Last Updated on October 8, 2022
Registering a domain name is one of the most critical functions you have to complete when launching a new website, starting a company, or establishing an online presence. Finding the correct domain name and choosing the right registrar can seem complex and confusing. This article will help you learn how to register a domain name and complete the process step-by-step.
Selecting the best domain that matches your business name and uncovering its availability is the more difficult part of the domain registration process. There are many ways to search for domain names and even if your preferred name is taken, there may be ways to purchase on the secondary market.
Before we step through the process, let's start with some basics.
What is a Domain Name?
A domain name is the website's address that people type into their browsers — for example, webtoolsadvisor.com. Domain names ensure that users do not have to remember complex numeric internet addresses. Moreover, they also allow website owners to develop their brands.
Every website you see on the Internet has a specific IP address. The function of these IP addresses is to store the website's location. An IP address is typically a set of numbers like 231.07.98.232. Understandably, remembering multiple web addresses in this manner is relatively impossible. Domain names make it easier for users to find and discover websites.
The Domain Name System (DNS) is responsible for translating web addresses into domain names that users remember. Whenever you type a domain name into a browser, it goes through a DNS server to acquire the web address.
Once the translation of the domain name to the web address is complete, the Domain Name System gathers the data for the website and displays it on the browser.
Importance of a Domain Name (Why Do You Need One?)
A website is relatively undiscoverable without a domain name and thus the internet and everything it stands for need them in order to ensure business as usual, on the internet.
Domain name registration offers a business the following benefits:
A unique and easily searchable name for your online blog or business is a valuable tool for branding and marketing purposes. Your website's domain name effectively communicates identity and purpose, making it easy for people to remember your business name.
It is always a good idea to pick a name that explains the purpose behind a website. Simply put, creative domain names have a greater potential of reaching a wider audience.
Having your domain name gives you more authority and credibility. For instance, if you are only hosting your content on third-party blogging platforms or social media networks, you could end up losing your brand if someone else built a website using your brand as their domain name.
On the other hand, owning your domain and website will establish your site as a trustworthy and authoritative source in whatever category you operate within. It is a quick and easy way of communicating to your audience that you are a legitimate online business with longevity
The benefits of domain names are not limited to creating an internet presence. Instead, a domain name provides you a unique opportunity to develop and control your online identity and the kind of content you want to post to establish a successful and trustable entity.
Finding a Reliable Domain Registrar
Anyone can buy and register paid domains with the help of domain name registrar companies like Namecheap, GoDaddy, BlueHost, and many others. Finding a reliable registrar who can fulfill your requirements is a critical aspect of the entire process. It is essential to find registrars affiliated with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).
There are hundreds if not thousands of registrars out there for your registration needs. Not all are created equal. Many offer a wide range of services and registration packages that vary based on duration and price.
If you are planning to sign a contract for an extended period, you should choose the best suitable registrar. Otherwise, you may face issues in transferring the domain name if you are not satisfied with the registrar.
4 General Steps to Registering a Domain Name
How do I register my domain name? This is a question we hear often. The process can seem confusing and arduous, but in reality, the actual purchase of the domain is a simple transaction. The general steps involved in this process are as follows.
1) Check Domain Availability
Whenever you plan to register a domain, it is vital to ensure the domain is not already taken or registered by any other individual or business. Many domain availability checking tools are available on the internet.
It is best to select multiple creative domain names and check them through such tools to ensure their availability. Most modern domain name registrars now provide a domain availability checker during the domain registration process.
2) Select the Best Domain Name
It is common for a domain name you want to already be taken. Nevertheless, you should not be discouraged by this. Instead, use this as an opportunity to come up with even better and more memorable domain names. Do not settle in such a situation because it could be more detrimental to your online presence in the long run. Keep searching for other words to ensure you do not have any regrets later.
Another solution to get the best domain name is to choose another domain extension instead of .com. If you are determined to obtain a specific name, you can check its availability with domain extensions like .net and .info, .co, and others. It is also possible that owned domains might not be in use. You can reach out to the owner and try to buy the domain in such a situation.
3) Buy the Domain Name
Once you decide on a domain name, the next step is to buy it through the domain name registrar. Different factors like additional services provided, pricing, and features likely impact the purchase decision. Generally, the most popular domain registrars have sound offerings and a user-friendly approach to completing this process.
4) Verify Ownership
Once the payment process is complete, you should verify the ownership of your domain and if you've opted for email, ensure you can send emails through your domain. Verification of a domain should be relatively easy using the domain control panel provided by the registrar.
How to Register a Domain Name Using Top Domain Registrars
The following registrars are ones we've selected as being reputable providers, having a good selection of additional options and services, and providing overall value for their domain services.
