One of the many reasons the internet is so powerful is because it gives nearly anyone the ability to share their voice and knowledge with the rest of the world. A particularly popular way to make yourself known is to set up a website. These days many services, such as WordPress, offer websites on commercial domains, but in a lot of cases, it makes more sense to have your website on your own domain—a personal place on the internet where you are in complete control of what’s published and how it looks. Here’s how to register your own domain name.
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. In addition, 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. 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 from registrars like 101domain.
Learn How To Register a Domain
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:
TLD – Top-Level Domain
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 .fooddomain, it probably means that the site is going to have something to do with food.
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. So, If it’s hard to spell, it’s also going to be hard to remember.
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.
Legal & Rules
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:
Available Domain Names
Now that you have the 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. 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. 2. Make sure the TLD you’re interested in is on the list. If not, add it by clicking the ‘add’ button. 3. Decide on a domain name that’s available. I guess I’ll go with coopWP.me.
Choose a Domain Registration Company
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.
In addition, There are 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 so, 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, visualmodoWP.me, then you may want to buy it from a local domain registrar in Italy (in this case). Same goes for most other countries. 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.
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 BlueHost 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 BlueHost is $14.95 a year.
- This makes it $62.35 in total for the first year.
Buy Your Domain
To end with. 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. Go to Namecheap and type in your desired domain name in the main search box.
Register Available Domain Names
Looking through that list, the tab labeled ‘$0.88 domains’ got me interested. I ended up finding a cool domain offer there, so I decided to pick that one. All that’s needed now is to click on the ‘add to cart’ icon visible in the corner in the screenshot above.
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. 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 processor enter a promo code if you have one.
Namecheap Account Usage
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.
After you’ve created your Namecheap account, you can continue the checkout process and proceed to payment.
Complete Your Payment
Namecheap gives you a handful of payment options. 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. In conclusion, Click ‘Continue’ when you’re ready.
Checkout Payment and Info
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. 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: But before you go:
Check Your Email
You have 14 days from when you registered the domain name so you can 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.