How to Register a Brand New Domain Name – A Simple Easy-To-Follow ‘How to’ Guide

‘How can I register my own domain name?’ is a very common question for anyone just getting started in the world of domains, hosting, and websites. Here’s your answer, step by step:

  1. Decide on the domain name you want.
  2. Check if it’s available.
  3. Choose a domain registrar — the company that’s going to register a domain on your behalf.
  4. Purchase your domain.

Let’s take a look at exactly what’s involved and how to achieve each step.

‘How can I register my own domain name?’

(Note: If you’re not sure what a domain name is, check out our guide here.)

Step 1: Decide on the Domain Name You Want

There aren’t many technical rules or restrictions when it comes to getting a domain name. Basically, you can register any domain name, as long as:

  • it hasn’t been taken by anyone else — it’s available
  • it consists only of alphanumeric characters (a-z, A-Z, 0-9) and hyphens — you can’t use spaces.

So, technically speaking, this opens up an infinite number of possibilities for you. However, not all domain names are created equal.

First, you shouldn’t think of domain names as only internet addresses. There’s so much more to the story…

A good domain name should have the following four traits:

1) The right domain extension (or TLD)

When registering a domain name, you get to pick from a range of TLDs (aka top level domain names or domain extensions). Among others, you can choose from: .com, .net and .org.

The general rule, however, is to aim for .com — the most popular TLD — unless you’ll be operating in a local market other than the US, in which case you can go with a local, country-based TLD (e.g. .it for Italy, .ca for Canada).

Lastly, apart from those country-based TLDs, we now also have access to hundreds of customized TLDs. For example, you can now get .pizza, .love, .life, .shop or .blog.

Note: It doesn’t matter that much from a technical point of view which domain TLD you choose. More or less, it’s only an additional hint for your visitors as to what type of website you’re running. For example, if I manage to get a .food domain, it probably means that the site is going to have something to do with food.

(Learn more about domain name extensions — TLDs — here.)

2) Easy to memorize

A domain name can’t be too long or too complicated. In general, the shorter the better.

One thing you can do is imagine spelling your domain out over the phone to someone. If it’s hard to spell, it’s also going to be hard to remember.

3) Clear

The more your domain name reveals about your business, the better. In 99% of cases, your domain should be a version of your business name, whenever available.

4) Legal to possess

When registering a domain name, it’s possible to accidentally infringe on someone’s trademark. For example, if by some miracle you got your hands on cocacola.blog, it would put you in a lot of legal trouble. It’s always a good idea to make sure the name you’re planning to register doesn’t infringe on any trademarks. The easiest way to check this is to simply search the terms you’re interested in.

At this stage, you can come up with two to five domain names that you consider to be potentially awesome for you/your business.

Here’s my shortlist as an example (since I’ll be registering a new domain for myself in this guide to illustrate the process):

  • cavemanrecipes.com
  • cavemanrecipes.eu
  • caveman-recipes.com

Step 2: Check Whether Your Domain Name Is Available

Now that you have your shortlist of preferred domains, it’s time to see which of them are actually available — i.e. haven’t already been registered by someone else.

There are many places where you can check this, but by far my favorite tool is DomainTyper.

domaintyper

What’s great about this tool is that it tells you whether a domain is available as soon as you start typing it in.

Here’s how you use the tool:

1. Begin typing your domain name:

domaintyper demo

(click to enlarge)

2. Make sure the TLD you’re interested in is on the list. If not, add it by clicking the ‘add’ button:

add TLD

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3. Decide on a domain name that’s available. I guess I’ll go with cavemanrecipes.eu.

Step 3: Choose a Domain Registrar

Now that you know what domain name you want to register, and you know it’s available, you can go to your domain registrar of choice and purchase the domain.

As I mentioned at the beginning, a domain registrar is a company that can register a domain name on your behalf, and then give you full access to that domain.

There are a lot — a lot! — of domain registrars out there, and it’s up to you to decide which one you want to work with. For the most part, though, there’s not much difference between them — as in, you can buy any domain name from any registrar, with one small exception…

If you want to go with a local domain such as, say, cavemanrecipes.it, then you may want to buy it from a local domain registrar in Italy (in this case). Same goes for most other countries.

With that out of the way, the most popular global registrars include:

Each of these companies has a slightly different user interface, but what you get in the end is the same — a shiny new domain name.

My favorite registrar on this list is Namecheap for international domains and OVH for EU country domains.

Step 3.1: Planning to Launch a WordPress Website?

Before we go any further, there’s one more thing you should factor in when picking a registrar.

If you know for sure that your end goal is launching a WordPress website (using your new domain), then you should consider getting the domain name itself and your web server from the same company.

