Make sure you can use their SMTP servers for outgoing email. Many hosting and domain name registration providers will not let you use their SMTP servers for sending emails. They assume you can send email via your internet server provider’s SMTP servers. However, a great many ISPs and broadband providers will only let you use their SMTP servers on their branded email accounts (i.e. [email protected]). This means that if you use your own email address (i.e. [email protected]), you won’t be able to send email via their SMTP servers. There are workarounds but you shouldn’t have to go to the trouble.
Contact the owner. Before so much as hinting at a price, simply email to ask whether or not the domain is for sale. If you are known or can clearly be linked to a thriving business, create a generic alternate email address through which to contact them, as your success might be leveraged against you. Be aware, however, that an informal-sounding email address is more likely to be regarded as spam or junk mail.
Check to see if you get any email accounts. Many web hosting companies don’t include email or charge extra for it. In many cases, you can only get email forwarding. Even for straightforward POP3 email, some companies only offer 1 or 2 email accounts. You should make sure you get at least 15-20 POP3 email accounts included free of charge with your domain.
Be extremely cautious while communicating with the owner. Even if you casually agree to buy the domain via email, the communication might be used against you in court as a legally-binding contract should you change your mind. Until you’re absolutely certain that you want to make a deal, agree to buy the domain provided that all the terms are agreeable. This will leave you an escape hatch if things go south.
Make sure you always retain control of your domain name. There are hundreds of businesses hosting their websites with a web host they’re not happy with. Poor service, surprise invoices, unreliable uptime and email issues are just some of the common issues customers are facing today. What most of them want to do is vote with their feet and walk out the door and find another web hosting provider. They don’t go through with it, however, because moving all their domains to another host is a complete admin headache. Choose wisely from the get-go so you don’t become one of these customers.
Domain names can be used in a number of ways. Direct visitors to your website’s home page or use complementary domains to send them to specific areas of your website ( e.g. yourcompany.jobs for a careers page). Or, forward a custom domain to an existing social media account, like your Twitter profile or Periscope channel. With a domain name you can even set up custom email addresses like [email protected], which can be used to conduct business or communicate with your followers. More.