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How to Register a Domain Name (+ tips for getting it for FREE)

Domain Name Registration
Registering a domain name in 2019

Would you like to establish an online presence for yourself and/or your business?

In 2019 it’s absolutely essential that you do. Whether you’re looking to solidify your brand, make your business more credible, or get more customers and exposure – having a website is the key.

The first step towards creating a game-changing website is to register a domain name.

How Important is the Domain Name?

  1. It’s your “first impression”. Your URL is the first thing your visitors will see. A good domain name can make a positive and lasting impression while a bad domain name can send visitors running.
  2. It affects SEO. While exact match domains (EMDs) are no longer a necessity, keywords in your domain name can still help your SEO ranking.
  3. It defines your brand. Your domain name is a branding opportunity. The right domain name can increase brand recognition.

Hopefully, you’ve already taken the first step in choosing your domain name. If you haven’t yet, check out this post before you read any further: How to Choose a Domain Name

Do you have a domain name in mind? Great!

Follow the rest of this post and you’ll have everything you need to successfully register that domain name and build your online presence.

Full disclosure: I earn a commission if you end up purchasing any of the domain (and web hosting) services through referral links in this guide. This helps me to keep WebsiteSetup up and running and up-to-date. Thanks for your support.

How do you register a domain name? There are 3 options:

1. Register a Domain Name with Domain.com

Step 1: Go to Domain.com and type your chosen domain name.

Domain.com search for a domain name

Step 2: When you see that your domain name is available, it is automatically added to your shopping cart.Domain.com is the domain available

Step 3: Under your chosen domain they offer Domain Privacy, this costs $8.99 per year. If you’re not interested you can simply un-check the box.

Domain privacy protection

Step 4: Select for how long do you wish to register it for and click “Continue”.

Domain.com shopping cart

You can select the term (i.e. the number of years) to register your domain.

I recommend doing it for at least two years, so you won’t have to worry about renewing after the first year.

The term length is your choice. If you’re absolutely committed to making your website work over the long term, perhaps you should even select the 5-year term.

Either way – once you’ve selected your term, hit the “Proceed to Billing” button. Then enter your payment details and just like that, your domain name will officially be registered.

Domain.com Features and Prices Rundown

  • .com extension – $9.99/year (renews at $13.99/year)
  • .org extension – $14.99/year
  • .net extension – $12.99/year (renews at $15.99/year)
  • WHOIS Privacy – $8.99/year
  • Google G Suite – $6.00/mo
  • Web Hosting – $1.99/mo (renews at $3.75/mo)
  • SSL Certificate – $3.33/mo
  • SiteLock security – $2.08/mo

2. Get a Free Domain using Bluehost or HostGator

One neat trick that I recommend people to use is to get a web hosting and domain together. To make your website work, you’re going to need both of them.

This will also help you save some time and money, a web host often providers provides a FREE domain.

Bluehost.com: Currently offers FREE domain name, hosting is $2.75/mo

HostGator.com: Currently domain costs $12.95/year, hosting is $2.99/mo

So just go ahead and don’t worry about migrating your domain name with your web host.

Do you already have a web hosting and just need a domain name? Use Domain.com,  GoDaddy or NameCheap (both very reputable domain registrars)

3. Register a Domain Name on GoDaddy

Step 1: Go to GoDaddy.com and type your chosen domain name.

GoDaddy search for a domain name

Step 2: When you see that your domain name is available, select the $2.99 option. Then, select “Continue to Cart” on the top right.

GoDaddy is the domain available

Step 3: On the next screen, you can select if you want domain privacy protection. If you’re not worried about people knowing who owns the domain then simply select “No Thanks”.

GoDaddy domain privacy protection

Step 4: Select the term and proceed to checkout.

GoDaddy shopping cart

Select for how long you want the domain to be registered, keep in mind the most cost-efficient term is currently for two years, this gives you an overall 41% discount. 

