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How to Register a Domain Name (and get it for FREE) in 2024

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Do you want to start a blog or a new online business in 2024? If you do, then you’ll need to register a domain name.

The first step towards building a website is to find a good domain name and register it.

In this article, we will show you how to register a domain name step-by-step. We will also share tips on how you can register a domain name for free.

How to register your own domain name and how to get one for free

Since this is a comprehensive guide on how to register a domain name, we have created a table of contents so you can easily skip to the section that you’ are most interested in:

Before we get started, let’s cover the basics so we are on the same page.

What Is a Domain Name?

A domain name is the address of your website that people type in the browser to visit your website. For example, wpbeginner.com.

In simple terms, if your website was a house, then your domain name would be its address.

The whole internet is a giant network of computers. Each computer is assigned a number, which is called an IP address, and it looks like this:

66.249.66.1

Now, this address is not easy to remember or memorize. Imagine if you had to use this kind of address to visit your favorite websites.

To fix this problem, domain names were invented.

Domain names can have letters and numbers, which helps business owners create brandable names for their website’s address. These custom domain names are important for building a strong online presence.

How domain names work

To learn more about domain names, see our beginner’s guide on domain names and how they work.

When Do You Need to Register a Domain Name?

According to the latest internet usage statistics, there are currently 370.7 million registered domain names in the world. 37.20% of registered domain names are top-level domains (TLDs).

On average, there are 33,000 new domain registrations every day.

This means that all the good domain names are being registered as we speak. Chances are that someone may register a domain name that you are thinking of, so it’s smart to register a domain name as soon as you think of an idea.

This is why all smart entrepreneurs proactively register domain names even before launching a business.

Domain names are cheap, and you can register them for a year. If you decide not to pursue the online business idea, then you can let the domain expire.

The bottom line is if you are serious about building a business, then you should register a domain name right away.

It will help you protect your brand’s identity, business name, and even future business ideas.

How Much Does a Domain Name Cost?

Normally, a .com domain name costs $14.99 / year. The cost of a domain varies based on each different extension or TLD (top-level domain). Some are even more expensive than this.

We don’t recommend using anything but .com domains because everybody remembers a .com domain, and your smartphone keyboards have a pre-built key for .com.

For more details, see our expert guide on how much a domain name costs, along with tips on how to avoid hidden fees.

Do I Need a Website to Register a Domain Name?

No, you do not need a website to register a domain name. You can register a domain name and make a website later. You can also register a domain name and set up a temporary website or coming soon page with SeedProd.

Many entrepreneurs treat domain names like digital real estate, so they register a good domain name and hold it for the right buyer to purchase it from them for profit.

How to Choose the Best Domain Name

Domain names play a very important role in your website’s identity and success. This is why it’s important for you to carefully think about the domain name you choose.

However, it’s also important to not overthink it. Otherwise, you will never get past the research phase.

Here are some general tips to keep in mind when searching for the perfect domain name:

  • Make sure that your domain name is easy to pronounce, spell, and as short as possible.
  • Stick with the .com extension because most users find it easier to remember than any other domain extensions like .biz, .us, etc.
  • Use your keywords and brand name in the domain name search. For example, stargardeninghouston.com is more SEO-friendly than stargardeningcompany.com
  • Do not use numbers or hyphens in your website domain. It makes them harder to pronounce and difficult to remember.

Need more advice? See our expert tips on finding the best domain name for your website.

You can also use a domain name generator like Nameboy to speed up your search for the right domain name.

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If you’d prefer written instructions, then just keep reading.

How to Register a Domain Name (Step by Step)

You can register a domain name from any of the top domain registrars that are authorized by ICANN to register domain names.

Since there are so many different registrars, we will cover a few popular ways to register a domain name, and you can choose the one that best fits your needs.

1. How to Register a Domain Name for Free with Bluehost

If you want to register a domain name to start a blog or make a website, then this is the best option for you.

Normally, there’s a registration fee of $14.99 / year for a domain name, and website hosting plans start from $7.99 / month. This is a lot of money if you are just starting out.

Luckily, Bluehost has agreed to offer our users a free domain name, SSL certificate, and up to a 61% discount on web hosting services.

