How To Buy A Web Domain Name - Cover

How To Buy A Web Domain Name For Your Website

A domain name is like your home address on the internet.

Even if you are not a company or organisation, so long as you have a website or blog, it’s always a great idea to get your get your domain name.

Like Bloggingthing.com, for example. 😀

Unlike having a Twitter or Facebook account, owning a domain name allows others to find you more easily. And giving you that much more authority in this online world. As podcaster Arianne Foulks puts it:

Have your own domain name even if you have other web presences.

Why a domain name?

Before we dive into the hows, let’s take a second to ponder the whys.

  • A domain name gives you credibility both as a business and as an individual. Well, most of us don’t ever want to work with folks at your-brand-name.wordpress.com, do we?
  • It’s that much easier to type into your browser than, say facebook.com /profile.php?id=5500957.
  • Best of all, brand new domain names only cost you $10 a year.

And if you’re reading this, you’ve probably decided on taking your online project to the next level.

Great choice!

Thumbs up - How To Buy A Web Domain Name

How to buy a web domain name, step by step

In this post, I will walk you through the entire process of getting your own domain name, one click at a time.

For starters, getting a domain name is simply claiming the name you want with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, ICANN for short, through a domain name registrar.

If you want a name like your-brand-name.com, you will need to go to a domain registrar and pay them a registration fee of around $10 to $30. This will give you ownership for that domain name for 12 months. To keep this domain name, you will have to renew your payment every year.

So how do you start getting your own domain name? First of all, decide whether:

  • You just want to buy a domain name,
  • Or build a new site and buy a domain name.

If you want to build a new site, there are a lot of web hosts out there like BlueHost that gives you a free domain name once you sign up. Click here for a throughout guide on how to build a website, and setup a free domain name at the same time.

If you are just looking to buy a domain, then you’ve come to the right place. Read on to learn how to register and setup a domain name in three simple steps.

  1. Come up with a domain name
  2. Buy it
  3. Setup your domain name

Are you ready?

Let’s go!

Step 1. Come up with a domain name

One decision that you’ll have to live with for quite a long time is the domain name of your website.

Rand Fishkin

Before we go ahead to register our domain name, we need determine which one. When you are starting a new project, a good name is very important. That said, when it comes to the online world, you definitely want a domain to match your project name.

While many folks claim that all good domains are long gone, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Sure, nouns and product names may be taken. But there is no need to be generic when it comes to your brand name.

Instead, unleash your imagination.

My friend Xue over at Wealthy Affiliate have a nifty list of 12 tips to choose your own domain name. I’ve highlighted the most important ones below:

  1. Brainstorm from 5 of your most important keywords – Pie, baking pot, ice cream, banana, pastry dough. Can you guess my subject?
  2. Only .com domain name – Dot com is used as top-level domain by 48.7% of all the websites on the internet. This is what we are most comfortable typing after the dot.
  3. Easy to write – When our attention span is that of a goldfish, you don’t want to bet how much time your visitors are willing to spend typing out your domain name.
  4. Easy to memorise – Same reason as above. Economize, in fact, be as short as possible.
  5. Stand out through branding – When they think of your brand they’ll think of you.
  6. No hyphen and/ or numbersYour-brand123.com just won’t do. Unless those numbers make sense, like Design99.

Step 2. Buy it

Now that you’ve settled on your golden domain name, let’s go ahead and grab it. Because domain names don’t wait for no one, my advice is to grab it as quick as you can before someone else does. Afterall, it will only cost you $10.

There are many domain registrars out there, my most recommended and the one that I use for Bloggingthing is NameCheap – check out other domain registrars here.

To start — go to NameCheap (this link opens in a new window so you can reference this guide as you work).

NameCheap Homepage - How To Buy A Web Domain Name

Type in your desired domain name on the white box with your desired domain extension. As mentioned above, I highly recommend .com.

Because you’ve checked the domain name, there is no need to second guess it’s availability. You’ll be directed to a page with your domain name and the message “This domain is available!” underneath.

Domain Available - How To Buy A Web Domain Name

Click the black shopping cart icon on the right to add the domain name to your shopping cart.

Then click the orange View Cart button on the right.

