How to Register a Domain Name (+ simple tip to get it for FREE)

Often when starting a blog, users ask us about how to register a custom domain name, and which are the best places to register a domain. In this article, we will show you how to easily register a domain name, and share a tip on… Read More »

The post How to Register a Domain Name (+ simple tip to get it for FREE) appeared first on WPBeginner.

Often when starting a blog, users ask us about how to register a custom domain name, and which are the best places to register a domain. In this article, we will show you how to easily register a domain name, and share a tip on how to register a domain name for free.

How to register a domain name

But before we get started, let’s cover the basics so we’re on the same page.

What is a Domain Name?

A domain name is the address of your website that people type in the browser to visit your website. For example, wpbeginner.com.

In simple term, if your website was a house, then your domain name will be its address.

The whole internet is a giant network of computers. Each computer is assigned a number which is called an IP address, and it looks like this:

66.249.66.1

Now, this is not an easy to remember address. Imagine if you had to use this kind of addresses to visit your favorite websites.

To fix this problem, domain names were invented. Domain names can have alphabets and numbers, which helps website owners create easy to remember brandable words for their website’s address.

How domains work?

To learn more about domain names, see our beginner’s guide on domain names and how do they work.

When Do You Need to Register a Domain Name?

Each day, over 44,000 new .com domain names were registered in the first quarter of 2018. Currently, there are over 134 million .com domain names already registered.

This means that all the good ones are being registered as we speak. Chances are that someone may register a domain name that you’re thinking of, so it’s smart to register a domain name as soon as you think of an idea.

This is why all tech-savvy entrepreneurs pro-actively register domain names even before launching a business. Domain names are cheap, and you can register them for a year. If you decide to not pursue the business, then you can let them expire.

If you are serious about building a business, then you should register a domain name right away. It will help you protect your brand identity, business name, and even future business ideas.

How much does a domain name cost?

Normally, a .com domain name costs $14.99 / year. Other domain name extensions cost varies based on each extension. Some are even more expensive than this. We don’t recommend using anything but .com domains because everybody remembers a .com domain, and your smartphone keyboards have a pre-built key for .com.

Do I Need a Website to Register a Domain Name?

No. You don’t need a website to register a domain name. You can register a domain name and make a website later. You can also register a domain name and set up a temporary website.

A lot of entrepreneurs treat domain names like digital real-estate, so they register a good domain name and hold it for the right buyer to purchase it from them.

How to Choose The Best Domain Name?

Domain names play a very important role in your website’s identity, and its success. You want to spend some time and do your research before registering a domain name. However, it’s also important to not overthink it otherwise you will never get past the research phase.

Here are some general tips to keep in mind.

  • Make sure that your domain name is easy to pronounce, spell, and as short as possible.
  • Stick with the .com extension, most users find them easier to remember than other domain extensions.
  • Use your keywords and brand name in the domain name. For example, stargardeninghouston.com is more search engine friendly, than stargardeningcompany.com
  • Do not use numbers or hyphens in your domain name. It makes them harder to pronounce and difficult to remember.

Need more advice? See our article on how to choose the best domain name for more tips.

How to Register a Domain Name (Step by Step)

There are multiple ways to register a domain name. You can choose from several top domain registrars that are authorized by ICANN to register domain names for you.

We will show you the most popular ways to register a domain name, and you can choose the one that best fits your needs.

1. How to Register a Domain Name for Free

If you want to register a domain name to start a blog or make a website, then this is the best option for you.

Normally, a domain name costs $14.99 / year and website hosting plans start from $7.99 / month. This is a lot of money if you are just starting out.

Luckily, Bluehost has agreed to offer our users a free domain name, SSL Certificate, and 60% discount on web hosting.

→ Click Here to Get Free Domain with Bluehost ←

Bluehost is one of the biggest hosting companies in the world. They are in business since 2003 and host more than 2 million websites. Not to mention, they’re officially recommended by WordPress.

To get started, you need to visit the Bluehost website and click on the Get Started button.