Basically, you can pay $1.99 per month for web hosting, and you will get a domain name for free, so you can start your website without a lot of money.

Bluehost is one of the biggest web hosting companies in the world. They have been in business since 2003 and host over 2 million websites. Not to mention, they are officially recommended by WordPress, and they offer great customer support.

To begin the registration process, you need to visit the Bluehost website and click on the ‘Get Started’ button.

Bluehost get started now

This will bring you to the pricing page.

Their Basic and Choice Plus plans are popular among our users.

Choose Bluehost plan

Click on the ‘Select’ button below a plan to continue.

On the next page, you will be asked to choose a domain name. Simply type the domain name in the ‘New Domain’ box because that will get you a free domain name.

Bluehost choose domain

If the domain name you entered is available, you will be taken to the signup page. From here, you need to enter your account information like name, address, email, etc.

Below the account information, you will notice some hosting extras like domain privacy, which provides WHOIS privacy by hiding your info (name, address, email, phone number) from the public WHOIS database.

We don’t recommend buying them, so you can safely uncheck them for now. If you feel that you need them, then you can always add them later.

Uncheck extras

After that, you can enter your payment information to finish the purchase.

Bluehost will now register your domain name, set up your hosting account, and send you an email with a link to your hosting control panel.

Since you need both a domain name and web hosting to start any type of website, it makes a lot of sense to purchase them together so you can get the domain name for free.

If, for some reason, you don’t want to use Bluehost to get a free domain name, then you can use Hostinger, HostGator, DreamHost, or GreenGeeks. All of these companies are also offering our readers a free domain name with web hosting.

Related: See the difference between domain and web hosting to understand why you need both to build a website.

2. How to Register a Domain Name with Domain.com (25% Off)

If you only want to register a domain name at the moment without creating a website, then Domain.com is your best option.

It offers an easy way to manage your domain name without creating a website.

When you are ready, you can just point the domain name to your preferred WordPress hosting company by entering your hosting provider’s nameservers.

First, you need to visit the Domain.com website and search for your desired domain name.

The Domain.com website with search bar

Once you find an available domain name, then it will be automatically added to your cart.

You can adjust the registration period to 1 year. You can either choose to keep or remove the privacy protection. Removing it will reduce your domain registration cost.

Domain.com is offering WPBeginner readers a 25% discount, and our Domain.com coupon should be automatically applied.

Add domain name to cart

Click on the ‘Continue’ button to check out.

On the checkout page, you can review your order and click on the ‘Proceed to billing’ button.

Proceed to billing section

Next, you need will be asked to enter your account and payment information to finish the domain purchase.

Domain.com will now register your domain name, and it will send you an email with the link to your domain control panel.

Complete your domain registration

3. How to Register a Domain Name with Hostinger (Free)

Hostinger is another well-known domain registrar and web hosting solution.

They offer a free domain name when you purchase any of their web hosting plans, which start as low as $2.69 per month with WPBeginner’s 81% off Hostinger coupon.

In addition to a free domain name, you’ll also get a free SSL certificate, a free business email address, and more.

This makes Hostinger a great alternative to Bluehost for creating a website and registering a free domain name.

To get started, you need to visit the Hostinger website and click on the ‘Start Now’ button.

Visit the Hostinger website and click the Start Now button

This will bring you to the pricing page, where you need to choose the plan you want.

You can select the ’48 Months’ plan to get 78% off web hosting and a free domain name.

Choose a plan with Hostinger

Next, you need to provide your email address to create your Hostinger account.

Alternatively, you can use Google or Facebook to add your account information.

Enter your email address to create Hostinger account

After that, scroll down to select your payment method and enter your payment details.

Our Hostinger coupon should be automatically applied to get the best price available.

Hostinger finalize payment

Once you’ve added your payment information, click on the ‘Submit Secure Payment’ button to complete your purchase.

Upon completing the transaction, you’ll be able to select your desired domain name during the hosting setup process:

Claim your free domain in Hostinger setup

Hostinger will walk you through the process of choosing a domain name, step by step. You can search right on their website for a domain name that’s available.

After your domain name is registered, you may receive an email to verify your registration.

