How To: Register a Domain Name
by: Leo Welder | ChooseWhat.com
Registering your domain name is a necessary first step to setting up business email accounts and building a business website.
You must register your domain name before you can set up a website that promotes your business and/or sells products or services online. Read the following guidelines for help with registering your domain name.
HOWEVER, for businesses that need both a domain name and a new website, we recommend reviewing this comparison of website builders. Most website builders include the first year of domain registration in their pricing.
Before you register your domain name, you should:
- Come up with a potential business name or list of names. The availability of your desired domain name may affect the business name you ultimately select.
If you find that your desired domain name is taken by another business or brand, you will probably want to rethink your domain name as well as your business/brand name.
Register Your Domain Name
Nowadays, there are virtually no services that offer only domain registration. Most domain registrars offer domain registration and web hosting/email hosting service. If you want to claim your domain immediately to protect your brand, but are not yet ready to build a website, we recommend using a Domain Registrar/Hosting Service such as NameCheap.
Here are a few top domain registrars/hosting services:
- .com domains are $10.69 / year
- .org are $12.48/ year
- .net are $12.88/ year
- Private registration (WhoisGuard): Free for the first year, $2.88/ year after
- Least expensive SSL option (gives your domain the "https" prefix): $9.00/ year
- 1-5 year registrations available
- .com domains start at $11.99 for the first year, renew at $14.99/ year
- .org domains start at $7.99 for the first year and renew at $17.99/ year
- .net start at $11.99 for the first year and renew at $16.99/ year
- Private registration: $7.99/ year
- Least expensive SSL option (gives your domain the "https" prefix): $69.99/ year
- 1 to 10-year registrations available
- Domains are $.50 for the first year and renew at $38 / year
- 1 to 10-year registrations available
Select Your Options and Complete Registration
Domain registrations can last anywhere from 1-10 years. Some domain registrars offer discounts if you pay upfront for multi-year registrations.
- Private Registration: For an extra $10 to $15 per year, you can get a private registration. This will help keep your contact information out of the public WHOIS database, which will prevent spam and other undesired contacts.
- SSL: SSL certification will give your website the "https" perfix rather than "http" indicating that the website is secure. These days, this is a must have for any e-commerce website or other site requesting sensitive information. However, for most informational websites, this isn't terribly important just yet. The price for SSL ranges from $9/ year to a few hundred per year depending on the registrar and the type of SSL certification being requested. Also, some website builders (like Weebly) offer SSL certificates to their customers for free.
- Domain Variations: For an additional fee, you can purchase variations on your domain name. This is useful for preventing others from copying your domain name or for redirecting customers who might accidentally misspell your domain name to the correct web location.
- Auto-Renewal: You can set up your account to auto-renew your domain name when it expires. Keep in mind that they will automatically charge your credit card on file.
- You should resist the urge to create variations on existing business/domain names (such as adding hyphens or using ".net" instead of ".com") to avoid any potential trademark issues.
- Pay for your registration with a credit card that won't expire soon. It's important to keep your credit card information current after you've purchased your domain. If your credit card on file expires, you could risk losing your domain name as well as a lot of business.
- Buying domain variations saves you time and money. If you have a successful business, people will copy your name. You might be able to block copycats through legal channels, but that can be expensive. It’s a lot cheaper to pay $8 per year to own a domain variation than to pay an Intellectual Property lawyer $300 per hour to shut down a copycat.
- Don't let cybersquatters take over your website! There are third-party sites that alert people when a domain name becomes available and allow people to immediately purchase an expired domain. Sign up for auto-renewal service to ensure that you won't lose your domain. Also, make sure you have current credit card information on the site with which you've registered your domain. An expired credit card will prevent you from auto-renewing your domain.