How To Register A Domain Name

How To Register A Domain Name

Step-by-Step guide to buying a domain name with GoDaddy or Namecheap

By Jonathan Griffin | Published: Jul 30, 2017 23:32 | Updated: Jul 30, 2017 23:32

When purchasing your domain name it is important to choose a domain registrar that is highly respected, and who offers high DNS performance, a wide choice of domains, and has a powerful domain management interface.

If you are looking to establish your online presence for either yourself or for your business, you will need to purchase a domain name.

Finding and obtaining a great domain name is critical in 2017. There is so much competition, ensuring that your brand and website look credible is essential to gaining more customers and traffic.

For this reason, I have created a detailed guide to registering a domain name, as well as some important next steps to ensure you don’t forget to renew, and details on how to keep your domain safe.

How to Choose a Domain Name

Choosing the perfect domain name is hard.

It is so easy to get carried away with a generic, long, keyword-laden name, or even one that contains obscure words, numbers, and even hyphens.

Or, you might choose a domain containing existing trademarks and risk future legal action being taken against you.

Don’t worry, though.

I have written this detailed guide listing all the things you should consider when choosing a domain:

It also includes links to some great domain name generators to help you come up with some ideas.

How to Buy your Domain Name

There are many domain registrars to choose from, but two of the most popular are GoDaddy and Namecheap.

I personally prefer Namecheap for registering domains. The interface is very intuitive (as you will see in a moment), and the domain renewal prices for Namecheap ($10.69 for .com) are a little cheaper than GoDaddy ($14.99 for .com).

Namecheap is my personal favorite domain name registrar and one that I have used for many years. Like GoDaddy, it is also one of the most popular domain name registrars around, selling a wide range of domain name extensions

GoDaddy is the most popular domain registrar hosting over 16 million domain names. They are extremely focused on small business, so have plenty of useful products and services such as SEO tools, email, website builders, hosting, and much more.

If you are just getting started and need a cheap domain, GoDaddy a great deal on .com domains with the first year at just $0.99.

My step-by-step guides below incorporate using one of these exclusive domain coupons:

There are of course other popular domain name providers such as name.com or namesilo.com among many others. I can personally vouch for both of the above ICANN accredited registrars, so they are a great place to start.

Right. Let’s get to it.

Registering your Domain Name with GoDaddy

Step 1: Click one of the following links to visit the GoDaddy website and start the registration process.

Type in your chosen Domain Name.

 Type in your chosen domain name.
 
Step 2: After entering your domain, GoDaddy will check whether it is available. Assuming it is, click “Add to Cart” to buy your domain for $0.99 (.com), or the specified price if a different TLD.

Click add to cart if domain name is available.
 
After you click “Add to Cart,” it will confirm your domain is available. Click the orange “Continue to Cart” to check out and purchase the domain.

Step 3: On the next screen, GoDaddy will try to up-sell various products and options. You’ll probably want to deselect all of them.

Deselect any add-ons you do not want.
Step 4: Once you have selected (or not) any add-ons, click the orange “Continue with these options” at the bottom of the page.

Click Continue with these Options
 Step 5: Select the domain registration term, check order and checkout.

The renewal cost for .com domains is $14.99. However, any additional years you purchase now will only cost you $9.99. As such, you may wish to consider extending the term to up to 10 years. It will also save you from having to remember to renew it each year.

If you only wish to register for one year, change the term accordingly. It will cost you just $0.99 plus ICANN fee and taxes. As I am based in the UK, it costs $1.40 due to VAT.

 Choose term and proceed to checkout.
Once you’ve selected your term, click the orange “Proceed to Checkout” button.

Step 6: If you do not already have a GoDaddy account you will need to provide your billing and registrant details. You will then see a final confirmation screen as shown below.

 Place your order

Once you are happy, click “Place Your Order” (don’t forget to complete the Captcha).

You will then see an order confirmation, along with a link to the Domain Name Management screen as follows:

 Order Confirmation.

Step 7: Check your email, and click the link to verify your email address. If you don’t do this, the domain purchase may be canceled.

 Verify your email address. 
Next Steps

You can see full instructions on how to point your GoDaddy domain at SiteGround later in this guide. These instructions can be adapted to any hosting provider.

Registering your Domain Name with Namecheap

Step 1: Visit Namecheap by one of the two methods below to start the registration process:

Type in your chosen Domain Name.

 Type in your chosen domain name.
 
Step 2: The Namecheap domain name registrar will check whether it is available. Assuming it is, click the Shopping Cart to buy your domain. Don’t worry about the price just yet. You can enter any discount code in a few minutes.

 Click add to cart if domain name is available.

After you click the add to cart icon, a subtotal will appear, along with the price (including the ICANN fee). You can then click “View Cart” to proceed with registering the domain.

Step 3: On the next screen Namecheap will try to up-sell various products including WhoisGuard and PremiumDNS. You’ll probably want to deselect all of them, by toggling the “ENABLE” option to off.

