Buying a Domain Name – Steps + Tips

Tech Industry Cover

Buying a dependable domain name is a smart move for both businesses and individuals that can give them a stronger online presence and broader reach.

Think of your domain name as your online address — it helps people find you on the internet. However, it’s also your identity in the digital world.

Following these five steps will simplify your domain purchase.

  • Step 1: Researching and choosing a domain name
  • Step 2: Selecting a reliable domain name registrar
  • Step 3: Checking domain name availability
  • Step 4: Registering the website domain name
  • Step 5: Configuring DNS settings

Learning how to buy a domain name might sound difficult, but this comprehensive guide breaks it down with tips, FAQs, and key factors to make it easier.

Understanding Domain Names

Picking the right domain is key since it’s how your audience finds and remembers your brand. But with over 330 million domains out there, understanding the basics is the first step in securing yours.

A custom domain stands out and can improve a website’s SEO (Search Engine Optimization). But what exactly is a domain name, and how does it work?

What is a Domain Name?

If you’re a beginner who wants to know more about domain names, this section should help.

Every website has an IP (Internet Protocol) address, which acts like GPS coordinates. However, remembering numbers for navigation is challenging.

As such, to make a website user-friendly and easily accessible, it’s important to create a domain name. It simplifies website access and eliminates the need to remember complex IP addresses.

For example, ‘’ corresponds to a numeric IP address, which is and/or for IPv4.

A domain name consists of a name (second-level domain or SLD) and an extension (top-level domain or TLD).

The TLD (e.g., .com) comes after the dot, and the SLD (e.g., “google”) is your brand. The second and top-level domains are the key elements people notice when searching for your website.

How Do Domain Names Work?

Once a domain name is entered into a web browser, the DNS (Domain Name System) translates it into an IP address to access the website and display it on the computer.

Here’s a breakdown of the process.

  1. You type a website address or the domain name into your browser.
  2. The DNS translates this name into a specific number, which is the IP address.
  3. Your browser gets the IP address and connects to the web server where the site’s files are stored.
  4. Your domain’s hosting service provider sends your browser the website files.
  5. Your browser receives the files and displays the website content, letting you view them.

When you know how domain names work, navigating the internet and creating your own domain name or digital spaces becomes much easier.

How to Buy a Domain Name

The process of purchasing a domain from an individual or web hosting provider is typically straightforward.

However, there are several wrinkles that can complicate the process. For example, owners who wish to protect their anonymity may want to consider buying domain names anonymously from a trusted registrar.

Likewise, cryptocurrency moguls might want to start purchasing domains using cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum.

Let’s cover how to buy a domain name with these five general steps.

Researching and Choosing a Domain Name

Before diving into domain shopping, think of a memorable, relevant, credible, and reflective domain name for your website or brand.

However, make a list of potential domain names in case the domain you initially chose is already taken. Of course, you could also buy the domain from its current owner if possible.

Here are things to consider when choosing a good domain name.

  • Relevance: Opt for a name and an extension connected to your website’s content or brand to enhance discoverability.
  • Memorability: Make sure your chosen domain is easy to remember and spell. Avoid hyphens or complex and lengthy spellings.
  • Credibility: A custom domain name makes your site look more professional and trustworthy than a free alternative.
  • Branding: Align your domain name with your brand’s identity. It should reflect the tone and personality of your website or business.

Selecting a Reliable Domain Registrar

A domain name registrar is a company that registers and manages domain names. They handle the registration process and ensure your website’s name connects properly to your website.

Many registrars also offer a website builder to improve your site’s web pages. Other registrars may go further and bundle their domain name registration services with a web hosting package.

When choosing the right domain registrar, consider the following.

  • Reputation: Opt for a reputable domain name registry with reliable service history and customer reviews.
  • Pricing: Your chosen registrar should be completely transparent with their pricing structure.
  • Features: Check for extra offerings like WHOIS privacy, email forwarding, or web hosting services.
  • Security: Your registrar should provide an SSL certificate. This digital certificate is a sign of authenticity that benefits users.
  • Customer Support: Ensure the registrar is responsive and provides helpful customer support.

NOTE: The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) accredits domain name registrars and web hosting companies. You can think of ICANN as a “seal of legitimacy” for domain name registrars.

Checking Domain Name Availability

The truth is, when searching for a domain name, your top choices may be unavailable or taken

If your top choice is taken, try the alternatives you’ve shortlisted. You can also use a domain name availability checker on most domain registrars, like Namecheap or GoDaddy. 

These free domain name generator tools will show you whether the domain name is available for registration or already owned.

It’s also possible that the domain is already owned but isn’t being utilized. If that’s the case, consider contacting the website domain owner with an offer.

