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How to Buy a Domain Name

Buying a domain name is a necessity if you want to make a website and bring your business or creative idea online. A domain name, like squarespace.com, is a website’s address on the internet. If you haven’t done it before, getting a website domain can seem like a complicated process — but once you choose a domain name, you can buy it in a few simple steps.

From checking availability to evaluating costs and registration, read on to learn how to buy a domain name.

How much does a domain name cost?

It’s easy to find and buy an affordable domain name, but the exact cost depends on factors like the registration period, TLD, and your method of purchase.

Registration period 

The longer your domain registration period, the more it will cost to purchase your domain. For example, you’ll likely pay more up front if you register a domain name for three years instead of one.

Top-Level Domain (TLD)

The top-level domain (TLD), or domain extension, is the text that comes after the last period in your URL (.com, .net, or .org, for example). TLD pricing varies. To find a domain's price, you can search for it on our domain name search page.

Method of purchase

When you purchase an available domain through a registrar, the cost will likely be much lower than purchasing a claimed domain from an owner or other private seller. In that case, you’ll need to negotiate a price with the seller and determine whether it fits your budget.

How long do you own your domain name?

Most domain contracts are annual, which means you own your domain for one year from the date of purchase. No matter your registration period, your domain registrar will email you when your domain name is close to expiring, so you have the option to renew and keep ownership of your domain.

Get a free domain name when you sign up for an annual plan with Squarespace.

To get a website domain, follow these four steps:

Check domain name availability

After you choose a domain name, check its availability. You can type a domain into your navigation bar, a search engine, or use a dedicated domain name search database to make sure it’s available to purchase.

It’s best practice to have a few domain name options ready in case your first choice is taken. If your preferred domain name is unavailable, take a moment to think about what the replacement should be — ideally, once you get your domain, you won’t want or need to change it anytime soon. Try simple variations like including “the” or “my” at the front of your domain name, or changing the TLD. If you’re set on a specific domain, you can also reach out to the owner and see if they’re willing to sell, and at what price. 

If you’re launching a business, consider buying multiple domains — including common alternate spellings of your brand name, and international domains if you plan to scale — so visitors have more ways to find you. You can move, forward, or point domains to ensure people land exactly where you want them to, no matter which domain they use.

Evaluate long term costs

In addition to the upfront costs of getting a domain name, consider costs like taxes and renewal fees. Some registrars charge increased renewal fees when your domain registration expires, and depending on where you live, your domain name may be subject to state and local taxes.

Remember to budget for your domain name alongside other potential startup costs, like website hosting or creating a logo for your business.

Register your domain name

Once you find the domain you want, you’ll need to buy it so it can’t be claimed by anyone else. When you register your domain, look for a registrar that ensures WHOIS privacy. WHOIS is an Internet record that publicly lists information about domains — including the contact information of the domain owner — which can be crawled by spam marketers for email addresses. When a registrar offers WHOIS privacy, or domain privacy, it means that your contact information will not be publicly listed.

Some domain registrars charge an additional fee for domain privacy, and some offer it as a built-in part of domain registration. WHOIS privacy is included with most Squarespace domain registrations.

Verify your domain name

Within a few days of registering your domain, you’ll receive an email from the domain registrar to verify that you own the domain. Be sure to complete this step, otherwise your domain may be suspended within 15 days. After you verify your domain, take the next step by connecting it to a website.

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