If you are launching a website, you have to consider a lot of aspects. One of them is definitely getting a name for the site. You are probably aware that you need to purchase a domain name. In this post, we’ll cover the most significant factors connected with this process, including prices. You’ll know the cost to buy a domain name and what this price depends on.
Why Do Websites Need a Domain Name?
Firstly, it should be mentioned that buying a domain name is closely connected with choosing a reliable hosting provider. Creating a website, you are going to upload and store numerous files on a server, such as VPS or a dedicated server. The company that is going to take care of your files, i.e. to host them, will be your hosting provider. The computer on which the data will be stored has to be fast and reliable. A good web hosting is especially important for business owners, as perfect hosting services will ensure the stable work of the site and, consequently, customers’ satisfaction.
Undoubtedly, the cost of such services will differ from company to company. After comparing hosting providers, you have to make your choice and decide where to ‘land’ your future website. When you create the site and publish it online, it will get a unique numeric Internet address. However, people can’t remember various numbers of different webpages. And that’s where selecting your domain name comes. A domain name that consists of several parts represents the specific website’s address on the web.
The Cost to Buy a Domain Name: Why Do You Have to Pay?
A person who is going to buy a domain name and register it is called ‘a registrant’. The company that allows you to purchase and register website names is a registrar. All domain name registrars have to be accredited by ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers). It’s an international non-profit organization responsible for dealing with domain names.
The purpose of ICANN is to keep the Internet safe, stable, and interoperable. It also creates policies on the Internet’s unique identifiers and supports fair competition. Although it doesn’t regulate the access to the Internet or websites’ content, it controls the naming system.
Commercial Domain Names – Beginning
The history of the first domains dates back to the early days before the modern commercial Internet, the ARPANET era. The network contained several computers that received host files from a computer at SRI. The latter assigned hostnames as numerical addresses. Due to the fast network growth, it became impossible to keep a centrally arranged hostname registry. Thus, in 1983, the Domain Name System appeared on the ARPANET.
As for the first commercial Internet domain name, it belongs to Symbolics Inc, a computer systems company in Massachusetts, that first registered the name symbolics.com on 15 March 1985. So, the extension .com has become the first-ever top-level domain (TLD). At that time, anyone could register a domain for free.
However, the situation changed in 1995, when the National Science Foundation granted the permission to Network Solutions to charge for registering domain names. Although in 1998 the ‘Green Paper’ increased the competition in the market and stimulated international competition, you still have to cover the cost to buy a domain name.
Steady Growth of Domain Name Registrations
Since the beginning, the number of registered domains has never ceased to increase. According to the latest statistics provided by ICANN, the number of top-level domains (TLD) reached more than 233 million registrations in 2009.
In ten years, in 2019, there were more than 746.6 million names in the TLD category, which characterizes the growth in more than three times.
In 2019, the number of geographic TLDs constituted more than 1.29 million, which means that it increased almost 5 times in ten years.
The Popularity of Domain Name Extensions
When you compare the cost to buy a domain name, you’ll notice that prices differ significantly. This fact is connected with the popularity of various domain names. Since the time the .com extension was registered, it has been top-rated among Internet address holders. Right now, more than 50% of addresses feature this extension, and the number of .com websites exceeds 147.3 million worldwide.
Premium Domain Names
With intense competition in the domain name market, there appeared premium names. Premium domains are high-quality names that are easily associated with a certain industry, service, or sphere. Such names mostly use typical extensions of .com, .net, .org, etc. Additionally, such names are intuitive and easy-to-spell, which makes them memorable. Furthermore, .com domains are about credibility in the world, as they were established and maintained a long time ago.
Premium domain names can be previously registered by companies that have foreseen their quality. Older domain names, indexed and ranked by Google, represent a better option in terms of SEO. Yet, before you pay the cost to buy a domain name that has been around for a while, make sure it has a reputable history and wasn’t involved in any illegal activities. You can do this in the WHOIS database.
The more popular a name becomes, the more a registrar can charge you. Sometimes the price for such domains can start with hundreds of dollars and reach hundreds of thousand dollars. For instance, the oof.com, a short, playful name that will be attractive to children brands, is already reserved by a registrar. To buy this domain name for yourself, you’ll have to pay more than 16 thousand dollars.
The Greatest Cost to Buy a Domain Name
The domain name history knows numerous examples of registering and selling popular names at exorbitant prices. One of the most famous examples is the business.com that cost $7.5 million in 1999 and grew to $345 million in just 8 years.
Two other memorable domains, insurance.com and vacationrentals.com, cost their owners $35.6 and $35 million accordingly. So, getting an easy-to-remember name recognized worldwide can sometimes cost you a fortune.
How to Buy a Domain Name: Essential Steps
Now that you know why purchasing a domain name is necessary and how much registrations can cost, let’s have a look at the major actions you have to follow.
