How to Buy a Domain Name in 6 Simple Steps and What to Consider When Purchasing a Domain
Before creating a website, choosing the right domain name is crucial. A good domain name makes it easier for the audience to not only visit your site, but also remember it.
To ease you through the process, this guide will explain how to buy a domain name and what factors to consider when registering one. We will also show you the steps to purchase a registered domain and connect a domain name to web hosting.
How to Buy a Domain Name – Video Tutorial
If you prefer a visual guide, check out this Hostinger Academy video on how to buy and register a domain name:
How to Buy a Domain Name in 6 Simple Steps
In this section, we’ll dive deeper into the methods of obtaining a domain name – from finding a registrar to completing the domain name registration.
Check out our comprehensive tutorial on what a domain name is for a complete breakdown of how domains work and the different types of domains.
1. Choose a Reliable Domain Registrar
A domain registrar is a company responsible for registering and managing domain names. It’s accredited by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), an organization that handles domain registrations and Domain Name System (DNS) protocols.
Selecting a credible registrar is crucial for your website in the long run. Picking the wrong one means you might end up paying hidden fees or getting scammed.
For example, fraudulent companies often trick users into switching from their existing registrars under the pretense of cheaper domain renewal.
With hundreds of options in the market, it can be challenging to pick the right domain registrar. So, consider these factors when selecting one:
- Pricing. Before making a domain purchase, compare domain costs from different registrars. Based on the research, determine which one aligns best with your budget.
- Domain expiration and renewal policy. To prevent someone else from claiming your domain name, it’s important to renew it before the expiration date. Therefore, pick a registrar that provides an auto-renewal or payment reminder feature.
- Additional services. Find good domain name registrars that offer valuable add-ons for free, such as domain privacy protection.
- Domain transfer policy. Migrating domain names from one provider to another is a common practice. So, make sure to check the registrar’s domain transfer policy to avoid paying extra fees.
Aside from domain name registrars, many web hosting companies and website builder platforms offer free domain name registration.
To streamline the website-making process, we recommend users buy web hosting and a domain name from the same web host. Not only is it more cost-effective, but it saves you the time and effort of performing domain transfers.
If you’re wondering how to get a free domain name from Hostinger, simply purchase our Premium Web Hosting package, which starts at RM9.99/month. Our 30-day money-back guarantee ensures you get the best value for money.
2. Run a Domain Name Search
After finding the best domain registrar or web hosting provider, the next step is to search for an available domain. Before you register a domain name, make sure to pick an appropriate domain extension as well.
Also known as top-level domains (TLDs), domain extensions are placed at the end of a web address. For instance, Hostinger.com has Hostinger as the address and .com as the domain extension.
There are different types of domain extensions available, such as:
- Generic Top-Level Domain (gTLD). It is the most common type of TLD used for various purposes. Some popular examples of gTLDs are .com, .org, and .net. This category also includes newer extensions, such as .xyz, .club, and .online.
- Country Code Top-Level Domain (ccTLD). This type of TLD represents a particular country. Popular ccTLDs include .us and .uk – the official extensions for the United States and the United Kingdom, respectively.
- Sponsored Top-Level Domain (sTLD). This extension is designed for specific entities. For example, .gov is reserved for government bodies, while only educational organizations can use .edu.
To decide on a suitable extension, consider the purpose of your site.
For example, .com, .biz, and .store domain extensions are perfect for an eCommerce business. On the other hand, using a .me or .online TLD is an excellent option for personal blogs or online portfolio sites.
For those who need help deciding on a web address, use a domain name generator to check the domain name availability.
Domain Name Checker
Instantly check domain name availability.
Simply enter your desired address into the search bar, and the tool will provide a list of domain name suggestions with different extensions.
If your desired address is taken, consider alternative top-level domains. For instance, if you are running a technology-related business but .com and .io TLDs are unavailable, try the .tech extension. If you need a domain for an online portfolio, consider opting for .space TLD.
Don’t be afraid to experiment with different domain name and extension combinations. There are many TLDs you can use as domain hacks. For instance, if you offer career coaching but all the popular TLDs are already taken, try the .ch extension to get a unique yourcoa.ch name.
3. Purchase Your Domain
If your preferred domain name is available, it’s time to proceed with the checkout. To register a domain name with Hostinger, follow these steps:
- After running a domain name search, click the Add to Cart button next to your chosen domain.
- On the shopping cart window, choose a registration period.
- Create a new account by providing your email address or log in with your existing Hostinger or social account.
- Enter your payment information.
- Click the Submit Secure Payment button to complete the checkout process.
4. Enter Your Contact Details
After making the payment, you’ll be redirected to hPanel to complete the domain registration process:
- Choose your Country of residence.
- Select whether you want to create a personal or company website.
- Click Next step.
