How to Register a Domain Name for Your Website

Your website’s name should tie closely into the domain name, or web address, that your visitors use to access your website. If possible, your website’s name and URL, or domain name, should match exactly so that it’s easy for readers to find you. For example, our website is called High Income Source, and the domain name we purchased is

While purchasing a domain name from a URL registration service, you may choose to also pay for web hosting from that service provider so that your website software has a place to live on the Internet. Other options are to pay for web hosting with a different hosting company, or redirect your domain name to a free websiteging service. In the following sections of this article, I walk you through the basic details of a purchased domain name.

A domain is the address (or main URL) that people type in their web browsers to get to your website. Think of a website’s domain as functioning much the same as an address of a house. Each house on a street has an individual address. When someone searches for your home address on Google, he or she finds a specific number and street name that defines your home’s location. If you search for a website by using a search engine, the website address you find is the domain name or URL.

Choose a Domain Name

You can use any available, or not currently owned, word or phrase as your domain name. You can make your domain name a company name, a nickname, or your favorite food group. For years, professional web designers and developers have been saying that all the good domains are gone, which is far from the truth. After all, new websites and blogs are launched all the time, and many of them have great, memorable domains!

Even if a domain name is available, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it is safe to choose that name for your blog and purchase that domain. You should also check to see whether that blog name has already been registered as a trademark so that you can avoid accidentally infringing on someone else’s mark. You can search registered trademarks for free at

For an example of a great domain name, check out the blog Wine Carolinas (, a name that perfectly describes the online home of a husband and wife team hoping to help others experience the great wines of North and South Carolina.

Think up a phrase or sentence that says something about you and your blog as a starting place. Write your topic keywords on sticky notes and then move them around. That trick may lead to something great.

What exactly does a domain do for you? It has several purposes:

  • Your readers can easily remember where to find your site.
  • Having a domain of your own looks professional; it’s a nice marketing benefit at a small cost.
  • You can change web hosts or hosted blog solutions with impunity because your address is actually a separate service. If — or when — you move your blog, your web host can help you use the same domain to get to your new server on the web. Think of this much like taking your cellphone number with you even if you change service providers!

Your domain should represent your blog’s name and purpose, although at the end of the day, there are no hard and fast rules. Here are a few quick guidelines that you might want to follow. Try to choose a domain that

  • Matches your website name
  • Is based on your topic keywords
  • Is a play on words or slang based around your topic
  • Is humorous or otherwise memorable

If you’re having trouble coming up with a name idea, consider using your name. In fact, even if you ultimately want to use another domain for your blog address, owning the domain for your own name is a good idea. You can use several domain names to reach the same website or blog, too, so using your own name as a domain might help people find you in search engines.

Many online tools can help you choose a domain name if you’re having trouble. Domain-name-choosing websites help by suggesting word combinations and coming up with randomly generated choices. 

Even if you end up using a hosted blog solution and therefore don’t need to get web hosting, you can buy a domain and forward the address to your blog. This is handy to do because it makes your blog’s address easier for readers to remember. After you register your domain, check the Help text of the registrar to find out how to forward the domain to your blog’s web address (URL). Instructions vary by registrar.

Register a Domain

Registering a domain is a straightforward process. First, use a domain registrar to buy your name. After you own the name, you just need to point your new domain at your web host. This process basically involves telling your domain registrar which web server your website is on; your web hosting company or domain registrar gives you the information and tools to make it all work.

You can use many domain registration services. The choice really comes down to the domain management interface — the tools that you get to manage your domain. Some management screens are incredibly difficult to work with. Finding a host that has a clean and easy-to-use interface makes a world of difference when you’re updating or making changes to your web domain. Be sure to shop around, as well. The annual fee for domain registration varies widely, and for the most part, the price differences don’t equal a difference in what you get.

Domain registration services often offer coupon codes. Be sure to use your favorite search engine to locate applicable codes before purchasing your desired domain names.

You can choose to register for your domain for a single year or for multiple years at a time. Typically, registering for multiple years earns you a small discount. If you choose to register for only a year, you need to renew the domain in a year (assuming that you want to keep your website going). Registration services also allow you to choose an auto-renew option. Many domain registration companies also offer web-hosting and email packages.

Make sure that you keep your domain registration up to date. If you have any changes to your domain or contact information, including your email address, update your domain information immediately. If your information isn’t current, you can lose access to your domain or miss email reminders to renew your domain. Print a copy of the login information and store it safely.

Visit any of the domain registrars in the following sections to check whether your domain is available, and then register it.

For an additional fee, usually about ten dollars a year, you can choose to keep your contact information private. This may not seem like a worthwhile cost, but if you register a domain and do not elect to hide your information, prepare to receive spammy outreach for everything from email hosting to web design services.

