the hardest part of buying a domain is deciding what one to buy.
most folks pick some version of their business name, like this site living on tinyblueorange.com when the business name is tiny blue orange.
if the .com is already taken by someone else, you can choose a different extension — like .biz, .blog, or .club.
or switch up the front of the URL to grab the .com. adding or removing a word can make the difference — like tinyblueorangestudio.com or tinyblueorangedevelopment.com (which is painfully long.)
the best way to search for your domain’s availability is to use the company you want to purchase from. you could try typing the domain name into your browser + see if a site pops up, but that doesn’t guarantee that the domain isn’t being held for auction or a project to come.
there are rumors of companies like GoDaddy hiking up prices for domains that are searched for within their site. if that makes you nervous, search for the domain with a company you won’t be using or plan to buy the domain after verifying that it is available.
the company that i use + love for domain registration is hover.com. (that link saves you $2 off registration + gives me a $2 credit to renew my domain.)
before getting ready to purchase your domain, you’ll need to decide if there are any add-ons you want to purchase.
i have one domain that i bought using private registration but wish i never had.
if you have concerns about your address being listed with your domain purchase, private registration is for you. but the fee is not a one-time deal. in order to keep the private registration you will need to renew it when you renew your domain.
some domain registrars offer up other add-ons like email registration, hosting + discounts on extra extensions of the domain you are buying.
if you are just getting started, or testing the waters with a new business, i would suggest skipping all of the extras in order to keep your costs low. you can usually add on these features down the road with just a few button clicks.
the last major decision you have to make is how long you want to purchase your domain for.
many companies will offer a lower annual price for any domain purchased for longer than 1 year, but if you aren’t sure where this project will be in a year, it may be worth picking a single year registration.
some folks hate getting the “your domain needs to be renewed” emails or they don’t want to worry about their credit card number changing + the domain not being automatically renewed. in those cases, they will purchase a domain for 5-10 years so they don’t need to think about it for a while.
you can’t go wrong with your choice, it’s just about securing your domain for a length of time.
making the purchase
once you know your domain name, if you need any add-ons + how long you want it for, you are ready to buy!
head to your domain registrar — like hover.com, domains.google or godaddy.com — and search for the domain to confirm it is still available.
add the URL to your cart, along with any others that you may be purchasing. (if your name has a common misspelling, it’s smart to purchase the misspelling to redirect to your main URL.)
go to your shopping cart to add any add-ons you want + update the length of time you are registering your domain(s) for.
if you need to create an account with the registrar, consider using a PO Box address (if you have one) to keep your home address off of the domain registration information.
add in your payment information + click the purchase button! that’s it!
you are now the proud owner of at least one domain. i’ll warn you that they are a bit like tattoos — once you get one, it’s pretty easy to find yourself with a dozen of them before too long.
note: some hosting companies provide you with a free domain name for the first year when you purchase a hosting plan. if you know who you are hosting with, check their offers before moving forward with a different registrar.