how to buy a domain name

Buying a domain name can be a great way to set up your own website and/or personalized email address.
That being said, the price (not to mention the intrinsic value) of a domain name depends on many factors including overall length, number of words, ease of spelling, and how much traffic goes there without prompting.
Many hosting and domain name registration providers will not let you use their SMTP servers for sending emails.
Your webmaster or kid cousin might be more tech-savvy than you, but if the domain ends up registered in his/her name, you may lose your site overnight should (s)he neglect to renew it on time or have a falling out with you.
Many domain name registration and hosting companies charge a release fee.
Many domain name registration companies don’t let you make changes to your domains yourself.
You should make sure you get at least 15-20 POP3 email accounts included free of charge with your domain.
The company you decide to register through will allow you to search a database to find out whether or not your domain name is taken.
Others will charge a transfer fee every time you change hosts (.com, .net, .biz etc.). This charge is completely unnecessary; you should never be held to ransom over your domain name.
Here are some important factors to keep in mind as well as step-by-step directions for both buying an available domain name and haggling for an occupied one.
Even if you casually agree to buy the domain via email, the communication might be used against you in court as a legally-binding contract should you change your mind.
Weigh factors that affect price and value when choosing a domain name.
Make sure you always retain control of your domain name.
Make sure you can control every aspect of your domain name.
However, a great many ISPs and broadband providers will only let you use their SMTP servers on their branded email accounts (i.e. This means that if you use your own email address (i.e., you won’t be able to send email via their SMTP servers.
A great domain name is simple, unique, and easy to remember.
Before you allow yourself to completely fall in with a domain name, create a few variants and backups.
Before so much as hinting at a price, simply email to ask whether or not the domain is for sale.
Did you find out that the domain name you wanted was already taken? Are you wanting to be sure that your domain name is optimal for people to find your website? You’ll want to practice a few simple steps to get the name just right, rather that getting stuck and giving up or taking a less than great name.
We’ll show you how to create and register your domain, avoid some of the pitfalls that can arise, and choose the best domain name to make sure that your site reaches the most people.
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With over 15 years in the industry, 50 products, 2 million domain names under management, and hundreds of thousands of satisfied customers is the leader in online small business tools. offers a full range of web services, including website design, shopping cart software, search engine optimization, eCommerce website design, logo design, web solutions, general contractor referrals, and lead generation.
Registering with a domain name registrar allows me to make sure that I am registered as the owner, the administrative and technical contacts.
Note that the domain name industry is highly competitive, with prices wildly fluctuating throughout the year, every year, so it’s impossible to really mention accurate prices below unless I spend all my time updating this page.
Getting a domain name involves registering the name you want with an organisation called ICANN through a domain name registrar.
In addition, as mentioned earlier, a number of commercial web hosts will give you a free domain name if you are hosting with them, as will many (if not all) of the registrars above.
I’ve heard stories, in the past, of less-than-reputable web hosts that registered the domain under their own name, making them the owner of the domain rather than you (although I don’t know if such web hosts still exist today).
For example, for some registrars, the administrative contact’s approval is required before a domain name is transferred out of a web host (or at least, it used to be).
My personal preference is to register the name directly with a domain name registrar rather than through my web host.
If you’re not sure what to do after you register your domain name, please read the How to Make / Create Your Own Website: The Beginner’s A-Z Guide.
If you want a domain name for your site, I suggest you act now, or face the anguish of having lost that name later.
Note that you do not have to be a company or organisation ("organization" in US English) to register a domain name.
If you want to register a domain name, here’s what you need to do.
If you have a web site, you should seriously consider registering your own domain name.
I’ve lost more than one domain name by procrastinating (I lost the latest one by only one day).
A domain name is a name like "" or "", which you can use to refer to your website.
There are numerous domain name registrars.
Some web hosts will register it and pay for the name for free (usually only the commercial web hosts), while others will do it for you but you’ll have to foot the registrar fees.
They’ll help you get a domain name, build a great site, create an online store, and even list it so your customers can actually find you.
As the world’s leading domain name registrar since 2005, we’ve helped millions of customers find success online with the right domain names — and we can do it for you, too.
(Update: since the time of writing one registrar in particular rolled out a “Make money from your domains’ parked pages” initiative, which surprised me since I knew them to be one of the biggest parked page monetizers around — they make millions per month monetizing their customers’ parked domains — until I looked at the details: Packages start at 3.99/month. They are actuallycharging their customers for domain parking monetization.
Some registrars (especially the bargain basement outfits) register your domain for a dirt-cheap price and then ding you with an “administration fee” when you want to edit your Whois record.
Because your domain record is public for all to see, some registrars want to upsell you to “privacy services” or “whois masking”, “private registration”, where they put their own info in the whois record instead of yours.
