How to buy a domain name for your website – News Block

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Every website needs a domain name, and while there are many other things that go into making your site work, the domain should be one of the first things you think of. Fortunately, modern services make registering and managing domain names quite easy.

How do domain names work?

DNS, or Domain Name System, is what every device on the Internet uses to find your website. Computers need to connect directly to IP addresses, but because they’re just a bunch of numbers, domain names are used to translate a readable address as in the direction that your computer actually uses.

However, you can’t just register any name you want for free, as the privilege to create them is granted through ICANN, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers. This non-profit agency grants permission to some companies, called domain name registrars, to allow people to purchase domain names through them. You must buy from these registrars, because ICANN does not sell domains directly.

Fortunately though, these registrars include big companies like Google and Amazon, and many of them have made the process really easy for end users.

In addition to registering the domain, someone must also host a dns server, which handles the actual process of providing your DNS information to your users. This is a complicated process that almost all domain name registrars will offer as a free service, unless you want to run your own.

Which domain name registrar should you choose?

Because the ownership of your domain name is basically the ownership of the link to your entire website, you definitely don’t want it tied up with a company you don’t trust, or a company that has an annoying and outdated system that is forced to use.

Most of the time, web hosting providers like SquareSpace and GoDaddy will offer domain name registration through their own services. If you want a smooth and easy experience, you should consider using them. In the past, some of these services have made it difficult to manage or transfer domains to other services if you decide otherwise, but these days it’s generally fine for the more popular providers with modern systems.

However, there is usually no downside to registering a domain with a third party, plus it may require a bit more manual setup. Both Google Domains and Namecheap are excellent registrars that will work well even for beginners. Both offer multiple forms of multi-factor authentication to protect your domains too, like Google Advanced Protection.

RELATED: Do you use a Gmail account for business services? Why you need advanced protection from Google

domain registration

We’ll use Namecheap to show these steps, but the same general process will apply to other services like Google Domains. If you want to use that instead, you can read our article on how to buy a new domain name from them for more information.

RELATED: How to set up a new domain with Google Domains

Head over to their website and you’ll find a search bar that lets you know if domains have already been registered and how much it will cost to register one.

You may find that the domain you wanted is taken. In this case, you can choose another name, but you can also choose a different “Top Level Domain” or TLD. This is the .com part, and today there are hundreds of different TLDs. There are TLDs for every country, as well as TLDs for many different hobbies and interests.

However, your choice of TLD can be quite important as it can affect your search engine ranking, especially with country codes like .uk. You probably want to stick to com, netand org for most serious business domains.

Once you’ve chosen one, head over to the checkout. You’ll probably want to check “Auto Renew” here, since you don’t want your domain to expire in a year. Namecheap also offers some services here. Domain privacy basically removes your name from official records, allowing you personally to remain private. Otherwise, anyone can search for you with tools like PremiumDNS is just a faster and more responsive DNS service, which offers some extra security stuff like DNSSEC.

Click “Confirm Order” and proceed to checkout. You will need to create an account and add your payment information.

Pointing your domain to your website

Your DNS information can include many things. Most importantly, it contains logs that point users to your web server’s IP address. But it can also provide verification records for other services that require you to own the domain name, and can also be used with services like Google Mail to set up personalized email using your domain name.

Once you’ve purchased your domain, you’ll need to configure it to point to your web server. This is done by managing your DNS information in “Advanced DNS”:

There are a few types of “Records” here. Each record is an entry in a data table that users can query to request information from their DNS servers. Most of the time, this is just the IP address to connect to. However, there are many types of records:

  • Logs are the most common and point directly to IP addresses. There are also AAAA records, which point towards the newer IPv6 address format.
  • CNAME records are also quite common, and instead of pointing to an IP address, they point to another domain name. This is commonly used by hosting providers when you may not know or even have a static IP address.
  • TXT records only store additional information and are commonly used for domain verification.
  • MX records are used to route email using your custom domain name.

If you have a specific IP address of your web server, you should add it here as an A record. If you have a domain name that you need to redirect to, add it as a CNAME record. If you’re not sure, just follow your web host’s instructions to bind your DNS.

One thing to note is the “Host” key in the DNS records. This is most commonly used to specify subdomains. For example, is actually a subdomain, and if you want to use www you would need to enter that as the value of Host. If you prefer not to use it, you will need to use the special character @, which basically means the “base domain” without any subdomains. You can also use wildcards * to add multiple subdomains.

Because the Internet is massive and DNS records need to be quickly accessible, it may take time for the records to update. In addition to this, the records are kept in cache for a while, called the “Time to Live” or TTL. This is set to “Automatic” on Namecheap, but you can set it manually. You should wait 15-30 minutes for the DNS updates to take effect.

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