The non-profit Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) oversees the entire system of domain names, and it allows outside companies, called domain registrars, to sell and manage domain names. You will need to register your domain name through a registrar.
Some of the most popular domain registrars include GoDaddy, Bluehost, and Domain.com, although there are many more to choose from. Be sure to carefully consider pricing and policies for each one before choosing your domain registrar, as it will be managing your domain name.
Once you have found the right domain registrar for you, you'll need to search for your domain name using the registrar's search bar. There are millions of domain names out there, with thousands more added daily.
If you have your heart set on a domain name before doing a search, you might be disappointed to find it is already taken. Keep an open mind and incorporate important keywords into your domain when appropriate.
Once you've brainstormed several domain options, consider which ones are available and choose the one that fits your brand best and will also be easy for users to find.
After settling on the domain name, consider the suffix. The most popular suffix is .com, although .net and .org are also popular. These are considered to be top-level domains, or the highest-level domain suffixes in the domain naming system.
There are also other varieties to consider, such as country code top-level domains. These domain names end in a suffix that is particular to a specific country. A website in Germany might end in .de, for example.
Finally, there is another class of domain name suffixes called "sponsored, top-level domains," which are sponsored by a specific community related to the domain name. For example, .gov is for the U.S. government and .edu is for education organizations.
For most websites, .com is the best suffix for its ease of use, but if you have a specialized website, you might consider a country code or sponsored top-level domain.
When you have settled on the domain name and a suffix, you will pay to register the domain name with the domain registrar. This is not a one-time purchase, however. Typically, you will pay to own the domain name for one year, after which you can renew your registration for a fee. You can expect a registration fee of about $10 to $15.
When you register a domain name with ICANN, you must provide your contact information including your name, phone number, physical address, and email address.
As soon as your domain name is registered, this contact information becomes available to the public — unless you pay for domain privacy through your domain registrar. This domain privacy will shield your information from view keeping your personal information safe from spammers or worse, identity thieves.
Once you've got the domain name in hand, you're ready to find hosting and build your website. Consider a free CMS, like HubSpot, to design your website, strategize for SEO, and create a blog.
Last updated Apr 14, 2022
Applies to: Domain