This simplifies the whole setup massively. And, in most cases, you can have the web host configure everything for you — connect your domain name to your hosting account and even install WordPress on top of it. In the end, you basically don’t have to do anything other than pull out your wallet.

The company I recommend for this kind of approach is SiteGround, since they have some of the best WordPress hosting packages on the market. Here’s how everything breaks down:

  • SiteGround hosting plans start at $3.95 a month.
  • Domain registration with SiteGround is $14.95 a year.
  • This makes it $62.35 in total for the first year.

Alternatively, if you’re on a really tight budget, you can also go with Namecheap for domain and hosting (considering their super low prices, the hosting quality is surprisingly great).

  • Namecheap hosting plans start at $9.98 a year.
  • Domain registration with Namecheap:
    • $0 if you want to use the .website TLD.
    • $10.69 a year for .com.
  • This means it’ll cost from $9.98 to $20.67 in total for the first year.

The choice is yours.

Step 4: Purchase Your Domain

This is the final step. After this, you’ll have your new domain name registered and ready to use.

Going forward, I’ll be using Namecheap as my example. As I mentioned, I consider them to be one of the top choices for domain registration.

1. Go to Namecheap and type in your desired domain name in the main search box

Click the search button:

How can I register my own domain name?

2. Review the possible domains and pick the one you want

pick the domain you want

(click to enlarge)

Looking through that list, the tab labeled ‘$0.88 domains’ got me interested. I ended up finding a cool cavemanrecipes.club domain offer there, so I decided to pick that one.

$0.88 domains

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All that’s needed now is to click on the ‘add to cart’ icon visible in the corner in the screenshot above.

3. Review the cart

After clicking the ‘view cart’ button, you’ll see a rather lengthy checkout page. This is where you get to check whether everything is okay.

View Cart

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Some of the more important details:

  • You can register your domain for anything between one and ten years. Your choice.
  • It’s advisable to leave the ‘WhoisGuard’ option enabled. It gives you complete anonymity and privacy for your most important personal information.

Under the ‘improve your site’ section, you can see additional offers for things such as hosting, SSL certificate, private email and Gmail integration. None of these are mandatory. If you just want a domain name registered, you don’t need to add any of these.

You can click on ‘confirm order’ to finalize the process, or enter a promo code if you have one.

4. Create a Namecheap account

The next step is about creating an account with Namecheap (or logging into an existing one). This is needed to complete the billing process and become a registered user with Namecheap.

creating an account with Namecheap

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After you’ve created your Namecheap account, you can continue the checkout process and proceed to payment.

5. Pay for the domain name

Namecheap gives you a handful of payment options.

payment options with Namecheap

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I like to use PayPal for my online payments, but you’re free to select the traditional credit card payment or any other method. If you select credit card, you’ll need to provide all the card’s details — just like at any other online shopping platform.

Click ‘Continue’ when you’re ready.

6. Review the payment summary and authorize

The next page will display the payment summary. If you’ve selected PayPal as your method, you’ll have to authorize the payment with PayPal. There’s the familiar PayPal button for that.

payment summary

(click to enlarge)

7. Review the ‘thank you’ page

That’s it! You’ve just successfully registered your own domain name.

On the next screen, you can review your order, download the receipt, and begin managing your new domain and its settings. Namecheap gives you a couple of options here:

managing your new domain

(click to enlarge)

But before you go:

8. Verify your email address

This is a rather new step in the domain name registration process. To quote the official source:

As of January 1, 2014, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has mandated that all ICANN accredited registrars begin verifying the WHOIS contact information for all new domain registrations and Registrant contact modifications.

What this basically means is that you have 14 days from when you registered the domain name to verify your email address. You should get an email about this from Namecheap. All you have to do is click the confirmation link that’s inside.

What’s Next?

Now you own your new domain name, you have full control over what you want to do with it.

Some options:

  • Purchase a web hosting account and launch a website under your domain.
  • Redirect the domain to an existing hosting account/website.
  • Set up an email account or email redirection using your domain.

To learn more about these, you can proceed to your new Namecheap dashboard (usually available at https://ap.www.namecheap.com/) and begin tinkering with your setup there. You can also contact Namecheap’s support agents for further assistance.

As an example, here’s what my dashboard looks like right now:

Namecheap dashboard

(click to enlarge)

…and that’s it. You should now know everything you need to to get started. Good luck!

By Karol K

Karol K. (@carlosinho) is a freelance blogger and writer, published author, and online business figure-outer. His work has been featured all over the web, on sites like: NewInternetOrder.com, MarketingProfs.com, About.com, Optimizely.com, Adobe.com, ProBlogger, and others.
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