Just last week I was busily renewing domain names without paying much attention. Then a friend wrote with a question that bears repeating and answering in a forum like this. This friend has a vanity domain and wants to make sure they keep it.
I want to own the domain, like I would own a piece of property. I recognize that I need to pay for the hosting, but I don’t want to pay regularly for the address. I want this address to be mine, until I die, or until we find something better than the internet.
Something better than the internet? OK so that wasn't the question. Especially with a recent spate of articles about domain names as the new real estate it would be easy to fall into a real estate model. Instead a more fitting comparison would be to business ownership. Ultimately the process of getting a domain name starts with having a registrar who can register the name for you. Often this may be bundled with website hosting but the two are separate (and I'll explain why they should be kept very separate in a few sentences).