How to buy a domain name
We will walk you through the process of buying a domain name, including domain registration methods and tips on how to search and choose a perfect domain name.
9 February 2021 · 9 min read
If you’re thinking of buying a domain name, let me remind of that it’s not going to be easy.
And there’s another story:
Choosing a domain name even gets harder as you need to check for its availability.
There are at least 1.90 billion websites on the internet, and the chances that your chosen domain name is taken is pretty big.
Stop worrying now!
This article can help you throughout the process of buying a domain name, including domain registration methods and tips on how to search and choose a perfect domain name.
There’s more to it… and you’ll find out more as we go along.
Domain Name Explained
Simply put, the domain name is the name of your website. It is what the users’ input in the address bar to access your website.
When the domain name is entered into the address bar, it sends a request to the web host server to fetch your website and send it back to the browser.
Domain names are important because it helps build your brand, it gives credibility to your business and allows customers to find you quickly online.
If you have a dedicated website to your brand, you can be found easily by people even if you are situated in a remote location. It makes your business more credible, which means that people will trust the brand that you’re promoting.
To buy a domain, the first thing that you must do is visit the domain registrar.
Domain registrars are accredited by ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers), a non-profit organization that manages the Domain Name System (DNS) on the internet.
It provides tools to consumers to purchase and manage their domain names. Other features of the domain registrar can be found on the dashboard.
Domain name records are stored at a centralized database called the registry. Valid domain names go into the registry along with information related to that domain.
ICANN gives the domain registrar permission to edit and make changes to your domain name data on the registry database.
How much does it cost to buy a domain name?
Domains with .com extensions typically cost $10 to $20 per year. Domain name extensions like .biz, .bio,.app, and .digital are more expensive because of ICANN’s wholesale prices and the domain registrar company.
Buying a domain name is not a one-time purchase. You need to renew it every year, which costs more than what you pay for the domain name. The reason? Domain registrar services offer a discount to first-time buyers.
You also need to pay extra if you include add ons on the domain purchase. Privacy protection, on-demand backups, and custom email address are examples of popular add ons.
Related: How much does a domain name cost?
Where to Buy Domain in 2021
Visiting a domain registrar service is your first step to buying a domain.
Here are the top domain name registrar companies in the market:
- Domain.com. Domain.com offers an extensive range of TLDs (top-level domains), inexpensive hosting options, and useful small business tools. It also provides SSL certificates, VPS hosting, checkouts, online marketing services, and web design. The company has expanded its services to email hosting, web hosting, and other services. It also offers a free web builder with mobile-friendly templates, IP addresses, SEO tools, and stock image library access at an affordable price. Domain.com also provides a wide range of extensions such as .org and .com and top-level domains (TLDs) ideal for branding and social media integration. The cost is $9.99 per year if you register a domain name at domain.com.
- Hostgator. Hostgator is another place for registering domains. Low-priced hosting and domain registration bundle are available for as low as $3 a month.
- Namecheap. Namecheap offers affordable domains, free DNS service, SSL encryption, and WHOIS privacy protection. New domain registration with Namecheap costs $10.69 per year (limited only), and a .com extension costs $8.88 with one-year WHOISGuard Plus protection.
- Hover. Hover is an offshoot of Tucows Inc, which is the third-largest ICANN accredited registrar online. The services offered by Hover is straightforward - domain registration. That’s all they do, which makes it straightforward plus you won’t be bombarded with upsells and advertisements. .com domain at Hover starts at $12.99 for domain registration, renewal for $14.99, and $10.99 for transferring a domain name.
- Bluehost. Bluehost is the best choice if you’re looking to get domain and web hosting together. It gives you a free domain name if you buy the hosting package. Bluehost is WordPress recommended web hosting provider and is also regarded as one of the best web hosts online. It offers affordable hosting with a starting price of $2.95 per month for shared hosting, including a free domain.
- Godaddy. Godaddy is a domain registrar and hosting services company. It is the world’s largest domain name registrar, offering services that support e-commerce sites and other larger sites. It cost $14.99 per year to register a domain in Godaddy, and you can even get it cheaper to $0.99 in a promo.
- Google Domains. Google Domains is easy to use. All you have to do is choose a domain name and link it to any website builder or web hosting provider. You can also signup for a custom email address using your domain name, making your business more credible and popular.
