So I've registered a domain name exactly once. I registered it through GoDaddy.com without doing any real research, never once used the domain and let it expire after a year.
Now, I would like to register a domain with a particular variation of my name that is available at the moment, even though it might be a long time before I can actually put anything up at the address.
There are two things I'm looking for, and they might be something I can get anywhere, I don't know. But I'd like to be able to redirect the address to another address of my choosing until I get a site running. I also know very little in the way of designing a site - though I'm working on that - and something for a beginner would be nice.
Right now, I'd prefer to register the domain for as cheap as possible, but eventually I'll need a considerable amount of space to host my photography and probably some videos, among other miscellaneous stuff.
So, if anyone has an experience or opinion they can share, I'd be grateful!
I use Hostmonster.com for my personal, relatively useless and and entirely out of date website. For $5.95 a month, they offer unlimited space, unlimited bandwidth, and unlimited domains. They are also one of the few hosts I've found that offer SSH access (although I've found I don't really need it). And they have 24 hour tech support, which I've had to use once in four years.
They only catch is that in order to get all of that for $5.95 per month, you have to pay for two years up front. So it's really $149.00 for two years. And, because they are based out of Provo, UT, I'm pretty sure they're a Mormon company.
I have no good advice on hosting - everything ends up going bad on me - but the forwarding a domain to another site should be no problem where ever you go to register. That's a pretty standard function.
To register my domain, I used namecheap.com. If you just want to register and hold your domain, they are (or were) about the cheapest around. Even though I only pay them about $8 a year, they were really responsive on the two occasions I contacted them with a question.
For the webhosting and design, I use Moonfruit (moonfruit.com). Even though I don't know anything about web programming I have no problem using their web design program. It's basically a point and click interface. I've been really happy and they have also been extremely responsive when I've had questions. They are based in the U.K., so they obviously tend to respond during U.K. business hours. Their pricing depends on how much storage space and bandwidth you need (here's their pricing page: http://www.moonfruit.com/pricing.html). I would definitely recommend them enthusiastically.
Thanks guys, I went ahead and registered the domain (with both .com and .net extensions) for a year for just $20 with namecheap.com, because it's probably going to be six months or so before I can even think about putting stuff up there.
Once I do, I'll check out the sites you've recommended. Thanks again.