GoDaddy is one of the most popular domain registration companies because it has been operating in this niche for a long time and has registered more than 77 million domain names. They offer multiple domain name extensions and have an easy-to-use system.
The reliable and user-friendly domain management interface of GoDaddy also makes it stand out from the crowd. You can use this management interface to transfer a domain name, change name servers, update contact data, and other functions.
How to Register a Domain Name with GoDaddy?
First of all, visit the GoDaddy website and put the domain name in the search bar to check the availability of your domain.
The website will display whether the domain name is available. It will provide a wide range of options in terms of domain extensions like .com, .org, .net, .info, and many others.
You can choose a suitable option and click on the continue to cart button where you'll be asked to select from various add-on service options as shown below:
The final step is to complete the registration process by creating an account or signing in and completing the transaction.
Domain.com is another solid registrar. It has managed to establish a reputation for providing all types of top-level domain name extensions and country code-specific domains. The quick and reliable domain search tool allows you to conduct extensive research and find premium top-level domains.
Domain.com has all the necessary domain management tools expected from a top registrar. These include domain privacy protection, easy DNS management, email accounts, and various other services that you can purchase additionally.
How to Register a Domain Name with Domain.com?
If you are looking for domain registration without hosting, using Domain.com is a good option. In other words, Domain.com allows you to register a domain name without the need to purchase web hosting.
This is advantageous when you want to register a specific domain name, even if you do not have any short-term plans for launching a website. Once you are ready to create a website, you can easily use the registered domain name by purchasing hosting.
The steps for domain registration without hosting with Domain.com are as follows:
Step 1 – Visit Domain.Com
The first step is to visit the Domain.com website. The home page has a search bar in which you can search the required domain name to check its availability and buy it at an affordable rate of $9.99 for .com, $12.99 for .net, and $8.99 for .org.
Step 2 – Check Domain's Availability
Type the domain name you want to buy in the search bar and click on search. If the domain name is not available, it will show options to buy the domain using other domain extensions as shown above.
If the searched domain is available, you can add it to your cart and complete the transaction to buy the domain name.
Step 3 – Complete the Transaction
Once you have selected the domain name and continue through the checkout process, Domain.com will ask for your billing and payment information to complete the transaction. You can also add a discount code on this page if you have one.
After the transaction is complete, Domain.com will send you an email confirming your registration process is complete and a link to the domain control interface.
If you plan to launch a brand-new website, Hostinger can help you through its various hosting plans. Hostinger's ‘Premium Shared Hosting' plan offers you reliable hosting and a domain name at an affordable price. Hostinger is both a domain registrar and a web hosting provider.
Hostinger offers user-friendly features like free SSL certificates, automatic WordPress updates, and auto-renewals making Hostinger a reliable registrar and web hosting provider for beginners and expert website owners.
How to Register a Domain Name with Hostinger
The steps involved in domain registration with Hostinger are similar to the other platforms.
Open up Hostinger's domain name search tool and search for the desired domain name. Once you've found the name you wish to register and the appropriate extension, you're ready to start the purchase process.
Select the right domain name with the right domain extension and add it to your cart.
During the checkout process, you'll be asked to select the duration of the registration period as well as whether you want domain privacy protection and web hosting services. We recommend adding privacy protection. Once you've made your selections, complete the transaction.
Once the registration process is complete, you will receive a confirmation email with your registration details and a link to the administration panel.
Other Domain Registrars
Other registrars like Bluehost, NameSilo, Namecheap, and many others provide reliable domain registration services. Some provide additional services and some even offer a free domain name if you opt-in for certain services. Ultimately, it all comes down to your requirements and budget, so you should explore the different features and pricing models to make the best choice.
How to Register a Domain Name for Free?
Platforms like Hostinger, Bluehost, and many others provide free domain names and professional email addresses if you purchase a hosting plan. In other words, you will still be paying a fee for web hosting services, but you will not have to pay for domain registration and renewals separately.
The steps involved in obtaining a free domain are similar to what has been outlined. The difference is you'll start by selecting a hosting plan, following the prompts to choose a domain and filling out the credit card information to complete the transaction. As an example, look at the following steps to register a free domain name with Bluehost.
Steps to Register a Domain Name for Free with Bluehost
Open the Bluehost website and choose a pricing plan. The ‘Shared Hosting' plan of Bluehost is top-rated because it only costs $2.95 per month and provides a free domain name for 1-year, free SSL certificates, and additional features like WordPress installation and 24/7 support.
The next step is to set up your desired domain by searching the domain and selecting the domain name extension of your choice.