Either way – once you’ve selected your term, hit the “Proceed to Checkout” button. Once you’ve selected a suitable term you’re going to have to create an account, followed by entering your payment details. And that’s it, your domain is registered with you.

GoDaddy Features and Prices Rundown

  • .com extension – $2.99/year (renews at $17.99/year)
  • .org extension – $11.99/year (renews at $20.99/year)
  • .net extension – $13.99/year (renews at $19.99/year)
  • WHOIS Privacy – $9.99/year
  • Email – $1.99/year (renews at $4.99/year)
  • Website Builder & Hosting – Free first month (renews at $5.99/mo)
  • SSL Certificate – Included with hosting

4. Register a Domain on NameCheap

Step 1: Go to NameCheap.com and insert your chosen domain name.

NameCheap search for a domain name

Step 2: If your domain name is available, click the add to cart button and then “View Cart” button to proceed.

NameCheap is the domain available

Step 3: WhoIs privacy protection is included for free, and the best news is that it’s free forever.

NameCheap domain privacy protection

Step 4: Select the length of the term that best suits your needs and click “Confirm Order”

NameCheap shopping cart

After you’re signed up and entered your payment details your domain name will be officially registered to you.

NameCheap Features and Prices Rundown

  • .com extension – $8.88/year (renews at $10.88/year)
  • .org extension – $12.98/year
  • .net extension – $12.98/year
  • WHOIS Privacy – FREE
  • Google G Suite – $6.00/mo
  • Email – Free for 2-months (renews at $3.88/year)
  • Web Hosting – $1.28/mo (renews at $2.88/mo)
  • SSL Certificate – $3.88/year

Common Questions About Domain Name Registration

1. What are Domain Name Extensions?

Domain name extensions are categories of internet domain names.

When choosing your domain name, there are several extensions you can choose from:

  • .com
  • .net
  • .org
  • .info

But you can be sure of one thing: “.com” is still far and away the best domain name extension.

According to research from Domain State, 73% of domains have the “.com” extension, second is “.net” and third is “.org”.

“.com” is the most familiar and easiest to remember. My advice is to go with “.com” – it’s the safest bet. If you’re chosen domain name is already taken by a “.com”, you’d be better off choosing a new domain instead of a new domain name extension.

2. What are Most Popular Domain Name Registrars?

Domain name registrars are organizations that manage the reservation of internet domain names. You’ll need to use one of these registrars to register your domain name.

Here are some of the top domain name registrars on the web:

Now that I’ve covered some of these common questions, let’s talk about how to actually register your domain name.

3. How to Change Domain Name Servers?

Domain name servers (DNS) are the internet’s equivalent of a phonebook.

To change your nameserver, you must log in to the domain name registrar with whom you registered your domain.

From there, the process will vary based on your registrar. But here are the basic steps:

  1. Find the DNS manager within your registrar.
  2. Locate the DNS that you’d like to change.
  3. There will typically be some sort of option like, “Use custom nameservers”. Click that option.
  4. Enter your desired new nameserver.

Lastly: Don’t Forget Renewing!

Depending on the length of your domain name term, you’ll have to renew your domain name in a year, two years, or longer.

It’s crucial that you remember to do so – otherwise, your domain name will go offline. And if you won’t catch on within a few weeks, your domain name will go back up for sale and somebody else can buy it – not good for you.

Make a note to renew your domain before it ends. Perhaps a Google calendar reminder or a reminder from your smartphone. Whatever the case, make sure you don’t forget.

For some domain name registrars (like the ones we mentioned above), you can set it to automatically renew your domain at the end of its term. This is the safest option – just make sure that you keep your payment information up to date (this can be easy to forget).

Conclusion

If you don’t have a website yet, then 2019 is the best time to get started. And the first step to creating your website is to register your domain name.

With this simple guide, you can register your domain name quickly and easily. Before you know it, you’ll have your own little piece of the web.

If you need a website, read this step-by-step guide here.

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