards have been properly tested, but never mind; they list a phone number on that page (0870 888 3699), so I phoned for assistance. I chose the option for sales, and when I spoke to someone he said "Oh, I'll transfer you to sales". The next person I spoke to was a bit confused (asking me whether I was trying to sign up for a free account), and it turned out that she dealt with hosting, so I needed to speak to someone in domain name sales. I would have thought that they'd use the same account page for both, but perhaps not. She transferred me back, and I sat on hold for a while, being told that the expected queue time was less than 5 minutes.

After about 15 minutes, I gave up, and went to GoDaddy instead, where I was able to do the whole thing online in a few minutes. (They're the company I use for SSL certificates as well.)

Anyway, my advice is to avoid UKreg; if this is how inept they are when I'm actually trying to give them money, it doesn't bode well for how they'd react if I needed help later on.

Comments:

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From:susannahf
Date:April 10th, 2008 01:58 pm (UTC)
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Dude! I hope you weren't phoning from home! 0870 numbers can be pricey, esp during the day (depending on your phone package), and they have an incentive to keep you online as they get a portion of the revenue. http://www.saynoto0870.com/companysearch.php searching for "ukreg" shows them to come under fasthosts (which is a bad sign in and of itself imho), and had geographical numbers for them.
Having said that, I would have given up at the card failure stage. If they can't work their own website, I'm sure as hell not letting them touch mine.
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From:johnckirk
Date:April 10th, 2008 02:02 pm (UTC)
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Ah, that's a good point - I'd forgotten that 0870 was a premium rate number. Fortunately, it's gone on the company's phone bill :)

The billing page does say "Fasthosts" rather than "UKreg"; I haven't come across Fasthosts before, but I'll take your word for it that they're not a great company.
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From:susannahf
Date:April 10th, 2008 02:09 pm (UTC)
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They had a fairly well-publicized hack before Christmas, which they responded to by changing everyone's passwords (ftp, email, etc). They could then only be reset by the domain manager, so domains with multiple email users (like the one I'm involved in) needed the manager to change everyone's password manually.
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From:susannahf
Date:April 10th, 2008 02:33 pm (UTC)
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by the way, the website I linked to (saynoto0870) is very useful. Not just for finding cheaper options. Sometimes the geographic numbers take you past a queue, or include a direct-dial for head-office. I've found them to be the best way of getting through when a support line is forever on hold or you can't get through to a non-muppet.
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From:sammoore
Date:April 11th, 2008 08:44 am (UTC)
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Fasthosts are dreadful. They have fluffed up every server upgrade they have done for us in the last 6 months. They then claimed the problem was that our site wasn't PHP5 compatible (it was) and then stuffed up the links to the SQL dB.

We are looking to move away from them ASAP.

S
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From:billyabbott
Date:April 10th, 2008 04:22 pm (UTC)
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I've never had any problems with UKReg - didn't get my password changed due to the fasthosts hack and they've been excellent at letting me know about renewals without random charging or anything. Never had to call them as their web interface has always been excellent. I currently have four or five domains with them and have switched things to and from them in the past with no problem.
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