- Enter your contact details, including your name, email, street address, and phone number.
- Hit the Finish registration button.
Now, the domain registry will review your contact information. This may take a while, so check back and verify the registration status through your hPanel dashboard or email inbox.
5. Verify Domain Name Ownership
Once the registration has been approved, a confirmation email should arrive. Click the link to verify your domain ownership, and that’s it – the domain name is now active.
If the email doesn’t arrive, resend the request from hPanel as soon as possible. Waiting 15 days or more may lead to a temporary domain suspension from the registry.
To make the most out of your newly acquired domain, consider submitting it to Google Search Console. This will provide you with important analytical insights and make it easier for Google to crawl your site’s content.
You can modify the domain ownership details via hPanel → Domains → Contact Information. Once any changes are made, you will have to reconfirm them via email.
6. Protect Your Domain
After registering your own domain name, your contact information will be publicly available on WHOIS, the official domain ownership database. This can leave you vulnerable to spam messages and cyber attacks.
To hide your sensitive data, consider activating domain privacy protection. This service will conceal or replace your name, email, and postal address with false ones. However, note that some extensions do not support privacy protection due to restrictions placed by their registry.
Most domain registrars offer domain privacy as an add-on, charging anywhere between $1-20/year. Fortunately, Hostinger provides free WHOIS protection for eligible TLDs.
To check whether your domain privacy is enabled via hPanel, follow these steps:
- Head to Domains.
- Select your web address.
- Scroll down to the WHOIS Privacy section.
- Make sure the toggle is on.
What to Consider When Buying a Domain Name
To select a good domain name for your online project, consider the following best practices.
Make It Short and Memorable
Choose a catchy domain name that is easy to read, type, and pronounce. That’s because a concise and memorable domain helps visitors find your website quickly.
Plus, short and simple domain names are more likely to encourage word-of-mouth promotion. They also look more professional on both offline and digital marketing materials.
Aim to keep domains somewhere between six and 14 characters. Avoid using numbers, double letters, and hyphens, as they are harder to describe and type. Web addresses with special characters also risk looking like spoof domains, which can negatively affect the site’s credibility.
One way to come up with the perfect domain name is to build from common phrases that appear within your industry. Usually, two-syllable phrases are the easiest for users to remember. Think Twitter and Facebook.
At GoodHire, we wanted to build a platform for easier and more flexible background check services, helping employers make good hires. By working backward to identify the ideal outcome of our service, the name came naturally. After performing the same process yourself, you’ll be left with a catchy name that reflects what you do and who you serve.
Check for Trademark Infringement
If you are building a new online business, the domain should be the same or similar to your company name. This helps customers remember your brand and web address simultaneously instead of memorizing two separate names.
If you find it difficult to decide on either of those, utilize AI branding tools such as Hostinger’s company name generator to explore creative naming ideas.
On the topic of branding, it is also wise to check for copyright before you register a domain name. Look up your desired business name on trademark databases to ensure no one has registered it.
Using a trademarked name for your domain will lead to copyright infringement and possibly a lawsuit. In addition to potential monetary losses, this can harm your brand’s reputation.
Purchasing a domain name is generally a long-term commitment. Ideally, your domain should stay the same as long as your business operates.
Changing a domain name after launching a website can be risky, as it may lead to errors if not done correctly. Even so, it can still negatively impact site traffic, brand awareness, and sales conversions.
To keep your web address relevant for years, avoid using pop culture references or trending catchphrases, as they can quickly become irrelevant and outdated.
If you plan to use a domain name for the long term, consider enabling the auto-renewal feature. It can save you time and ensure the continued accessibility of your web pages.
To automatically renew your domain, go to hPanel → Billing and add a payment method. Then, navigate to the Services section and choose Enable auto-renewal.
Domain Name Pricing
Hostinger offers more than 100 unique domain extensions, and the list continues to grow. All prices displayed below are for a registration period of 12 months, starting at $0.99 for the first year.
Important! Important! Prices do not include VAT.
Most Popular Domain List
$0.99 Domain List
All Domains List
Save money on domains by finding a web hosting package with a free domain name.
For instance, our Premium Web Hosting plan that costs RM9.99/month allows users to claim a domain name for free for the first year of the subscription. If you choose a .net domain, purchasing this hosting service lets you save $12.99 for the first year.
Furthermore, this plan comes with a free SSL certificate, which is essential for protecting your website.
How to Buy a Domain Name That Is Already Registered
If your preferred domain name is already taken, there are two ways around this. Aside from finding alternative domain extensions, you can purchase an existing domain name from its current owner.
Here are the steps to buy a registered domain name.
1. Check to See What the Domain Is Currently Used For
Type the desired domain name into your browser and see whether it’s connected to an active website. If that’s the case, the owner is likely uninterested in selling the domain.
