Why register a domain name for multiple years?
Why not just renew it every year? There is no reason you can't just renew every year, maybe you only need the domain temporarily or you are speculatively registering a domain name for a new idea. In this situation the ability to register a domain for only 1 year is perfect. There are however some good reasons why registering your domain name for longer makes more sense.
Protect your identity
Your domain name is your online identity, whether it's the name of your business or your own name, loosing your domain can have serious repercussions. Yearly registrations potentially expose more opportunities to lose your domain name e.g. you change your email address and renewal notices don't reach you. Once your domain expires your website and email can go down affecting your business.
If your domain has expired and goes into Redemption you will have to pay more to redeem and renew it. In the worst case scenario you miss the Redemption period and someone else registers your domain which may result in a costly re-branding exercise. Registering your domain for longer periods reduces the risk of all of this happening.
By registering your domain name for the maximum term you pay today's low price and are protected from any price increase until renewal. There is a chance that the registries running the different domain extensions will raise their prices in the future. For example the .com and .org registries both decided to increase their registration cost when their contract with ICANN was renegotiated.
The other price incentive for registering your domain name for a longer period is a lower equivalent yearly cost:
|Registration Period||Price||Equivalent yearly cost|
Search engine ranking
There is general consensus that the top search engines like Google are using registration length as one of the many factors to calculate rankings. The consensus is based on the theory that a person who renews their domain name for 10 years, is more likely to build a website of greater worth than someone who only holds their domain for 1 year. This is further supported when you consider those who participate in spamming or domain tasting normally only register domains for 1 year.