Tuesday, April 16, 2024
For men, women, and teens

How to buy a domain name [illustrated]

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Written by Vera C. Last updated on .

Disclosure: I get commissions for purchases made through links in this post. This helps keep the website running.

flatlay of keyboard and notebooks - how to buy a domain name

Buying a domain name is very easy. If it's your first time, don't worry: here is an illustrated guide. It's so easy, anyone can do it!

It's actually far easier to buy a domain name, than it is to think of a good domain name!

Let's for the moment assume you know the domain name you want to buy.

All of the big reputable domain name registrars are equivalent. In other words, it doesn't matter which place you buy it from so long as it's one of the well-known reliable ones. Be aware that some registrars are easier to use than others. From a domain point of view though, it won't matter: if your domain is available at one registrar, it'll be available at another.

I recommend NameSilo or Namecheap if you are looking to buy a domain name. I've used both registrars and can attest that they are reliable and easy to use. Besides that, they also happen to be cheaper than most of their competition. For pricing details, you can look at NameSilo's pricing page here. I also have a coupon for $1 off your order at NameSilo which I'll mention a little further along.

I do not recommend GoDaddy because I've noticed that they're always trying to upsell you and add extra stuff into your cart before checkout. Their system is really confusing and is trickier to use than other registrars if you're trying to do any other normal things later with your domain, like update the address for your domain contact, etc.

For the purposes of this tutorial, we'll illustrate the process for how to buy a domain name with NameSilo, but it's pretty similar on Namecheap, so go with whichever you prefer. Here we go:

Step 1. Go to NameSilo and type in the name of the domain

Navigate to NameSilo.com and on the home page, just type in the domain name you want.

Don't worry, it won't matter if you type it with the extension (.com, .site, etc) or not. In either case, it'll anyway list a few extensions and show you what's available and what's not for the domain name you picked.

In my case, I typed remotely999 into the search bar as an example. Here's my results; your page will look something similar. Depending what domain name you typed, yours might not be available in the .com or your chosen extension. If that's the case, try another domain name (that's what I recommend) or consider a different extension. I personally steer clear of the old style alternative extensions like .net and .info. Ultimately these decisions are up to you and will depend on what you're planning to do with the domain name.

Screenshot of domain search results on Namesilo

Notice that in my results above, remotely999 is available in the .com and some other extensions. But how about if you want to try one of the extensions that it didn't mention, for example .press? No problem, you just type in remotely999.press into the search bar and try that. It'll place that result at the top of the results list, as shown below:

Screenshot of domain search for a specific extension on Namesilo

Pricing can fluctuate, especially in the newer extensions, so your pricing may be higher or lower than what I saw above.

This is a good time to try out any searches with similar spelling or other ideas you may have, in case you find something you like better. Not surprisingly, you're very unlikely to find a dictionary word by itself available in a .com, so be prepared to put two words together or have some other alternatives in mind.

Step 2: Select the domain name you want

After you've decided on the domain name you want, check the appropriate "Add" box next to that domain. In this case, I'll go for remotely999.com. Now click on the "Checkout" button. You can safely ignore the "Add features" button - save your money! If you don't have an account at NameSilo, it'll ask you to make an account at this point, that's normal. You cannot checkout as guest at any domain name registrar, you need an account.

Screenshot after selecting desired domain name in Namesilo

Your cart will look like this now:

Screenshot of Namesilo shopping cart

Rest assured you do not need premium DNS or the starter hosting plan or anything else. Just the domain name.


We have a coupon just for readers of this site that you can enter at this point! It's FLIPFALL so go ahead and type FLIPFALL into the coupon code box just below the Clear Cart dialog. When you've entered the coupon, press "Apply" next to the coupon code box to make sure the discount gets applied to your order.

Please note that customers can only redeem this coupon code once, so you can use it on this order but not on subsequent ones.

Step 3: Go to checkout

Just scroll down to the "Checkout" button to proceed. It will ask you to select your desired payment method.

Screenshot of payment options at Namesilo checkout

Once you've added a payment method, just scroll down the page to agree to the NameSilo terms. Then the Pay button will become available.

Then press "Pay" and complete the order. This could take a minute, don't refresh the page or anything like that while the order is processing. That's it! You are the proud owner of your new domain name! If you don't have a project in mind yet, you might like to look at our step by step tutorial on how to make your own social network - no coding required.

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