Remember that hybrid vehicle you bought a few years back? Your friends thought it was so cool so you wanted to do something special and get personalized plates. Your high school nickname seemed like a perfect choice. Until a few weeks later, when you couldn’t wait for those plates to expire.
Now you have decided to build a website for your hobby, passion or maybe even a small business and you have a better understanding of just how important names are. So before you develop that site, you want to choose a domain name (web address) that you will be proud to call your own for years to come. How can you register a domain name and where should you begin? Spoiler alert: it’s much easier than you think.
A domain name is the website address that people type into the browser bar to find your website. An example of a domain name is “anysite.com." You’ll notice this domain name consists of two parts separated by a dot. The first part is a name you come up with, such as the name of your hobby or business. This first part can only include letters, numbers and dashes. The second part is the domain name extension, which is also referred to as a top-level domain (TLD). Examples of TLDs include .com, .co, .uk and new TLDs like .ninja and .guru.
One of the most common uses of domain names is to direct internet traffic to websites. Every domain name has a Domain Name System (DNS) which is used to help website browsers locate website content. There are a few types of these DNS records but every website will have at least one called an “A Record,” which is used to indicate the Internet Protocol (IP) address of a server where website files are hosted. The other most common use of domain names is for email. Mail Exchange (MX) records are another type of DNS record, which indicate where email servers are located.
You should register a domain name when you have a big idea like creating a website for your hobby or small business and are ready to connect with others who share your passion. Don’t wait until you are ready to build your website. Someone else probably has a similar idea and you don’t want to miss out on the right domain that is perfect for your site. Start by doing a domain name search to see if your name is available. Most online registrars have online databases where you can do this for free.
Once you find an available domain name, you should register similar domain names defensively to protect your ideas. These are domain names that are slight variations of your main domain names, such as ones that are the same except for the TLD extensions (.com, .net. org), similar spelling variations (ones that might be entered in error) or domain names that would cast your brand in a negative light. These domain names are typically redirected to your main websites or left dormant, but the main purpose of registering them is to make sure no one else can claim them.
Some online domain registrars offer domain names for free although there may be associated costs later. On the other hand, the most expensive domain name to date is Business.com at a price tag of nearly $350 million (sorry if you wanted that one). There are many factors that will determine how much it costs to register a domain name, including the following:
What is the TLD?
The cost of a new registration is regulated by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). Registrars will have to pay that cost whenever a domain name is registered through them, which is why prices and special offers may differ from one registrar to another. For example, .com, .net and the other popular TLDs are usually less than $40, while some newer TLDs cost hundreds or thousands of dollars.
Is this a new registration or does someone own it?
As previously mentioned, new registration costs depend on ICANN and your registrar. However, if someone owns your preferred domain names, you will have to purchase the names from them. Note: if someone else owns a domain name that violates registered trademarks you own, you have a clearer path to securing it. At that point, it becomes a legal matter.
Are there additional products or services you need with your domain name?
Services like domain privacy that keep your WhoIs (personal) information private from public databases and website and email hosting sites may slightly increase your investment.
Over the lifetime of the domain name, you will need to pay for registration renewals every year or so, a process that is also regulated by ICANN. You can also register a domain name for up to 10 years. If you forget to renew your domain name, you will be in danger of losing it; this is a common scenario. Ensure you keep your contact information with your registrar up to date so you don’t miss renewal notices and consider adding a renewing event on your calendar to remind yourself to renew.
Ready to register your domain name? With a name like Register.com, you know we can help and it all begins with a domain search.
Did you register your domain name somewhere else but would rather have it with us? We can make that happen and it doesn’t cost any more than the price of the renewal. As long as your domain name has been with its current registrar for at least three months and isn’t already registered, you shouldn’t have a problem transferring it to us.
You have a big idea for your website but first, you need a domain name to match. Use this article as a guide to get started and soon you will have a web address that you will be proud to renew each year (unlike those questionable vanity plates from the past). We would love to help.