The website will display the domain's availability and ask you to create your account or sign in with Google to simplify the process.
Before completing the transaction, you will be offered numerous add-on services for your hosting account.
Once the information is complete, click the submit button. Keep in mind that by submitting, you agree to Bluehost's auto-renewal policy. This means that all the services you've signed up for will auto-renew at the regular rate unless you cancel prior to the renewal date.
Tips for Using a New Domain Name
Now that you have learned how to register a domain name, it is understandable that you might be wondering what you can do after your purchase. Below are five essential tips that you should follow after purchase to further develop your online presence.
Learning how to secure a custom domain is as important as registering it because the safety and security of your information are critical. You'll want to ensure domain privacy is set up for your new domain if you don't want your personal information to be exposed.
This is one additional service we advise purchasing if it is not offered for free as part of the purchase of the domain name registration.
Sync Domain & Hosting
The majority of people purchase both a domain name and web hosting from the same company. Syncing the two is already done if you purchase them from the same provider. However, if your domain is separate from where your website is hosted, you have to sync them by updating the nameservers at the registrar and by adding the domain name to the web hosting service.
The entire process is a bit more complex when you have an existing website hosted somewhere else but most web host providers will offer to move your website to a new host or provide assistance with aligning your brand new domain name with your website host.
Build and Stylize Your Website
Registering a domain name and creating a website are very different concepts. You have many options to build a website. Those options are not covered here but you can learn more about your options by reading our article on how to build a website.
Get Matching Social Media Handles
Creating social media handles that match your top-level domain is vital for the overall branding of your business. You should do it as soon as the domain registration process is complete, even if you do not have any immediate plans to start posting on social media platforms.
Create a Matching Email
Websites with a matching professional email address look more credible than a generic @gmail or @outlook email does. Therefore, you should create a matching email address after setting up the website domain.
FAQs for Registering a Domain
Is it necessary to register a domain name?
Any individual or business who wants to launch a website or establish any sort of online presence should register a custom domain name. Certain website builders will allow you to have a website hosted at a subdomain like webtools.wix.com but this is rarely a good idea. Taking this approach can hurt the brand image and long-term success of a website. Having a custom domain name gives you authority, trustworthiness, and better recognition.
How much does it cost to register a domain name?
The cost of registering your perfect domainis highly dependent on the registrar and the specific pricing of the package you choose. The average price of just a domain typically lies between $10 to $20 per year. Different registrars offer varying packages, so it is essential to explore options according to the tips discussed throughout this article.
Furthermore, factors like domain extension popularity (.com, .info, .io), the duration for which you are buying a domain, and the domain provider also impact the total cost of registration.
When you register a domain name via a registrar, you will have the option to register it from one year to ten years, known as your initial domain ownership period. Expiration of your domain means you can lose the domain name to someone else unless you renew.
Renewing takes two paths. Auto-renewal means your domain automatically renews when the initial period of registration expires. Manual renewal means you need to take action to resume.
Auto-renewal is a great option, but you need to ensure the email you use to register the domain will be active in 1-10 years. It also means that your credit card needs to remain active as well. Without it, you won't be able to be charged. And if you can't be reached to remedy the issue, you'll lose that domain name.
Can I buy a domain name without hosting?
A domain name is the website's name on the internet, while web hosting is a service through which you manage your website, such as Bluehost. A common source of concern and confusion among people who want to register and launch a website is whether they can buy a domain name without web hosting services.
The answer is yes. You can buy a domain name without a web hosting plan. Therefore, it is not always necessary to rely on hosting providers to register a domain name. If the domain name of your choice is available, you can buy it through a domain registrar that doesn't offer hosting.
Can I buy an existing domain name?
Yes, you can buy an existing domain through various methods. One way is to try to find the website owner and contact them to see if they will sell. Another popular way is to use a brokerage website like Sedo.com to acquire a good domain owned by someone else. Lastly, you can purchase through a domain auction on sites like GoDaddy or Namecheap.
Keep in mind that many sellers have large price tags for existing domains, especially if they realize that your business name is tied to that specific domain name. Therefore, negotiations are crucial to reach a fair price.
Domain Registration Wrap-up
Obtaining a domain name has become simpler, quicker, and much more efficient than ever before due to the evolution of technology and many platforms catering to such services. Registering a domain is the key to taking your business online.
Use of a domain name generator tool can help you find a domain extension you want quickly and if for some reason it isn't available, trying a domain auction can be a good alternative. Look for a reputable provider that can offer you valuable services like hosting or privacy protection and always try to maintain a shorter domain length as it will help your discoverability and might even help your search engine rankings.