How do I acquire a domain name?

There are two main ways you can obtain a domain name. You can either register a domain name yourself or you can get your web hosting company or ISP (Internet Service Provider) to register one for you.

To register a domain name yourself you will need to select a Registrar or a domain reseller who works with one. A Registrar is an ICANN accredited domain registration company. There are hundreds of Registrars on the Internet nowadays. The market is becoming increasingly competitive and this means you can buy domains at a low yearly fee. Prices start at about $8 but sometimes it is worth paying more if the registrar offers a useful domain management interface or free services such as email or domain forwarding.

Most web hosting companies offer domain registration services to their clients. When you register a domain name through a web host they will usually register the domain name for you through their own approved registrar. An advantage to having your web host register your domain name is that they have probably done this process many times before and have all the necessary information to hand. This can save you time and, as long as you get the domain name desired, there will be no unfamiliar dealings with Registrars. Just be sure that the hosting company registers YOU as the domain owner (registrant)… That’s because some unscrupulous web hosts keep formal ownership of the domain name to themselves as a way of ensuring their hosting customers won’t leave them. If you are unsure, be certain to ask the hosting company before you sign up for that “free domain” hosting deal!