Getting free domain name with Bluehost

This will bring you to the pricing page. Their Basic and Plus plans are popular among our users.

Choose a plan

Click on the ‘Select’ button below a plan to continue.

On the next page, you will be asked to choose a domain name. Simply type the domain name in the “New Domain” box because that will get you a free domain name.

Select domain name

If the domain name you entered is available, then you will be taken to the signup page. From here you need to enter your account information like name, address, email, etc.

Below the account information, you will notice some hosting extras. We don’t recommend buying them, so you can safely uncheck them for now. If you feel that you need them, then you can always add them later.

Uncheck hosting extras

After that, you can enter your payment information to finish the purchase.

Bluehost will now register your domain name, setup your hosting account and send you an email with a link to your hosting control panel.

Since you need a web hosting to start a website, it makes no sense to purchase a domain name separately when you can get it for free with the Bluehost combo offer.

If for some reason you don’t want to use Bluehost to get a free domain name, then you can use InMotion Hosting or GreenGeeks, both are top WordPress hosting companies that are offering a free domain name with web hosting to WPBeginner readers.

Related: See the difference between domain and web hosting to understand why you need both to build a website.

2. How to Register a Domain Name with GoDaddy

If you only want to register a domain name at the moment without creating a website, then GoDaddy is your best option.

Godaddy is the largest and most popular domain name registrar in the word. They currently manage over 72 million domain names for 17 million users from around the globe.

GoDaddy offers an easy way to manage your domain name without creating a website. Once you are ready, you can just point the domain name to your preferred WordPress hosting company.

Here is how to register a domain name with GoDaddy (step by step).

First, you need to visit the GoDaddy website and enter the domain name you want to register in the search box.

Search domain name on GoDaddy

If your domain name is available, then you will see a success message with your domain name listed on top. You can now go ahead and add it to the cart.

Add domain name to the cart

Next, click on the continue to cart button to check out.

GoDaddy, will now show you some additional services that you can purchase with your domain name. You can skip those by selecting ‘No thanks’ and click on the continue button.

Continue to the cart

On the next page, you will see your domain name and its registration period. You can change the registration period to up to 10 years if you want.

However, we don’t recommend that. You can always renew your domain name before it expires, so if you want to save money, then you can select just 1 year registration period.

Domain name registration period and amount

You will need to create a Godaddy account to proceed.

After you have created an account, you will be able to enter your billing address and make a payment for your domain name.

GoDaddy will now register your domain name, and they will send you an email with a link to your domain control panel.

Pro Tip: You should make sure that auto-renew on your domain is turned on, so Godaddy can automatically bill your account and renew your domain name. This way you won’t lose your domain if you forgot to renew it.

3. Other Ways to Register a Domain Name

There are plenty of other domain name registrars that you can choose from. Prices for domain name registrations are pretty much the same on all those registration services. However, their user interface and domain management tools can be lacking at times.

If you don’t want to use GoDaddy for some reason, then we recommend trying out either NameCheap as the best alternative.

If you want a free domain name with website hosting but don’t want to use Bluehost, then you can use InMotion Hosting or GreenGeeks, both are listed among the best WordPress hosting providers in our list.

Domain Registration FAQs

Since we have helped over 130,000 people start a website, we have gotten just about every question you can possibly think of. Below are the answers to some of the top domain name questions:

Which is the best domain name registrar?

We believe that Godaddy is the best domain name registrar given their long history. However it’s a smarter money decision to get a free domain with web hosting like Bluehost. You can always transfer your domain name if you decide to switch hosting provider.

How can I buy a domain name permanently?

You cannot buy a domain name permanently. Domain names registration is done on a yearly basis. However you can pre-pay for up to 10 years which guarantees that you will have a domain name for 10 years.

How can I reserve a domain name without buying it?

There is no way to reserve a domain name without purchasing it. You have to buy it if you want to reserve it. Considering the low cost of a domain name, it’s a small investment for a business.

