How Much Does a Domain Name Cost?
Looking to build a website for your online business venture? Well, buying a domain name is the first step of the process.
If you’re already running a business, you’ve probably realized that lacking online presence is making you miss out on a lot of opportunities. And if you’re just starting a business, well, you know that getting a website to represent it is a crucial step.
In any case, you are in need of a domain name. But buying a domain name is not something that should be taken lightly as there’s a lot to consider. What type of a domain should you get? Where can you buy a domain name? And just as importantly – how much does a domain name cost?
To give you some insight to the value and market of domain names, we’ve prepared some useful information that will help you in your purchase! Read on to learn what to expect when buying a domain name.
What are the Different Types of Domain Names?
First things first. We’ve established that you need a domain name, but what are the different types of domains names? Which one should you get?
To begin with, let’s see what domain names actually are.
Domain names are the names of websites as well as shortcuts to those websites’ IP addresses, or locations on the internet. The ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) authorizes domain companies to sell domain names online. The principal duty of the ICANN, however, is managing the global Domain Name System (DNS). The Domain Name System, in effect, is the system which connects a website’s IP address to the domain name that a visitor enters into the browser search bar.
In fact, it’s thanks to the DNS that the internet became popular in the 90’s. Can you imagine having to type out a long string of numbers every time you want to visit a website? We can’t imagine that, either.
So anyway, the ICANN gives accreditation to domain registrars (which we’ll cover in a bit) to sell domain names. But the cost of a domain name depends on the name itself as well as the domain extension.
This brings us to the different types of domain name extensions. The two main categories that you should be familiar with include country code top-level domain (ccTLDs) and generic top-level domains (gTLDs). Which domain type you opt for depends on the aims and target audience of your website and business.
The first category, ccTLDs, are domain extensions based on a geographic region or country (county code). If you’re running a local business, newspaper, magazine, or blog, targeting the local population of a certain geography, you may want to opt for a ccTLD. Some examples of ccTLDs are .us, .de, .uk, .fr, .tr, and so on.
Conversely, if you wish your website to have a more global reach, you should think about getting a gTLD. gTLDs aren’t region-specific, and with good SEO, your website can come up at the very beginning of the SERPs anywhere in the world. gTLDs are search engines favorite domain types! Some examples include the ever-popular .com, along with .org, .net, and .info.
There are some exceptions to this general division between ccTLDs and gTLDs, however. Due to being perceived by internet users and webmasters as gTLDs, some ccTLDs are consequently being treated as gTLDs by ICANN and Google ads. Some examples are .me (which originally is a ccTLD for Montenegro), .tv (Tuvalu), and the increasingly popular .io (originally assigned to the British Indian Ocean Territory).
How Do I Choose a Domain Name?
Before going over the cost of buying a domain name, let’s go over several factors you should keep in mind when choosing one. Everything from the domain extension to the actual name of your website should be taken into consideration.
1. Choose an Extension that is Compatible with Your Goals
If you are running a florist shop in the Netherlands, your domain extensions definitely shouldn’t be .us. Getting a ccTLD for a region you don’t even operate in will netiher help your site traffic nor the growth of your business.
In a nutshell, you should pick a domain extension which makes sense to you and aligns with the goals of your website. If it’s an organization, opt for an .org domain. If it’s a company, get a .com domain. If it’s a local company (and aimed at the local market only), go for .us (if you’re actually based in the US and not the Netherlands, remember?).
2. Pick a Relevant and Memorable Domain Name
The part of the domain that comes before the .com (or whatever domain type you chose) should first and foremost be relevant to your website. You want your domain name to represent you and your business in a recognizable way. This will help lead customers to your site and increase brand awareness. You can also add keywords to your domain name that give a hint on what your business is, like VioletFlowerShop.com.
Now, in terms of domain extensions, if you are running any sort of business or trying to earn money from your website, you should probably start off with a .com extension. Especially if you’re new to running websites, .com is a safe bet. While all gTLDs are treated equally by search engines, .com is definitely the most popular extension amongst internet users. It’s quite likely that a customer that already knows your site’s name will type a .com at the end of it.