You know, when you click on a link somewhere or make a typo entering a web address and you wind up on some crapola “search page” optionally throwing up a million pop-up ads? That is a parked domain and the larger players can park thousands of domains and make literally millions of dollars “monetizing” them via domain parking.
The important thing to know here is that in the eyes of the domain Registry to which all the Registrars interact, and the Registry’s oversight body (like ICANN, or in Canada, CIRA), whoever is listed in the domain whois record as the domain Registrant is the legal owner of the domain name.
Well the low cost one often has other tricks up their sleeve for making money, either by adding your domain to their parked pool (above) or in this case, they offer “free” URL forwarding for your domain, and then sell pop-up or pop-under advertisements on your domain.
Some others may also “lockdown” your domain for 60 days everytime you make an edit to your record, preventing you from moving the name out to another registrar.
Buried in the fine print of a registrars’ “Terms of Service” will be a hidden fee authorizing them to charge your credit card a “transfer-out” fee if you move your domain to another registrar.
Keep that in mind, if you use a service like this, they own the domain, not you, notwithstanding whatever contract or Terms of Service you enter into with them to “own” this name on your behalf.
Every time you register a domain name, the details of that domain registration must be published in a publicly accessible database called Whois.
The variation on this is some registrars (and there is one outfit who is particularly notorious for this) which is mining the whois database for registrant information, and then mailing out what look like renewal invoices for either those domain names or variations of them.
Benefit from our know-how and good relationships with leading domain registries in order to establish your name on the Internet.
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In the early days of the Web, speculative purchases gave rise to such shenanigans as URL (uniform resource locator) hijacking and “typosquatting.” These terms refer to the purchase of a domain name in order to strong-arming a company or person into purchasing a site with their name (or the name of one of their properties), as well as the (slightly) less nefarious practice of purchasing domains with spellings that are very close to, or deliberate misspellings of, well-known domain names in order to collect information, install malware, or—yet again—force a business owner into purchasing the domain.
What do you do when you’ve picked out a name and selected a hosting provider, but your perfect domain name’s already been registered by someone else? Sure, you may have access to other domain suffixes like “.biz” or “.net” or even “.tv”, but if you’ve got your heart and mind set on getting when someone else already owns it, you’ll need to enter the world of aftermarket domains.
If the name is available, you will have the choice to register the domain on several different top-level domains if available, such as .org, .biz, and .net. If the name is not available, simply try again.
When you have finalized the name, the top-level domains it should be on, and the amount of time you want to hold the rights to the name, you need to pay the registrar to make the registration for you.
After selecting the top-level domains you wish to register with, the last choice to make is for how long you want to reserve the name.
Now that your domain is registered, all you need to do is specify where computers looking for your domain should go (namely, the IP address where your domain’s website is hosted) by updating your site’s nameservers.
If you’re looking to reserve a domain name, start at a domain name registrar such as GoDaddy.
These days many services, such as Google Pages or WordPress, offer websites on commercial domains, but in a lot of cases it makes more sense to have your website on your own domain–a personal place on the Internet where you are in complete control of what is published and how it looks.
Who owns all of these names, and should you ever buy one for a premium? The simple answer is that if you want to be found on the Web, the perfect domain name can be well worth a few thousand dollars, but don’t pay a fortune for one.
I’m sure you have all been frustrated at least once by not being able to get the Internet domain name you want for your company.
The right place to start is to target today’s average of approximately $8-$10 per year for a .com domain name from GoDaddy or one of the hundreds of other domain name registrars.
With today’s pervasive Internet searching and shopping, the domain name may well be more important than your company name.
Whether by crafting a great new name or wresting one from a previous owner, every new business needs to master the domain game early, and it need not break the bank.
Rename your company to match an available domain name.
As a startup, cost to rename your company and change existing collateral may be less than dealing with unmatched names or premium domain pricing.
The market for domain investors has been in the doldrums for the last few years, since the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has rolled out top-level domains for every country, like .us and .me, as well as allowing companies to set up their own top-level domains.
First pick the right company and matching domain name.
Ask if the domain name is for sale, but don’t tip your hand by making a specific offer.
If the price is too high, work with the domain name owner to agree on a “lease-to-own” deal for the domain name.
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We have the opportunity to purchase millions of desirable domain names, from our own FirstnameLastname.coms to good LocationBusiness.coms and Singleword.coms. While a great is worth holding on to, just like a good, the most important domain name is your own; those are the ones I’ll be focusing on for this post.
For example, the most "valuable" domain name I own is Neither of the other two Harry Guinness’s can have it; they’re going to have to settle for some alternative like or maybe; is available but I’m seriously considering buying it as soon as this blog goes live.
Okay so how Google organizes search results is pretty much voodoo, but there’s a good chance that it weighs the words in the domain name pretty heavily.
