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How to Buy a Domain Name

Buying and registering a domain name are exactly the same thing. Acutally registering is a better term since youi're not buying it as such. It's more like you're leasing it.

What's this? You don't have permanent ownership of your new domain name. When you go to a domain name registrar and "buy" your new domain name you'll notice a part of the form that asks you how many years you want it for, usually it's for 1 to 10 years.

After that time is up the domain name expires and you have a choice: you can either renew the name (and pay for another 1 to 10 years) or let it go.

This allows domains to go back into the pool when the owner is done with them which allows us to get a shot at them. Many of them are junk, but there are some pretty good names out there that expire and go up for grabs.

So anyway, if you've made up your list of 10 domains (see: creating domain names) hop on over to a domain name registrar and check on their availability. I'll use www.GoDaddy.com , because it's pretty popular, but there are a lot of registrars out there. Do a google search for domain name registrar or register domain name and you'll find them.

Note: the GoDaddy procedure is more complicated than most other registrars. They offer a lot of goodies along with just the name. If you don't want them then just keep clicking to the next page. Eventually you'll hit the checkout page.

Is Your Domain Name Available?

Ok, so you're at Godaddy.com. You'll see a box at the very top of the page and another in the middle. Each box is labelled Domain Name Search. Just type in one of your prospective domains and hit the "Go" button. Note that you are not limited to .com names. You can pick from a whole list of domain name extensions.

In just a moment GoDaddy will let you know whether or not someone else has taken the name (how dare they!) I'll use the 43dogs.com name, which I mentioned on the creating domains page. As of this writing the name is available. I can't guarantee that it'll still be there when you read this.

GoDaddy will also offer some alternative names. Check them over, you might see something you like. Here are some that came up for 43dogs.com, with GoDaddy's prices. 

  • 43DOGS.INFO for 99 cents,
  • 43DOGS.BIZ Just $14.99*/yr,
  • 43DOGS.US Just $12.99/yr,
  • DogsPets.com $1,900.00 (this is a premium name, hence the price)
  • YOUR43DOGS.COM $9.99*/yr,
  • EASY43DOGS.COM $9.99*/yr,
  • 43DOGSLIVE.COM $9.99*/yr

Generally premium names were bought by someone else, probably not GoDaddy, and are being resold at a premium price. Some people make quite a nice living at that game, others lose their shorts.

Ok, so let's say you've checked your domain and it's available. Give the page a quick look over and make sure that only the domains you want are checked. If you're done then find the button that says something like Proceed to Checkout, or Buy Your Domain Now. For GoDaddy there is a big orange button at the bottom of the checklist which says, Proceed to Checkout.

Do You Want Fries With That Domain Name?

The next page depends on the registrar. GoDaddy will probably offer up a great deal on additional, related, names. If you don't want them, hit the "No thanks. Continue to checkout..." link that's under the big green YES! button. Otherwise hit that YES! button and the other names will be added to your order.

Other registrars may or may not have that upsell, but the general process will be similar. Add the name to whatever shopping cart system they have and proceed to the next page.

So I'll hit "no thanks" on the GoDaddy page and continue. On most registrars you'll now hit a page which asks for your contact info.

Name and Address Please

Email note: When filling out the forms use an email address that you will still have when the domain name expires. This email is used if the registrar needs to contact you for any reason, such as to tell you that your name needs to be renewed. Don't use your primary personal email for this, don't use a free email account (such as HotMail,) do use on you're going to keep.

After entering your contact info you'll hit the continue/next button. In GoDaddy's case they'll suggest various services to help protect your new domain name(s.) Others registrars may, or may not, do this.

Double check to make sute that only the services you want, if any, are checked. There are two more buttons right above the big orange continue button.

  • Customize my order.
  • No thanks. I'm ready to checkout.

Pick the first one if you want the extras, pick the second if you don't. Then hit that continue button.

Would You Like to Supersize Your Order?

With most registrars you'll have hit the enter your payment info page. GoDaddy will offer you various hosting, email, and ecommerce plans. Skip all of them and go to the bottom of the page and hit the "No thanks. Continue to checkout..." link that's under the continue button.

Double Checking, Make Sure It's Right

You're now at the check your order page. Make sure that everything is cool, that you understand what you're paying for, and how much you're paying. Verify that only the correct boxes and buttons are clicked. Make sure the two boxes in step 3 are checked (verifying that you read a couple of really long legal documents.)

Did you read them? I didn't. Might be a good idea to do so at some point.

Finally you're at the enter your payment info page.

  • Make sure all the contact info is accurate
  • Make sure the total price is correct
  • Enter your credit card info and double check it. GoDaddy, like the other registrars, uses a secure payment processing system. Your card info is safer being entered here than it is being given to a waitress at a restaurant. Much safer.

Hit the checkout now button. Your card will be processed and you'll have the rights to your new domain name. Keep all the emails that GoDaddy (or the other registrars) send to you. They'll contain your receipt, account info, etc.

About That Account...

Account info?

Yes. Once you have your domain you'll have an account (with GoDaddy or whoever.) This account is where you'll log in to administer your domain name(s.) This is where you'll go when you want to point your domain name to your new host.

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