View Cart - How To Buy A Web Domain Name

Once you’re done, you’ll see your domain information and extra options. I would skip all of these and remove the free one year WhoisGuard as well.

Domain Options - How To Buy A Web Domain Name

After you’ve chosen your domain name settings, you’ll be taken to the Create An Account page.

This step is pretty straight forward, fill in your information with a working email address, then click Create Account and Continue.

Now you’ll see the checkout page.

Check Out - How To Buy A Web Domain Name

NameCheap allows three different payment methods including:

  • Secure Card Payment
  • PayPal (the fastest)
  • Account Funds

Select your prefered method then click Continue.

You’ll be redirected to another page to fill in your card or account information to proceed the payment. For example, my preferred method is PayPal, so all I need to do is click that yellow Checkout with PayPal button and login to my account to complete the order.

Step 3. Setup your domain name

… And you’re done.

Congratulations on getting your first domain name!

Before you go and celebrate, here’s some tips on how to set up this domain name for your existing site.

If you are hosting your site at a web host like BlueHost, find their primary and secondary nameservers.

The information can usually be obtained from your host’s FAQs or other documentation on their site, usually under a category like “domain name” or “DNS” or “domain name transfer”.

You don’t need to understand what these means.

If you can’t find it, email them. You’ll need the information to point your domain name to your website after you buy your domain (if you don’t have a web host, click here.)

With NameCheap, after you’ve logged into your account, click on the Manage button on the far right, next to your domain name.

Now scroll down until you see the Nameservers section:

Install WordPress to BlueHost - Point NameCheap DNS to BlueHost

Choose Custom DNS from the drop down menu. Then fill your name server information, for BlueHost, they are:

ns1.Bluehost.com
ns2.Bluehost.com

Finally, click the green check mark button on the right.

It usually takes 24 – 48 hours to point your domain to BlueHost (in my experience though, it takes less than an hour).

In the meantime, click here to continue setting up your WordPress blog.

Quick note: If you are using another domain registrar like GoDaddy, I’m not sure how it works but you can always contact their support team for directions.

Other recommended domain name registrars

As our online world grows, there are a bunch of domain registrars out there to pick from. Here are a list of the best ones.

Note that there are a lot of discounts, price changes etc. when it comes to domain names, so it’s impossible to come up with a universal price. That said, I will try to give you a common price for each registrars.

  • Namecheap — My domain registrar of choice, Namecheap provides .com domains for as low as $10 per year (and $9 if you transfer from another registrar). Along with your domain, you get free email forwarding, free web redirection (where anyone going to your domain is automatically directed to another address of your choice), free domain name parking, etc. For the first year (or at least, at the time I checked their prices), you can also have their WhoisGuard (where your particulars are masked from public view) for free. They have a wide variety of domain name extensions available, including .net, .org, .biz, .info, .us, .co.uk, .co, .de, etc. Namecheap allows you to purchase with either a credit cards, PayPal or account funds.
  • Dotster — Dotster is a fairly popular registrar provides domain prices around $15 per domain, a convenient web interface to manage your domains, an optional privacy facility where your domain name is registered in the name of a proxy company, etc. They offer .com, .net, .org, .biz, .info, .us, .ca, .tv, .name, .cc, .de, .sr, .md, .co.uk, .us.com domains, etc. Their prices are expecially cheap if you’re transferring a domain from another registrars, at only $7.
  • 1and1 — 1and1 is primarily a large web host that is also a domain name registrar. Like all registrars, there are different charges for different domain suffixes. For example, at the time I last checked, you pay $0.99 for a .com on your first year, then $14.99 per year thereafter. The fee includes private domain registration, which means that your particulars are hidden from public view (done by registering the domain in the name of a proxy company). You also get a free email account and unlimited email forwarding, DNS management, a free SSL certificate for your domain, etc.
  • GoDaddy — While I don’t recommend GoDaddy because of their upsells, they are worth mentioning as one of the most popular registrar in the world that offers .com domain names for $9.99 per year (or $7 if you transfer from another registrar). GoDaddy offers .com, .us, .biz, .info, .net, .org, .ws, .name, .tv, .co.uk, .me.uk and .org.uk, etc.

