Are you looking to start a new online business or blog? If you are, then the first thing you need to do is register a domain name.

While registering a domain name is a fairly straightforward process, it is something that you should take your time with. Your domain name is the primary reference point for users looking to find your website. Therefore, you must pick one with long-term potential. 

Registering a domain name can be daunting for beginners, but our step-by-step guide will walk you through the entire process, making domain registration a breeze for you.

This blog will guide you through properly registering a domain name in six simple steps.

How to register a domain name

  1. Go to a domain name registrar
  2. Enter your domain name and see if it is available
  3. Finalize your chosen domain name
  4. Choose the top domain extension (TLD) is. .com, .org, .net
  5. Buy your domain name
  6. Secure your domain ID

1. Go to a domain registrar

While anyone can buy a domain name, the easiest way is to visit a domain registrar. A registrar is a company that helps users register domain names in top-level domains (TLDs).

The entire domain name system is managed by a non-profit organization called the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). ICANN allows outside companies, known as domain registrars, to sell and handle domain names.

As there are several different domain registrars, we will highlight the five most popular ones. Remember to consider the pricing plans and policies for each one before selecting your domain registrar, as it will be handling your domain name. 

NameCheap

NameCheap is a top domain name registrar because it offers affordable registration prices for top-level domain names. The popular .com extension starts at $6.98 with a renewal cost of $13.98. 

All domain registrations get free WHOIS privacy with NameCheap, and there are plenty of extras that you can add on. 

Domain.com

Domain.com is great for short-term website projects, as you can only register a domain name for five years at a time before you start paying higher renewal costs. The .com extensions cost $9.99 for the first year, with a $13.99 renewal after that.

Add-ons like hosting, SSL certificates, and privacy come at an additional cost with Domain.com.

GoDaddy

GoDaddy is one of the oldest domain name registrars and has now become a one-stop shop for web services. GoDaddy offers everything from web hosting to email marketing tools and a website builder.

GoDaddy is a little more expensive than other domain registrars. Extensions start at $2.99, but a .com costs $19.99. Free WHOIS privacy is included in all plans.

Bluehost

Although Bluehost is popularly known as a web host, it also offers domain name registration services. Bluehost is ideal if you’re starting a website but are still determining what your plans are after the first year because you can get a bundle with a free domain for the first year.

The pricing starts at $12.95 for .com extensions with a renewal of $18.99.

Network Solutions

Network Solutions has been a pioneer in the domain registrar industry because it has been around for over 25 years. Given our experience, the pricing at Network Solutions is expensive. A .com is $25 with a renewal of $37.99 per year.

Network Solutions is a good option if you see its longevity as insurance for your domain.

2. Enter your domain name and see if it is available

Once you have selected a domain registrar that suits your needs, you need to search for your domain name using the registrar’s search bar tool. Many domain names are out there, with new ones added daily.

You may be disappointed when the domain name that you desire is already taken, but don’t lose hope. Domain registrars’ house search engines can provide a list of available domain names that are similar to the one you want.

When you search for a domain name on nameCheap, you get the availability status for that name and the suffixes for that name. You may find that .com is unavailable, but .org or .net is.

3. Finalize your chosen domain name

To finalize your selected domain name, follow the steps below.

Step 1: Add To Cart

Once you see that your domain name is available, click “Add to Cart” and then proceed to “Checkout.”

Step 2: Pick Time Duration

Now you need to select the duration of how long you want your domain registration to be the register, i.e., one year, two years, etc.

Step 3: Auto Renew

If your domain registration is over a few years and you want your domain to renew itself yearly, make sure you tick the “Auto-Renew” box. This will save you the hassle of remembering and manually renewing your domain each year.

Step 4: Confirm Order

Once you are happy with your domain registration settings, click “Confirm Order.”

Step 5: Set Username & Password

You will be redirected to a login page. If you already have an existing account with the domain registrar, then all you need to do is fill in your username and password.

However, if you still need an account, you must create one. You must fill in your personal details, contact information, and preferred payment method.

Step 6: Order Review

Once you have an account, you can go to the “Order Review” tab. Here you will see your receipt with the details of your billing.

Step 7: Pay 

Click on “Pay Now” to finalize your domain name. You will receive a notification after your purchase.

4. Choose top domain extension (TLD) ie. .com, .org, .net

A TLD is an acronym for top-level domain. This refers to domain extensions that rank highly in the Domain Name System. TLDs are usually domain extensions that website hosts popularly use. 

TLD domain extensions include:

  • .com
  • .org
  • .net
  • .co

Now let’s take a look at the difference between the most popular domain extensions, namely .com, .net, and .org.

.com

A .com domain extension is by far the most popular TLD. It is referred to as the default domain extension. This TLD was initially created to be used for e-commerce websites, which explains why .com represents “commercial.”

However, e-commerce websites no longer have sole ownership of this TLD. The .com extension is being used for various websites, including events, blogs, organizations, businesses, and personal sites. 

This TLD should be the first option for website hosts to purchase, regardless of the types of websites they may have. Once you have purchased a .com extension, you can always add other domain extensions that can be redirected from the .com website.  

The .com extension is regarded as credible and professional by many users. It is also generally a more affordable option for website hosts. 

The .com domain is highly sought after, so it cannot be easy to get. This TLD is also unsuitable for every kind of website, such as a government-owned website. 

.net

The .net domain extension is another popular TLD. It stands for “network.” It was first created for websites that specialize in networking technologies. Most network technology websites offer email, ISPs, databases, and communication networks. 

The .net domain is a good option if you want to let your users know that your website focuses on networking technologies.  

The .net TLD is often the second choice domain if the .com domain extension is unavailable. 

Although the .net domain extension is popular among web hosts, it is unique. It is not used for different types of websites like the .com domain extension. The.net domain extension sometimes makes it more difficult for users to remember the website address, as it is not as popular as the.com extension. 

.org

The .org domain extension stands for “organization.” It was first created for non-profit organizations. This includes websites for foundations, charities, open-source software, public education services, and other non-profit organizations whose goal is to raise funds or create awareness. 

Although the .org TLD can be used for other websites, it is predominantly used by non-profit organizations. The .org domain extension often communicates that the organization represented by the website is a not-for-profit organization.  

The .org TLD is credible and trusted among users as they are familiar with it when compared to generic domain extensions.  

This domain extension is not suitable for all websites. If a website offers a product or service and charges a fee, then it should not use the .org as it is a TLD for non-profit websites.  

The .org TLD also has limited features, as the organization behind the website is mainly trying to raise funds, create awareness, or provide a free service.  

5. Buy your domain name

Once you have chosen your domain name and a suffix, you will need to pay to register the domain name with the domain registrar. 

Remember, you cannot buy a domain name permanently. Domain registration is done yearly. You will need to pay to own the domain name for a year. After that, you can renew your registration for a fee.  

A domain registration fee is usually anywhere between $10 and $15. 

6. Secure your domain ID

When registering a domain name with ICANN, you must provide your personal details and contact information. This includes your name, phone number, email address, and physical address. 

Once your domain name is registered, this personal information and contact details become public unless you pay for domain privacy with your domain registrar. 

Domain privacy protects your information from the public eye. It keeps your personal information confidential and safe from spammers and identity thieves. 

Conclusion

Once you have registered and purchased your domain name, you can find your web hosting provider and start building your website. If you’re looking to build a new website, check out our full course on How to Build a Website From Scratch.

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