A domain name is a vital element in starting a new website, you can’t have a website without a domain name. Buying a domain name is a relatively simple process, the actual purchase from the domain name registrar is instant.
You can also choose to buy a domain name without having to build a website. You don’t need to purchase web hosting. You can buy a domain name first and return to the other things later.
In this guide we’re going to break down what you need to consider when buying a domain name and also the cost & expenses with buying a domain name.
So let’s get started!
Searching for Your Ideal Domain
If you have a preferred domain name, you can get started by checking if that domain name is available. There are plenty of online tools that can help you look up the availability of a domain name. All domain name registrars also help in domain search. If your preferred domain name isn’t available or you don’t have one in mind, you can use domain name generator tools.
Domain name generators are online tools that help to generate ideas. You simply type in one or more keywords, and the tool will provide you with hundreds of options to choose from. This tool is also suitable for people who want to tweak their ideas.
You will find out that your preferred domain name is available with domain name extensions you have never heard about in your search. This could open up new possibilities but make sure you are not carried away.
Choosing Your Domain Name
At the end of your search, you have to choose a domain name. This might take you a few minutes or even days. It all depends on you and how much time you are willing to spend. However, you should choose a domain name for practical reasons. Ensure it is easy to remember, pronounce, and spell. Plus, it should also be brandable.
Your domain name is a part of your online profile, either personal/business, depending on what you are working on. Once you’ve gone live with a domain name, switching to another domain name can involve many processes and branding challenges.
This is why you should pay attention to this step. As a general rule, stay away from hyphens, numbers and double letters. If you are building an online business, avoid names that rhyme or look similar to your competitors’ websites. You want to stand out and be unique.
Finding a Domain Name Registrar
A domain name registrar can make the process smooth or stressful. All domain name registrars are not the same; they differ in pricing, customer services, free bonuses, loading times and extra features.
So, it is hard to tell which domain name registrars are worth your time and money simply by looking at their websites. It is also easy to be sucked in by their marketing campaigns and price offers. One good practice is to read online reviews of domain name registrars. You can also check reviews left by previous customers.
You don’t have to sweat too much at this step. If for any reason, you are not satisfied with a domain name registrar, you can transfer your domain name to another registrar.
The catch here is that you have to wait for 60 days after registering your Domain name before you can transfer it. The process can take weeks to complete. You might also have to pay some fees to the new registrars.
Registering Your New Domain Name
Once you have settled on a domain name and a registrar, the final step is registering your domain name. This step is relatively straightforward and takes very little time. Simply sign up on your chosen registrar and type in your domain name.
By default, the registrar will check if the domain name is available or taken. If it is available, it will show you the prices for different domain name extensions. Note that a domain name might be available with one domain name extension and be taken with another.
If your domain name is available with your proffered domain name extension, you can go on to register the domain name. Take a good look at the checkout page. Some domain name registrars will offer you extra features such as WHOIS privacy protection and auto-renewal.
Some of those features are enabled by default and have fees attached to them. Enable the features you want and disable the ones you don’t need. After that, put in your card information and make payment. Once the payment goes through, the domain name becomes yours.
How Much Does a Domain Name Cost?
Your domain name is your website’s address. A simple address is simple to remember and follow. A complicated address can lead your visitors to the middle of nowhere – or a competitor’s website.
That is why many people are willing to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars for the right domain. Domain names such as business.com have sold for millions of pounds.
They are niche-specific and super easy to remember. However, you don’t have to spend a million pounds on a good domain name. You don’t even have to hit the hundred pound mark.
When buying a domain name there are broadly two main categories that domains fall into:
Check out the table of prices from some of the best domain name registrars below for ideas on how much Top Level Domains (TLD’s) cost.
|Popular Domain Registrars||.com||.co.uk||.org||.net|
Initial Registration Prices Per Year
Note that the prices above are introductory and do not come with extra features. The prices increase after the first year. Some domain name registrars offer free domain name registration if you purchase any of their hosting plans. TLDs are just one element that influences the price of domain names.
There are extra features that can bump up the price from £10 to £20. These include:
Auto-renewal is a life-saving feature for many domain name owners.
Domain names are registered for a specified period – between one to ten years. At the end of the registration period, your registration expires, and someone can register your domain name as theirs.
You can prevent this by renewing your registration at the end of your registration period. But many things can come up. Life comes at you fast, and you forget things. With the auto-renewal feature, you don’t have to renew your registration.
Simply put in your card details, and the system renews your registration (as long as your card works). The auto-renewal feature is free. The issue is you might not want to renew your registration. Many domain name registrars turn on auto-renewal by default.
You might not notice it until you get a notice that your account has been debited. Some sites like GoDaddy offer a 45-day refund policy for auto-renewals. But you can avoid all of this by making sure the auto-renewal feature is turned off.
Every domain name has an ending, e.g., Johnsmith.com. ‘.com‘ is called a domain name extension. The price of a domain name depends on the TLD you want with it.
Domain name extensions are divided into two:
TLDs are popular domain name extensions. They are .com, .org, .net, .edu and .gov
.com is great for businesses but also works for general purposes.
.org is a good choice for not-for-profit organisations.
.net is a good alternative to .com.
.gov and .edu are reserved for government and educational websites, respectively. ccTLDs are originally domain name extensions that focus on a particular country.
For instance, .uk is a good choice for UK websites. However, some ccTLDs are now used for other purposes unrelated to their corresponding country. For instance, .co is now used as an alternative for .com instead of businesses restricted to Colombia.
If you are unsure of what to use, stick with .com as most people generally assume that every domain name ends with a .com
What is WHOIS Privacy?
Domain name registrars are obligated to add your contact information to the WHOIS database after you’ve purchased a domain name registration from them. That said, they can restrict who has access to that information.
Many domain name registrars offer WHOIS privacy protection. That is, they hide your contact information from the public for a fee. While some offer the feature for free for the first year and others provide tiered options. If you want the WHOIS privacy protection feature, be prepared to pay a little extra.
If you want to register your domain name with another domain name registrar, you can simply transfer your domain name to the new registrar. Transferring domains is free for most domain name registrars. Ensure you read the fine print, as you can never be too sure.
Where are the best places to purchase a domain name? There are hundreds of domain name registrars to choose from. We’ve carried out several reviews, and here’s a list of the ones we recommend.
Some of these domain name registrars also offer web hosting and website builder. The ones that do typically offer free domain name registration. An example is Bluehost.
What if my Domain Name is Already Taken?
That was bound to happen. Especially if you were looking for a .com domain name extension. There are over 17 billion live websites! If you can think of it, it probably exists already. If all your preferred domain names are taken, and you don’t want to brainstorm a different name, you can do one of two things:
The first option can be costly. The second option is more of a game of luck and patience. That leaves us with a third option: Brainstorming the perfect domain name for your website. Truth be told, there is no ‘perfect’ domain name. You simply need one that works for your purposes. The tips listed at the beginning of this article will put you on the right track.
A domain name is a vital element in starting a business. However, you can buy a domain name for other reasons. Buying a domain name isn’t hard. You simply need to brainstorm different options, check the available options, and register one of the available options.
You also have to select a reputable domain registrar. If you are unsatisfied with the service, you can transfer your domain name to a new registrar.
Remember, when buying a domain name go through the checkout page for any extra paid feature turned on by default. Once you are satisfied with the page, make the payment, and the domain name is yours!
Here’s a recap and step-by step guide on How to Buy a Domain Name.