Is there a way to buy an existing domain name?

Yes, you can use brokerage like Sedo.com to potentially acquire an existing domain name. However it’s not guaranteed that you will get the domain name that you want because the seller may not want to sell it or ask for an outrageous price.

We hope this article helped you learn how to register a domain name for your website. You may also want to see our tips on how to make money online with your new domain name and/or how to create a professional email address with your domain.

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.

The post How to Register a Domain Name (+ simple tip to get it for FREE) appeared first on WPBeginner.

What’s the Difference Between Domain Name and Web Hosting (Explained)

We are often asked by our readers to explain what is the difference between a domain name and web hosting? Many beginners don’t know that these are two separate things. In this beginner’s guide, we will explain the difference between a domain name and web… Read More »

The post What’s the Difference Between Domain Name and Web Hosting (Explained) appeared first on WPBeginner.

We are often asked by our readers to explain what is the difference between a domain name and web hosting? Many beginners don’t know that these are two separate things. In this beginner’s guide, we will explain the difference between a domain name and web hosting.

Difference between domain name and web hosting

What is a Domain Name?

Domain name is the address of your website that people type in the browser’s URL bar to visit your website.

In other words, if your website was a house, then your domain name will be its address.

Now let’s get into the detailed explanation.

Internet is basically a giant network of computers connected to each other through cables. To easily identify them, each computer is assigned a series of numbers called IP Address.

This IP address is a combination of numbers separated with dots. Typically, IP addresses look like this:

66.249.66.1

Computers have no problem identifying and remembering these numbers. However, it is impossible for humans to remember and use these numbers to connect to websites on the internet.

To solve this problem, domain names were invented.

A domain name can have words which makes it easy to remember website addresses.

Now if you wanted to visit a website on the internet, you don’t need to type a string of numbers. Instead, you can type in an easy to remember domain name, for example, wpbeginner.com.

To learn more about domain names, take a look at our beginner’s guide on domain names and how do they work.

What is Web Hosting?

What is web hosting?

Web hosting is the place where all the files of your website live. It is like the home of your website where it actually lives.

A good way to think about this is if the domain name was the address of your house, then web hosting is the actual house that address points to. All websites on the internet, need web hosting.

When someone enters your domain name in a browser, the domain name is translated into the IP address of your web hosting company’s computer. This computer contains your website’s files, and it sends those files back to the users’ browsers.

Web hosting companies specialize in storing and serving websites. They offer different types of hosting plans to their customers. See our article on WordPress hosting to learn more about choosing the right hosting for your website.

How Domain Names and Web Hosting are Related?

Domain names and web hosting are two different services. However, they work together to make websites possible.

Basically domain name system is like a massive address book that is constantly updated. Behind each domain name, there is an address of the web hosting service storing the website’s files.

Without domain names, it will not be possible for people to find your website and without web hosting you cannot build a website.

What do I need to Build a Website? Domain Name or Web Hosting?

What you need to build a website?

To build a website you will need both a domain name and web hosting account.

Buying a domain name alone only gives you right to use that particular domain name for a specific period (usually 1 year).

You need web hosting to store your website’s files. After you get hosting, you need to update your domain name settings and point it to your web hosting service provider.

You can also buy both the domain and hosting from the same company. Typically a domain name costs $14.99 / year, and web hosting normally costs $7.99 / month.

If you are starting your first website, then this may sound like a lot.

Thankfully, Bluehost, an official WordPress recommended hosting provider, has agreed to offer our users a free domain name and over 60% off on web hosting.

→ Click here to start with Bluehost ←

Once you have purchased hosting and registered your domain name, you can start building your website. For complete step by step instructions, see our guide on how to make a website.

Do I have to buy them together? Or can I buy them separately?

You can buy domain name and web hosting from two different companies. However, in that case you will have to point your domain name to your web hosting company by editing its DNS settings.

On the other hand, if you purchase your domain name and web hosting from the same company, then you will not have to change domain name settings.