If you missed the chance to claim your free domain name during the setup process, you can do it from your Hostinger dashboard as well.

Claim your free domain from the Hostinger dashboard panel

Network Solutions is one of the oldest names in the domain name business. They have been registering domain names since 1993 and, at that time, they were the only registrar for all common domain name extensions.

Today, they are one of the largest domain registrars, with over 7 million domains registered with them.

They offer domain name registrations with a much simpler control panel and easy tools to manage your domain names.

WPBeginner users can get a 25% discount on new domain names by using our Network Solutions Coupon.

Here is how to register a domain name with network solutions.

Fits, you need to visit the Network Solutions website. From here, you need to enter the domain name you wish to register in the search box.

Network Solution

If the domain name you are looking for is available, then it will be automatically added to your cart.

You’ll see a success message and continue to the checkout by clicking on the checkout button.

Domain is available and added to

During the checkout, you’ll be asked to sign in if you are a returning customer.

Or you can continue as a Guest.

Continue to the checkout

Next, you’ll be offered to turn on the domain privacy addon.

We recommend skipping it as of now and adding it later if you need.

Domain privacy

After that, you will be offered to add other products to your cart as well.

Skip them by clicking on ‘Continue’ under the ‘Domain Only’ box.

Skipping upsell offers

Finally, you’ll be offered to enable domain protections such as premium DNS (Domain Name System) and malware protection add-ons.

You can skip them for now and add them later if needed.

Skip premium DNS and malware protection offers

Finally, you will reach the checkout page.

From here, you can redeem our Network Solutions coupon to claim your 25% discount and then make a purchase.

Entering your domain discount coupon

After that, you can continue to check out to make a payment and complete the domain registration.

5. How to Register a Domain Name with GoDaddy

Godaddy is the largest domain name registrar in the world. They currently manage over 77 million domain names for 18 million users worldwide.

They offer an easy domain control panel, which allows you to point your domain to any hosting provider when you are ready to build a website.

Here is how to register a domain name with GoDaddy (step by step).

First, you need to visit the GoDaddy website and enter the domain name you want to register in the search box.

Search domain name on GoDaddy

If your domain name is available, then you will see a success message with your domain name listed on top.

You can now go ahead and add it to the cart.

Add domain name to cart

Next, click on the ‘Continue to cart’ button to checkout.

GoDaddy will now show you some additional services that you can purchase with your domain name. You can skip those by selecting ‘No thanks’ and clicking on the ‘Continue’ button.

Continue checkout

On the next page, you will see your domain name and its registration period. You can change the registration period to up to 10 years if you want.

However, we don’t recommend that. You can always renew your domain name before it expires, so if you want to save money, then you can select just 1 year registration period.

Finish your domain registration

You will need to create a GoDaddy account to proceed.

After you have created an account, you will be able to enter your billing address and make a payment for your domain name.

GoDaddy will now register your domain name, and they will send you an email with a link to your domain control panel.

Pro Tip: You should make sure that auto-renew on your domain is turned on so Godaddy can automatically bill your account and renew your domain name. This way, you won’t lose your domain if you forget to renew it.

Related: See the best GoDaddy alternatives that are cheaper and more reliable.

Domain Name Registration FAQs

Since we have helped so many people start a website, we have gotten just about every question you can possibly think of. Below are the answers to some of the top domain name questions.

Which is the best domain name registrar?

We believe that Domain.com is the best registrar right now because they have the features you need, and they’re offering a 25% discount.

However, it’s a smarter money decision to get a free domain with web hosting like Bluehost because it saves you time and money.

You can always transfer your domain name to another popular domain name registrar, like Namecheap, GoDaddy, or Google Domains, if you are not happy with your existing provider.

Which domain extension should I buy?

You should always stick to .com domain names. They are the easiest to remember, and most mobile devices have a dedicated .com key in their keyboards. For more details, see our article on the difference between domain name extensions.

Should I register new domain name extensions?

Apart from the most common .com, .net, and .org (suitable for non-profits), there are dozens more domain name extensions available. However, these new domain extensions are hard to remember and difficult to brand. To learn more, see our article on choosing a new domain extension for your website.

How can I buy a domain name permanently?

