When creating a new website, one of the first questions to address is how and where to buy a domain name. A domain name is “the part of a network address that identifies it as belonging to a particular domain.” Or, more simply, the domain is what we usually think of as a website’s name. For a business, the site name is typically the business’s name if it is available, and for a personal blog, it is usually the title of the blog.
As with most things in life, domains are not free, but they can be very inexpensive. Many factors affect the price of a domain, but normally, as long as it is a name that is not yet registered (i.e. purchased by someone else), buying a domain can cost as little as a few dollars per year.
You will want to buy your domain from a domain registrar online. A quick search of registrars will yield several results, but below are some of the most popular and highly-rated registrars:
There are several factors to keep in mind when choosing a registrar, and it is worthwhile to do a little research before deciding on one.
One of the first things to consider before deciding on a registrar is if you also need hosting for your new domain. Buying a domain allows you rights to that website address (your website name), but in order for the website to be publicly viewable, it has to have basic content and be hosted. If you do need hosting, it may be convenient and cost-effective to select a registrar that sells domains and also offers hosting. However, if you have already purchased your domain from a registrar, you are free to set up your hosting with another hosting company. Conversely, if you have a preferred hosting company but you want to buy your domain from another registrar, you can certainly do that.
Cost is probably the factor that is at the forefront of your mind, and rightfully so. The cost for setting up a new website can quickly add up. The good news is that buying a domain will probably be the least expensive part of your investment in your new website. As long as you are open to a few different domain name options in case your preferred name is already taken, buying the domain can be pretty economical. Still, it is a good idea to shop the different registrars. Be sure to check domain name renewal rates, and if possible, set up auto renewals through the registrar to ensure your domain (and subsequently, your website) never expires.
Another thing to consider is the ability to transfer your domain. This might never be an issue, especially if you are happy with your registrar, but if there ever comes a time in which you would like to transfer your domain to a new registrar, it would be helpful to know their transfer policy. Some registrars do not allow domain transfers or will charge a fee. Others make it really easy and will allow you to do so free of charge.
Last, but certainly not least, it is important to find a registrar that is user-friendly and has great customer service. Ideally, you want to find a registrar whose website is easy to use, especially when it comes time to set everything up. And if you run into a problem or need help along the way, it pays to have a registrar with great customer support. Be sure to check out company reviews to find out who offers the best service to their customers, and look around the different registrars’ websites to get a feel for which ones provide a better overall user experience.
While creating a website can seem overwhelming, breaking it up into smaller tasks can help. Remember, buying the domain name from a domain registrar is one of the first steps you should take, along with finding a hosting company. From there, creating content for your website and building it should come next. Following these steps can make the process manageable and easier to determine if you might need help along the way.