Besides trying a different name, you can also try different extensions like .net or .org. They, too, are less expensive than a .com top-level domain.

Registering the Domain Name

Once you find an available name, you can register a domain name through your chosen registrar.

Just provide your contact and payment information and select the registration period — which is typically between one to ten years.

Familiarize yourself with the domain name contract and the relevant information like the following.

  • Service provided
  • Your rights and obligations
  • The registrar’s domain transfer policy
  • The registrar’s ability to make changes

While it’s possible to register free domain names, some registrars also offer Transport Layer Security (TLS) or privacy protection for a fee.

You may also want to consider a long-term domain registration with auto-renewal instead of a shorter one. This way, you can avoid losing the domain due to an expired registration.

However, a shorter expiration date provides flexibility in case you plan to sell or transfer your domain.

Configuring DNS Settings

After registering your domain name, update the DNS records to point to your domain name and set up your web hosting service provider.

This ensures you can host your website, and visitors can access it using your website domain name.

Here’s a simplified guide on what to do.

  1. Access the domain registrar’s website: Login to the domain name registration site.
  2. Locate DNS management: Find the DNS management section.
  3. Update nameservers: If your web host provider is different, update the nameservers to point to your hosting provider’s DNS servers.
  4. Configure DNS records: Set up essential DNS records (A, CNAME, MX).
  5. Save changes: Save the DNS settings.
  6. Verify configuration: Check if the DNS settings are correct so you can use a domain correctly.

NOTE: You can manage your DNS settings through your domain registrar or a DNS provider. However, if you already have a hosting company, they might offer DNS services as part of their web hosting plan.

Factors to Consider When Buying a Domain Name

The first thing potential customers look for when seeking you out online is your domain name — and if you have a badly chosen name, you might lose customers.

As such, choose a domain name thoughtfully to establish your online presence. Craft a strong web address by considering extension, length, branding, and privacy.

Domain Extension Options

Domain extensions, also known as top-level domains, are the letters that come after the dot in a website address — like .com, .net, or .org.

The importance of choosing the right extension for SEO matters to both established and fledgling businesses.

Here are some commonly used domain extensions and their implications.

  • .com: Used or new domain names with this TLD are the priciest as they are the most popular.
  • .net: Often associated with technology and network-related businesses.
  • .org, .gov., .edu: Traditionally used for non-profit organizations, government websites, and educational institutions.
  • .co: Popular choice for startups and creative businesses; a modern alternative to .com.
  • Country-Code TLDs (.us, .uk, .ca): Indicates the website’s affiliation with a specific country.

According to Statista, 47.8% of global websites use .com domain extensions, with .org being the second most popular TLD at 4.7%.

Domain Name Length and Branding

Domain name length and branding are two crucial factors that go hand-in-hand when selecting the right domain name for your website. 

Opt for a domain name with 6-14 characters since search engines, especially Google, favor straightforward names.

A carefully chosen domain name can increase the value of your website and be sold or transferred as an asset.

Take note of the following when thinking of your domain name.

  1. Keep it concise – Go for a domain name that’s easy to remember and type. Shorter domain names are more user-friendly and less likely to be misremembered.
  2. Align it with your brand – Choose a domain name that reflects your business or organization’s image and message.
  3. Consider keywords – Incorporate relevant keywords into your website’s name to improve its search engine visibility.
  4. Avoid symbols and numbers – Complex URLs with numbers and special characters can negatively affect search engine rankings.
  5. Use common spelling – Opt for a spelling that is consistent with common usage to avoid confusion and typos.

Domain Name Privacy and Security

When buying a domain, prioritize privacy by opting for protection services.

After you register a domain name, you may expose your contact details. However, privacy protection shields them from public access to prevent spamming and other security threats.

You can easily activate domain privacy protection with registrars offering this service. But note that some registrars offer this protection as an add-on service.

Also, enhance security with two-factor authentication on your registrar account and regularly review your domain settings for updates.

Keep in mind that this factor safeguards your website’s control, reputation, and financial integrity by preventing unauthorized access.

Tips for Buying a Domain Name

Knowing how to buy a domain name won’t be complete without our compiled tips. These tips include creating a budget, verifying for trademark infringement, and renewing your domain name.

Setting a Budget for Your Domain Name

Set a domain name budget and shop around for the best deals. Take a look at the registrar’s pricing plans to find one that fits your budget.

By understanding the pricing range for different domain names, you can set realistic expectations about what you can afford when searching for the right domain registrar.

Domain name prices can vary depending on factors like what’s listed below.

  • Domain name type: Premium names cost more than generic ones.
  • Domain extensions: .com, .net, or .org cost more than newer extensions.
  • Renewal costs: Consider the annual renewal fees and take note of the domain expiration date.
  • Privacy and security: Check if a registrar offers these protections for free or a reasonable price.
  • Value: Don’t overspend if it compromises your website or business needs.

