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You can’t run a store without naming it. Similarly, you can’t have a website without a domain name. A domain name is a unique address that identifies your website online. It’s one of the fundamentals of building a website, so partnering with the best domain name registrar is critical.
Fortunately, registering a domain name is arguably the easiest part of creating an online presence. You only need a unique domain name, a domain name registrar, and a few dollars to get the process rolling. This post takes you through the process step-by-step.
The 7 Best Domain Registrars for Registering a Domain Name
We reviewed dozens to compare the best domain registrars. We picked the registrars based on our experience with their registration process and web hosting services. We even identified specific scenarios where each domain registrar shines. These are the best companies for registering a domain name for your website:
- GoDaddy — Best for domain protection and privacy
- Bluehost — Best for bundling domain registration and web hosting
- Porkbun — Best for creative domain extensions
- Domain.com — Best for fast and simple domain purchasing
- Network Solutions — Best for long-term domain registrations
- Namecheap — Best for affordable domain registration
- NameSilo — Best for buying domains in bulk
Register a Domain Name for Your Website in 5 Easy Steps
Registering a domain name is a simple task that requires no technical knowledge. Here’s how to purchase a domain name in five simple steps:
- Choose a Unique Domain Name
- Find a Domain Name Registrar
- Search Your Domain Name With Bluehost
- Add or Remove Domain Privacy
- Purchase The Domain Name
While there are many good domain registrars, we highly recommend Bluehost. You’ll likely need web hosting as well. Bluehost offers terrific domain registration and hosting services. Plus, you’ll get a free domain name if you let Bluehost host your site. Signup with Bluehost today and save up to 70% on WordPress website and ecommerce web hosting.
Step 1: Choose a Unique Domain Name
A website has a unique IP address, not unlike a home address. This unique string of 32-bit numbers helps a device locate a specific website. An IP address may look something like this:
However, it’s impossible to remember the IP address of every website you want to visit, which is where the domain name comes in. A domain name is the text version of an IP address. So, rather than typing the IP address of the website you want to visit, you can simply type a domain name like quickspout.com to visit the website.
Therefore, you’ll need a unique domain name for your website. The name can’t be registered anywhere, including with registrars other than Bluehost. The process is quite similar if you’ve ever registered a company name.
There are more than 300 million registered domain names. So you’ll need to be creative to find one that’s available and matches your business or website. Fortunately, you can follow a few tips to come up with the perfect domain name.
The primary key to a successful domain is to use keywords that match your business. This way, your website will rank on search engines so that you can benefit from organic traffic. Relevant keywords also make sense to your customers.
For example, if you sell vintage clothes, a domain name like VintageApparel.com or VintageClothes.com makes sense. However, be creative with the keywords to avoid looking generic or spammy. For example, VintageCouture.com is an excellent alternative.
Also, keep your domain name short so it’s easy for your visitors to remember. Most experts recommend between 6-14 characters. Similarly, steer clear of uncommon or complicated words which can be challenging to remember.
Other tips for choosing a domain name include:
- Consider using your city or state name in the domain for a local business. It’s a great way to target local customers. It will also help you rank in your geographical area.
- Avoid numbers and hyphens. Customers may forget to add the hyphen or place it incorrectly. Similarly, visitors may spell out a number rather than using the numeral or vice versa—for example, 4 vs. four.
- Make sure your domain name is easy to pronounce and spell. You’ll lose much-needed traffic if your customers constantly misspell your domain.
- Choose a brandable domain name. It will set you apart from the competition. Think Apple.com or Amazon.com.
Don’t worry if you can’t find the inspiration to create a unique domain name from scratch. There are many free domain name generators online to help point you in the right direction. You only need to enter a few words that describe your business, and the algorithm will suggest possible domain names.
Step 2: Find a Domain Name Registrar
There is no shortage of domain name registrars. However, not all registrars are created equal. So carefully consider which registrar works best for you.
The first thing is to ensure that the company is accredited by the Internet Corporation for Assign Names and Numbers (ICANN). ICANN is a not-for-profit organization responsible for coordinating domain name systems so no two websites can have the same domain name.
Next, choose an affordable registrar. Remember that most registrars charge a low introductory price for the first year. However, the cost goes up when it’s time to renew your registration. Ensure you read the fine print so you know how much the domain actually costs.
Also, choose a domain registrar that offers WHOIS protection. The ICANN requires you to provide personal information when you register your domain. The information includes your name, address, phone number, and email.
