How to register a domain name for your website

Once you’ve decided to build a website, you need to make an important decision, before you even check out our roundup of the best web hosting services: What’s your domain name will be? You know it’s the [yoursitename.extension] web address by which all your (hopefully) many customers find you. Your domain name is, in fact, the name of your website, so you want to make sure you get a good one. Buying a name is a relatively simple process, but finding one that isn’t already taken can be a challenge. Additionally, you will also want to make sure that you understand the contract between you and the domain name registrar. If this is starting to sound a bit complicated, don’t worry: this guide can help you get started.

Defined domain names

Domain names put a friendly face on hard-to-remember numeric Internet addresses. Every computer connected to the Internet has a unique Internet Protocol (IP) number. A domain name represents one or more IP numbers. For example, the IP number for the whitehouse.gov domain name is 104.109.178.94. The goal is to give users an easy-to-remember ID so that when sending an email to, say, the President of the United States, you can type [email protected] instead of bulky ones [email protected]

Anyone can buy a domain name. To do this, you visit a domain name registrar, such as A2, GoDaddy, or Namecheap, enter the domain you want to purchase, and pay a fee. You can’t buy just any domain, of course – just one that isn’t already registered by another person or company and has a valid domain suffix. In general, you’ll want to buy something catchy and short so that it’s both easy to remember and easy to grasp, like “PCMag”, for example. It’s good search engine optimization (SEO) and it’s common sense too. You may also want to research key terms for your business. If you can put a good one in your site name, that’s even better, from an SEO perspective.

Domain name registrars

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You may find that many of the shorter, catchier names are already taken, especially if you’re entering a space that’s already well represented on the web. To make matters worse, cyber-squatters often scoop up these attractive names as an investment with the intention of later reselling them to legitimate potential site owners – more on that later.

If you’re having trouble finding a domain name (whether because of congestion or cyber-squatters), look for a help feature on each registrar’s site. Domain registrars usually host search engines that return a list of available names similar to the one you want. When you search for a domain name on Namecheap, for example, you get both the status of that name and a list of available suffixes for that name. May be [Sitename].com is not available, but [Sitename].biz or .org is.

The suffix factor

The suffix identifies the name as belonging to a specific top-level domain (TLD). There are many TLDs available for general purchase, including .com, .edu, .game, .green, .hiphop, .net, and .org. By far the most popular of these is .com, which is supposed to indicate commercial sites, but in reality includes almost everything.

You can expect to pay between $1 a year and Scrooge McDuck bucks, depending on the domain name and suffix. In fact, if you’re looking for a highly sought-after domain with a popular suffix, you may need to open your wallet wide, because chances are someone else has already registered it. . Carinsurance.com, for example, sold for nearly $50 million! As mentioned, there is also a thriving industry of squatters looking to flip domains (even those smaller than insurance.com) for profit. Some of them ask you to make an offer, suggesting that anything less than $500 will be ignored.

Web hosting services, tested

Web Hosts and Domain Names

However, you don’t need to go to a dedicated registrar to buy a domain name. The best web hosting services, such as DreamHost, HostGator, and Hostwinds, regularly offer a registration mechanism as part of the signup process. Hosting services usually offer a free domain name when you sign up for a web hosting plan.

Keep in mind, however, that free domain names are usually only free for one or two years, after which the registrar will charge you the annual or biannual fee. In other words, the provider of the free domain name only pays the registrar’s first billing. Also note whether or not the provider charges a fee for creating a domain name. Most services offer to transfer an existing domain name to their servers for free, but sometimes you’ll find setup fees in addition to the registrar’s fees.

Please note that not all web hosts offer you the option of registering a domain name. Cloudways, for example, is a solid host that requires you to purchase a domain name elsewhere.

Registrars offer a wide variety of registration terms: one, three, five, and even ten years. Be careful, however, not to register for more than one year. First, there may be restrictions on your ability to transfer the domain name if the registrar provides poor service. Second, the registrar could go bankrupt, leaving your domain name without a host. Check the policies carefully.

The domain contract

We would all like to think that once purchased, a domain name is ours forever and in all circumstances. This is not necessarily the case. Be absolutely certain to research what you are getting before you pay. The contract you sign with the registrar can affect you in several ways.

Many registrars reserve the right to revoke your domain name for specific reasons, usually if you are using the domain for illegal or unacceptable purposes (such as spamming). Many contracts contain a clause allowing the registrar to delete your domain name for no apparent reason. The implication, of course, is that the domain name is that of the registrar, not yours.

Additionally, virtually all registrars reserve the right to make changes to the registration agreement at any time and without notice to you. The thing is, every registrar should be checked carefully.

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The waiting game

Even when you register and pay for your domain name, you won’t necessarily be able to use the name for several hours or even days. The domain must propagate, which means that the official domain name registry must be updated with your website’s domain name system information. This is something that happens on the backend without any intervention from you.

Some registrars promise to have the name almost immediately, but the delay can be up to seven days. Generally, however, you should expect to see the domain name up and running on the web within 48 hours.

Note that you can also transfer your domain name from one registrar to another. You’ll want to do this if you’re unhappy with your current domain hosting service, find a better deal when your current registration is about to expire, or, most likely, if you’ve signed up with a domain hosting service. ‘Web hosting. who will also transfer your name to their site. Expect to get the transfer for free, but if it’s not offered, look for another domain hosting service.

Under no circumstances should you pay more to transfer a name than to get a new one. Check what the transfer will require. Does the new service completely handle the task? Or do you have to go to your current registrar’s site and edit the technical details manually? Finally, check the registrar’s transfer policy before registering your domain name.

Generally, you cannot transfer a name for the first 60 days after registration, but the period can be much longer. Don’t expect a registrar to refund you the money you paid for months of service you won’t use.

To learn more about the basics of setting up your website, check out How to Build a Website, 7 Things You Need to Know When Building an Ecommerce Website, and How to Get Started with WordPress.

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