How to Register a Domain Name

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Domain names are essential if you want to have your own online presence, whether it’s for a business or personal website. They serve as the digital home address for your website and direct potential visitors to your products, projects, or services. But even if you need a domain, how exactly do you acquire one? That’s what we’re going to help you with by giving a brief overview of domains and how to register a domain name.

What Is a Domain?

Domain names are part of a web address that individuals type into their browsers to visit a website. They are a string of text that links to a string of numbers called the Internet Protocol (IP) address. So instead of typing in an IP address to reach Google, you would type in its domain,

The reasons why people purchase domains vary and can include:

  • Starting a business or informing people about your existing business
  • Creating a hobby site, forum, or personal space for coding projects
  • Using it as a personal landing page for job opportunities
  • Having your own customized email address
  • Starting a blog or e-commerce store
  • Investing in it as virtual real estate and selling it to others at a higher price

When it comes to domains, there are numerous domain extensions or top-level domains (TLDs) that are available. However, the process of choosing a domain name isn’t always so easy since there are trademark, copyright, and branding issues to consider. This is why it may take time to come up with the ideal domain that’s available and fits the needs of your brand or website.

Where Do I Buy a Domain?

You can purchase domains through either web hosting companies or domain registrars. Web hosting companies are responsible for providing web servers and other online services to display your website online. Examples of web hosting services are A2 Hosting, Bluehost, Hostgator, Dreamhost, and Scalahosting.

A domain registrar is a company that allows you to purchase and register domain names online. Examples of domain registrars are,, Namecheap, Network Solutions, and GoDaddy.

When it comes to domain registrars and web hosting companies, it’s important to note that both types often provide cross-over services. For instance, Namecheap, a domain registrar, also provides web hosting services, and Dreamhost, a web hosting company, offers domain registration. While you can buy your domain from either business type, we generally recommend buying from a domain registration company.

How Much Do Domains Cost?

The price of domains varies, typically between $10 and $50 per year, and you can register a domain for a minimum of one year all the way up to ten years. Keep in mind that these prices are reflective of more popular TLDs like .com, .net, and .org. Other TLDs can be cheaper or more expensive, and premium domains can cost thousands of dollars or more.

Another thing to keep in mind is that domain costs can be different among the various domain name registrars due to promotional offers, sales, and other factors. This is why it’s a good idea to browse around through different registrars and check out the prices of domains.

How to Register a Domain Name

We’re going to provide you with the steps on how to register a domain name. Typically, these steps apply to most domain registrars since the process for finding and registering a domain is similar.

Step 1: Find and Select a Domain Name Registrar

Conduct some research on several domain registrations. Some registrars are better than others in regard to reputation in the online community.

Check out which features are free with your domain name purchase (i.e. WHOIS privacy) or if you must purchase them as an add-on option. And of course, compare prices of the TLDs you have in mind for your domain.

Step 2: Search for & Check If Your Domain Name Is Available

When you have an idea in mind for the domain name(s) you want to purchase, simply enter it into the search box with or without the TLD to search for results. The results page will display the domain along with the various TLDs that ICANN manages.

Once you have your search results, look at what domains are available for purchase and if they are already taken. In some cases, your domain and the TLD you want might be unavailable (or trademarked). This is where having a list of domain names that you like will come in handy since you will need to perform a search again.

Step 3: Choose a Domain Name TLD

If your domain name is available, it’s time to decide what TLD you want. For most people, this will be the typical, old-school domain extensions like .com and .net. However, unless the name you selected is truly unique or for sale, it’s probable that these extensions will already be in use and unavailable. Fortunately, ICANN has added numerous TLDs that you can consider. Some examples are .blog, .name, .io, .ai, .co, .inc, .tech, and .art.

Just make sure that prior to buying a specific TLD for your domain, you’re aware of how these domain extensions are used and their reputations. So if you haven’t already done so, perform some quick research on your TLD to make sure people view your website in a legitimate light.

Step 4: Purchase the Domain Name

When you have the domain name and TLD you want, go ahead and quickly add it to your shopping cart. As you go through the purchase process, there might be some options that you might want to purchase as add-ons such as:

  • SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificates
  • VPN (Virtual Private Networks)
  • Premium DNS
  • Web Hosting
  • Business email
  • WHOIS privacy

In most cases, the typical person will not need to purchase any add-ons if all you need is a domain. However, WHOIS privacy is highly recommended. Some registrars offer this service for free while others may charge an annual fee for it.

You also might want to buy your domain for more than one year. If you’re unsure how long you’ll keep your domain, just keep the number of years at one; you can always renew it again in the future for one or more years.

In terms of payment for your domain, most registrars accept multiple options like PayPal, debit/credit card, and even Bitcoin.

I’ve Got a Domain. What’s Next?

Congratulations on purchasing your domain! You might be wondering what you do next. Here’s what we suggest.

  1. Find a good web hosting company – Sign up for the hosting package that fits your needs and then follow your web host’s instructions on how to point your domain to your host’s domain name system (DNS).
  2. Turn on domain renewal – The last thing you want to do is to forget to renew your domain when it expires. While companies will send you a renewal reminder, typically 30 days from expiration, it’s a good idea to make sure that autorenewal is turned on. This way you don’t have to think about it, and it will renew automatically.
  3. Make sure WHOIS privacy is on – When you register a domain name, your contact information is typically made public in a database called WHOIS. This information can include your name, email address, phone number, and physical address. This is why WHOIS or domain privacy is important. It allows you to keep your personal contact information private, so make sure this feature is turned on.
  4. Start using it – Even if you’re only using your domain for private email, go ahead and start using your domain. Create an email address. Put up a coming soon page. Or simply start building your website with the goal of showing off your efforts to your target audience.

Now that you know how to register a domain name, you have the basic foundation laid out to start building your online presence. We’ve covered the multiple use cases domains have like using them for email, setting up an online store, or promoting your brand or business. Remember to choose a reputable domain registrar, consider your branding and target audience, and pick a domain name that is short, simple, and memorable.


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