To start a website, a company must first register a domain name. It is the name of your website which visitor type into the address bar of their browser when they want to find your site.
About .com.sg and .sg Domain
In Singapore, registration of domain names ending with .com.sg or .sg is quite costly. The cost of domain name can easily add up to more than $100 per year if a company opts to register both the .com.sg and the .sg domain names.
Singapore Government stipulates that .com.sg domain name is available only to companies with a valid company name and registration number under ACRA (Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority). Whereas for .sg domain name, there is no such restriction. Individuals or entrepreneurs who are just starting up without a registered company are therefore allowed only to register the .sg domain name.
Online Registration For .com.sg and .sg Domain
One problem with the registration of .com.sg and .sg domain is the unfriendly online process. There are several accredited Singapore Domain Registrars available for users to choose from. Almost all of them do not offer user-friendly online registration and explanation. A new user can rarely complete domain registration in one sitting as the system will ask for information that are not clearly stated in advance.
Even upon completion of registration, the domain will not be activated automatically. Contacting Domain Registrar’s helpdesk is a waste of time as the activation is not under them and they are equally unfamiliar with the process. The more experienced user will find their way to SGNIC (Singapore Network Information Centre) portal to activate the domain with SingPass. SGNIC gives a grace period of 21 days for activation before suspending the domain name. According to SGNIC, such suspension is considered necessary to minimise any possible abuse of domain names!
About .com Domain
Most Singaporeans therefore prefer to register a .com domain instead of .com.sg or .sg domain. A .com domain name can be registered online easily with any Approved USA Domain Registrar. It costs less than $20 per year, much cheaper than Singapore domain name ending with .com.sg or .sg. The online registration process is also very straightforward. There is no check on whether you are an individual or a registered company.
To register a .com domain name, Singapore company usually tweaks the domain name for search engines to know that the domain owner is from Singapore. The common approach is to include “sg” in the domain name, such as mycompany-sg.com instead of mycompany.com. For companies with overseas offices, you can choose to register mycompany.com and create sub-domains to represent the respective locations, such as sg.mycompany.com, beijing.mycompany.com … etc. Under a registered domain, owner can create as many sub-domains as necessary at no extra cost.
Domain Registration And Web Hosting
All .com registrars offer straightforward online domain registration by Credit/Debit Card payment. Most domain registrars also provide web hosting service as a package, with the condition that the registered .com domain name comes under their ownership. In other words, they also provide the computer hardware and website software for you to start your web presence quickly. Once you opt for the web hosting package, your website will reside on their computer for the whole world to access.
In the internet world, registering a domain name is similar to registering a business name for your company. Getting a web hosting account is comparable to renting a physical office or shop front to start your business.
About .com Domain Ownership
However, the best practice is to separate domain registration with web hosting. This is to ensure that your company is taking ownership of your own domain. Whereas if you take the heavily discounted hosting package from the domain registrar, it will not be easy to switch your website away to another hosting company in the future.
A Singapore-based company should choose a web hosting company with data centres in Asia (Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan or even Australia). Respond time for website hosted in Asia is typically 300% or more faster than a website hosted in USA or Europe. If you are targeting your business at Singaporeans or Asians, they will enjoy surfing your website when it loads fast from page to page.
Which Hosting Company
Many companies prefer to work with a Singapore-based hosting company for ease of technical support. A better option is to choose a foreign hosting company with Asia presence. The advantage of hosting with a foreign hosting company serving global customers is their 7×24 online chat and professional support. Many foreign hosting companies also discounts heavily for signing up, with maximum 24-month contract. This level of price and support is not easily available from Singapore-based hosting company.
For Singapore company looking for a quick start, NameCheap is a good consideration for domain registration. For Hosting, Site5 is a good start as they offer multi-location option covering USA, Europe, Singapore and Hong Kong.