How to Buy A Domain Name: Comprehensive Guide

Do you want to know how to purchase a domain name. This guide will show you exactly how to do it.

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Whether you’re a new business owner about to create your first website, a marketer branching out into a new field, or just want a website for your hobby, we’ve got you covered.

Registering a domain may seem tricky if you’ve never done it before. But it’s surprisingly easy —  after all, there are over 1.9 billion websites online (as of November 2021).

In this article, we’ll teach you how to buy a domain name and review some of the best domain registrars on the market (services that let you purchase and register domain names).

Let’s go.

What Is a Domain Name?

A domain name is a digital address that people use to travel to your website. For example, our domain name is “kinsta.com.”

Your domain name plays an essential role in your digital presence. It’s an easily identifiable way to mark who operates each website.

Though we use domains daily now, they weren’t always an internet staple. Before 1983, people navigated to websites via IP addresses (“191.268.1.43”). IP addresses mark each internet-connected device.

As remembering an IP address is complex, the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) introduced the Domain Name System (DNS) in 1983. You don’t need to understand how the DNS works to buy your domain.

An image showing how domain names work
How domain names work. (Source: Oracle)

There are several key phrases you need to understand when getting your domain. These include:

Domain Registrar: A company that registers and manages domain names. Domain registrars are accredited by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).Domain Checker: A tool that checks who owns a domain and how long the owner has had it. One of the most popular checkers is the ICANN data lookup.Top-Level Domains (TLDs): The suffix at the end of the domain (i.e, “www.name.tld“). There are four types of these: country-code TLDs (like .au or .us), sponsored TLDs (like .gov and .edu), generic TLDs (like .com and .org) and new generic TLDs (like .io)

You can see the breakdown of the percentage of websites with each type of TLD in the donut chart below.

Domain distribution by TLD type
Domain distribution by TLD type (Source: Domainnamestat)

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What are the best times to buy a domain name?

Verisign reported that there were more than 367 million domain registrations in the second quarter 2021. This is a decrease of 0.7% (2.8 millions) from last year.

Despite the slowdown in domain name sales, it shouldn’t be a deterrent. It is much easier to purchase a domain name from the owner than to register it yourself. You should purchase your domain name as soon you can, because you don’t want anyone else to use it.

You are on the right track to selecting a domain name if you already have an idea for your domain.

Consider purchasing other domain names when you purchase your domain name. This includes domains that you want for your:

Product linesServicesCustomer support programCustomer loyalty program

You can create a “coming soon page” on your domain if you plan to use it in the future, but not now. This extension is available through WordPress like SeedProd. Your domain can be “parked”. Domain parking is very common, with ICANN estimating that 52.95% domains are currently parked.

How to buy a domain name that’s already taken

You have a brilliant business idea. Now you need the right domain name. Google turns up the domain already owned by someone else when you enter the address.

You can still buy the domain from the owner if you want it. Here’s how.

Step 1: Identify the owner and find a broker

You first need to visit the website to find contact information for the owner. There are generally three scenarios you can encounter.

The domain is owned by a domain trader. The domain is owned by a domain trader.

Once you have determined which situation you are in, you can start to think about hiring a broker. A broker can act for you and make sure the seller does not take advantage of your situation. While some brokers charge a percentage of what you pay, others charge an hourly or flat fee.

If you don’t know the owner of the domain or if anyone else is using it, a broker will likely be needed. It’ll be harder to convince the owner to let go if they are using it actively.

Step 2. Step 2.

Next, contact the domain owner to express your interest in purchasing the domain. They might:

Refuse to Sell, in which instance you might need to walk away and find another domain name. In this case, you can move on to the next step.

It doesn’t matter if it fails and you have to purchase a new domain. Research has shown that people trust domains ending in.com,.co,.org, and.biz more than domains ending in.biz.

Your branding could be affected if you compromise your TLD or domain name. Which website do you trust more? “r3ta1lbizadvice.io” or “retailbusinessadvice.com?”

loading=”lazy” src=”https://kinsta.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/Untitled-4.jpg” alt=”A chart showing the most and least trusted TLDs” width=”950″ height=”733″>

This chart shows the top and bottom TLDs. (Source: GrowthBadger)

Step 3. Step 3.

Make a formal offer to the domain owner if they are open to selling it. The offer should include the following:

The domain you are interested inThe price at which you offer itYour name and contact informationWhen the domain becomes yours if you accept the seller’s offer. Terms of the contract

A broker may provide a template for your offer letter or assist you with this step if you choose to use them.

To get the best results, ensure that you:

Set a price range, and then give yourself a lower limit (a “walkaway price”) to barter. Prepare for a counteroffer. Never make a verbal deal over the phone.

You may be able to negotiate terms and prices with the domain owner until you both reach an agreement. Make sure to confirm the final price in writing.

Step 4. Step 4.

To formalize the agreement, you will need to sign a document with the seller once you have reached an agreement on the price. The contract protects both sides and ensures that the deal is mutually beneficial.