Additionally, this information is public. So someone could search your domain name via the WHOIS Lookup tool. They’d be able to find your personal information. A good registrar will replace your personal information with the company’s details.
Finally, choose a registrar that offers extra services you might need. For example, you may also need web hosting, a website builder, ecommerce tools, an SSL certificate, site templates, SEO, and dedicated servers. Ideally, you should be able to get all the tools and services you need to create a web presence from the same company.
We recommend Bluehost as the best domain name registrar. The company meets all these criteria. Plus, you may be able to save significant costs by bundling services like domain name registration and web hosting.
You also won’t have to worry about the additional tools and services you need to create a web presence. Bluehost offers an easy-to-use drag-and-drop website builder. You can also find one-click WordPress installation, SSL certificate, and other related services under one roof.
Step 3: Search Your Domain Name With Bluehost
The next step is to check if your domain name is available. Again, it only takes a few seconds, and it’s free. Visit the Bluehost website and type your domain name in the search bar. Don’t forget to choose your top-level domain (TLD) from the drop-down menu.
There are two main parts to a domain name. There is the top-level domain and second-level domain. Let’s use the example of quicksprout.com.
Here, the “quicksprout” section is the second-level domain. Therefore, that makes the “.com” section the top-level domain. There’s a lot of freedom here, so choose a TDL that makes sense for your website.
Bluehost offers a wide variety of domain-level extensions, including .com, .net, .ca, and .biz. So you’re sure to find the extension that works for your type of website. Of course, the most popular TDK is .com. However, you can still do well with field-specific extensions like .biz or .tech.
Next, click Search to see if your preferred domain is available. You’ll get a result in just a few seconds. Bluehost will also suggest additional TDLs for your available domain name, such as .net, .tech, .org, or .site.
It’s a good time to compare prices for different domain extensions. For example, the .com extension, in my case, costs $12.99 for one year. However, I might opt to go for the much cheaper .website extension for $1.99 for the first year.
Changing your domain extension is simple. Just remove it from the cart on the right side. Then, click Add to Cart next to your preferred domain name. If unsure, the .com TDL is always a safe bet.
Step 4: Add or Remove Domain Privacy
Bluehost charges extra for domain privacy. This service costs $11.88 per year. Please note that the service is automatically added to your cart when you want to purchase a domain name from Bluehost. You can opt out of domain privacy by unticking the corresponding box.
However, consider retaining the domain privacy option even if you don’t mind people accessing your personal information. For one, this protection helps to control spam and junk mail. Some aggressive marketers use the WHOIS database to target potential clients.
It’s like a free contact list for unscrupulous salespeople. Scammers are also known to use the WHOIS database to find potential victims. You can avoid unsolicited calls and potential scams by keeping your information private.
Domain privacy is also effective for keeping your competitors at bay. A rival business may use your private information for market research and other competitive practices. Regardless, domain privacy is affordable and worth the added security and peace of mind.
You can also add domain privacy at a later date if you aren’t yet sure. Bluehost offers it as an add-on service. You can find it on the Bluehost Marketplace starting at $1.25 per month.
Finally, it’s worth noting that not all TLDs are eligible for privacy protection. Most notably, country code TLDs like .ca, .uk, and so on aren’t eligible. This is because different registries have different rules.
Step 5: Purchase The Domain Name
First, confirm that you’re happy with your domain name and corresponding extension. Then, click Proceed to head to the payment section. Bluehost offers a 30-day free trial for its hosting service. Consider accepting the offer if you don’t already have a web host.
Bluehost will even throw in a free SSL certificate to secure your site. It’s a great offer since you can opt out of the hosting service before the free trial expires if you aren’t happy with it.
The free hosting also comes with additional perks. For example, you’ll get unmetered bandwidth, 50 GB storage, WordPress installation, round-the-clock expert support, and up to 25 subdomains. All this is free for one month.
Finally, click Proceed with 30-day trial of hosting to complete the registration process.
You’ll be requested to enter your information, such as name, address, and phone number. You’ll also enter your payment information. Finally, click Purchase Now to complete the process.
Final Thoughts About How to Register a Domain Name
Once again, registering a domain name is perhaps the easiest part of building your online presence. It’s also affordable. And you may save money on web design, hosting, and SSL certificate if you choose a company like Bluehost.
Lastly, it’s a good idea to think of all the website-related services you need in addition to domain registration. For instance, do you need a website builder? How about a custom domain? And free WordPress installation? You can use these criteria to assess which domain registrars fit your needs beyond only purchasing a domain name.