Are you planning to take your business online or you have a new business idea and you want to get it started online immediately, the first step to take is to buy a domain name.
In this article, you will learn what a domain name is and how to buy a domain name for your business.
You can use the table of content below to navigate to where you want to start reading from but I will encourage you to read to the end as you might learn something new.
What is a Domain Name?
A domain name is the word you type in the address bar of a web browser to visit a website.
The domain name for this website is chrisakuneme.com, the domain name for Facebook is Facebook.com while the domain name for Google is Google.com.
Without a domain name, you cannot build a website or get a customised email address ([email protected]) for your business.
A domain name is also called a web address because it actually works like a real life address.
Let me compare a real life shop address to a domain name for you to get a better understanding.
If a customer is coming to your physical store for the first time, the customer will definitely need the address to your store. Suppose this person is boarding a taxi, he would give the taxi driver your store address and the taxi driver drives this customer to your store.
In digital marketing, a website is your online store/shop while a domain name is the address to your store.
You need to give people your domain name for them to have access to your website. When you give people your domain name, they type it in the address bar, then the web browser transports them to your website. In this analogy, the web browser (e.g Google Chrome, Opera Mini) serves as the taxi.
Why you should Register a Domain Name by Yourself
From experience, I have seen business owners who allow website developers help them register domain names because they (the business owner) do not know how to go about registering domain names.
There have been scenarios where the web developer forgot to renew the domains or had conflict with the business owner and let the domain name slip into the hands of a competitor.
Also, some web developers charge outrageous fees to buy domain names. You should learn how to buy domain names by yourself to prevent any of the above cases from happening.
Different Types of Domain Names
There are two main types of domain names namely; Generic top-level domains (gTLD) and Country code top-level domains (ccTLD). TLD stands for Top-level domain.
Below are what each type of domain name means and some examples.
Generic Top-Level Domains (gTLD)
Generic top-level domains were the first set of domain names available for registration since the advent of the internet. Till today, these names are still the most popular domain names.
Some examples of Generic top-level domains include;
gTLD’s like .gov and .edu can only be registered by any one with a government licence or school licence.
When choosing a gTLD domain name for your business, you have to be creative because most single word have been registered already. By single words, I mean domains like cars.com, laundry.com, buy.com etc.
Country Code Top-Level Domain Names (ccTLD)
Country code top level domain names are domain names that end with a country’s internet code.
Note that internet code is different from country dial code. Nigeria’s internet code is NG, South Africa is ZA while the United states of America is known as US.
Some examples of country code top-level domain names include;
- .CH (Switzerland)
- .US (United States)
- .GH (Ghana)
- .KE (Kenya)
- .NG (Nigeria)
- .AL (Albania)
- .UK (United Kingdom)
- .ZA (South Africa)
If you do not have plans to expand your business globally, you can purchase a country code top level domain name for the country your business serves.
How to Buy a Domain Name
To purchase a domain name, you need a domain name registrar. There are so many domain name registrars in the world, however, the domain name registrar you will choose depends on the type of domain you want to register and maybe the pricing.
generic top-level domains like .com, .net and .info are available at most registries but if you want to register a country-code top-level domain, you will need to choose a domain registrar that has it on sale.
In this article, I will show you how to register and common gTLD domain using namecheap and a ccTLD domain.
How to Buy a Domain Name on Namecheap
Namecheap is a popular domain name registrar. It’s popular because it sells domains at competitive prices. They also offer timely deals to new and existing customers.
Here is how to register a domain name through Namecheap;
Visit Namecheap in a new tab. You can use the button below to open Namecheap.
Type the domain name you want to purchase in the search bar and click the search button.
If the domain name is available, click on add to cart.
Perhaps the name is not available, try different variables of the name or create a different name.
Scroll to the bottom of the page and click on the check out button to access the check out page.
On the check out page, you can make several selections as you want. For example, you can choose to register a domain name for 2 years or more instead of one year.
Click on confirm order.
You will be taken to the account creation page, enter any username you like, your name, email address and password then click on “Create account and Continue”.
Note: You need to use an email address that you check regularly so that you do not miss out on important information regarding your domain e.g domain renewal.
Enter your home address and phone number on the next page. Click on continue when you are done.
Preview the information on the next page and click on continue.
Type in your credit card details to make payment. If you prefer to pay with PayPal, tick the PayPal box and click on continue.
Once the payment goes through, You will be able to see your domain name in your Namecheap dashboard.
How to Buy a ccTLD Domain Name
Popular domain registrars like Namecheap do not sell all domain extensions due to the customer demand and profitability. For this reason, you have to search Google for a domain registrar that sells the domain extension you want to buy.
