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How to buy a domain name - the easy illustrated guide

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Disclosure: Some of the links on this page may be affiliate links.

How to buy a domain name - woman with laptop

Buying a domain name is very easy. If it's your first time, don't worry: here is an illustrated guide. It's so easy, anyone can do it!

It's actually far easier to buy a domain name, than it is to think of a good domain name!

Let's for the moment assume you know the domain name you want to buy.

All of the big reputable domain name registrars are equivalent. In other words, it doesn't matter which place you buy it from so long as it's one of the well-known reliable ones. Be aware that some registrars are easier to use than others. From a domain point of view though, it won't matter: if your domain is available at one registrar, it'll be available at another.

We recommend NameSilo and Namecheap if you are looking to buy a domain name. We've used both registrars and can attest that they are reliable and easy to use. Both of these typically price .com's at under $10 a year. For more details, you can take a look at NameSilo's pricing page here.

We do not recommend GoDaddy because we've noticed that they're always trying to upsell you and add extra stuff into your cart before checkout. It's also trickier to use if you're trying to do any other normal things later with your domain, like update the address for your domain contact, etc.

Search and buy domains from Namecheap

For the purposes of this tutorial, we'll illustrate the process for how to buy a domain name with NameSilo, but it's pretty similar on Namecheap, so go with whichever you prefer. Here we go:

Step 1. Go to NameSilo and type in the name of the domain

Navigate to NameSilo.com and on the home page, just type in the domain name you want.

Don't worry, it won't matter if you type it with the extension (.com, .site, etc) or not. In either case, it'll anyway list a few extensions and show you what's available and what's not for the domain name you picked.

In my case, I typed bananas378 just as an example. Here's my results; your page will look something similar. Depending what domain name you typed, yours might not be available in the .com or your chosen extension. If that's the case, try another domain name or consider a different extension. I personally steer clear of the old style alternative extensions like .net, .biz, .info etc. Ultimately these decisions are up to you and will depend on what you're planning to do with the domain name.

How to buy a domain name - search results

Notice that in my results above, bananas378 is available in the .com and in other extensions. But how about if I want to try .space? No problem, I just type in bananas378.space in the search box, the one above the results, and press search. Now it's added .space to the search results, in the same row, as shown in the pic below:

how to buy a domain name - new results

Pricing can fluctuate, especially in the newer extensions, so your pricing may be higher or lower than what I saw above.

This is a good time to try out any searches with similar spelling or other ideas you may have, in case you find something you like better. In the example below, I tried bananas281 and banana. Not surprisingly, banana was already taken in most (but not all!) extensions, as you can see in the results pic below:

How to buy a domain name - additional results

Step 2: Select the domain name(s) you want

When you decide on the domain name you want, check the appropriate box (or boxes if you're buying more than one) from the picture above. In my example, we're going with bananas378.com as shown in the image below. The check mark is hard to see, but it's there.

How to buy a domain name - select domains

Then press "Register Checked Domains". Your screen will now look like this:

How to buy a domain name - cart

In the box "configuration options" NameSilo picks what it thinks are good defaults for you, but you might want to change these. Don't worry too much as you can always change these after you buy the domain name. Let's go over them quickly now though:

  • Service link - leave as none (default)
  • Nameservers - leave this alone (you'll want to change it after you own the domain but leave it alone for now unless you know what you're doing).
  • Autorenew - Yes/No. That's up to you. Yes means it'll renew the domain automatically for you when it comes close to the expiry date. No means it won't renew automatically, and you'll have to remember to renew it if you want to continue owning that domain after 1 year.
  • Privacy setting - Whois privacy / No privacy. Again, that's up to you. Whois privacy has the advantage of decreasing the amount of spam emails and robo calls that you might get from your contact info being out there. But "no privacy" makes it abundantly clear that YOU own the domain. I usually like the happy compromise of going with whois privacy initially, and then changing it to no privacy a month or so after I've bought the domain name. Ultimately the choice is up to you.
  • Set all years to - this defaults to a 1 year registration, which for most purposes is what you'd want.

When you're satisfied, press the "Continue" button.

Step3: Payment

The final step is to pay. After pressing the "Continue" button above, you'll come to some payment options. In my example, this is what I see:

How to buy a domain name - payment options

Select whichever payment option you prefer. Depending on what you selected, boxes will appear below and you'll have to fill in details (for example, credit card billing address, credit card number, etc). Then after you have put in your payment details, you need to remember to press the "Place My Order" button (and accept NameSilo terms and conditions).

Conclusion

Congratulations, you bought a domain name!

If you're not sure what to do next with it, don't worry. Check out our all-in-one beginner's tutorial for how you can make your choice of 5 different types of website without needing to know any coding.

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