This post will guide you through all of the steps needed to register your domain name. If you’ve registered a domain before you’ll find this fairly easy. However, if this is your first time, you might find it a little difficult. Make sure you have more than a couple of minutes to spare. Not so much for registering the domain but rather for finding the one that is available.
So How Do I Register a Domain Name?
The domain name is simply a word or group of words, letters or numbers with a domain extension at the end. It represents and identifies your ‘address‘ on the web, usually your website or other web service like email. For example, the domain names are google.com, wikipedia.org, slideshare.net or our WHS domain webhostingsun.com.
The domain can also contain a hyphen character, generally though, including a ‘dash’ in the domain name is not a very popular choice.
Questions About Registering a Domain
- Q: What kind of email address do I need in order to register a domain name or sign up for a web hosting?
- A: Any email address (gmail, yahoo, hotmail etc.) would do.
- Q: Can I change my email address after registering my domain name?
- A: Yes, you can update or change your contact email address anytime. In fact you can modify or update any information if needed.
- Q: After I register my domain, will my personal information, including my email address, be hidden from the public view?
- A: Nope. By default it is accessible to everyone. That’s why you’ll be smart to use Privacy (or Whois) Protection. Otherwise your e-mail will be spammed to death. Good news: at some registrars you can get it free of charge for life!
- Q: Can I change the domain registrar if I am, for any reason, not satisfied with their services, support or pricing?
- A: Sure. You can move your domain to any other registrar if you think that “the grass is greener on the other side“. Usually the domain can be transferred out after the initial 2 months (60-day) lock period. You won’t lose any domain registration time. For example, if you register your domain for 1 year, then you decide to transfer it out after 2 months, 10 months’ time will be added to your domain at the new domain registrar for no additional cost.
You may come across many other questions. Believe me, they will be answered along the way. Getting a domain name is truly a simple process. No rocket science for sure;)
Domain Name Availability
In December 2019, there were 362.3 million domain names registered worldwide (all top level and country specific domains), according to a report released by Verisign.
So, what will your domain name be? Start by brainstorming some ideas for the domain name you want. If you already have a business name and are setting up your website, you should use your business name for your domain. Hopefully, you can get www.YourBusinessName.com, but it might not be available. Since there are already so many registered domains, you may have to use an alternative domain name when searching for your ideal domain.
First, let’s see if the domain name you want is available. Go ahead and perform a quick search. As stated above, there are many domain name dedicated websites out there. Just run your domain search through one of these: Namecheap.com, Name.com (Get $5 OFF your first domain!), GoDaddy.com, or 1and1.com (now Ionos).
Domain Name Extensions
The chances are high that your desired domain name with a .com extension will be taken. Don’t despair. You can still look for another popular extension like .net or .org. If not, get your list of alternative domain names ready and search those in order of which ones you like best. Often a Domain Bulk Search is available where you can check your list of multiple potential domains you’d like to register. The domain registrar may also give you some alternative domain options to work with too.
Depending on your target market or business location, you might consider special country code TLD’s as well. Examples: .us, .ca, .co.uk, .fr, .de, .es, .in, .id, .br or com.au. Just be wary, that some TLD’s have a special price that comes along with them. For country-specific domains it is sometimes better to go with a local domain name service. In some cases it is the only option as some countries have strict rules on who can register or own a domain name.
You should be also aware of the new trend in the domain name industry. There is a new generation of premium domain extensions, called “donuts“. These new domain extensions are becoming rapidly popular as they are represented by “real words“ that are easy to remember and great to use in any marketing campaigns.
There’s plenty of them, as of today more than 500 to choose from! To give you an idea of how the new extensions look like, I’m going to list a few here:
.accountants, .agency, .blog, .catering, .cleaning, .clinic, .club, .coach, .coffee, .consulting, .construction, .dance, .deals, .dental, .dentist, .design, .doctor, .engineering, .enterprises, .family, .finance, .fitness, .fun, .games, .golf, .guru, .graphics, .group, .hockey, .hospital, .investments, .lawyer, .life, .ltd, .management, .market, .media, .pizza, .plumbing, .properties, .pub, .rentals, .restaurant, .services, .shop, .shopping, .site .social, .solutions, .store, .studio, .tax, .taxi, .technology, .today, .vet, .video, .vision, .world, .zone etc. – great varieties to choose from!
Many people see a lot of potential in them, others gravitate to the old “.com” TLD (top-level domain) world.
How do I Decide Which Domain Extension is Better to Use?
Unfortunately, there’s no conclusive answer to that.There are many successful sites that use both old and new ones respectively. We will analyze that topic in our next post. For now, it should be sufficient to state that Google and all major search engines do recognize all of them. Yes, including the new premium donuts domains.
You’re Ready to Register!
Once you have found a suitable domain, the registration itself is a breeze.
All you need is:
- Your Full Name and Business Name (if applicable)
- Email Address (Gmail, Yahoo Mail or Hotmail will do)
- Credit Card or your PayPal account (some other payments may be accepted as well)
- Home or Business Address
- Cell or Phone Number
- Chosen Domain Registrar
Domain pricing can be anywhere from $7 up to $15 a year for a new .com or .net domain. The “donuts” domain extensions tend to be more pricey, starting at $15 and going up to hundreds of dollars a year. You have to do your own research to identify the right price for a specific domain extension. Domain registrars offer bundle options if you want to buy your domain name with more than one extension. It’s a good option so no one else can get those domains and extensions. You may also get a discount for paying for more than one year upfront.
In case you wonder what domain registrar we use ourselves, the answer is Namecheap!
In my opinion this is the best domain name registrar on the web nowadays.
Why? Many reasons. The main ones being their fair pricing, customer support and the spectrum of services provided. Not to forget, the FREE Whois Protection for Life!
I guess that’s it for now!
Once you have your domain name secured you can proceed to the next step!
Feel free to check out our “Setting Up a Website” guide.
Please, stay tuned, and we’ll continue with more domain insights in the next posts.