As mentioned above, most of the best web hosts out there will give you a free domain name your first years of hosting with them. So if you are creating a new site altogether, read this guide to learn how to build a website and grab your free domain name.

Final words

The best domain names wait for no one.

If you’ve found one that really tickles your fancy, do give it a go so you won’t have to regret later. Fortunately, brand-new domain names is that they come in such a cheap price, at less than 1 buck per month.

I hope this post has helped you register your dream domain name.

Feel free to drop a comment if you have any questions about domain names, I’ll try my best to answer!

Ready to start an online business? Check out my recommended resources.

Gifs are from the awesome GIPHY

Anh Nguyen is a blogger and minimalist who's crazy about design and content quality. Learn more about him here, or connect with him on Twitter.

Leave a Reply

14 Comments

  1. Craig

    Hi there,

    I think this is a brilliant idea to have a step-by-step guide to buying a domain name. I have used NameCheap and they are very good. They have an excellent customer service dept.

    When I bought my domains previously I had nobody to guide me so of course there were teething troubles but NameCheap support team always resolved any issues.

    • Anh Nguyen

      Hey Craig, thanks a bunch for the kind words! Yes, NameCheap have also helped me setup nameservers among other things, they have a great support team. 🙂

  2. Mike

    Hi Anh,

    Thanks for this guide, really useful. I’ve never known who to use to purchase domain names through and have never used NameCheap before. I’m slightly disappointing I’ve paid over the odds in the past, however will be sure to use this in the future.

    Thanks for the support.

    • Anh Nguyen

      It’s my pleasure, Mike. Yes, some research can save your quite a bit. 🙂 I wish you all the best with your online projects!

  3. Angelic

    To get a domain name is indeed a difficult job. Certainly to get a name that entirely fits with your content. The tips you’re given me are very informative. I will sure take it with me when I register my next domain name. Thank you I will share this with my friends.

    • Anh Nguyen

      Aww, thanks Angelic for the kind words and I hope you’ll find a great domain name for your next project! 😀

  4. Spencer

    Hello Anh, I like your tips on domain names. I made a mistake of putting hyphens in a domain name that I still own. It does make it a little more difficult for people to remember your domain name. A great domain name is key to your business or brand.

    • Anh Nguyen

      Thanks, Spencer. Personally, I found hyphens to be rather unprofetional, but at the end of the day, it’s still your content that matters. 🙂

  5. Loretta

    I appreciate your article. I remember reading somewhere that it is best to buy a domain name that relates to the website you build. I would like to know what you think about all the other endings for websites. Like .net, .co, .us. Do you think they rank as well with search engines like the dot.coms does?

    • Anh Nguyen

      Hey there, Loretta. There are myths that say .com TLDs are more friendly with search engines than the others, but there is no base to that assumption at all. I recommend .com for user-experience, because that’s what we are most used to. As far as SEO goes, it’s your link profile and site optimisation that will define your ranking.

      I hope this helps!

      Cheers,

      Anh

  6. Angela

    Hey Anh,

    Great information about having your own domain name. I hope others can see the benefits of being in control of your own personal domain. That way you can express your own feelings and thoughts, and promote any type of products you deem beneficial to your readers.
    With the six pointers that you had listed for coming up with a domain name, I would definitely have to agree that people need to think hard and long about the name they want to use since it will be a lasting impression of their work and their business.
    Thanks for the info I will pass this along to others.
    Angela

    • Anh Nguyen

      Aww, thanks Angela for the kind words. Coming up with a domain name can be nerve wracking for sure. In fact, I’ve change my domain name once throughout my blogging life.

      It’s certainly worth thinking over thoroughly. That said, to avoid the perfectionism trap, give yourself a deadline of a day or two. Then go with the name that most resonates with you. 🙂

      Cheers,

      Anh

  7. Sean

    Great post, very informative. You made it very easy to create a domain name by having a step by step process that was user friendly. Also what I liked about the post was the fact not only did you explain how to create a domain name but you also explained the importance of having one. Great job

    • Anh Nguyen

      Aww, thanks Sean. I’m glad you enjoyed my post. 🙂