Your domain will also require payment. Some sellers prefer:

Complete upfront paymentA deposit at the time of contract signing and the entire amount after domain transferPayment according to the broker’s instructions

Some domain owners might try to scam you out. To protect yourself, use a secure payment portal or an escrow company.

You may also want to avoid using cryptocurrency for payment. If the seller does not honor their agreement, it may be difficult for you to dispute a cryptocurrency transaction.

Step 5. Step 5.

You will need to locate an ICANN-accredited registrar to register your domain. This will allow you to transfer ownership to your account. The same registrar can be used as the previous domain owner.

Many registrars have an internal transfer process. However, many require that you confirm that the previous owner sold the domain to you and that you are now the new owner. Once the transfer is completed, the registrar will process it and notify both parties. You may be required to pay a fee. The domain transfer process can take up to 60 business days.

The domain could be subject to a Change in Registrant lock if the previous owner bought the domain less 60 days ago. To change your ownership, you will need to wait for this period to expire.

How to buy a domain name permanently

It is simple to secure a domain that is available for free. We will guide you step-by-step.

Step 1. Step 1.

To register your name, first choose an ICANN-accredited registrar. This registrar may not be the same as your web hosting.

Your domain name is your DNS host. Your website host provides a hosting space. Your DNS host acts as a phonebook and your website host acts like a landlord.

Consider these things when choosing a registrar:

Fee structure: Each registrar charges its own fees. Domain parking is available at a nominal $10 to $20 per year. However, this may be higher for more sought-after TLDs. The registrar may offer domain privacy, also known as “Whois privacy”, which hides your name and contact information from the public listing.

Step 2. Step 2. Follow the Registrar’s Checkout Process

Next, you can use the registrar’s tool to determine if it is able to sell you your domain and TLD.

You can purchase your domain by selecting a plan and following the registrar’s checkout procedure. Some registrars offer a base plan that includes add-ons such as a professional email address. Other registrars offer options that can scale to your needs.

Numerous registrars offer multiple TLDs in a bundle deal. For example, contacttree.com, contacttree.net” and “contacttree.org”. These plans are ideal for those concerned about visitors not being able to find the right address or potential competitors purchasing the domain.

After you have completed the checkout, you will need to give your registrar your:

NameAddressOrganization nameContact details (email and phone number)Payment information

Domain privacy is a way to protect your contact information from being made public.

It is important to carefully review the length of your registration. You can buy your name from many registrars for years, but it is possible to choose a shorter plan if that registrar has been used before.

You can choose a shorter plan as your first plan. This will make it easier to change registrars if they are slow, unsecure, slow, or inconsistent in any other way.

Step 3. Step 3.

Next, you will need to register your domain. The process can take several days because your registrar will handle most of the work behind the scenes.

To confirm your registration, you will need to confirm the details. You may need to verify your phone number or email address depending on the registrar.

To purchase TLDs such as.edu, you might need additional verification. To verify your identity, you will need to follow the instructions of the registrar.

Step 4. Step 4.

If you are looking for someone to manage your website, you should start to look into web hosting. Kinsta is our recommendation.

Kinsta websites can be built quickly and easily with SSL support, hardware firewalls, uptime monitoring and Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS), detection. Kinsta offers expert assistance and lets you choose from the 28 Google Cloud Platform data centres that will host your site.

Sign up for one our plans to get started with Kinsta. Follow our instructions to add the domain to your Kinsta account.

Is it possible to get a domain name for free?

We’ve already covered two methods to purchase a domain name. Can you get one free of charge? You can get one for free in three ways:

Register with a hosting company that provides a free domain along with your website. These domains will be created using a site builder such as WordPress, Squarespace, or Tumblr.

Although you can get a great domain name free of charge, it is important to consider how professional your website will look. Visitors will be able to trust your TLD as it conveys authority and legitimacy.

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Trusted TLDs are the most trusted. Currently, 37% of domains have the TLD “.com”. While you may be able get a free.ml and.tumblr domain, it is worth investing in a.com domain long-term.

loading=”lazy” src=”https://kinsta.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/Untitled-5.jpg” alt=”A donut chart showing TLD distribution” width=”1015″ height=”1119″>

Distribution of TLDs (Source: Domainnamestat

The Best Places to Purchase a Domain Name

If you’ve never bought a domain name before, choosing a domain registrar can seem overwhelming. We have compiled a list with six domain registrars that you can use to help you make a decision.

Domain.com

Domain.com was founded in 1998 and is one of the most well-known website registrars. Domain.com powers more than 1.2 million websites by 2021. Domain.com can be used by both personal and business website owners.

loading=”lazy” src=”https://kinsta.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/Untitled-7.jpg” alt=”Domain.com website homepage” width=”1600″ height=”912″>

Domain.com

Domain.com offers domains and web design as well as email hosting and digital marketing.

Features:

Total DNS managementURL forwardingEmail forwardingTransfer lockingSSL certificate

Price:

Domain.com sells domains starting at $0.99 Domain.com averages around $9.99 per year.

Pros:

Customer service available 24/7. Domain privacyOffers premium domains. New customers get introductory pricing. Wide range of TLDs are available. Email hosting, site builder and site lock.

