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How to Get a Domain Name for Your WordPress Blog

The first steps toward installing and setting up a WordPress blog are deciding on a domain name and then purchasing the registration of that name through a domain registrar. A domain name is the unique web address that you type in a web browser’s address bar to visit a website. Some examples of domain names are WordPress.org and Google.com.

The word unique is emphasized because no two domain names can be the same. If someone else has registered the domain name you want, you can’t have it. With that in mind, it sometimes takes a bit of time to find a domain that isn’t already in use and is available for you to use.

Domain name extensions

When registering a domain name, be aware of the extension that you want. The .com, .net, .org, .info, .tv (for video), .fm (for audio), .co, or .biz extension that you see tacked onto the end of any domain name is the top-level domain extension. When you register your domain name, you’re asked to choose the extension you want for your domain (as long as it’s available, that is).

A word to the wise here: Just because you have registered your domain as a .com doesn’t mean that someone else doesn’t, or can’t, own the very same domain name with a .net.

So if you register MyDogHasFleas.com, and it becomes a hugely popular site among readers with dogs that have fleas, someone else can come along and register MyDogHasFleas.net and run a similar site to yours in the hope of riding the coattails of your website’s popularity and readership.

Consider the cost of a domain name

Registering a domain costs you anywhere from $3 to $30/year depending on what service you use for a registrar and what options (such as privacy options and search-engine submission services) you apply to your domain name during the registration process.

When you pay the domain registration fee today, you need to pay another registration fee when the renewal date comes up again in a year, or two, or five — however many years you chose to register your domain name for.

Most registrars give you the option of signing up for a service called Auto Renew to automatically renew your domain name. The registrar sends you a reminder a few months in advance, telling you it’s time to renew. If you don’t have Auto Renew set up, you need to log in to your registrar account and manually renew your domain name.

Registering your domain name

Domain registrars are certified and approved by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). Although hundreds of domain registrars exist today, those in the following list are popular because of their longevity in the industry, competitive pricing, and variety of services they offer in addition to domain name registration (such as web hosting and website traffic builders):

No matter where you choose to register your domain name, here are the steps you can take to accomplish this task:

  1. Decide on a domain name.

    Doing a little planning and forethought here is necessary. Many people think of a domain name as a brand — a way of identifying their websites or blogs. Think of potential names for your site, then you can proceed with your plan.

  2. Verify the domain name’s availability.

    In your web browser, enter the URL of the domain registrar of your choice. Look for the section on the registrar’s website that lets you enter the domain name (typically, a short text field) to see whether it’s available. If the domain name isn’t available as a , try or .

  3. Purchase the domain name.

    Follow the domain registrar’s steps to purchase the name using your credit card. After you complete the checkout process, you receive an e-mail confirming your purchase, so use a valid e-mail address during the registration process.

The next step is obtaining a hosting account.

Some of the domain registrars have hosting services that you can sign up for, but you don’t have to use those services. Often you can find hosting services for a lower cost than most domain registrars offer. It just takes a little research.

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