It is also much easier to manage and renew both services under the same dashboard.

If you want to buy domain names separately, then you can do so from top providers like: Godaddy and NameCheap.

Can I Move My Domain Name to a Different Company?

Moving domain name

Yes, you can. Normally when you register the domain name, you own the right to use it and transfer it anywhere you want.

For example, let’s say you purchased your domain name from Godaddy and bought your hosting from Bluehost. Now you want to move your domain name to Bluehost, so that it is easier to manage and renew.

You can easily do that. Both companies have detailed step by step instructions that you can follow to transfer your domain name.

Note: We recommend you to wait at least 45 days after the registration or renewal to initiate the transfer. ICANN the international organization that oversees domain names, requires one year renewal whenever a transfer is initiated. By transferring your domain name before that period you could lose that year’s renewal fee.

Can I Move My Website to Another Web Hosting Company Without Changing Domain?

Yes, you can do that as well. You own the domain name and can change its settings to point it to any web hosting company.

For example, you purchased your domain name and hosting from Godaddy, and now you want to move your web hosting to Bluehost. You can move your site from one host to another by simply transferring files and data. After that you need to edit your domain name settings and point them to your new web hosting provider.

Another example, you purchased your domain name from WordPress.com (See our guide on the difference between WordPress.com vs WordPress.org). Later you wanted to move to self hosted WordPress.org website.

First, you will need to sign up for a WordPress hosting account. After that you can move your site from WordPress.com to WordPress.org. Lastly, you will just edit your domain name settings on WordPress.com and point them to your new WordPress hosting provider.

We hope this article helped you learn the difference between a domain name and web hosting. You may also want to see our comparison of popular website builders for beginners with pros and cons.

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.

The post What’s the Difference Between Domain Name and Web Hosting (Explained) appeared first on WPBeginner.

Beginner’s Guide: What is a Domain Name and How Do Domains Work?

We are often asked by beginners: what is a domain name and how do domains work? Many of our beginner users confuse domain names with hosting and other services. In this beginner’s guide, we will answer what is a domain name and how domains work.… Read More »

The post Beginner’s Guide: What is a Domain Name and How Do Domains Work? appeared first on WPBeginner.

We are often asked by beginners: what is a domain name and how do domains work? Many of our beginner users confuse domain names with hosting and other services. In this beginner’s guide, we will answer what is a domain name and how domains work.

Domain names and how do they work?

What is a Domain Name?

Domain name is the address of your website that people type in the browser URL bar to visit your website.

In simple terms, if your website was a house, then your domain name will be its address.

A more detailed explanation:

Internet is giant network of computers connected to each other through a global network of cables. Each computer on this network can communicate with other computers.

To identify them, each computer is assigned an IP address. It is a series of numbers that identify a particular computer on the internet. A typical IP address looks like this:

66.249.66.1

Now an IP address like this is quite difficult to remember.

Domain names were invented to solve this problem.

Now if you want to visit a website, you don’t need to enter a long string of numbers. Instead, you can visit it by typing an easy to remember domain name in your browser’s address bar. For example, wpbeginner.com.

What happens when you enter a domain name in your browser?

How domains work

Your browser sends a request to a global network of servers that form the Domain Name System. These servers then look up for the name servers associated with a domain and forward the request to those name servers.

For example, if your website is hosted on Bluehost, then it’s name server information will be like this:

ns1.bluehost.com
ns2.bluehost.com

These name servers are computers managed by your hosting company. Your hosting company now forwards your request to the computer where your website is stored.

This computer is called a web server. It has a special software installed (Apache, Nginx are two popular web server software). The web server now fetches the requested website and sends it to back to the browser.

How is Domain Name Different from Web Hosting?

web hosting

If domain name is the address of your website, then web hosting is the home where your website lives.

This is the actual computer where your website’s files are stored. These servers are offered as a service by hosting companies.

To create your website, you need both domain name and web hosting.

However, it’s important to remember that they are two separate services, and you can buy them from two different companies.