Brainstorm Keywords Before You Pay the Cost to Buy a Domain Name
Naming your website is as essential as choosing a brand’s name. If you want people to remember your website address, a domain name should be short and catchy. Also, it can be connected with your sphere or niche. Very often, a registered address comprises the name of the brand. For instance, the website of Victoria’s Secret company consists of the name and a .com extension, victoriassecret.com.
Determine Keywords’ Popularity
If you want to use words connected with your business niche, it’s possible to use Google Trends to determine whether there’s interest in your keywords. Just type in your terms and explore what customers are searching for in your sphere. This valuable tool allows you to experiment with different phrases and compare several options at the same time.
For instance, if you are involved in photography, the requests can be ‘photographer’s portfolio’, ‘wedding photographer’, ‘family photographer’, etc. Google Trends shows that ‘wedding photographer’ is a more common search request so that you can use it as a part of your domain name.
Long-tail keywords, definitely, will improve your SEO rankings in the future, so they are worth trying. You only have to remember that a domain name shouldn’t be too complicated or hard-to-read, as you are creating it for users. You’ll find some other useful tips on choosing a domain name here.
Check Domain Availability
When you have several website address variants in mind, you have to make sure that a domain name is available. Using a convenient tool, you can effortlessly type in the desired names and see whether you can purchase them.
Here is a useful tip for you. If you are not hunting for some premium domain name, search for variants. In case getting some particular extension is not a must for you, you’ll notice that many modifications will be available. Moreover, you need to understand whether you want to buy a domain name with a localized extension that refers to a specific country or a generalized one. The cost of the registration will vary from country to country, as you can see in the table below.
British Indian Ocean Territory
Cocos (Keeling) Islands
Sometimes, there are registration restrictions, so you can’t simply pay the cost to buy a domain name. For instance, you need an address validation in Italy if you want to get an .it domain name.
Experiment with Addresses
If your desired domain name is already taken, don’t get frustrated. There’s always an opportunity to experiment with names. For instance, adding an article ‘the’ and ‘s’ to ‘wedding photographer’ makes the occupied domain name ‘weddingphotographer.com’ available. Moreover, the price of it will be reasonable.
Alternatively, you may combine the name of your brand with the sphere to experiment with the domain name. For instance, if your photo studio’s name is Luna, such options as ‘lunaphotographs.com’, ‘lunaphotography.studio’, ‘lunapicture.com’, ‘photographybyluna.com’ or ‘lunaweddingphotography.com’.
Search for Social Media Brands
Undoubtedly, checking brand names on social networks is not a must when you calculate the cost to buy a domain name. Yet, social media marketing is as significant for a company’s promotion as the hosting and SEO are. It’s better to check that the name you have selected as your domain will also be suitable for your company’s social media accounts. You may reserve a name for your website or project on various social media projects to avoid difficulties in connecting accounts to the site.
Estimate the Cost to Buy a Domain Name and Safeguard Your Website
It’s crucial to take care of your website’s safety since the first days of its creation. If a domain registrar or your hosting doesn’t provide you with a free SSL certificate, it’s recommended to purchase it separately. Thus, you’ll make sure your website is protected.
After you have checked the name availability with the domain name registrar and on social media, you can buy a domain name. It’s advisable to read the terms of the contract carefully to know what features you get when registering your name.
Is It Possible to Get a Free Domain Name?
Very often, companies advertise free domain names as part of their services. When you see such notices, make sure that you’ll really get the name you wish. It’s a common practice for website builders, such as WordPress.com, to add their name to your personal domain. Thus, the site will look like a languagecourses.wordpress.com instead of just languagecourses.com. If you prefer to avoid such addresses, you’ll have to purchase a domain name that you like.
Is There Any Hidden Cost to Buy a Domain Name?
When you register a domain name, it’s not a one-time purchase. Usually, you get the possibility to use the address for a year. After that period, you have to renew your registration. To attract new users, some companies offer prices as low as $0.99 for a domain name. However, the next payment can be much higher than the typical cost of other registrars. So, please check the renewal terms carefully.
Additionally, some registrars have auto-renewal options. It means that you’ll be charged for the next year automatically. On the one hand, you may wish to stop using the site, and you won’t need to renew it automatically. On the other hand, this option ensures that you won’t forget to purchase the registration for the next year, and your website won’t stop functioning suddenly.
The cost to buy a domain name can vary a lot depending on your requests. To purchase a domain registration, you have to check that a registrar of domains is reputable. Cooperating with well-known companies will guarantee a website’s success in future. If you decide to register a new domain name, check its availability. Search for niche-specific keywords or use your brand’s name. Then, with specialized tools, you experiment with different extensions. If you don’t have a premium name with a unique domain extension in mind, it’s possible to purchase the address at a very reasonable price.
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