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How to Buy a Domain Name

Whether you’re growing a business or embarking on a personal project that you want to take to the masses, the next, obvious step is to get online. If you’re wondering how to register a domain name properly, we can help you get started. Our blog post includes many useful tips, neatly wrapped up in a step-by-step guide. 

An Introduction to Domains

If you’re looking for a good new domain name and sat wondering, “What first? Do you purchase a website domain?” then don’t panic. If you want to get your public site on the World Wide Web (WWW), we can help you get started.

Domains help us to correctly identify and remember websites, and they are the second part of the URL, which starts after “http://” in the address bar, and for us, it’s namecheap.com

However, behind the scenes, it’s a little more complex.

Every domain is connected to a unique IP address, which is made up of a series of numbers.  As the numbers are difficult to remember, we use words instead. The numbers are used by the computer as a link to the corresponding server that looks after website data. So, when we type a web address into the search bar, the correct data is shown to us.

They are made up of two parts, a top level and a second level. The top level domains (TLDs) will either be a country code top level domain (ccTLD) like .US and .DE, or a generic top level domain (gTLD) like .CRICKET and .ACCOUNTANT

To create a domain name yourself, you will need a unique name — in other words, one that has not been acquired yet.

And that’s where registrars like us come in. We can help you make a registration, find great domains to suit your needs, or make an offer on one that already exists in our Marketplace.

Chicken looking up IP addresses

How to Register a Domain in the USA

Need to reach an online audience in the USA? There are a set of requirements that must be fulfilled to register a .US domain:

  • You must be a citizen or permanent resident and your primary residence in the USA.
  • Or, you run an organization within one of the 50 US states, or the District of Columbia, or any of the United States possessions.
  • Or, your organization has a genuine presence in the USA.

Find out more on this subject by checking out our Knowledgebase page about .US registration requirements.

How Do I Buy Domains in Different Countries?

Most countries have their own TLD. If you want to market a product or service in a country that isn’t your own, it’s worth securing the ccTLD before someone else does. 

Domains in other countries can have different registration rules which require you to provide certain information at the time of registering. For example, some ccTLDs may need a citizen to register, and others may be open to anyone in the world. 

As your business grows and enjoys global success, registering the ccTLD for the countries you want to reach is a great opportunity to build trust, and become more recognizable. Try our ccTLD registration page to discover the ccTLDs we offer here at Namecheap.

How to Register Foreign Domain Names

If you’ve already decided on your target audience and the country that they reside in, it’s time to register the country domain. And, as we’ve mentioned previously, there are rules for ccTLDs that must be followed.

Let’s look at an example. If you want to reach a French audience, you’ll want to register a .FR domain. If you are registering on behalf of a company with a head office in the EU, the registrant must provide one of the following:

  • SIREN or SIRET number
  • EU Trademark number
  • DUNS number
  • EEA Local Identifier

Rules such as the .FR requirements are put in place to help to make sure that domains are safe and secure, and registered by legitimate people. This minimizes the chance for illegal activity and domain abuse. 

If you want to register foreign domain names, pay close attention to the FAQs, terms and conditions, and any fine print to fully understand the requirements. 

How to Register a Company Domain Name for Business

Keen to start an e-business? A domain name gives your business credibility. If you’ve managed to register your company name, and have a landing page that confirms who you are and what your organization does, you gain instant trust points. It might be a good idea to pick up the same name with multiple TLDs, such as companyname.com and companyname.business, so that other businesses don’t get their hands on it.

Once you have a company domain name, you can create a website for business, that includes products and service information for potential customers. As with any name, just start by searching to see if it’s taken. Fingers crossed it’s not!

It’s easy to choose a domain to fit your brand. If you work in finance you can pick up a .LOAN, .ACCOUNTANT and a .FINANCE domain. If you work with technology you can pick up a .AI, .APP, or .DIGITAL. With so many options out there, the hard part will be deciding which you like best!

Keep in mind that if you’re looking to register a company domain, you may be required to submit details such as your company registration number, specifically when registering for a ccTLD. 

Laptop searching global network

How to Know If a Domain Is Available to Buy

So, you’ve decided you’re ready to take your project online and you’ve picked the name of your dreams — the final step is to acquire it. 