As their name implies, they’re some of the most affordable in the business, but domain names are the only thing cheap about them: Namecheap offers stellar customer support, free services like URL forwarding and email, and if you do have more money to burn, you can get advanced services like Dynamic DNS and SSL certificates at bargain prices.
So when it’s time to register that domain name, which domain name registrar do you choose? Who has the best mix of price, features, customer service, and reliability? We asked you which domain name registrars you thought were the best and stood above the others, and now we’re going to take a look at the top five.
Honorable mentions this week go out to 1&1 Internet, which many of you praised for its great prices, fantastic customer support, and easy sign-up, especially if you want your domain name hosted with them as well. also offers "Domain Nabber" services to snag expired domains that may be relevant to your business or site, so if you want the .net to go with your .com, will give you the opportunity to snag it before anyone else does.
If you want to use your domain name for a personalised email address such as, to enable you to send and receive emails you will need a 123-reg mailbox.
Registering a generic domain name with one of the over 1,300 new gTLDs available is almost guaranteed to help you increase visibility online and attract the right crowd to your website.
If you’ve already registered a domain name with 123-reg, you will be able to associate it with your hosted website when you order your hosting package.
After you’ve register your domain name and purchased your hosting package, you can set up your free two-page website which you can use as a placeholder until you are ready to release your site properly.
For each domain name you look up on 123-reg, you will also find specific information regarding registration restrictions.
All you need to do is add the domain name you wish to sell, set your own price and we will list it for you on Sedo and NameMedia, the two largest marketplaces, as well as on 123-reg as a premium name.
Something that wasn’t mentioned – do you buy a domain name for a year or more? If you buy a good domain name like, “” for instance – and you buy it for 8 years… someone may think they haven’t the slightest chance of getting that domain and move on to another name that also represents their company and what they do.
Maybe this would be a good niche business for someone – domain name selection consulting – I just googled it and no one really seems to be doing it (most of the ‘domain name consultants’ seem to simply be resellers of domain names).
I have founded more than a half dozen companies, exited from one and currently spend my time on PhoneTag and I have spent over $250,000 on approximately 200 domain names because I believe that a great domain is extremely important to the success of a start-up (I learned the hard way – PhoneTag used to be called SimulScribe).
@Marcie – From what I’ve seen Google places a huge importance on the domain name keywords.
You may want to also add to your domain finding tool list our Type-In Traffic Finder which lets you import a keyword phrase and then shows you hundreds of related keyword phrases and any available domain names that correspond with those keywords (all data is real time data from Google for real Google searches).
In some cases when I’ve made sites about software/games I’ve outranked the official developers site simply because I had the full product name as the domain whilst they had their company name.
Great Article! But, would have been nice to make the distinction between true trademark ‘squatters’ and those with large portfolios who monetize their domains using domain ‘parking’.
If any one want to buy a domain, in my opinion it is important to focus on your product name which you want to launch like if you want to start property business then you use property in your domain and it is more effective if you use territory name with product like Dubai Property.
The beautiful thing about a good domain name is that every domain name is unique and can be a sustainable competitive advantage even for the “little guy”.
Not to sound ungrateful for all this great, generous information, but when James switched his domain from Simulscribe to Phonetag and his sales doubled; I’m having a hard time attributing this to a new domain.
This typically means the owner is content with keeping the domain name and that you are going to have to make the first move in an attempt to loosen the grip.
I recently had an idea for a business but the domain name I wanted was already taken.
A better name with lots of type-in traffic can be a huge money maker for a domain investor just being parked that is why it can cost so much when being resold.
I bought my domain name (8020Financial) from godaddy for $10 or so, and am getting a reasonable amount of traffic for my blog.
No creative limits, no coding skills needed to get your business online.
Promote your business, showcase your art, set up an online shop or just test out new ideas.
That means that no matter how hard you work at link popularity, how carefully you create content and optimize your pages for particular engines, you’ll never achieve a high rank with the expired domain name.
Your domain name is your online identity so make sure that it’s clear and memorable enough that visitors can find your site after their initial visit.
Most Web hosting companies and domain registrars let you check the availability of a domain name and it associated extensions (like .com or .org). Some even offer alternate versions if the name you searched on isn’t available.
Gambling and adult sites like to buy up domain names, link them together, and use every spam trick they know to try to boost the search engine rank.
Enter the domain name you’re interested in into the search box and check its history.
Often, your Web hosting company has a relationship with a particular registrar that allows you to purchase your Web hosting account and domain name with one transaction.
You can also investigate some relatively new services that allow you to immediately register a domain name if the owner doesn’t renew it.
It’s an online tool that gives you valuable advice about selecting keywords, writing META tags, optimizing your page for particular search engines, and submitting your site.
You can buy a domain name from any authorized dealer; you aren’t required to go through your Web hosting company.
In this article, we’ll answer that question and address other domain name issues that affect all webmasters.