Cons:

An SSL certificate will cost you more

BlueHost

BlueHost was founded in 2003 and is a popular domain and web hosting provider for bloggers and small businesses who use WordPress.

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BlueHost

BlueHost provides DNS hosting, web hosting and email. They also offer a website builder and other marketing tools. Bluehost is used by more than two million websites. It is a WordPress partner.

Features:

Auto-renewal so you don’t have to renew your domain each year.Domain lockDomain for forwarding

Price:

BlueHost domain hosting starts at $4.99 The average domain name costs $12.99 the first year, and $18.99 each subsequent year.

Pros:

Shared hosting and dedicated Virtual Private Server (VPS) available. Integrates to Microsoft 365Offers country TLDsOffers 24 hour domain support

Cons:

Our WordPress experts will turbocharge your website. They also offer 24/7 support. Google Cloud’s infrastructure is designed to maximize security, performance, and scalability. Take a look at our plans

People who don’t use WordPress may prefer another registrarMore expensive than many competitorsBlueHost’s dashboard can be tricky to use if you haven’t used it beforeDomain privacy is expensive

Google Domains

Google Domains was established in January 2015 and is the perfect domain hosting service for those who need domain registration but don’t want to host.

loading=”lazy” src=”https://kinsta.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/Untitled-12.jpg” alt=”Google Domains homepage” width=”1600″ height=”906″>

Google Domains

Google Domains integrates well with Google Workspace, formerly G-suite and Google Search Console. Google Domains hosts only 2% of all domains.

Features:

Forwarding domains and subdomainsEmail forwarding

Price:

Most.com and.org Google Domains are $12. Google Domains has a flat annual cost and does not increase the prices after the first year.

Pros:

Privacy protection is completely free. You can enable two-factor authentication (2FA). Compatible with Google WorkspaceEasy for useUses Google Cloud DNS

Cons:

It doesn’t offer as many TLDs than some registrars

Name.com

Name.com was founded in Colorado in 2003 and is a beginner-friendly host for domains.

loading=”lazy” src=”https://kinsta.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/Untitled-13.jpg” alt=”The Name.com website homepage” width=”1600″ height=”905″>

Name.com

Name.com offers email hosting, DNS hosting, website hosting and a website builder. They also offer digital marketing services. Name.com also manages Name.gives, a program for charitable giving that supports non-profits. Name.com is part Donuts Inc., and hosts approximately 1% of all websites.

Features:

Sitelock

Price:

Name.com domains start at $2.99. For the first year, an average domain name on Name.com costs $12.99

Pros:

Offers 2FA-Free domain privacyGreat For WordPress.

Cons:

Name.com can be difficult to navigate. More expensive than many of its competitors

NameCheap

NameCheap was founded in 2000 and is one of the most well-known domain hosts.

loading=”lazy” src=”https://kinsta.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/Untitled-15.jpg” alt=”The NameCheap.com homepage” width=”1600″ height=”890″>

NameCheap

It hosts more than 14 million websites at the moment and provides email, domain hosting and other services. NameCheap supports Fight For The Future and the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

Features:

Managed WordPress HostingVirtual private network, (VPN),Content delivery network, (CDN). Anti-spam protection

Price:

NameCheap domains start at $6.99 and average.com domains cost $9.48 per annum.

Pros:

Domain privacy is completely free. This includes marketing tools such as a site marker, logo maker, and business card maker. You can also enable 2FAOffers ID verification so you can verify the identity of a customer.

Cons:

An SSL certificate is more suitable for hobby bloggers and beginners than for digital marketers professionals.

Enom

Enom is a white-label platform for domains and SSL certificates that also offers email.

loading=”lazy” src=”https://kinsta.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/Untitled-17.jpg” alt=”The Enom homepage” width=”1600″ height=”905″>

Enom

Enom has registered more than 6.5 million domains, and works with 22,000 domain brokers. Enom was acquired by Tucows, an Internet Services and Telecommunications Company in 2016.

Features:

SSL certificatesReseller tools through Hover (Enom’s reseller platform)Reseller-friendly pricingAPI for email, domain reselling, and SSL certificates

Price:

Enom domains start at $5 and average.com domains cost $14 per year.

Pros:

Over 550 TLDs Canada-based customer serviceMultiple SSL certificate optionsDomain privacy free

Cons:

Additional fee charged for ICANN (currently $0.18). SSL certificates cost extraEnom and don’t offer the same privacy features as other registrants.

This post is for you, whether you are a new business owner looking to build your first website or a marketer who wants to branch out into new areas.

Summary

It can seem overwhelming to buy a domain. But don’t stress. You’ll be able to navigate the domain registration process easily if you follow the steps.

Remember to:

To ensure you don’t get stung by extra fees, make sure to read the terms before you buy a domain. Domain privacy: Note the date that your domain expires so you don’t lose the domain.

We’re glad you’re now familiar with buying a domain. What was the most difficult part about registering your first domain name? What advice would you offer others if you could do it again? We’d love to hear from you in the comments section.

The post How to Buy a Domain Name – A Comprehensive Guide.

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