You cannot buy a domain name permanently. Domain name registration is done on a yearly basis. However, you can pre-pay for up to 10 years, which guarantees that you will have a domain name for 10 years.

What happens to my domain name once its registration expires?

Unless you renew your domain name, it will automatically expire after the registration period you have paid for. Some domain name companies offer a grace period to renew your registration, but it is not guaranteed, and you can lose control of your domain name if you let it expire.

How do I renew my domain name?

You can renew your domain name from your domain control panel. We strongly recommend that you turn on the auto-renew feature to automatically renew your domain name. You can always turn it off if you decide not to keep a domain name.

Even though your domain registrar would remind you to renew your domain registration before it expires, you may miss those emails and lose control of your domain name.

How can I reserve a domain name without buying it?

There is no way to reserve a domain name without purchasing it. You have to buy it if you want to reserve it. Considering the low cost of a domain name, it’s a small investment for a business.

Can I buy a domain with .edu extension?

The .edu extension is managed by EduCause and can only be registered by accredited educational institutes.

Is there a way to buy an existing domain name?

Yes, you can use a brokerage like Sedo.com to potentially acquire an existing domain name. However, it’s not guaranteed that you will get the domain name that you want because the seller may not want to sell it or ask for an outrageous price.

You can also purchase premium domains from a premium domain broker like BuyDomains.

For more details, see our expert tips on how to buy a domain name that’s taken.

Also, if you are looking to find a way to contact an existing domain owner, see our tutorial on how to find out who actually owns a domain name.

Can someone steal my domain name?

Yes, domain name theft can be devastating for small business owners. This is why it’s important that you choose a well-known domain registrar with a good reputation.

The way hackers can steal your website name is by obtaining access to your domain registrar account. It’s important that you use a strong password and set up 2-factor authentication.

Furthermore, we always recommend small business owners use an identity theft protection service to get near-real-time alerts of identity fraud because domain theft and ransomware is generally a byproduct of another hack.

Can I buy a domain name anonymously?

No, you cannot buy a domain name anonymously due to ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) regulation, which requires the registrar to have your contact information. But you can most certainly keep your personal information anonymous from the general public.

You can also use a registered agent or someone else to register the domain on your behalf. For more details, see our guide on how to buy a domain name anonymously.

Which website builder gives a free domain?

There are popular website builders like WordPress.com, Weebly, and Wix that offer totally free domain names.

However, these aren’t custom domain names. The website builder’s company name is included in the domain name, like mywebsite.wixsite.com, for example. This isn’t very professional and makes it difficult to use your website URL on social media and in advertising campaigns.

That’s why we recommend registering a custom domain name and building your website with Bluehost.

Do you have any other helpful domain name tips?

Yes, here are some other domain name tips that you’ll find helpful:

We hope this article helped you learn how to register a domain name for your website. You may also want to see our tips on how to make money online with your new domain name and/or our expert picks of the best eCommerce platforms for creating an online store.

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.

Disclosure: Our content is reader-supported. This means if you click on some of our links, then we may earn a commission. See how WPBeginner is funded, why it matters, and how you can support us. Here's our editorial process.

Editorial Staff

Editorial Staff at WPBeginner is a team of WordPress experts led by Syed Balkhi with over 16 years of experience in WordPress, Web Hosting, eCommerce, SEO, and Marketing. Started in 2009, WPBeginner is now the largest free WordPress resource site in the industry and is often referred to as the Wikipedia for WordPress.

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Reader Interactions

50 CommentsLeave a Reply

  1. Syed Balkhi says

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  2. THANKGOD JONATHAN says

    if I register a new domain for free with Bluehost will I use the domain for free as long as I continue hosting with them or there is a certain time that I will start paying for the domain?

  3. Fajri says

    What do you think about the new .ing domain, is it good or bad?

    I am looking for a .ing domain because there still many names available than .com

  4. Moinuddin Waheed says

    I have always purchased domain names from the big names in the industry such as GoDaddy, namecheap, hostinger, bluehost and others.
    is it possible that names purchased from these websites can also be stolen?
    do we need to pay extra for domain name protection service and are we full protection i.e no extra steps needed after having purchased domain protection?