Now you may be wondering, how would it work if you bought them from two separate companies?

You just need to edit your domain name settings and enter the Name Server information provided by your hosting company. Name Server information defines where to send user requests for your domain name.

We recommend getting both your domain name and hosting from the same company. This allows you to easily manage your domain and hosting under the same account.

How to Choose a Domain Name for Your Website?

Choosing domain name

Domain names are available in many different extensions. The most popular one is .com. There are many other options like .org, .net, .tv, .info, .io, and more.

There are also country specific domain names which end with country code extension like .uk for United Kingdom, .de for Germany, .in for India.

We recommend using .com, mainly because it is the easiest to remember and works best for business websites.

For more on this topic, please take a look at our guide on how to choose the best domain name.

How to Buy a Domain Name?

You can buy domain names from many companies. These companies are called domain name registrars. A domain name typically costs 14.99 per year. Some popular domain name companies are:

However, a domain name registration does not automatically give you hosting service. For that you will need a website hosting account as well.

Many WordPress hosting companies offer domain name registration services as well. This allows you to manage both services under one account, and you also don’t need to worry about changing name server settings for your domain.

We recommend using Bluehost. They are offering WPBeginner users a free domain name and 60% discount on hosting. Basically you can get started for $2.75/month.

We hope this article helped you learn what is a domain name and how do domains work. You may also want to see our list of best free domain name generators to find cool ideas for your next domain name.

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.

The post Beginner’s Guide: What is a Domain Name and How Do Domains Work? appeared first on WPBeginner.

14 Best Free Domain Name Generators on the Internet

Do you want to start a blog or website, but not sure which domain name to use? Picking the right domain name isn’t easy. Specially when you come up with something unique, memorable, and meaningful only to find out that it’s already taken. In this… Read More »

The post 14 Best Free Domain Name Generators on the Internet appeared first on WPBeginner.

Do you want to start a blog or website, but not sure which domain name to use? Picking the right domain name isn’t easy. Specially when you come up with something unique, memorable, and meaningful only to find out that it’s already taken. In this article, we will share 14 best free domain name generators to help you find the perfect domain name for your business.

Best Free Domain Name Generators

Before You Start

Before we start looking at the domain name generators, we want to share with you some domain name best practices as well as show you how you can get your first domain name for free!

Let’s get the basics out of the way.

A domain name is your website’s address on the internet. This is what people type to get to your website (such as google.com or wpbeginner.com).

When choosing a domain name, you should keep the following criteria in mind:

  • Try to register a .com (it’s the most recognized)
  • Make sure it’s easy to pronounce
  • Make it as short as you possibly can
  • Use keyword if you can
  • Avoid hyphens
  • Don’t infringe on others trademark

Now that you know what a good domain name should have, how much do these things cost?

Domain names typically cost around $14 per year (that’s for .com).

If you get other obscure extensions, then they’ll cost you even more.

How to Get a Free Domain Name

Chances are if you’re looking for a domain name, then you’re trying to start a blog or website which means that you also need web hosting.

Top WordPress hosting companies like Bluehost and Siteground have agreed to offer WPBeginner users a free domain name registration when they purchase a web hosting plan using the links on our site.

On top of the free domain name, you also get 60% off on their web hosting packages. All you need to do is use the WPBeginner Bluehost coupon or the Siteground coupon to start your website.

Remember these coupons only work when you click on the link from our site, so use the domain name generators below to find the domain name that you like, and then come back to our website to use the coupon.

Having that said, let’s take a look at the best free domain name generators on the internet.

14 Best Domain Name Generators

Word of advice:

These domain name generators are artificial intelligence, so they are not perfect.

However they are good enough to get the creative juices flowing in your head, so you can pick the best domain name for your website.

Name Mesh

Name Mesh

There are a lot of complicated domain name generators that require you to tweak different settings to get the results you’re looking for. Name Mesh isn’t one of them. This tool is incredibly simple to use. Just type two or three keywords into the search bar and the generator produces a variety of available domain names categorized under headings like “common,” “new,” “short,” “similar,” “ and “fun.”