Of course, there are exceptions. If your target audience belongs to a certain niche, then opting for a more specific gTLD will do the trick. For instance, if you’re running a website for a tech company or startup, going for a .io domain is a great idea.
3. Consider Purchasing Multiple Domain Extensions for the Same Name
If it’s not a huge stretch to your budget, you may consider purchasing multiple versions of your domain name with different domain extensions. For instance, if you buy AnotherWebsite.com, you may also want to buy AnotherWebsite.net or AnotherWebsite.io, and redirect these two to the original website – AnotherWebsite.com.
What this does is:
- Avoids confusion: if a visitor trying to reach your website enters the wrong domain extension, they still end up in the right place.
- Protects your brand: Prevents competitors from stealing your domain and adding a different extension.
So far, we’ve gone over what domain names are, the types of domains, and how you should go about choosing a domain.
That’s all theory.
It’s time to look at the practical side of things: how much does a domain cost and what are your purchase options?
How much does a domain cost?
This question doesn’t have a single answer, as the cost of a domain name depends on whether it’s new or old, whether it’s available or being used by another company, and how many popular words are part of your preferred domain (hint: different extensions come with different price points).
Here’s an overview of the options you’ll have when buying a domain:
- Buying a new domain from a domain registrar company;
- Buying a domain off an existing company;
- Buying an aged domain from an auction.
In general, a new domain can cost anywhere between $12-$60 per year. But again, the price will change based on the domain. Additionally, you may get discounts if you register for multiple years, or you may get increased fees after the first year. You can check out our domain company guide to get a better idea of how to avoid this sort of unexpected additional charges.
1. Buying a New Domain from a Domain Registrar Company
You can buy a brand-new domain name from a domain registrar company. Simply type in your desired domain name to see if it’s available. You can get a .com domain name for about $20 per year, on average.
Domain registrar companies have been accredited by the ICANN, and allow you to purchase and register a unique domain name. You’ll be able to look over several different domain extension options for your website.
If .com is taken, you may think about considering something like .net or another extension. This, however, is not a great idea. As we already mentioned, .com is the most popular domain extension, and your potential clients may end up in the wrong place.
So if you have your heart set on a domain which is already taken, what can you do?
2. Buying a Domain Off an Existing Company
If your desired domain name is already taken by an existing company, you can approach the website owner (company owner) and make them an offer to purchase the domain.
First, try visiting the existing website. This can give you an idea of whether the owner would be interested in selling it. If it’s an active business getting a lot of traffic, it’s not likely that the owner would be willing to part with it. But if the website is a placeholder, or seems to have been updated last in the early 2000’s, it’s quite possible that you’ll be able to buy it without a problem.
If you can’t find the owner’s contact info on the page, try to find it through a WHOIS service. Then, think over how much you’d be willing to pay for the domain. Once you’ve made up your mind, contact the site owner and negotiate the purchase.
3. Buying an Aged Domain from an Auction
This is usually the priciest option. Aged domains are considered to have higher value than used domains, especially if they contain popular keywords or were popular in the past.
For instance, the SEO.com domain was purchased for 5 million back in 2007. If you choose an aged domain that contains popular keywords, you should be ready to pay quite a bit.
A Few Words Before You Go…
Hopefully, our overview of a domain name’s cost will be useful in your exciting online venture. While it’s the first step to setting up a website, it’s not one that should be taken lightly.
As you can see, the price of a domain name depends on several factors: its popularity, richness of keywords, its particular domain extension, as well as its age.
If you’re starting out fresh and have a limited budget, a new domain is your best bet. You can purchase and operate a new domain for a yearly fee of approximately $20 per year. You may also be able to find cheaper options – but beware of domains that only cost $2-$3. They may come with hidden fees that will come as a nasty surprise!
Buying a domain off an existing company is usually a pricier venture. You’ll need to negotiate a price with the website’s current owner. Plus, if the website is successful and frequently updated, it’s not very likely that the domain will be up for sale.
Lastly, buying an aged domain from an auction generally costs the most. Aged domains already have accumulated SEO weight and will give you a head-start in the SERPs- which is exactly why they come at a higher price.
If you’re ready to search for and buy a domain now, check out our Instant Domain Name Search tool.
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