How To Buy & Register A Domain Name

Domain names fulfill several functions, such as enabling users to access and remember your website. Additionally, they often become a part of your brand. The problem is that registering a domain name can be intimidating if you’ve never done it before.

Fortunately, the process of buying and registering a domain name is quite simple. All it takes is a few steps, and in less than ten minutes, you could have a new domain name ready for your website.

In this article, we’ll talk about some things you should consider before buying a domain name. Then we’ll show you how to buy and register a new domain. Let’s get to work!

What to Consider When Buying a Domain Name

Ideally, whichever domain name you pick for your project will stick with you for a very long time. That means you need to give the choice a lot of thought. Let’s go over some things to consider before and during the process of buying a domain name.

Keeping an Eye Out for Hidden Fees

Typically, when you want to buy a domain you’ll go to a website that sells them, called a ‘registrar’. There you can look up the name you’re interested in. The registrar will show you whether it’s available or not, as well as other extension options beyond .com:

Usually, you’ll also see how much it costs to register each domain for a year. However, some registrars will also tack on additional charges to your purchase or offer you extras, such as domain privacy.

To get a full picture of what your domain will cost, add it to your cart and go through the checkout process until you see the final pricing, but don’t complete the purchase. This way, you’ll know exactly how much you’ll end up spending, and can avoid extra charges for features you don’t need.

Protecting Your Domain’s Privacy

Domain names are part of the public record. That means anyone can look up who owns a particular domain. This can be problematic, as those records often contain sensitive information.

What you can do to protect your information is sign up for domain privacy (also known as Whois) while buying your domain. Every reputable registrar will offer this option to protect your information from prying eyes.

If you use Whois privacy, when someone tries to look up your domain they’ll just see some proxy information:

Some people try to circumvent this by using fake information when registering domain names. This is against most registrar policies, however, so we don’t recommend it. However, it is worth mentioning that most hosts will charge you a small additional fee for Whois protection.

Picking a Top Level Domain (TLD)

TLDs are the extensions at the end of every domain name. The most popular TLD option is .com, because it’s the one that people most often associate with websites.

However, there are hundreds of TLDs you can choose from. Some of them tend to go for cheaper than dot-coms, while others are much more expensive.

In our experience, sticking with .com is a safe choice. These TLDs usually go for around $10 per year, which is a bargain. Other safe TLD choices include .net, .org, and even .io if you’re in the tech business.

You’re free to pick any TLD you want. However, some TLDs can look a bit gimmicky (we’re looking at you .ninja) or hard to remember, so we recommend mulling it over before making a purchase.

How to Buy (And Register) a Domain Name

The process of buying a domain name is simple, but what happens in the background is quite interesting. When you buy a domain name, what you’re doing is registering ownership of it with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).

ICANN maintains a registry of who owns which domain. The purchase process usually involves registering a specific domain for at least a year. At the end of that period, you’ll have the option to renew that ownership by paying a fee, usually for the same amount as the initial purchase.

If you don’t renew your domain registration, it becomes available for purchase once more, which you don’t want unless you’re planning to stop using the name. Usually, all this happens through registrars, which are authorized middlemen for ICANN. In some cases, though, web hosts will also enable you to purchase domains directly from them.

In most cases, we recommend going directly through a registrar instead of a web host. They tend to offer more TLD options, and in many cases better prices. Whichever domain you buy, you can use it with any web host, so that’s not a concern.

Step 1: Choose a Name and a Registrar

At this stage, you should already have some domain name ideas. What you want to do is choose a registrar you like and visit its website. To see if your desired domain is available, you’ll need to conduct a simple search:

The registrar will show you if that domain is available and which TLDs it recommends. In many cases, it will list several alternatives:

In the event that your first choice for a domain isn’t available, you may have to do a few searches. Once you’ve decided on which domain to purchase, there should be a button you can click on to add it to your cart.

Step 2: Buy the Domain Name You Want

This part of the process is pretty straightforward. You get to choose how long you want to register your domain for right off the bat, and enable auto-renewal if you want to:

You can also opt to use Whois protection, which some registrars throw in for free. In addition, you’ll probably see some extras you can opt into, such as a Domain Name System (DNS), email hosting, and more:

Confirm the details of your order now and move on to the next stage. To complete the process, you’ll need to enter payment information and your full billing address:

Remember, if you enabled Whois protection, these details won’t be available to the public, so don’t use fake information. When you’re ready, complete your purchase and you’re good to go. Now, all that’s left is to add the domain to your web host, so you can link it to your website.

Start to Build Your Website With WP Engine

There are a lot of registrars that enable you to buy and manage your domain names with ease. However, once you have a domain, you’ll also need a web host to help get your website up and running.

If you’re in the market for hosting services, we offer several plans that guarantee top performance and access to a great support team. Go ahead and check them out!

Image credit: Pixabay.

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