One-stop shopping for domain registration and web hosting has its attractions. Register.com is one of the 20 largest registrars in the world, with over 2 million domains, and it offers an inexpensive range of hosting packages.
The company and domain have existed since 1999, and since 2010 it has been a subsidiary of Web.com.
Creating your own website
If you're comfortable with creating your own website and uploading it by FTP, Register.com offers several options. You can run your site on Unix with Apache or on Windows. You can choose, in order from lowest to highest price, from the “Essential,” “Professional,” and “Premium” plans.
All of these plans let you register a domain for free. The free option is restricted to the .com, .net. .org, .biz., .info, .us, and .pro top-level domains. You can also use a domain you already have.
The Essential plan offers plenty for a simple site. You get 300 GB of disk space, with no transfer limit. You can set up as many as ten mailboxes and store up to 20 GB of mail, as well as 25 FTP accounts. With the Professional plan, you get 500 GB, 25 mailboxes, and 50 FTP accounts. Premium offers “unlimited” disk space and FTP accounts.
The email service includes spam and virus protection. You can receive mail by POP3 or IMAP and send by SMTP, or you can use webmail. Features include an address book, calendars, a task manager, and an auto-responder for when you're away. Additional mailboxes are available for a monthly rate. The multi-mailbox packages include administrative controls and contact sharing. Each mailbox can have up to three addresses.
Save 50% on web hosting at Register.com using this link. If you aren't satisfied, you can cancel within 30 days.
Do you want to do back-end coding? With Unix hosting, you can use Perl, Ruby on Rails, PHP5 with the Zend libraries, or Python. On Windows, your choices are PHP5 without Zend, Python, and ASP.NET. Java Server Pages (JSP) are available under Unix, but only with the Premium plan.
For simple server-side customization, you can use CGI (Common Gateway Interface) and SSI (Server-Side Includes) to put boilerplate into pages.
Whether you choose Unix or Windows, you can manage MySQL databases. Windows hosting also lets you use MS SQL. The Essential package lets you create up to 25 databases totaling 300 megabytes. The Professional package provides 50 databases, and Premium has no limit. Automatic database backup is included.
Managing your site
You can manage your site from the web hosting control panel. Based on the popular cPanel tool, it gives you access to all the features which Register.com makes available.
Backup and restore provide a safety net against mishaps. There doesn't appear to be a scheduled backup feature with the web hosting packages, though you may be able to run backups using the cron job functionality.
The popular phpMyAdmin tool lets you manage your MySQL databases from the browser. You can add and modify tables, add or modify data, and assign user accounts. In fact, you can do anything you can do from an SQL command line. You can also manage many aspects of the databases directly from the control panel.
The File Manager lets you view, rename, and delete your files and directories. Deleted files go to a trash can, so you can recover from mistakes before you empty it. You can also create directories and files, upload files, copy files, and change permissions.
The Disk Usage Viewer gives you a quick view of how much space the files in your website are taking up. You can delete files from within the viewer.
You can manage cron jobs from the control panel. They let you run scheduled tasks such as deleting temporary files. Two interfaces are available, both letting you do the same thing. Output gets sent to you by email.
AWStats can analyze your log files and present the information graphically. It lets you see the number of visitors to each page, what browsers they use, and what search phrases they used to find your site. You can also view the log files directly. Logs include the site's error message log, recent visitors, bandwidth usage, and raw access data.
Templates are available for adding features to your pages. Simple Guestbook lets visitors sign in and leave comments which are visible just to you. You can modify the template to adjust its appearance. EZPolls Lets you put polls on your site and track responses as they come in.
Setting up WordPress
If you want to manage your site online instead of uploading HTML files, you can set up a WordPress site under any of the plans. WordPress is the world's most popular software for managing websites, providing flexibility and convenience. Installation from the control panel is easy.
However, you're somewhat limited in running the site. All themes and plugins have to come from an approved list. You don't have FTP access to the WordPress site. This isn't a problem if you just want to run a blog or put up some straightforward pages, but it means you can't do your own development work or heavily customize the site. It could be difficult to export the site if you want to move to a different host.
There's increasing pressure on all websites to use SSL (TLS) encryption, even if they don't handle confidential information. If you process forms of any kind and don't want users to see ominous browser warnings, it's almost a necessity. Register.com provides SSL certificates, but they're more expensive than many competitors. A domain for an individual or a club can get by with the Essential certificate, which takes just a few minutes to obtain.
The IP Deny Manager lets you block hostile domains and IP addresses. You can enter one address or range at a time, so it's not ideal for adding a long blacklist, but it can keep out systems that are causing you trouble.
You can set password protection on directories. In addition, editing the .htaccess file lets you restrict access to part or all of your site. You can “leech protect” directories against accounts that get excessive logins, which may be a sign that a user has freely handed out an account password.
GnuPG is available for digitally signing and encrypting email and documents. It's a free software cryptographic system which is widely used and follows open standards.
It isn't clear whether secure (SSL/TLS) email is available. The website says TLS is optional with IMAP mail but gives no instructions for setting it up. The instructions mention only the non-secure ports, which send and receive everything (including passwords) as cleartext. In fact, the Thunderbird instructions advise you to ignore warnings about using an unencrypted connection.
Documentation and support
Support is available by phone or email. There are no promises about availability or turnaround time. Uptime is guaranteed at 99.99%.
Documentation is a weak point. Many links are broken. Others lead to a generic page on Web.com, which mixes information about Web.com, Register.com, and NetworkSolutions.com. There often isn't much technical depth to the information which is provided. For example, it's hard to tell whether the site supports SFTP or does only insecure FTP transfers.
There are some reasons to be concerned with Register.com's quality as a business. In 2013, ICANN cited the company for a breach of its registrar accreditation agreement. Register.com allegedly failed to maintain registration records and make them available to ICANN. (The problem has since been fixed.) The company is not BBB accredited. These points aren't proof of current problems, but they could be reasons for caution.
The fine print under the advertised prices says: “The above pricing is promotional pricing which only applies to the first billing cycle.” Be careful.
Is Register.com for you?
You're most likely to be interested in Register.com if you have simple website needs and like having your domain registration and hosting in the same place. The documentation is a concern, and making your site secure will cost extra. If you want to run a WordPress site, you may be better off looking elsewhere.
On the positive side, if you like coding your entire site, it provides a good range of programming options. Java hosting for such a low price (with the Premium plan) is unusual. If you're a do-it-yourselfer, you might find the combination of features you want here at a reasonable cost.
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