You’ve thought of an idea, decided on a name, and you’re ready to get your site online. But first, you need to buy a domain name.
The problem? There are hundreds of domain registration companies out there. Which one should you choose?
If you want to know where to buy a domain name, keep reading. We’re going to look at some of the best domain name registrars on the web.
How to Buy a Domain Name
If you’re new to the process, the whole thing can sound a little scary. Domain names? Hosting Providers?
It’s easy to buy a domain name. Firstly, decide which of the best domain name registrars you’re going to use, then head to their site, create an account, enter the domain name you want.
Often, you will receive a discount if you purchase a multi-year registration. And make sure you keep an eye out for discount coupons. You can find coupons for many well-known domain registrars with a quick Google search.
After its founding way back in 1997, GoDaddy has become the most recognizable brand in the sector.
GoDaddy offers one of the widest selections of top-level domains among the mainstream providers (for example, .com, .org, or .gov). Currently, 484 are available, including more than 150 country codes.
The availability of lots of country codes shouldn’t be underestimated—I’ve personally struggled to find domain registrars that accept .mx in the past.
GoDaddy also makes it easy to find the domain you want. There’s a bulk search service (allowing you to search for up to 500 domains at once) and a domain broker. The domain broker lets you make bids for domains owned by other people.
Even if you don’t want to create a website, GoDaddy lets you create an email address at your domain for an extra fee.
While GoDaddy’s 484 top-level domains might compare favorably with many of its mainstream competitors, it doesn’t come close to the amount on offer at 101domain.com.
If you register your domain with the company, you can choose from an incredible 1,830 different TLDs. That gives the company one of the largest selections in the world and means 101domain is definitely one of the best domain name registrars.
You can choose from city domains (.barcelona, .vegas, or.sydney), regional domains (.asia, .kiwi, etc.) religious domains, sports domains, employment domains, and a whole lot more.
Like GoDaddy, 101domains offers a bulk search tool.
Lots of people decide to register a new domain with the same company that they use for their hosting—especially if they’re only operating a single site.
The main benefit of this approach is the convenience factor. You have fewer accounts to manage, and billing is more straightforward.
Bluehost is one of the best hosting providers, so you could consider registering your domain there too. Some of Bluehost’s hosting plans will even let you register a new domain for one year for free.
On the downside, Bluehost’s domain services aren’t as feature-rich as other companies; there’s no bulk search or brokerage.
Another of the most highly-recommended hosting providers is InMotion. And like Bluehost, the company gives you a free domain name or free domain name transfer if you sign up for any of its 12- or 24-month hosting plans.
Hosting plans start at around $6 per month.
We’ve written a complete review of InMotion if you want more information.
You might be wondering why we haven’t spent too long talking about price.
In truth, there’s not a great deal of difference between the different providers. The amount you pay for a specific domain name is going to be fairly similar everywhere (though many domain registrars offer frequent discounts, especially for new customers).
Instead, you need to base your decision on factors such as ease-of-use, support, and TLD choice.
With that in mind, Namecheap is also a great place to buy a domain name. Only a couple of hundred TLDs are available, but there’s a domain name marketplace where you can purchase domains from other people, as well as integrated Whois Lookup so you can find the name of the person who owns any given site.
Netim is another site which offers a vast number of TLDs; more than 800 are available.
The company is notably smaller than the giants like GoDaddy and Namecheap. It only has around 100,000 domain numbers under its management compared with the millions you will find with other companies.
We’ve included it in our list due to its cost. Although we just said the price isn’t a major consideration, if you really want to save a few cents, Netim is a service worth checking out. It frequently offers cheaper domain name renewals than you will find elsewhere.
Netim is also one of the few domain name registrars that accept Western Union payments, in case that’s a service you require.
HostGator is our final pick. Again, it’s a solid option if you want to register your domain and buy your hosting with the same company.
The company offers very competitive packages for newcomers, especially if you’re happy with an entry-level site that doesn’t have significant traffic. Some packages—which include hosting, email, and a domain name—are available for as little as $3.
There’s also an easy-to-use tool that lets you transfer a domain from another registrar. If you want HostGator to handle the transfer, it will cost $7.95.
Check out our comparison of Bluehost and HostGator to learn more.
Where to Buy a Domain Name
The seven companies we have discussed in this article are all among the best domain name registrars on the web. Make sure you leave your favorite domain registrars in the comments.
And remember, once you’ve made your decision, registered a domain, and bought your hosting, it’s finally time to build your site. There are enough tutorials available that can guide you through this.