Answer Best answer as chosen by user bisurge
You can buy them anywhere. For example, I have all of my domains registered through GoDaddy. I flatly refuse to use GoDaddy's web hosting as I've had horrible experiences with it but their name registration is fairly simple, the customer service has been good, and they're cheap. Just scroll to the bottom of the page past all the "Add Ons" and click Continue to get through the registration without buying hosting, privacy, etc.
A few pointers on the art of domain registration -1) Never register your domain where you host. Inversely, do not ever do your hosting where you register your domains.
If you ever get into a billing dispute, they can hold your entire site or sites hostage. If you keep the two separate you can just re-point the name servers for your domain to another hosting company, upload your files and such and go about your business.
2) Never pay for the privacy add ons.
This allows who ever you register the domain with to put themselves in as the "owner of record" on your domain. If there is ever any dispute over who "owns" the name your hosting company will win. Use your own information to register. Simply use a phone number you don't answer and an email you don't care much for. Make sure to whitelist your name registrar and forward anything from them to an email address you check regularly. That way you can avoid the worst of the spam while still getting any notices about your domain(s).
3) Check to make sure that your domain is as promised. Go to http://domaintools.com/example.com (substitute your actual domain for "example.com" in the address , making sure not to include www).
Some companies will let you pay for 5 years but only register the domain for 1. Others will register it in their name, not yours. It pays to check. Not only should your information appear there, but the time period for the registration should be correct as well.
This will allow you to view the "WHOIS"(ownership) record for your domain. You should be listed as the registrant, and your contact information should be listed This the information that ICANN will use to settle any kind of a dispute over the domain name. Make sure that you are listed for Registrant, and Admin. You can list your web developer or web master as Tech Support and your accountant or someone else trusted as Billing.
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