How to buy a domain name

In my post, I show you how easy it is to register and buy a domain name on Namecheap for your website.

I purchase all my domain names from Namecheap. They make the process of buying domains simple.

Once you secure a domain for your site, you own it, no one else can buy that name.

Let’s get started.

What is a domain name?

A domain name is the address of your website that people type into their browsers to get to your website, the URL.

For example, the domain name (the URL) for my site is ‘Newblogr.com’, as long as I don’t let the name expire, it is mine.

Having a domain name is one part of owning a live website on the internet. To have a website show on the internet, you need a domain name and hosting.

In this post, I show you how to buy your domain name. I will write another post on how to buy hosting for your website soon.

Checking domain name availability

Before you can register a domain name, you have to check availability. If someone has registered the name you want to buy, then it won’t be available.

Sometimes domain names are purchased but not used. In that case, it is sometimes possible to make an offer to the owner.

To check the availability of the domain name you want to purchase, head over to Namecheap’s domain name search (Paid link) and enter the name you want for your site.

Search for a domain name on Namecheap

I recommend always going for a ‘.com’ with your domain. A majority of sites you see in Google search listings are .com sites.

Available domain names are hard to find

It is very hard finding a name that is available with .com, so you have to be creative. Don’t worry too much about getting something that matches your niche, it is your content that attracts visitors to your site, not your website name.

Look at some of the biggest sites on the web right now, Google, Yahoo, Facebook, Twitter, and many more. If you had never seen these sites before, would you know what they were about?

To start searching for an available domain name, type what you want into the box and select the ‘Search’ link.

I recommend going for a name with a maximum of three syllables and don’t use dashes. Long domain names with dashes are hard to remember.

Type your name and select search

Namecheap spends a few seconds checking the availability of the domain name you want and then presents the results.

Domain name search results

By default, Namecheap tells you the availability of your domain name with a .com TLD. As you can see for my search, ‘mynewsite.com’ is not available.

This domain name was registered in 2003, the owner is open to offers.

Below is a list of this domain name with alternative TLDs.

Try more searches with Namecheap to find an available domain name.

Free tool to help generate domain names

If you are struggling to find an available domain name, then here is a free domain name generator tool. It helps you with ideas for your domain name.

The Nameboy domain name generator.

To start, enter one or two keywords into the box and select ‘Submit’.

Alternative domain name ideas

We already know that ‘mynewwebsite.com’ is not available, but there are many alternatives. An available domain name has ‘Buy’ to the right.

On the left, are alternative TLDs. ‘WHOIS’ signifies that the domain name is not available.

If you don’t like these suggestions, you can click on ‘Show more results’ or start a new search.

Here are more suggestions for this search.

More search results

When you finally find an available domain name, copy it, then head back to Namecheap to register and buy.

How to register a domain name

On the homepage of Namecheap (Paid link), put your domain name into the box and click on the search link.

Search for your domain name

After a few seconds, Namecheap lets you know if the name you entered is available or not.

Domain name available

Domain names on Namecheap are less than $10 a year. To register and buy a domain name, click on the ‘Add to cart’ link.

Continue to checkout

To continue, click on the ‘Checkout’ link.

Confirm your order

Use the drop-down menu to select how many years you want to own this domain name. Select the ‘Auto-renew’ option to ensure you don’t forget to renew.

There is a small 18 cent fee added for ‘The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers’, a mandatory annual fee paid on all domain registrations.

WhoisGuard is a service that stops your name and email address displaying on the registration listing for this domain name.

Once you have made your selections, select the ‘Confirm order’ link.

Before you can make your purchase, you need to create an account.

Create an account

Once you have created your account, you can purchase your domain name.

Purchase your domain name

Select your payment method and your billing address to complete your purchase.

Your domain name account

After you purchase your domain name, you receive a receipt via email.

You also have information regarding your domain in your Namecheap account. To access this information, go to Namecheap.com and sign in to your account.

Once signed in, your dashboard displays your purchased domain name.

Here is my Namecheap account dashboard.

Namecheap dashboard

My domain name is on the left, to the right is the expiry date and a ‘Manage’ link.

If you did not select ‘Auto-renew’ when you purchased your domain, make a note of the expiry date, if your domain name does expire, it becomes available to buy.

Click on the ‘Manage’ link to see details about your domain name.

Domain name dashboard

The most important information here is your nameserver settings. It is your nameservers that tell internet browsers where to go to retrieve your website files.

You get nameservers when you purchase website hosting. To have a live website, you need a domain name and hosting.

Once you have bought your domain name, it is time to purchase a hosting package. When you buy that, the hosting company will instruct you to update your nameservers.

You update your nameservers in your Namecheap account. Copy the nameservers given to you by your hosting company and update them here.

When you update your nameservers, it takes between 24 and 48 hours to complete.

Free domain names

There are hosting companies that offer free domain names with their hosting packages.

I recommend that you don’t sign up for one of these packages. The first year is free, but the renewal fee is double or triple what you would pay with Namecheap. In the end, it works out more expensive.

It is possible to transfer a domain name to another company, but this usually incurs a fee, and moving a domain can be complicated.

My advice is to buy your domain and hosting separately, it keeps things simple and means you have control.

How to buy a domain name video tutorial

How to buy a domain name – Step by step guide
Watch this video on YouTube.

Conclusion

In my post, I have shown you how to buy a domain name step by step. I recommend Namecheap (Paid link) because the process is simple. I use Namecheap to buy all my domain names.

The dashboard is easy to navigate, and I can update my nameservers in just a couple of clicks.

I also suggest you buy your domain name and hosting separately, a free domain offer looks like a good deal, but it costs you more when you renew.

If you are struggling to find an available domain name, go to Nameboy.com, they have a free domain name generator.

To have a live website, you need a domain name and hosting. Now you know how to buy a domain name, on my next post, I show you how to buy hosting.

If you have purchased both your domain name and hosting, then you need to update your nameservers in your Namecheap account to point to your hosting account.

To find out how to the nameservers, check out my ‘How to update nameservers on Namecheap‘ tutorial.

Before you head over to Namecheap to buy your domain name, would you kindly spare one minute to leave a comment? Did my post help you? Would you like me to go into more detail?

I look forward to reading your feedback.

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