However, if the site hasn’t been updated in years, the registrant might be more willing to sell the domain name.
Your biggest chance of securing the web address comes when it leads to a placeholder website on a parked domain – a registered domain name not connected to any web hosting service. Domain resellers regularly buy parked domain names and sell them for a profit.
2. Find the Owner’s Contact Information on WHOIS Lookup
The next step is to find the domain owner’s contact information via a WHOIS lookup tool. Along with the owner’s details, the tool will show the domain’s registrar and expiration date.
If the information is hidden because the owner has enabled domain privacy protection, look for their email address on the site. You can often find this on the Contact page or the website footer.
3. Determine the Value of the Domain
Before sending your proposal and negotiating with the owner, it’s crucial to understand the value of your desired domain name. Without proper research, you risk paying more than the actual market price.
4. Contact the Domain Owner
Now, it’s time to get in touch with the owner by contacting them directly or using a premium domain broker service.
For the first method, send an email pitch to the owner explaining the following details:
- Who you are.
- Why you’re writing to them.
- Which domain you want to purchase.
- Your initial offer for the domain.
Don’t forget to use professional language to convey the seriousness of your inquiry. This will help convey the credibility of your offer and increase the likelihood of them responding to your message.
On the other hand, using a premium domain broker is a great option for first-time buyers. With this method, the broker will mediate the domain purchase to ensure the process is smooth for both parties.
From there, you can learn from the broker’s expertise on how to facilitate a fair transaction for future domain purchases.
5. Negotiate the Purchase
When negotiating the purchase terms, consider essential factors like the domain’s price, transfer method, and applicable laws to your region.
To ensure a fair and safe transaction, consult an attorney before signing any formal contract. In addition, we recommend using an escrow service instead of transferring money directly to the owner, especially if you aren’t using a domain broker.
This method protects you against domain scams since the seller will not receive the payment until the domain transaction is complete.
How to Connect a Domain Name to Web Hosting
If you’ve already bought a domain name from a registrar, you’ll need to manually connect it to a web hosting account to get your website online.
There are many types of web hosting services available, such as shared hosting, VPS hosting, cloud hosting, and dedicated WordPress hosting. In order to choose the best hosting plan, it’s crucial to note that these hosting solutions cater to varying website needs.
For example, a shared hosting plan is an excellent option for small websites like personal blogs or digital portfolios. In contrast, cloud hosting suits higher-traffic websites like eCommerce stores.
Hostinger bundles most of its hosting plans with a free custom domain name. However, if you have purchased one from a separate domain name registrar, it’s possible to transfer the domain to Hostinger. Here’s how:
- Access hPanel → Domains → Transfer Domain.
- Enter your existing domain name.
- Click Transfer and proceed with the purchase.
- Provide the EPP or authentication code from your current registrar.
- Confirm the domain transfer via email.
A domain name enables users to access your website easily, but it is also a valuable asset for your company’s branding efforts. Therefore, selecting and buying a good domain name is important for your online business.
When brainstorming a custom domain name, remember to make it short, memorable, and future-proof. In addition, use a domain name generator to help find available web addresses.
Then, don’t forget to look up the name on trademark databases to avoid copyright infringement.
To recap, here are the six steps of buying a new domain name:
- Find a credible domain name registrar.
- Run a domain name search.
- Pick the right domain.
- Complete the domain registration.
- Verify domain name ownership.
- Enable domain privacy protection.
Alternatively, you can purchase a registered domain name by contacting the owner and making an offer.
We recommend buying domain names from a web host to streamline the website creation process. There are various web hosting services, like Hostinger, offering free domain names with its plans.
However, if you’ve purchased your own domain name from a registrar, it’s possible to connect it to a new web hosting account.
We hope this article has helped you learn more about how to obtain a website domain name. If you have any questions, leave us a comment below.
How to Buy a Domain Name FAQ
Find answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about buying a domain name.
How Can I Get a Free .com Domain?
You can get a free .com domain from a hosting company like Hostinger. We offer free domain registration with most of our annual hosting packages, including Premium Web Hosting, Business Web Hosting, Cloud Hosting, and VPS Hosting.
Can I Buy a Domain Name Without Hosting?
Yes, you can. Domain registration and web hosting are two different services. However, you’ll need a web hosting account to use your purchased domain name for a website.
How to Apply for a Domain Name?
To apply for a domain name, visit a reputable domain registrar, search for your desired name, follow the registration process, and complete the required information.
How to Buy a Domain Name Permanently?
Unfortunately, it’s not possible to buy a domain name permanently – you will need to pay and renew the subscription to keep using the same domain name. Typically, the maximum registration period is 10 years.
Can You Reserve a Domain Name?
Yes, you can reserve a domain name by purchasing it through a domain registrar. This secures the name for your future use.