Best Domain Registrars


GoDaddy is a popular web host and domain registrar that provides a long list of web services, including domain hosting, web hosting, and email address hosting. It has a good reputation and is easy to contact if you require assistance, although problem resolution can be spotty. Domain prices vary, but typically start at $14.99 for a year’s registration.

To register a domain with GoDaddy, follow these steps:

  1. Point your web browser to
  2. Type the domain you’re interested in into the Find Your Perfect Domain Name text box.
  3. Click the Search Domain button. GoDaddy returns a page indicating whether your domain is available.
  4. If your domain is available and you want to complete your purchase, click the Select button to move forward with the purchasing process. If your domain is unavailable, use the Search Again text box to try a new name.
  5. Continue shopping for other domains on GoDaddy or follow the instructions for completing the credit card purchase of the domain you select.

Network Solutions

Network Solutions is one of the granddaddies of all registrars. At one time, it was one of the few places you could register a domain. Services are varied and flexible, with a variety of available options. Domains are available for as little as $2.95 for one year of registration.


This domain registrar offers domains starting at the low price of $8.88 per year and provides customers with a variety of payment options, including PayPal. Namecheap has grown in popularity owing to low pricing and good customer service. aims to provide affordable domain names while also offering innovative options to its customers. While wants visitors to know that they are about far more than domains, they do offer domain registration beginning at $9.99 for one year.


Hover promises to simplify the domain registration process for users and is known for its highly accessible customer service team. Domains start at $12.99 per year and include domain privacy, a great option for those hoping to blog as anonymously as possible.


Panabee promises to help users select the best domain name for them, offering a variety of options based around keywords, and vowing to not buy the domains themselves if you choose to leave and come back later. There will be no idea-stealing from Panabee! Prices begin at just $0.99.

Be prepared for a laundry list of add-on offers when purchasing a domain name. I typically decline all offers and proceed to check out, but be prepared to make a decision about the following offers:

  • Additional, related domains: If purchasing a .com, for example, you will be asked to also purchase that domain name with additional suffixes such as .co, .net, and .org. Buy these additional domains only if you believe it is necessary to protect the blog name you’ve created.
  • Private domain registration: If you’re planning to blog anonymously, you need to purchase this additional service so that readers can’t see the name and address of the person who purchased your blog’s URL.
  • Certified domain seal: Some website owners choose to pay for this seal with the intent of turning their site into an e-commerce site. This add-on is not necessary for a blog.
  • Web hosting: Select your preferred web host prior to purchasing your URL. If you choose to host with your registrar service, you may be able to save money by purchasing both services at the same time.
  • Upgraded email: You will receive access to domain-related email addresses when you register your domain, so unless you need an upgraded service for business reasons, you likely want to decline this offer.

FAQs About Registering A Domain Name

I already have a domain that I registered with another registrar. Can I still use the domain?

Yes, but you must change your domain’s Domain Name Servers (DNS) to indicate where your website will be hosted.

This is necessary so that the domain name system (which drives the Internet) can translate your domain name into a specific IP (Internet Protocol) address that identifies the server that hosts your website. I admit that that sounds a bit technical but it’s really quite simple.

All you’ve got to do is change two fields on your domain registrar’s screen and you’re done. But read on to do things in the right sequence.

First, follow the instructions above to open a SiteGround account but instead of choosing a new domain, click that you already have a domain and tell them what it is. They will then create your account under that domain and install WordPress for you.

Second, you will receive a welcome email (or two) with all the details you need to get started. This will include details of name servers applicable to your chosen web hosting plan. This will be a pair of codes that look like and You usually need to use both codes so make a note of them.

Finally, you will need to log into your account at the registrar you used when you registered the domain. Click through to find your domain properties and there should be somewhere fairly obvious on their screen labeled ‘Nameservers’, ‘Set your DNS’ (or something like that). Enter the two codes your web host supplied and save the settings.

The changes may take place immediately or you may have to wait several hours (or more) before you can access the domain at your hosting account. This is because the information has to propagate out to all the networks on the Internet that need to know where to find your website and this is not always immediate.

If you can’t find out how to change your DNS then try accessing your registrar’s FAQ page or knowledgebase. If all else fails, contact Tech Support and ask them to help.

The .com domain I want is already taken. What should I do?

There are basically two options: 1) use the same domain name but choose a different domain extension, or 2) choose a different domain name under the .com extension.

In the case of 1) above then you should consider whether visitors could get confused between them. If you register you wouldn’t want your visitors to mistakenly go to

A better idea would be to choose a different domain name, for example, That makes it your unique domain.

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