Lean Domain Search

Lean Domain Search

Lean Domain Search is consistently ranked as one of the best domain name generators on the internet, and rightly so. All you have to do is start with a keyword and you’ll get a bunch of results. (And I mean a BUNCH.) You can list them by popularity, length, or alphabetically. You can also set search term filters for more focused results.

Bust a Name

Bust a Name

While the tool’s layout and design may not be as attractive as some of the more modern tools, don’t confuse its bland look with a lack of results. Bust a Name has a ton of features that other tools simply don’t have. These include the ability to set prefixes, suffixes, hyphens, plurals, and even the option to drop the last vowel of a word.

Domain Puzzler

Domain Puzzler

Some people just want a simple interface that does everything for them. If you fall into this category, Domain Puzzler is a good option. Type in a bunch of words, set your extensions, and you’re ready to roll. If you want some more advanced sorting options, you can always select the “advanced” tab.

Shopify Business Name Generator

Shopify Business Name Generator

Shopify is known for offering free tools to its visitors and the Business Name Generator tool is a good one. There isn’t a ton that sets this tool apart from the others in terms of features, but it’s one of the quickest and easiest to use.

DomainsBot

DomainsBot

One of the neat things about DomainsBot is that it will actually notify you when a domain name that’s currently taken is about to expire. This gives you the ability to earmark certain names and possibly claim them if they do end up expiring.

Name Station

Name Station

NameStation is more than a domain name generator, it’s a community. In addition to searching for domain names, you can also host a contest and crowdsource name suggestions. So, not only are you getting automated results, but you also get creative input from other people.

Panabee

Panabee

Panabee is aesthetically pleasing, which matters to some people. It also gives you a list of related terms, which can help point you in another direction. An added bonus is the feature that checks social media usernames on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr.

Dot-o-Mator

Dot-o-mator

Considering the simple look of this generator, Dot-o-Mator is fairly functional. Start by developing a list of beginning words and then create a list of endings. Hit the combine button and you’ll get a bunch of results. There’s even a mobile app so you can generate names on the go.

Domainr

Domainr

Domainr doesn’t mess around with superfluous elements or functions. It’s designed to be a tool that you can access and use in just a few seconds. It produces a handful of available top-level domains and then ranks the best purchase options based on name, features, and price.

NameSmith

NameSmith

There’s some speculation amongst online entrepreneurs that name generators record your searches and then use that data in the future to purchase certain domain names that they feel like they could resell at a higher price. Whether that’s true or not, nobody knows. However, Namesmith doesn’t make you speculate. They promise not to share your data or sell it to others. All keywords are promised to be safe.

Wordoid

Wordoid

Wordoid is one of the few domain name generators that will let you set languages, word length, and patterns. Plug in a few keywords and see what you get. You can even save past searches for future reference.

Cool Name Ideas

Cool Name Ideas

Cool Name Ideas is, well, really cool. The tool asks you a few different questions – such as the type of business you’re naming, what benefits you’re providing to customers, and what style of business you run – and generates custom names that are tailored to your brand.

Instant Domain Search

Instant Domain Search

As the name suggests, Instant Domain Search is a super fast almost instantaneous search tool. It starts showing you results as soon as you start typing. It also tries to show different variations and combinations as you type.

What’s Next

Once you have chosen your domain name, the next thing you need to choose is the best WordPress hosting, so you can setup your website.

We have a step by step guide on how to install WordPress to help you get started.

You may also want to consider creating a professional email address for your website (such as [email protected]).

Once your website is ready, you may want to use these 19 actionable tips to drive more traffic to your new site.

That’s all. We hope these domain generators helped you pick the best domain. If you want to continue learning WordPress, check out our guide on how to learn WordPress for free in less than a week.

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.

The post 14 Best Free Domain Name Generators on the Internet appeared first on WPBeginner.