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How to Properly Register a Domain Name (and get it for FREE) in 2021

Do you want to start a blog or a new online business in 2021? 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 a tip 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 content, so you can easily skip to the section that you’re most interested in:

Before we get started, let’s cover the basics so we’re 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 will 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 alphabets and numbers, which helps business owners create brandable names for their website’s address.

How domain names work

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

When Do You Need to Register a Domain Name?

On average, 56500+ .com domain names were registered every day in 2020.

Currently, there are over 151.8 million .com domain names already registered. 366.3 million domain names are registered in all TLD.

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’re 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 to not pursue the online business idea, then you can let them 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.

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 setup a temporary website or coming soon page with SeedProd.

A lot of 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.

Following are some general tips to keep in mind when searching for a 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 them easier to remember than any other domain extensions.
  • 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 domain name. 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.

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If you’d prefer written instructions, 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 the three most popular ways to register a domain name, and you can choose the one that best fits your need.

  1. How to register a domain name for free
  2. How to register a domain with Domain.com
  3. How to register a domain name with GoDaddy
  4. How to register a domain name with Network Solutions

1. How to Register a Domain Name for Free

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, a domain name costs $14.99 / year 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 60% discount on web hosting.

Basically, you can pay $2.75 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.

→ Click Here to Get Free Domain with Bluehost ←

Bluehost is one of the biggest web hosting companies in the world. They are in business since 2003 and host more than 2 million websites. Not to mention, they’re officially recommended by WordPress.

To get started, you need to visit the Bluehost website and click on the Get Started button.

Get started with Bluehost

This will bring you to the pricing page. Their Basic and Plus plans are popular among our users.

Bluehost pricing

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.

Select domain name you want to register

If the domain name you entered is available, then 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. 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 hosting 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 HostGator, Dreamhost, GreenGeeks or InMotion Hosting. 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

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.

Once you are ready, you can just point the domain name to your preferred WordPress hosting company.

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

Search for domain name on Domain.com

If your desired domain name is available, 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.

Complete your domain registration

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

How to Register a Domain Name with Network Solution

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 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.

Looking up for a domain name on Network Solutions

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 check out 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 continue as Guest.

Continue to the checkout

Next, you’ll be offers to turn on domain privacy addon. We recommend skipping it as of now and add 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 and malware protection add-ons. You can skip them for you now and later add them if needed.

Skip premium DNS and malware protection offers

Finally, you will reach the check out 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

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

3. 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 from around the world.

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 click 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 7 best GoDaddy alternatives that are cheaper and more reliable.

Domain Name Registration FAQs

Since we have helped over 200,000 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% off 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 if you’re not happy with your existing provider.

Which domain extension I should 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, 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 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.

Is there a way to buy an existing domain name?

Yes, you can use 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.

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 how to create a professional email address with your domain.

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Reader Interactions

43 CommentsLeave a Reply

  1. 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

  2. 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?

    • 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

  3. 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

  4. 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?

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

      Admin

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

      Admin

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

    • 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

  7. 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.

    • 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

  8. 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?

    • 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

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  14. 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

    • 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

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

  16. 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”?

    • 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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