Avoiding Trademark Infringement

Before you register a domain name, ensure it doesn’t violate existing trademarks. Thoroughly research your chosen domain name to prevent legal issues. 

If you don’t find someone with the same domain name, then you’re free to use the name for your business. 

However, many domain names may resemble existing trademarks, so be sure to follow the necessary steps to avoid infringement.

Brands, big or small, are sensitive to trademark violations, and even innocent mistakes can lead to legal troubles and website adjustments. 

If you’re uncertain, seek legal advice to avoid costly disputes. 

Renewing Your Domain Name

Keep in mind that after you buy your domain name, you have to pay for it annually (or depending on the domain name registration period) since it’s not a one-time purchase.

Most registrars offer auto-renewal to prevent missing payments and losing your existing domain name.

Set up auto-renewal to prevent accidental expiration, which could lead to ownership loss and extra fees for restoration.

Remember to renew your domain before it expires.

If you need help renewing, contact your registrar or reseller for available options. Check your current registrar by doing a domain name search on

When transferring your domain, note that ICANN locks most domains for 60 days after registration. This means you cannot transfer your domain within the first 60 days of transfer or creation.

Frequently Asked Questions

Whether you’re a business or an individual, you may need expert guidance on choosing, registering, and configuring your perfect online address.

Here are a few buying-a-domain-name FAQs to get you started.

How Much Does It Cost to Buy a Domain Name?

The average cost for domain names is as low as $10 per year. But in some cases, you can get a domain name for free.

Domain name prices vary from one seller to another — and other factors like the extension, the length of the registration period, and the popularity of the domain name can affect price too.

On top of that, you may need to pay for web hosting and other add-ons as well.

Nonetheless, many cheap domain registrars provide valuable features that might be precisely what your brand requires. It’s in your best interest to thoroughly check and compare registrars.

Can I Buy a Domain Name Forever?

No, you cannot buy a website’s domain forever. Renewal is necessary to maintain ownership.

Domain registrations or renewals are usually done on a yearly basis. However, it’s possible to pay in advance or avail of a plan for a maximum of 10 years.

You will need to renew your domain name before it expires to make sure your domain name is available and accessible to you.

For assistance or renewal options, contact your registrar or reseller. Verify your current registrar through the website.

What Is the Best Place to Buy a Domain Name?

There are many reputable domain registrars to choose new or parked domain names from — such as Namecheap, GoDaddy, SquareSpace Domains (Formerly Google Domains), and others.

Most domain registrars offer an all-in-one solution that not only helps you choose a parked domain name but also helps host your website.

You can also consider expired domains marketplaces like Odys Global and check for available domain names that resonate with your brand.

Odys Global is one of the best marketplaces for premium-aged domains.

That said, always compare prices and features between different registrars and marketplaces to choose a domain name that suits your business.

How Do I Choose the Right Domain Name for My Website?

The right domain name for your website will depend on your specific needs and goals.

Consider factors like relevance, memorability, branding, and availability when selecting an effective business domain name.

Also, factor in your website’s content, brand identity, and target audience. You could also use domain name generators to get ideas and ensure the chosen name is available and not trademarked.

These simplify the process of acquiring the right domain for your online venture.

How Long Does It Take To Buy a Domain Name?

In most cases, it typically takes 24-72 hours to buy a domain name.

However, the exact time may vary depending on the domain registrar and additional services you choose.

This is because the process involves selecting an available domain, providing necessary information, choosing a registration period, and completing the purchase.

Purchasing a domain name is quick — however, setting it up may take time as the process includes configuring DNS settings and linking it to a hosting provider.

Moreover, setting up your website involves additional steps that can vary in complexity and duration depending on your website builder.


Buying a domain name is a crucial step in establishing your online presence. It’s akin to your brand’s street address in the virtual world.

Here’s a quick recap of the five essential steps involved in purchasing a domain name.

  1. Choose a domain name: A perfect domain name should be easy to recall, relevant to your brand or industry, and reflect your overall identity.
  2. Select a reliable domain name registrar: Partner with a reputable domain name registrar that offers privacy protection, reliable customer support, and a user-friendly interface.
  3. Check name availability: Purchase a domain name that is not already taken by someone else.
  4. Registration: Register a domain name through your chosen registrar or marketplace. Provide accurate contact information, like an active email address and phone number.
  5. Configure DNS settings: Point your domain name to your website hosting provider to ensure proper functionality.

Follow the steps outlined in this guide, consider the key factors, and confidently navigate the process to ensure a seamless domain registration experience.

Odys Global Founder and CEO

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