How do you register a domain name and can you get a domain name for free? In this guide we are going to look at the different ways you can register a domain name as well as the best offers for getting a free domain name.
The first way is to register through a web hosting company. All web hosts allow you to register a domain name with them because your hosting account needs a “primary” domain name associated with the account. On top of this the web host tacks on a small fee to the domain name to make a profit.
The second way is to get a domain name at a domain name registrar. Domain name registrars are ICANN certified business that have permission to register domain names. You have to go through an ICAAN certified registrar if you want a domain name, web hosts typically do it on your behalf.
How to get a free domain name with Bluehost.
Bluehost is the #1 recommended web host by WordPress. They offer a free domain for the first year with your purchase of a hosting account. After the first year, a .com domain name will renew at $17.99 a year with Bluehost.
To get started, you first need to go to Bluehost.com and select a hosting account you want to purchase. Once you select any shared hosting account simply fill out the form that says “create a new domain.” This will register a domain name through Bluehost.
Upon purchase your hosting account will be setup with your domain name. After the first year, you’ll need to pay Bluehost to renew your domain name.
Get a free domain name with Hostinger
Hostinger is our top budget web host. They offer some of the lowest prices around for web hosting. You can get a 4 year, shared hosting account for just .99 cents a month. They also offer a free domain name with a purchase of select hosting accounts. On top of this, their domain name renewal rate is $10.99, not $17.99 like Bluehost.
To get started with Hostinger is quick, easy and quite affordable. Simply visit Hostinger.com and select either their Premium Shared Hosting or their Business Hosting.
We like their “premium” shared hosting plan for new websites. On the next page you can select a hosting contract for 1 month, 1 year, 2 years or 4 years. We suggest getting a 4 year hosting plan. You save 78% and with our coupon code “webpro” you save an additional 10%.
Free domain name for the first year that renews at $10.99 and a 4 year hosting package for under $120 USD. Hostinger is the best budget web host available today.
Get a domain name with Namecheap
There are a lot of great domain name registrars that have some excellent prices on domain names. You can typically find better prices long term by getting your domain names at a registrar and then pointing the nameservers to your hosting account.
It also gives you more flexibility with moving your domain name around between different services. Maybe you started a website with Squarespace but then decide you want to use WordPress. By having your domain name with a domain registrar, updating your DNS settings is easy.
The two most popular companies in this space are Godaddy and Namecheap. Namecheap is our #1 recommended domain name registrar because they have better prices for domain registration when compared to GoDaddy.
Let’s take a look at the price of a .com at GoDaddy:
$11.99 is the price for the first year which is reasonable. But the fine print states that the actual price of the domain name for additional years is $19.99. This is actually more expensive than what even a web host like Bluehost would charge to renew domains.
Now if we take a look at the exact same domain name at Namecheap:
The introduction price is $8.88 and then renews at $10.98 a year. So you can register a domain name for multiple years at only $8.88 and then pay $10.98 when it comes time to renew your domain. In addition, you also get WHOIS protection for free with Namecheap.
How to register a domain name with Namecheap
Step 1: Search for your domain name using the search box on the Namecheap homepage.
Step 2: Once you find a domain that is available, add it to your cart, click the big red button that says view cart and checkout. You’ll need to create an account in order to purchase.
Step 3: Once you’ve finished creating an account, it’s time to confirm your order. Here you can choose how many years you want to register the domain name for:
Step 4: When your ready simply confirm your order and pay with a credit card, debit card or PayPal.
With your domain name purchase you get WHOIS guard for free. Per ICANN regulations you must have public contact information associated with any domain. WHOIS guide specifically keeps your contact details private.
The lowest prices on domain name registration, free WHOIS protection.
Advice for registering a domain name
When registering a domain name you want to pick something that is ideally a .com. Most register alternative domain extensions like .net or a .co because the .com version of their website is already registered.
If you can’t get the domain name you want consider using abbreviations, alternate spelling or adding devices onto the end of the domain name. Last, don’t infringe anyone’s copyright. If the .com you want is in use, you can’t just register the same domain with a different extension.
Here is some good rule to follow when registering a domain name:
- Try to get a domain name with a .com extension. When people register a .net or .org it’s almost always because the .com was taken.
- Go for a branded domain. FinanceNinja.com for example would be good for a finance website.
- Make it something easy, memorable, and repeatable.
- Don’t stress and agonize over this too much. Just get something good, it does not not have to be great.
What Are Premium Domain Names?
You can also buy a “premium” domain name if you like. A premium domain name is a domain that is (or has been) already registered by someone and has a lot of demand. For example, candy.com is a premium name. It’s specific and tens of thousands of people want it and will pay top dollar for it.
You can buy premium domains at any registrar, but don’t spend any more than a few hundred dollars (and only if you have some money to spend and the domain you want is premium).
Who should buy a domain name? Business should buy a premium domain name. Say you’ve registered the .co version of a website and built it out but were then able to buy the .com version at a premium price. If the price is right, this sort of scenario makes sense for spending a few hundred dollars on a domain name.
Can I get a “free” domain name then move it to Namecheap?
While you can get a free domain name for the first year at a web host, you must pay to transfer it away to a domain name registrar. So you technically could get a free domain name at Bluehost, then move it to Namecheap before the year is up.
The process of moving a domain name is called a domain name transfer and is not free. Namecheap currently charges $8.58 for a domain name transfer plus ICANN costs and tax.
Please note that you are not allowed to move a domain name if it is within 45 days of its renewal date.
How to register a domain name conclusion
Registering a domain name is a quick and easy process. We strongly suggest you manage your portfolio of domain names with one registrar. You’ll typically get the best prices when compared to registering through a web host and it makes the process of switching web hosts in the future less complicated.
So to recap:
- Bluehost – The #1 recommended web host offers a free domain name for the first year that renews at $17.99.
- Hostinger – With a premium or business hosting account you can get a free domain name that renews at $10.99 a year.
- Namecheap – You can register a domain name for $8.88 a year for up to 5 years and you get WHOIS protection for free.