You can have a website on the internet, but that will not be a lot of help unless people can access it. How can someone access your website? Yes, you might have typed a name ending with .com, .ae, or .in. Do you know what it is? It is called the domain. A domain is the name or address of your brand online.
You can buy a unique domain name through various platforms. It's a simple process. All you need to do is decide on a domain name and pay for it.
An important thing that you should keep in mind, though, is that you should put a lot of thought into what your domain name is going to be. Changing your domain name often would be destructive to your brand, as it would negate a lot of your brand recall value. Thus, think deeply and, before paying, settle on something you are sure that you will stick with for the foreseeable future.
Parts of a Domain
A domain name typically has the following parts:
- Prefix: It is an internet protocol (HTTP: standard and HTTPS: secured).
- Hostname: Most commonly, “www” indicates a website.
- Domain name: It is a string of characters and can be anything ranging from ‘traveltheworld’ to ‘asdfghh’ (of course, asdfghh isn’t recommended!).
- Top-Level Domain (TLD): This is an extension like ‘.com’, ‘.us’, ‘.eu’, etc.
Choosing Your Domain Name Registrar
A domain name registrar is a company that allows you to purchase domain names and get them registered. They are all accredited by ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers), a non-profit organization that manages domain names. Not all domain name registrars are licensed to sell all domain name extensions. Some, for instance, may only be allowed to sell country-specific extensions (like .in, or .us). So, does it matter where you buy your domain name? Yes, it does, and quite a lot. Keep in mind the following factors when selecting a domain name registrar:
1. Pricing and Registration Period: Some domain name registrars charge cheap rates for the first year but then significantly increase their charges from the second year onwards. You can register domain names for a minimum of 1 year and up to a maximum of 10 years at a time. You can also turn on automatic renewal so that your domain name does not expire—which is a prime consideration if you are wondering how to buy a domain name permanently.
2. Domain transfer policy: While you are not allowed to transfer your domain name within the first 60 days of registration in light of ICANN rules, you may, if you are unhappy with your domain registrar, move your domain name subsequently. For this to be smooth, you must know the domain transfer policy. Be sure to check if such transfers are likely to be easy, especially if the domain is an expensive one.
Some of the most popular domain registrations
1. Domain.com: Started in the year 2000, this is one of the most popular and well-respected domain registrars to register your domain name. It offers all top-level domains as extensions. However, this is a better tool for commercial entities, as it would involve some charges.
2. Bluehost: This is especially helpful if you plan to start a blog or an ordinary website, as it has free options. They are also an official WordPress hosting partner. You should note that charges come into the picture in the future, and although smaller than most other platforms, they should be a part of your due diligence.
3. Network Solutions: It is one of the largest domain registrars. Network Solutions has over 7 million domain names registered with other tools for web hosting, website security tools, and business email addresses. It is the best domain registrar for small businesses.
4. GoDaddy: One of the oldest and most popular domain name registration and website hosting companies, GoDaddy hosts over 84 million domains for over 20 million customers.
5. Google Domains: This is the domain registrar operated by Google. “.Com” domains cost $12/year, while other Top-Level Domains start from $7/year.