No website is complete without a top-notch domain name! The Internet is an endless expanse of sites to discover. Your domain is the one thing that makes your digital space unique to the billions of other sites out there.
Not only that, but it’s the thing that’s going to help your audience and potential customers find you!
Buying a domain name should be one of the first things you do when launching a site. It doesn’t matter whether you want to build a website, a corporate site, or an e-commerce shop. The sooner you buy your domain, the better.
But how do you go about buying a domain name? Well, it’s much simpler than you think!
What is a Domain Name and Why Get One?
Before we get into the nitty-gritty, let’s go over the purpose of your domain name. The best way to look at your domain is to view it as your digital address. It’s the outward-facing address of your site that makes it easier for your audience to find you.
Behind the scenes, Internet addresses are far more complex. Every website has a distinct IP address, which is a series of numbers. Without getting too deep into the technical weeds, the IP address is the actual address of your website.
But, who’s going to remember a random string of numbers?
The domain name system simplifies Internet navigation. Once you register a domain name, you must configure it to a DNS server. The DNS, or Domain Name System, is like a phonebook for the Internet. When someone uses your domain name to visit your site, the DNS translates the domain to your IP address. This process happens within seconds, allowing customers to enjoy your site.
You don’t have to worry too much about the specifics of how domain names work. The most important takeaway is that your domain name plays a critical role in the accessibility of your site.
The goal is to get as many visitors as you can, right? Well, a good domain name will make that happen!
What Kinds of Domains Are Available?
The possibilities are endless when it comes to registering a domain name. But, not every domain is going to be available! Just like real-world addresses, a domain name can only direct users to a single site. Duplicates cannot exist.
Luckily, there are many ways to get a unique domain.
You see, when you purchase a domain name, you’re purchasing two distinct components. These include your actual domain and the domain extension.
The “domain” refers to the name of the website. Take, for example, www.backlighthosting.com. In our address, the domain is “backlighthosting.” The “.com” portion is the domain extension.
Multiple websites can share the same domain or domain extension. But, they can’t share both! If your desired domain is already taken, don’t fret! One workaround to getting the domain name of your choice is to utilize a unique domain extension.
Extensions are also referred to as TLDs or Top-Level Domains. As of 2020, there are over 1,500 top-level domains out there! The most common are “.com,” “.org,” and “.net.” But there’s a whole lot more to try out.
Some are only for specific countries or government sites. But everything else is a generic top-level domain that anyone can use.
Prices can vary based on the popularity of the domain extension and its availability. But with so many options afforded to you, it’s not hard to find a suitable domain name for your site.
Step-By-Step Guide for Buying a Domain Name
These days, buying a domain name couldn’t be easier. Owning a website is no longer something reserved for tech-savvy individuals.
Modern domain providers make the process incredibly simple. All it takes is a few minutes.
Here’s how you can buy a domain name for your future site.
1: Choose a Domain Name Registrar
First things first, you need to find a registrar. Luckily for you, you’ve already come to the right place! In addition to providing hosting services, Backlight Hosting acts as a domain registrar.
A registrar is a service provider that handles the domain name registration process. We take care of all the behind-the-scenes work, including handling ICANN fees. We can also transfer existing domain names and offer some additional services you might want to invest in. More on that later.
2: Check Domain Name Availability
The next step is to determine domain name availability. As we mentioned earlier, not every name is going to be up for grabs. A domain name availability search will help you get a better idea of your options.
At Backlight Hosting, we have a handy domain name checker tool.
To start your search, simply type in your desired domain name. Hit the “Search” button and you will see a new page to review your available options.
3: Review Your Options
The next page can provide you with a wealth of information. What you’ll see will largely depend on the availability of your domain. As you can see, our example of “Backlight-Test.com” is available.
From there, you can see the current pricing of the domain. We also provide some additional information about the strength or popularity of the domain. This is a helpful extra that can give you some more insight into the potential impact of your domain name.
If your desired domain is not available, you can take advantage of our domain name generator. We provide several available alternatives that are similar to your original search query. As you can see, the generator provides a list of alternative spellings and top-level domains. We also provide some additional information about pricing and any restrictions the domain may have.
If you’d like to continue searching, you can also use the search filters on the side to narrow down your options as you zero-in on the perfect domain.
4: Select Your Domain and Extension
Once you find a domain you like, it’s just a matter of adding it to your cart! Take a look at the pricing information and hit the “Add to Cart” button when you’re ready. You’re free to purchase as many domains as you want in a single transaction. Many site owners will purchase multiple similar domains and park them for future use.
After making your selections, press the “Continue to Cart” button at the top to continue with the process.
5: Proceed with the Purchase
On the next page, you’ll see some additional service options. We’ll go over these services in a bit. The extras aren’t necessary, but they can help keep your domain and site safe.
Check one of the available options and proceed to the next page.
Here is where you’ll want to pay extra attention.
Domain names come with an initial registration cost. However, you’ll also need to renew every year to keep your domain name. On this page, you’ll get some more information about renewal costs.
You can also choose to register your domain for several years in advance. This will cost you more in upfront costs. But, you don’t have to worry about remembering to renew your domain, which can save you a lot of headaches in the future.