    • WPBeginner Support says

      The only reason you would normally lose a domain is of you try to register a trademark or something similar. The domain protection that most registrars offer is to hide your email from whois services and replace your email to the hosting provider’s email.

      Admin

  5. Gemma says

    Would this advice apply for a domain like Facebook.com? If you have a website that’s going to be as big as Facebook would you give the same advice here? Or would there be a better way to go about securing the domain for a long period of time? TIA

  6. Reem says

    Great article But I have a question! I’m opening an online business and I want to secure my business name, is buying a domain through Shopify enough so no one take my business name?

    • WPBeginner Support says

      You can purchase the domain name to prevent others from taking it but if you wanted there to be no site using your name, you would need to look into the trademark process.

      Admin

  7. Samm says

    if i buy a domain name just to secure it from either godaddy, wix, wordpress etc. can i use that name anywhere or i have to use it where i bought it from

  8. Jim Rossma says

    If I buy a domain name.
    1. Is automatically registered?
    2. If I then put the domain name on my product can I stamp it with a T in a circle behind it to show the world it is a registered Trade Mark?

    • WPBeginner Support says

      When you purchase your domain name it is registered but trademarking your domain is a different process than registering your domain name.

      Admin

    • WPBeginner Support says

      You would want to first transfer the domain to your new registrar and then you would be able to renew it through them.

      Admin

  9. tomasfaircloth4 says

    Howdy, i read your blog occasionally and i own a similar one and i was just curious if you get a lot of spam comments? If so how do you prevent it, any plugin or anything you can recommend? I get so much lately it’s driving me insane so any support is very much appreciated.

  10. Lisa says

    I have a blog on wordpress.com and pay around $70 per year. Am I able to switch to wordpress.org and retain my domain name that is through wordpress.com? I love my domain name and do not want to give it up. Thanks.

    • WPBeginner Support says

      If you have a custom domain instead of a yoursite.wordpress.com domain then yes, the domain can be transferred to a new site and kept :)

      Admin

  11. Randy Chorvack says

    I think it’s interesting that you can’t permanently own a domain name and that the longest you can pay for is 10 years. Is there a reason for that? My guess is that people discontinue their websites so frequently that it’s almost a guarantee that you won’t need it permanently.

    • WPBeginner Support says

      loosely yes, if everyone could purchase a domain forever then eventually there would no longer be domain names available any many domains that are being unused

      Admin

  12. Ioana says

    Thank you for the detailed article. I hope you can help me, I’m stuck on a step. I chose the option to skip the domain name and to choose it later. Now it assigner me a weird domain name as my primary one, something like ykg.pdy.bluehost.me Help how do I change that?

    • WPBeginner Support says

      If you reach out to BlueHost once you have your domain set up, they should be able to help you update your domain to the correct one :)

      Admin

  13. Luca says

    Excellent article! We are linking to this particularly great post on our website. Keep up the great writing.

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  15. lillagibb8 says

    It is truly a great and helpful piece of information. I’m satisfied that you shared this useful information with us. Please stay us informed like this. Thank you for sharing.

  16. macie says

    I have been absent for a while, but now I remember why I used to love this blog. Thanks, I will try and check back more often. How frequently you update your site?

  17. BeaFeliz says

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  18. evan says

    Hey,

    I want to transfer my WordPress.com site to WordPress.org … and keep the same domain name I have (I bought WordPress.com premium.)

    Im confused because I cannot buy it from Domain or GoDaddy since it is already taken by WordPress.com.

    What would the process be?

    thanks so much!
    Evan

    • WPBeginner Support says

      When signing up for hosting, there is an option when you already own your domain that you would select. When transferring your site you would either transfer the domain or change your domain’s nameservers.

      Admin

  19. Daniel says

    Nice post, is there anything to do, my website audio files cracks when uploaded, and my website is a music download site

  20. PAUL says

    There are asterisks next to the Bluehost pricing in your screenshot.

    That means there’s a “catch” associated with the prices.
    What’s the “catch”?

    • WPBeginner Support says

      You would need to check with BlueHost for the specifics of their asterisks but that is normally a statement about their renewal rates.

      Admin

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