- DreamHost. DreamHost is a domain name registrar that also offers hosting services. It features an unlimited supply of extensions, free domain privacy, and easy domain control features. It cost $13.95 to register a .com domain name at DreamHost. Pricing for other domain names could be cheaper.
- 1and1. 1and1 is a domain registrar that offers a great service for people with a limited domain registration budget. They run frequent promos, and it’s possible to buy a domain name for less than $1.00. But, $0.99 domain registration is only good for the first year. After that, the cost of renewal is $14.99.
- Name.com. Name.com offers domain registration and other tools such as hosting, emails, and website builders. The price of services at Name.com is straightforward, so no need to worry about hidden fees. The price of .net and .com domain is $12.99 and .org at $10.99. You can also avail of free WHOIS protection with the use of coupons.
Choosing the Right Extension
There is a wide selection of domain name extensions available, but how do you know the best one?
The .com extension is by far the best and most valuable - it is more memorable than websites with other top-level domains (TLDs).
.net or .org is another option if you can’t secure .com extension - .org is traditionally used by non-profit companies. You can also use country domain name extensions like .ca or .uk for smaller companies in a certain location.
If you want to be creative and innovative, you can register .store as your domain extension instead of using the newer extensions. It can make your store stand out from the rest.
Tips on How to Choose or Buy the Perfect Domain Name
There are a few things that you need to look into to choose or buy the perfect domain name for your website.
Here are a few tips that can help you:
Some domain names may be good, but they could be available for negative reasons. Other domain names could be a bad investment due to the unpopular niche and low search volume.
Let’s say a good domain name could be available because Google penalized it with the previous owner.
It takes a long time for a website to rank well if it has been penalized by Google in the past, which can also become a problem in your brand building process.
You can use tools like Is My Website Penalized to check if Google has penalized it. Websites get penalized due to duplicate content, thin content, and many other reasons.
- Check domain availability
Use WHOIS to check the availability of the domain.
If your chosen domain name is taken, choose an alternative.
You might have difficulty ranking if a popular website is using the domain name that you choose.
Also, the domain might have a trademark, and you can be sued for using it.
- Research before you buy
If you found a good domain name, do your research right away. If the name is perfect and that’s what your brand stands for, buy it!
If not, continue looking for other domains that suit your brand.
- Check trademarks
Check trademarks before buying a domain. Hit Google to check if your chosen domain name is trademarked.
It’s hard to find a perfect domain. So, avoid procrastination. When you find it, act promptly, and buy it!
- Make your name brandable
With a unique name, you can get a higher ranking on the search engine results.
Make your name brandable for easy recognition. It can also help generate new customers and make a good first impression by hearing the domain name.
What to Consider When Choosing a Domain Name
- Domain History. Check domain history to see if malicious history is associated with it. Also, check if Google has previously penalized the domain. There are tools that you can use to check domain name history, such as Wayback Machine. When checking the domain name history, check the backlinks and if Google has penalized it due to black hat SEO.
- Safety. WHOIS is security protection that hides your contact information, business name, and other sensitive information like credit card logins. Choosing a domain registrar that offers WHOISGuard protection is an excellent idea. You can purchase the WHOIS guard privacy protection from Namecheap for under $3.
- Domain Names. Protect your chosen domain name with trademark and personalized extensions such as .store, .org, .net, and country domain names. And if you find the right domain name that suits your brand, buy all of its variants to make it impossible for anyone to copy it.
The domain name serves as the identity of your website. It is the web address that directs visitors to your website.
To buy a domain, visit the domain registrar. A domain registrar is a company that is responsible for managing domains on the internet. Namecheap, Hostgator, Bluehost, Godaddy, and Domain.com are companies that offer domain name registration services.
The price of buying a domain varies. A free domain is usually offered if you buy a bundled package.
ICANN is a non-profit company that manages the domain name system (DNS) on the internet.
After buying the domain name, the next thing you need to pick is the domain name extension. For example, Google is the domain name and .com is the extension. Personalize your extensions to make your website URL stand out.
It is essential to choose a domain name extension that is suitable for your business. For example, the .org extension is used by non-profit companies and .store is typically used by e-commerce sites.
Consider domain name history, domain privacy protection, and the domain name itself to pick the perfect domain.
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