Domain Name for Dummies: How to Buy A Domain Name

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  • Hosting Guides
  • Feb 07, 2018

It was back in 1985 when the first domain name was registered and since then, the Internet has seen an exponential growth of active domain names.

Verisign’s report notes that the domain industry in 2017 (Q1) experienced a 3.7 percent growth, netting in over 300 million registered domains, and will continue to grow.

Given how important a digital presence is in today’s technologically inclined society, it makes sense for a brand, be it a large conglomerate or a one-man digital agency, to own domain name.

Whether we like it or not, having a domain that’s registered to your brand is a necessity.

If you don’t have one yet, or just need a little guide on domain names, then keep on reading. We’ll share the details on how to buy and register a new domain for beginners!

Know your ABCs (or DNS)

When you want to start a website, you need to have a domain name. But what the heck is a domain name anyway?

It’s basically a string of recognizable words that, when typed in the browser, redirects the user to your server IP.

You see, when a website is created, it often comes with a unique address known as a Domain Name Servers (DNS) which often looks like this:


That’s really hard to memorize and type. Which is why a unique domain name will be easier for users to remember and type.

How to buy a new domain name (from registrar)?

Getting your own domain boils down to two ways:

  1. Buying and registering an entirely new domain, or
  2. Purchasing one that’s currently owned by someone else.

There are pros and cons to both ways but ultimately, it’s up to you whether you prefer to pay for expensive but well-known addresses (domains that are active) or cheaper but lesser-known ones (brand new domains).

One thing you need to consider is how to name your domain.

A really good domain name can be the deciding factor that makes or break your brand, so choose one wisely.

1. Check for domain availability

Now that you’ve decided on a really awesome domain name, it’s time to check whether the domain name you want is available or not.

Checking on whether a domain name’s availability is easy enough. You can do a simple search with one of the domain registrars; or, use a whois search engines such as DomainTools to verify whether your domain name is available or has been taken.

If the domain name you want is not available, try to see if different extensions are available instead.

You can check if a domain name is available using NameCheap.

2. Register your domain name with a domain registrar

The domain name you’ve chosen is perfect and you’ve verified that it is available, now it’s time to actually register the domain name itself.

You can register the domain if it’s available.

But, how do you do that exactly?

The easiest way is to go to a domain registrar service sites. These sites will let you register your domain name either through yearly contracts or a long-term contract. Here are a few that you can check out:

Domain Registrars Pricing WHOIS Privacy
.com .net .org
123 Reg £11.99 £11 .99 £11 .99 £4 .99/year $9.99/year $10.99/year $14.99/year
Gandi €12.54/year €16.50/year €15.20/year
GoDaddy $12.17/year $12.17/year $20.17/year $7.99/year
Name Cheap $10.69/year $12.88/year $12.48/year $2.88/year
Network Solutions $34.99/year $32.99/year $34.99/year $9.99/year


Domain registrar sites will charge you a small fee that typically ranges between $10 – $15 per year, however, domain names that are high in demand will cost more in the initial purchase.

The expensive domains can reach up to thousands of dollars but after that, the renewal fee is fairly nominal ($10 – $15 per year).

Purchasing a domain name through website builders

Is it possible to purchase a domain name directly from a website builder?


A number of website builders offer the ability purchase a domain immediately after you’ve created a site on their platform.

Some of the best website builders today, such as Wix or Weebly, will give you a free custom domain name for a year if you sign up to their annual plans.

The renewal fee, however, can differ depending on the platform itself with Wix offering $14.95 per year to renew while Weebly is slightly more expensive with $19.95 per year.

Though it might be a bit pricier compared to registering a domain yourself, the benefit of purchasing a custom domain name through a website builder is that you can easily connect your website to the domain name with little-to-no hassle.

Adding Privacy To Your Domain Name

When you register a domain name, all of your contact information and ownership details will be detailed into WHOIS.