For example, a business in Nigeria wants to register “shoelace.ng”. Namecheap does not sell .ng extensions so this business has to find other registrars that has the extension.
So they do a Google search for “where to buy .ng domain”. You can replace .ng with the domain extension you want to buy.
They need to go through the search results and vet each domain registrars. When buying ccTLD domains, I like to check if the domain registrar has a social media presence. I also check reviews from other customers before buying.
I buy .ng domains frequently. My preferred .ng domain registrar is Whogohost. There are some African ccTLD domain name extensions like .ng, .za, .ke, etc that you won’t find on Namecheap; you can buy these extensions from Whogohost instead.
Follow these steps below to register a domain name on Whogohost.
Visit Whogohost in a new tab.
Type a domain name in the search box and click the search icon.
On the next page, you will see if the domain is available or not. If the domain is available, click on add to cart.
A checkout overlay will appear at the bottom of the screen. Click on continue to go to the checkout page.
The next page is the domain configuration settings, you can skip this part and click on continue.
On the next page, you will be required to create an account as a new customer. Scroll down and enter your names, address, phone number and password you would like to use to login to your Whogohost account.
Select the payment option you want to pay with, accept the terms and conditions and click the checkout button.
Complete the payment to access your new domain name.
Now that you have purchased your domain name, you should keep the login details to your domain name registrar safe. You can use the Google password manager to save your passwords.
Domain Name Registration Frequently Asked Questions
Here are answers to some of the questions you may have concerning domain names;
What do I do if my domain name has been registered by someone else?
If the domain name you want to buy is already registered, you can contact the owner to sell the name to you but this can be quite expensive. However, you could purchase the same name with another domain name extension if you are running a local business.
Assuming you wanted to buy travel.com and you notice it is taken already, you could check other extensions like travel.com.ng, travel.net, travel.co.za e.t.c.
What is the best domain name extension?
The most popular domain extensions are .com, .net and .org. The best extension for you is whatever suits your needs.
When choosing a domain name, you should consider if you plan to take your business global in the future. I don’t recommend country code top-level domains (ccTLD) for businesses planning to go global.
Also note that it is not compulsory that your domain name must be the same as your registered business name. Alphabet Inc is the registered business name for the company that owns Google.com. Same as Multichoice is the registered business name for the company that owns Dstv.
Is the domain registration fee a one time payment?
No. Domain names need to be renewed annually unless you paid for multiple years.
Domain names that are not renewed on time may expire and someone else could purchase it if they see value in it. The new owner of the domain could be your competitor or a domain flipper/speculator who purchased the domain to resell back to you or anyone else for profit.
You definitely do not want this to happen to you.
What happens when your Domain name expires?
When a domain name is due for renewal, the domain registrar tries to notify the domain owner via email. If the domain owner fails to renew the name, the domain name enters a grace period for renewal.
During this grace period, the domain owner can still renew the domain. After the grace period, the domain registrar puts the name on auction to the highest bidder. At this point, if someone likes the domain name and purchases it, you won’t be able to get the domain back until it expires again.
However, if nobody purchases the domain name during the auction, the name enters a redemption period.
You can still renew your domain during the redemption period but you will pay $88.88 plus the registration fee to renew your domain name. The redemption fee may vary between different registrars but you will definitely pay a high amount to redeem your domain name.
When the redemption period is over, the domain name will be deleted and become available for anyone to register at the normal price.
These processes can take about four months.
Please note that some domain extensions do not have a grace period. In fact, you have to renew them a few days before they expire.
How do I renew my domain name?
Once your domain name renewal date approaches, you can login to your domain registrar’s dashboard to renew the domain.
You might get so busy and miss the email from your domain name provider, so the best option is to set your domain names on automatic renewal.
With automatic renewals, your domain name provider charges your debit card annually to renew your domain name before the expiration. Most registrars accept PayPal, credit card and bitcoin for renewal.
If you are having issues with renewing your domain name, you should contact your registrar as soon as possible.
What is the best domain name registrar?
There are a lot of good domain name registrars. When registering your domain name, you should consider a registrar that has good customer support, affordable price for all domain extensions and fast propagation.
If I missed any questions, please ask them through the comment section.
Domain names are the real estate of the internet and people are acquiring new names every single day. Once you have a business idea that you are sure of starting, you should check to see if the domain name is available so that you can buy it.
If your business is a local business, you can buy the ccTLD of the country where your business operates e.g .ng, .com.ng, .co.za e.t.c.
I hope this article has been able to teach you how to buy a domain name for your business or personal use.
Do you need help with your domain name registration? Use the comment section to explain your problem so that I can assist you.