How to buy a domain name

How do you buy a domain name?

So you have decided to go ahead and buy a domain name. Did you decide on the name yet or are you up in the air about it?

The first thing you need to do before you purchase a domain name is check to see if a domain name is available. All domain registrars have a domain registration lookup or a Whois. You can find out if a domain name is taken or available and go from there.

If all you have is a vague idea for a domain name, most registrars have a domain name generator that you can play around with and you can come up with one on your own, or use one of the suggestions offered. You could always have a brainstorming session as well. You cannot use characters like an apostrophe or $ in your domain name. Try not to use dashes in your domain name – this makes it harder for people to remember. Mycoolwebname.com is easier to remember than my-cool-web-name.com

I use Godaddy to buy my domain names. They are one of the cheapest out there, and I’ve never seen them do anything cagey, although there are some horror stories on the net about them. I am also not big on their registration process; in fact, it’s a downright pain the first couple of times you go to buy a domain name. It is definitely worth it in the end.

I have tried others to purchase a domain name – Yahoo, Domainmonger and Network Solutions/Register.com. Yahoo is a reseller for MelbourneIT (or at least they used to be), Domainmonger is a reseller for Tucows, and Network Solutions is a top level registrar.

GoDaddy.com is a top level domain name registrar as well. What I mean by a top level registrar: they have to register thru ICANN, whereas a reseller doesn’t.

When you have made your decision, and are ready to buy a domain name, you do need to be careful who you register through. There are a ton of resellers of domain names, and while they may not be bad folks, you could be in a world of trouble if they ever “go away.” This is why I recommend using a mainstream domain registry to purchase a domain name – you have some protection.

Once you have decided on your domain name, you will start the domain name registration process. You will need to decide on such things as:

Do you want the different variants of the domain name – .net,org,info,biz – the list goes on! It’s totally up to you and how deep your pockets are. If you are going to buy a domain name for your business, then you may want to go ahead and buy the variations. If you’re so poor you can’t pay attention, go for the .com. You can always purchase a domain extension later.

Do you want to buy a domain name for 1 year, 2 years, or 10 years? The default is 2 years, but I always choose 1 year. Again, this is a personal decision.

How do you want to pay for the domain? In general you can pay with a credit card. Godaddy allows you to buy a domain name with Paypal – a feature that I love.

After you’re done with the process of buying the domain name, you’ll receive an email telling you what to do next. While each registrar is different and each one has a different backend, in general the process is the same.

If you don’t have a website, you really don’t need to do anything with the domain yet. If you do have a website then you most likely need to change your nameserver information. This information will have come from your web hosting company. Once you have changed your nameservers for your domain name, you will be done.