This means details such as your email address, home address, telephone number, etc., will be made available to the public.

If you don’t want to have your private information out in the open, you can opt to privately register your domain eye so that your contact information will be shielded from the general public.

The cost for using a privacy registration service can vary but generally, it ranges between $10 – $15 per year.

How to buy an existing domain name from another person?

What if you wanted to purchase a domain that’s already active instead?

You can choose to purchase active domains and transfer ownership through services such as a domain name escrow.

What’s a domain name escrow?

It’s basically an independent third-party agent that assists in the selling-buying process of domain names on the internet. These sites provide a safe way for buyers to purchase domain names from sellers who want to let go of their domain name.

There are a number of domain name escrow services available, but here are a few that you can check out: Escrow.comSedo, and Moniker.

How to Purchase Domains Using Escrow

Let’s say you found a domain name and both you and the seller have decided on the amount. The conundrum becomes: How do you safely pay the money and make sure the owner transfers the domain ownership to you?

That’s where escrow comes in. You can use escrow services to make sure that the transaction goes about smoothly. How do you actually do that? Here’s how:

  1. Set up an escrow transaction between you and the seller
    Register an account at an escrow service site, and determine the terms of the transaction between you and the seller, which includes the domain name(s) and sale price.
  2. Make your payment to the escrow company
    Once you decided on the amount, you make your payment (via wire, credit card or any other method) to the escrow company.
  3. Domain name is then transferred from the seller to you
    When the escrow company receives and verifies the payment, they will then instruct the seller to transfer the domain name to you.
  4. Confirm that you’ve received the domain name ownership
    You’ll need to confirm with the escrow company that the ownership of the domain name has transferred to you. Use WHOIS or WHSR Web Host Spy to check if the owner profile has been updated or not.
  5. The seller receives the money from the escrow service site
    The escrow company will verify that the domain name has been transferred and they will then give the money to the seller, minus their fee. (You can decide beforehand which party pays the fee or have it split down the middle.)

How to determine the value of a domain name

When you’re looking for a domain name, you’ll notice that their value can range anywhere from a few dollars to as high as a six or seven-figure range.

How a domain gets its price can be determined by a number of factors such as length, language, trends, and demographics. There’s no one single method that can give you a perfect asking price. There are ways, however,  to give you a ballpark estimate of a domain name and it requires a little bit of researching on your part.

1- Using Recent Domain Sales

A good rule of thumb to understand how domains are valued is by looking at the recent sales. A look at the recent sales can give you an idea of what type of domains are being purchased and for how much.

DNJournal posts a domain sales report which they regularly update and in it, they list out domain names that are recently sold from multiple premium domain services. When looking through, pay attention to the domain’s keywords, length, and other related factors to get an idea of how a domain name is valued.

Screen shot of DN Journal domain sales report.

It’s important to note that the report only covers a small number of domain names, so it’s not exactly the most comprehensive list.

2- Using Online Domain Valuation Tools

The other way to determine a domain’s value is through a domain appraisal service or an online valuation tool. These sites will allow you to enter a specific domain name and will give you a suggested asking price for it.

A few of the sites that you can check out are Estibot, WebsiteOutlook, and URL Appraisal.

These sites determine the value of domain using SEO-related factors like search ranking, keywords, Alexa rank, monthly searches, number of searches, and cost per click.

One thing to note is that different sites can give you different estimations. A good plan would be to use several different sources and compare them to give you a better estimation of a domain name value.

Settle on a domain, then get to work

By now, you should have enough information to help you register a custom domain name for your brand or business by yourself.

Whether it’s through website builders or domain registrar sites, owning a domain name should be the first thing you complete before going live. Once you’ve got that down, it’s time to focus on building your website.

Article by Azreen Azmi

Azreen Azmi is a writer with a penchant for writing about content marketing and technology. From YouTube to Twitch, he tries to keep in touch with latest in content creation and finding out the best way to market your brand.

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