Use the drop-down menu to choose a duration between 1 and 10 years. The subtotal price below will change to reflect the cost of multi-year registration.
After you have made all of your purchasing decisions, you can continue to the next page to create a Backlight Hosting account and provide billing details.
6: Register Your New Domain Name
Congratulations! You purchased your first domain!
But before you get too excited, there’s still a couple of steps you need to take to get things set up.
After your purchase processes, the page will direct you to the Backlight Hosting control panel to complete the registration.
Here, you must provide some basic contact information. Domain name ownership is public information. Your contact details will appear on the WHOIS database, so make sure to provide the correct data.
It is possible to correct data in the future, but changes usually take a few days to appear on the WHOIS database.
7: Domain Verification
Finally, you must verify ownership. This is the last step in the purchasing process!
We’ll send an email to the address you provided when you created your account. Just click the link and you’re good to go!
From here, you can connect your domain to your hosted site and go live! It’s as easy as that.
Additional Features Worth Considering
As you can see, buying a domain is not difficult. Registration is affordable and you can get up and running in minutes.
That said, there are some additional services you might want to invest in. As we said earlier, these extras are completely optional. But, they are well worth the added costs.
Domain locking is a form of protection that keeps you safe from malicious activity.
The domain market can be quite aggressive. If your site draws in a ton of traffic, people are going to want to take your domain from you. While you’re safe during the registered period, what happens if an issue that’s out of your hands comes up?
Believe it or not, domain hijacking is quite common. All it takes is a simple billing error or forgetting to renew your domain. Suddenly, your prized domain is up for grabs! Someone could easily swipe it up and divert your hard-earned traffic to their site.
Domain locking service helps to prevent malicious transfers like this. The service prevents accidental or unauthorized transfers. You’ll have complete control over your domain.
Another service that many website owners buy is WHOIS privacy protection.
The WHOIS database can be a valuable resource if you’re looking to find the owner of an unavailable domain. Typically, people will use the database to buy a parked domain that’s not in use. But, some will try to use it maliciously, too.
We get it: having your personal or business contact information out in the open isn’t ideal! That’s where privacy services come in.
Instead of putting your contact information on the WHOIS database, we can provide our information or that of a forwarding service. Basically, this extra perk acts as the middle-man so that you can remain anonymous. You won’t have to worry about people contacting your business out of the blue.
Ultimate Domain Privacy and Protection
Finally, Backlight Hosting offers the “Ultimate Domain Protection & Security” package.
This includes both of the previous two features. However, we also include features like security and blacklist monitoring.
With security monitoring, we scan your domain for malware. Our system can discover potential security threats and notify you immediately. Scans are regular and automatic, so there’s no need to fiddle with settings.
The blacklist monitoring feature is another worthy perk. We monitor search engine blacklists. Being blacklisted by a search engine can dramatically reduce your traffic. The goal of this feature is to protect your domain’s reputation so that you can experience as much success for your business as possible!
Domain Name Tips
Registering the right domain name can make all the difference. Considering that your domain is heavily tied to your site’s identity, this isn’t a decision you should take lightly!
Before you buy your domain, take some time to come up with suitable options. The domain generator and checker tool from Backlight Hosting can do a lot to get the creative juices flowing. But, you need to have a general idea of what you’re after first.
Here are some domain name tips to help you out.
Make It Relevant
Your domain name should reflect your site and the types of content you offer. Do some research about your niche. Simple keyword planning tools are great for finding relevant words that you can try out.
Keep It Simple
Think about all of your favorite sites. Chances are, the names are simple and easy to remember. You’d be hard-pressed to find any major site with complex numbers or symbols in the domain name.
Take the same approach for your domain. Keep it short, sweet, and catchy.
Consider Your Branding
Your domain is going to become a huge part of your site’s image and overall branding. Right now, it might just seem like a simple address. But once your site takes off, it’s going to impact your marketing, social media presence, and everything else you do.
Keep this in mind! Is your domain marketable? Does it infringe on anyone’s trademark? These are all things you need to consider when finding that perfect domain.
Plan for the Future
Don’t let your domain name box you in. This is a big mistake many newer website owners make. They choose something trendy to attract attention. But the moment that trendy name goes out of fashion, the site becomes outdated in the eyes of Internet users.
Think outside of the box and choose a timeless name that will work well in the future. Again, keep your branding and site image in mind. Take a moment to think about where you want to take your site and choose a domain that fits that image.
What better way to show off your site’s personality than with a creative domain? If your desired domain is unavailable, try alternative spellings or interesting synonyms.
You can have a lot of fun with domain extensions, too. Domain hacking is the art of creating memorable website addresses by combining simple domains with quirkier top-level domains.
Many sites are ditching the traditional “.com” extension for something with a bit more flourish.
Some good examples include: “modern.tech,” “frilly.fashion,” or “too.cool”.
Don’t be afraid to let your creativity fly as you come up with something memorable.
Over to You
There you have it: a complete step-by-step guide on how to buy a domain!
The process is simple, straightforward, and easy enough to get done in only a few minutes. Yet, this registration process is a huge step in launching your site. Once you have your domain, you’re ready to hit the ground running and build your site.
So what are you waiting for? Register your domain and let your Internet journey begin!