Domains: The Most Common Questions Answered

In this guide, you will find the answers to hundreds of questions related to domains. These range from choosing and managing a domain name to setting up a content management system to developing web applications.

Use the table of contents on the right if you want to learn about a specific topic.

DOMAINS

For more information, see our Ultimate Guide to Domain Names.

How to get a cheap domain name?

Many web hosting companies offer a free domain name when you purchase a hosting plan.

Unfortunately, these are usually only free for the first year. After that, you have to renew at a fee set by the hosting company — usually several dollars a year more expensive than if you were to pay for it separately directly from a domain name registrar.

Hosting companies also have a tendency to add-on additional charges like domain name privacy, which you can also get cheaper (or for free) from many good registrars.

If you’d rather purchase your domain name separate from your hosting plan (which is a very good idea), check out our list of domain name registrars for some of the better low-cost options.

How to get a .com domain?

Just about every domain name registrar will be able to sell you a .com domain name.

Do I need a .com domain?

No, there are many other options.

For example — if you are a non-profit organization, a club, a church, or another non-commercial entity, you may want to register as a .org domain name.

There has been a trend among tech-focused startups and open source projects in the last few years to use the .io extension.

For non-US entities, each country has its own country-code TLD, such a .uk and .ru. These are also popular for domain hacks — using the domain extension as part of the name of your site or brand.

There also, of course, the new “exotic” domain names, such as .ninja and .club. There are a number of these, and they might fit your brand very well.

You generally want to steer clear of second-tier gTLDs such a .biz and .info. These are not very well respected and tend to make savvy internet users suspicious.

Is .com domain still the best?

Even with all the additional options, .com seems to remain the gold standard for domain names. It carries a high-degree of trust with consumers, and communicates a sense of legitimacy that is hard to achieve with other domain name extensions. Because of this .com domains continue to have the highest sale price in the domain aftermarket.

How to buy domain names?

If you want to buy a domain name that no one else has registered before, that is very easy — just use any reputable domain name registrar.

If you are trying to purchase a domain name that has already been registered, you can do that as well. It can be a little more complicated than purchasing new registrations, though. Check out our in-depth guide to aftermarket domain purchasing for details.

How to sell domain names?

If you have registered domain names that you would like to sell, or are thinking about getting into the domain speculation business, there are a lot of details to consider. To get a good understanding of the issues, see the chapter on selling domain names in our Ultimate Domain Name Guide.

Do I need a domain name?

If you want to set up a website, you probably need a domain name.

Some people set up free blogs or other types of sites using a domain name that belong to a third-party service like WordPress.com or Tumblr. That’s okay for small personal blogs — but if you want to build a serious online presence, you really should have your own domain name.

It isn’t hard to get your own domain name, all you need to do is buy one from a good domain name registrar.

If you’re having trouble finding a domain name you like, or you want to learn more about what makes a good domain name before you purchase one, see our Ultimate Domain Name Guide.

Do I need multiple domain names?

You usually want to focus your brand-building efforts on a single domain name. Especially if you’re just starting to build an online presence for yourself or your organization, trying to build on multiple domain names can spread your efforts too thin.

However, it can be helpful to purchase additional domain names apart from your primary domain name. For example, if you have a .com, it’s usually a good idea to go ahead and buy the .org version if it is available (and vice versa). It’s also a good idea to buy common misspellings of your primary domain name, or other things people might accidentally type if they were looking for you.

Generally, when you buy these additional domains, you don’t want to set up whole sites on them — you just want to set up a simple 301 Redirect to your primary domain. (Make sure you set up wildcard redirects so that links to any URL with the wrong domain name will end up in the right place.)

How to pick domain names?

Trying to figure out the best domain name for your new website is one of the more difficult tasks when establishing a new online presence. You don’t want to change domains — it’s bad for branding and bad for SEO — so whatever you diecide is going to have to work well for a good long time.

If you are an organization with a primarily offline presence, the best thing is usually to pick a domain name that is a easy-to-remember version of your real-world name. That might be your full business name, or a common, conversational shortening.

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