You will also want to add your coupon code in this step, as shown:

 Deselect any add-ons you do not want and add any coupon code.
 
Step 4: Before registering your domain, you are required to either log in to your existing account or register a new account. This is as simple as it looks. Enter a username, password, email, and name, and click “Create Account and Continue.”

 Sign up.
 
Step 5: Enter Whois Contact Information

Enter your contact details for the domain, and then click Continue.

 Whois Contact Information.

Step 6: Enter Payment method, and make payment

Here you can choose to pay via debit or credit card, PayPal, or Account Funds. Paying by account funds (pre-filling your account) opens up Bitcoin as a payment method.

You can also configure whether to automatically renew your domain further down the page (recommended).

 Make payment.
 Proceed to make payment by your chosen method. The cost of a .com domain with Namecheap is $9.84 including ICANN fee.

 Paying via PayPal.
 
You will then see an order confirmation, along with a link to the Domain Name Management screen (orange button) as follows:

 Domain registration order complete.

Step 7: Check your email, and click the link to verify your email address. If you don’t do this, the domain purchase may be canceled.

Next Steps

You can see full instructions on how to point your Namecheap domain at SiteGround later in this guide. These instructions can be adapted to any hosting provider.

How to Change your Nameservers

Now you have registered your domain name; the next step is to point it at your hosting account so you can view your web pages by visiting your domain.

If you have not yet purchased your web hosting, you will need to do this first.

I have included instructions below for two of the most popular domain registrars, but the principles can be applied to any domain provider.

Configure your GoDaddy name servers

Step 1: Find out what your hosting providers nameservers are.

To do this at SiteGround, first log into your account. You will see under the “My Accounts” tab a “Manage Account” button as shown below:

 Click Manage Account.
On the next page you will see your Account DNS settings clearly displayed:

 SiteGround nameserver settings

Top Tip: You can also see an option on this screen to Access the Site by IP. Because a change of Nameserver can take up to 48 hours, you can use this to view your website in the meantime.

Step 2: Log into your domain manager at GoDaddy. To do this, click your user name in the top right corner to expand the menu, and select “Manage Domains.”

 Access the domain manager.

Step 3: Under the “Manage” column next to your domain, select “Manage DNS” as shown below:

 Manage DNS.
Step 4: Scroll down to the Nameservers section and click “Change”:

 Change Nameservers.

Step 5: Under the “Choose your new nameserver type” box, select custom, and enter the Nameserver details you revealed in Step 1. This should look something like:

 Enter nameserver details.

Finally, click Add Nameserver.

Note: It may take up to 48 hours for your domain to start pointing to your hosting account. In the meantime, you can access your website via the IP, as described in Step 1 above. If you have just purchased your domain, you may find it works much more quickly.

Next Steps

  • Configure auto-renewal

You can see full instructions on how to set GoDaddy to automatically renew your domain later in this guide (click here to jump straight there).

Configure your Namecheap nameservers

Step 1: You first need to obtain your hosting providers’ name servers settings.

To do this at SiteGround, first log into your account. You will see under the “My Accounts” tab a “Manage Account” button as shown below:

 Click Manage Account.
On the next page you will see your Account DNS settings clearly displayed:

 SiteGround nameserver settings

Step 2: Log into Namecheap, and click the Domain List option in the left-hand-side menu.

 Domain list.

Step 3: Click “Manage” next to your domain name.

 Manage domain.

Step 4: Under the “Nameservers” sectopm, select “Custom DNS”, and enter the Nameserver details you revealed in Step 1. This should look something like:

 Manage domain.

Finally, click the “green tick” to add the name servers.

Note: It may take up to 48 hours for your domain to start pointing to your hosting account. In the meantime, you can access your website via the IP, as described in Step 1 above. If you have just purchased your domain, you may find it works much more quickly.

Next Steps

  • Configure auto-renewal

You can see full instructions on how to set Namecheap to automatically renew your domain later in this guide.

Don’t forget to renew your domain name

Your domain is your brand. If you lose it, it will turn out to be a very expensive, and potentially a business killing mistake.

It is absolutely essential that you do not forget to renew it.

Many domain registrars have the ability for you to auto-renew your domain, but of course, you must ensure you keep a valid funding method (such as a debit \ credit card, or even PayPal) configured.

It is also advisable to ensure you can receive all notification emails, and that they do not get stuck in the spam folder.

Configure auto-renewal at GoDaddy

Step 1: Log into your domain manager at GoDaddy. To do this, click your user name in the top right corner to expand the menu, and select “Manage Domains.”

 Access the domain manager.

Step 2: Turn on auto-renewal.

 Toggle auto-renewal on.

Configure auto-renewal at Namecheap

Step 1: Log into Namecheap, and click the Domain List option in the left-hand-side menu.

 Domain list.
Step 2: Toggle auto-renew on

 Manage domain.

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