As a web developer, I get asked this question quite a bit…and the answer I usually give is, YES!  If you have a great idea for a web address name (called URLs in tech speak), go ahead and purchase the domain even before you are ready to build a site.  Domains only cost about $8-10 per year to own, and you can renew them indefinitely once you own them.

domain-name-smallI do give a quick word of caution, though, when you are ready to purchase a domain name (or multiple domains). Consider who you might like to have as your host down the road. It is MUCH easier to use your domain with the company that holds the registration – even if that won’t be for months or a year down the line.

So, the way that domain names work is this:

  1. You think of a GREAT domain name like: www.TheGreatestDomainEver.com (ok, so it will be about what your passion is, so be creative but keep it simple…)
  2. You go to a site like WhoIs.com and do a search for the domain you would like to purchase. IF no one has registered it yet, you can. This site will tell you if it is available or if someone has already registered it.
  3. IF it is available, go to the Web Hosting company you plan to use to host a website down the line.  There are SO, SO many out there. Some popular ones are GoDaddy.com, HostGator.com, DreamHost.com. We have done a TON of research over the past 5 years or so, and we highly recommend BlueHost.com. They have very responsive customer service, and very fast loading speeds. You can also host multiple domains on a single hosting account there (as do many other companies). Go to their home page and purchase the domain there.
  4. Then, the domain is registered to your for the period you set up when you purchased it. You can choose a minimum of one year, up to 10 or 15 years, of domain registration.

So, now you have registered domain name. You probably do not have hosting yet, and you may not see anything but a ‘holding’ page when you type in your newly acquired domain name. Every company is different, but most will have a page that tells you that this domain is ‘parked’ with a certain company. (Note: Hosting will run about $5-10/month with most companies.)

To get this domain to be a ‘real’ website, will require you to purchase hosting from the company that you registered the domain with (or another company if you choose to change.) Then, files that are coded must be loaded to the hosting account in order to see a web page on the internet.

I know this is a LOT of techy, icky information…but it really isn’t that hard once you dip your toes in the domain water for the first time.  🙂

Simply speak to folks you trust, and who already have websites, about who they are using for their domains and hosting. Then, choose that company. You can go directly to that company to search for domain availability. They ALL have a search function.

If you are feeling brave…you can do a test run now…Go to BlueHost.com right now. Click on the green ‘Get Started Now’ button.  Then, in the box that says ‘new domain’ type in the name you would like to search for, to see if it is available.  You don’t have to take action yet – if you are not ready – but you can see how easy it is to search for a domain and get started!

I hope this helps to explain the domain name registration process for you!

Until next time…

Keep on techin’!

Michelle