As we have already found out, you can’t register an existing name, it must be unique. You can find out whether it’s available by visiting our domain name search page. Once you’ve typed in chosen words, you can see all the unregistered domains related to your search.

Once you’ve completed the purchase and registered it, you’ll have your very own uniform resource locator (URL) — a web address of one’s own!

If the domain of your dreams is taken, a large cross will indicate that it’s unavailable. However all is not lost, you may be able to make an offer on it and if negotiations go well, it could be yours.

How to Buy a Domain that Is Taken

Oh no! That name you had your eye on is currently owned and therefore not available. Don’t panic — it’s already registered, but just because someone’s domain name is in use, it doesn’t mean it’s the end.

It is possible to put in an offer on an already owned domain name. Visit our Marketplace for your chance to grab exciting names, (even a domain that is taken), today.

When searching for a domain, you may come across a domain that has been taken. Here at Namecheap, a ‘Make Offer’ button will be shown, to signify that it is currently registered by someone else or reserved. This means that all is not lost! You can still make an offer for the domain in question. 

Chicken asking to buy a domain

How to Buy an Expired Domain

Want to buy a domain? As with unexpired domains, try looking at our homepage or the Marketplace to discover a newly released domain and snap it up before someone else does. Another great tip is to keep an eye on a domain you like on the assumed release date, by calculating the number of days since it expired. 

Looking to sell domains? There are ways to avoid someone buying your expired domain, as a seller. After you’ve acquired it, it’s your job to renew a domain whenever it’s about to expire. If it is about to expire, it enters a Grace Period first. Once it does, you will no longer be able to make any changes to the domain and it will no longer work. 

If you’re a domain owner with a Namecheap account, it’s easy to catch an expiring domain name before it expires. We offer auto-renewal, so as long as there are funds to do so, it automatically renewed without you having to lift a finger.  

After the Grace Period is over and no action has been taken from your side, a domain that is expired enters the marketplace. Here, old domains that were previously owned will be auctioned off to the highest bidder.

How to Buy a Parked Domain

A “parked domain” has not been linked up to anything — there’s no website, no email, nothing is associated with it. Parking may happen because the owner isn’t ready to use it yet, or it is currently being used for monetizing and contains advertisements.

As with all domains, a parked domain may be listed for sale, and you can still buy it, even though it’s already registered. All you have to do is make an offer, so why not find out how to buy a registered domain today?

How to Buy a Safe Domain

To register a website domain safely for yourself, it’s important to be vigilant and use your common sense when purchasing on the internet.

Make sure that the web address you have visited has an SSL certificate. Take a look at the URL in the browser bar above and you will see a padlock symbol. Click on it, and it will say that connection is secure — this means that potential hackers will not be able to view or modify any data that is transferred between a server and browser. 

For example, when online shopping, it’s important to look out for that padlock — you don’t want to share your bank details with an untrustworthy website.

You can register a website address safely by visiting a well-known registrar like Namecheap, GoDaddy, or HostGator online. 

How to Anonymously Register a Domain Name

If a great idea has popped into your head, or you just don’t want to share your contact information, there is a way to anonymously register a domain name.

At Namecheap, we offer a privacy protection service in the form of WhoisGuard, and it’s completely free with all newly registered and transferred domains. With this service, your personal information is completely hidden, and you will remain anonymous.

And, as your information is hidden, you will stay protected from frustrating telemarketers or even worse — or fraudsters. 

How to Buy a Cheap Domain

When you’re just starting out as a business and want to keep the costs down, a cheap domain looks attractive. Luckily, there are often promotions to take advantage of, so it’s a good idea to keep your eyes peeled and get a discount on your favorite unique domain. Here at Namecheap, we even offer domain names for just $0.99.

Just like sales in real life, deals appear throughout the year at specific times where you snag a great domain price, such as Black Friday, or when a new TLD is launched. For example, our current deals page regularly changes and often includes domains that you can buy cheap for a limited time.

You can read also our article “How Much Does A Domain Name Cost?“.

How to Buy a Domain Name Permanently 

You may be wondering how to get a domain name forever. Unfortunately, it is impossible to register one permanently. 

However, you can buy a domain name for 10 years. Once that time is up, your chosen registrar will let you know that it is about to expire, and give you the chance to renew it.

If it’s too costly, or too daunting to register it all at once, you can start with one year, or three years — as many years as you’re comfortable with — as long as it’s no more than 10 years. 

