Getting a domain name involves registering the name you want with an organisation called ICANN through a domain name registrar. For example, if you choose a name like “example.com”, you will have to go to a registrar, pay a registration fee that costs around US$10 to US$35 for that name. That will give you the right to the name for a year, and you will have to renew it annually for (usually) the same amount per annum.
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.
Domain names disappear extremely fast. Many people claim that all the good domain names are gone. I doubt that — but it is probably true that most good domain names that are descriptive of products and services have been taken.
General steps to register a domain
- Think of a few good domain names that you’d like to use
- You will need either a credit card or a PayPal account to pay for the domain. This is a requirement of most if not all registrars. It will allow you to claim and get the domain name immediately on application. This is not an option (unfortunately
- If you already have a web host, obtain from them the names of their primary and secondary name servers. Don’t worry if you don’t understand what these things mean. Just save the information somewhere. The information can usually be obtained from their FAQs or other documentation on their site, usually under a category like “domain name” or “DNS” or “domain name transfer” and the like. 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. Having said that, if you don’t have a web host yet, don’t worry. Just read on.
- If you do not have a web host, you can always allow the registrar to park your domain name at a temporary website specially set up for you. This way you can quickly secure your domain name before it’s too late and still take your time to set up the other aspects of your site. Most registrars automatically park your domain by default whether you ask them to or not, so if this is your situation, you probably don’t have to do anything special to get it done.
There are numerous domain name registrars. Note that the domain name industry is highly competitive, with prices wildly fluctuating throughout the year. Two very popular domain registrars are www.godaddy.com and domains.google.com. One important benefit of registering your domain with Google is that setting up your email accounts (specific to your domain) end up being a much simpler process. We will get into that a little later in this guide.