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 register a domain name.
In this article, you will learn what a domain name is and how to register a domain name for your business.
You can use the table of contents feature below to skip to where you want to start reading from but I will encourage you to read to the end as you might learn something new.
Table of Contents
- What is a Domain Name?
- Why you should Register a Domain Name by Yourself
- Different Types of Domain Names
- How to Register a Domain Name from Namecheap
- How to Register a Domain Name from Whogohost
- Domain Name Registration Frequently Asked Questions
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 Pulse’s domain name is Pulse.ng.
Without a domain name, you cannot build a website or get a customized email (email@example.com) 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 house address to domain name for you to get a better understanding.
If someone is coming to your house, he or she must know your house address. Supposing this person is boarding a taxi, he would give the taxi driver your house address and the taxi driver drives this person to your house.
On the internet, a website is your home and a domain name is the address to your home.
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 the domain analogy, the web browser (e.g Google Chrome, Opera Mini) works like a 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) doesn’t know how to go about registering domain names.
There has 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.
Some web developers can also charge you extra to buy domain names for you.
You should learn how to buy domain names by yourself to prevent any of the above cases from happening.
By the time you are done with this article, you will learn how to buy a domain name by yourself.
Different Types of Domain Names
There are three types of domain names namely; Generic top-level domains (gTLD), Country code top-level domains (ccTLD) and New top-level domains (nTLD).
TLD stands for Top-level domain.
Below are what each type of domain name mean 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 license or school license.
Unfortunately, you came late to the party as a lot of good top-level domain names have been registered already.
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)
- .GH (Ghana)
- .KE (Kenya)
- .NG (Nigeria)
- .US (United States)
- .UK (United Kingdom)
- .ZA (South Africa)
New Top-Level Domain Names (nTLD)
New top-level domains are domain names that were created for services, niches, brands, organizations e.t.c
A lot of this domains were introduced from 2012 and above hence the name.
Some examples of generic top-level domain names include the following;
New top-level domain names are not as popular as the other domain extensions
How to Register a Domain Name from Namecheap
Namecheap is my favourite domain registrar and just like their name implies, they sell domain names for reasonable amounts. Namecheap is one of the most popular domain name registrars in the world.
They also offer timely deals to new and existing customers.
Here is how to register a domain name through Namecheap;
Step 1: Visit Namecheap in a new tab. You can use the button below to open Namecheap in a new tab.
Step 2: Type your domain name in the search bar and click the check availability button.
Step 3: If the domain name is available, click on add to cart.
Step 4: Click on the check out button to access the check out page.
Step 5: 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.
Step 6: Click on confirm order.
Step 7: 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”.
Step 8: Enter your house address and phone number on the next page. Click on continue when you are done.
Step 9: Preview the information on the next page and click on continue.
Step 10: Enter 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 Register a Domain Name from Whogohost
Whogohost is an African hosting company and I also use them to register domain names.
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.
Step 1: Visit Whogohost in a new tab.
Step 2: Type a domain name in the search box and click the search icon.
Step 3: On the next page, you will see if the domain is available or not. If the domain is available, click on add to cart.
Step 4: Click on checkout to go to the checkout page.
Step 5: On the next page, an upsell of Id protection and nameserver settings will appear.
You can skip this part, just scroll down and click on continue.
Step 6: Enter your names, address, phone number and password you will like to use to login to your Whogohost account.
Step 7: Select the payment option you want to pay with, accept the terms and conditions and click the checkout button.
Step 8: 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 provider save. I use password managers like Google Password manager and LastPass to save my passwords.
Domain Name Registration Frequently Asked Questions
Here are 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 your domain name has already been taken, 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.
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 suites your need.
When choosing a domain name, you should consider if you plan to take your business international in the future. I don’t recommend country code top-level domains (ccTLD) for businesses planning of going global.
You can coin another name instead.
Also note that it is not compulsory that your domain name must be the same as your business name.
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.
Now 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. Namecheap has a grace period of 27 days for .com domains.
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.
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.
All this process can take about four months.
Please note that some domain extensions do not have a grace period. In fact, you have to renew them 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 expire.
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 question, 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 still buy the ccTLD of your country e.g .ng, .com.ng, .co.za e.t.c as many domain names are still available in this extensions.
I hope this article has been able to teach you how to register 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.