How to Buy a Private Domain

When registering a domain name, the registrant must provide contact information such as name, email address, postal address and phone number, to the registrar at the time of purchase. In the future, if someone wanted to find out who owned that domain, their contact information can be found publicly on the WHOIS database.

Should you want to hide your contact data from the public, you may wish to use a privacy protection service. This means that your contact information remains private, keeping it hidden from telemarketers and keeping you safe from junk mail and even identity theft. 

Here at Namecheap, we offer WhoisGuard privacy protection, for free, for life. Your email address will be replaced with an @whoisguard.com address, and any emails sent to it will be filtered for spam and forwarded to an email address of your choosing. You won’t miss out on any genuine emails!

Using privacy protection means that you can have peace of mind that your details are hidden, and not on display for unethical individuals to find, and potentially use against you. 

If a domain name you have your eye on is under the control of a private seller that uses a privacy protection service, it doesn’t mean that it’s any more difficult to buy. All that happens when you register a website privately, is that the details of the seller are kept hidden. If you contact the email address given, it will still be forwarded to the real owner.

Search to see if it’s for sale, and make an offer through the normal channels if it is. Alternatively, visit the domain in question and see if there is a contact form or phone number on the page. If there is, get in touch and make an offer.

Chicken at laptop with coffee

How to Create Your Own Domain Name

If you want to promote your face or your name online, why not create a personal website using a customized domain? A personal domain is where you use your own name, followed by a top level domain like .COM or .ME

The best way to start building a personal brand is to use your own name. And, because this specific domain uses your first name and last name together, you may have more of a chance of landing it. Simple, and easy!

Another way to create a personalized domain name is to use your name in conjunction with a hobby, such as johnsmith.actor, or hannahrowe.cricket. There are so many options out there, ready and waiting to be snapped up.

How to Create a Custom Domain Extension

There are 1,530 top level domains according to Wikipedia. You can apply to create a domain extension, however, there are both benefits and risks in doing so. If your new TLD application is successful, you will have signed up to run a registry business and the registered domain names that use your own unique extension are your responsibility. 

The benefits include setting the prices and rules, creating a community and enjoying a regular stream of revenue. The risks and responsibilities include the initial investment of $185,000, other ongoing costs, and competition from similar TLDs.

Moreover, when you create a TLD you are starting something completely brand new. There are no guarantees that it would become popular — it’s a serious risk you’d have to be willing to take. 

Interestingly, it is possible to use your brand name instead of a more traditional .com or .biz, if your company can fulfill certain criteria dictated by ICANN. Apple, for example, may use iphone.apple, instead of iphone.com. The benefits to qualifying and registering a brand TLD include brand awareness and a diversified online presence.

How to Bulk Buy Domains

If you’re lucky enough to be in a position to buy a bunch of domain names all at once, it’s actually very easy to do. In fact, right here at Namecheap, we have a bulk domain name search tool where you can search and purchase them — all in one place. 

This tool means that users can search up to 5,000 keywords and bulk buy domains if they wish. This is particularly useful for businesses looking to secure a bunch of domain names to point towards their main site, or if you’re a start-up that doesn’t want to lose the chance at some great domain extensions that are relevant to your industry. 

Bulk buying domains means that it’s easier to protect your brand from competitors that may buy similar domains to you, in order to capture your potential customers. If they manage to get your domain, they may even sell it back to you at a high price at a later date.

Imagine you own a product that you’d eventually like to market globally. Another advantage of bulk-buying is to secure country-code TLDs for the areas you’d like to sell in, making online marketing easier for you in the future.  

Want to find out more? Learn about the advantages and how to buy domains in bulk today.

Where to Register a Domain Name

If you’re wondering where to purchase your domain name from, we happen to know a great place! We offer a free two-month email address trial, 24/7 customer support, free privacy protection as well as a selection of exclusive deals where you can get brilliant prices on hosting and more.

Our main goal at Namecheap is to satisfy our customers, so when you join over two million domain owners and register with us, we promise that you’ll be well looked after.

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Colleen Branch

Colleen is a content specialist with over 11 years’ experience. She loves to write honest, clear and concise copy, and her work has been featured in many places in print and online, including HuffPost UK and The Times. Colleen’s passions include cooking, playing pool, and board games. More articles written by Colleen.

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