Searching for an Available Domain Name
You can register any domain name for your Web site that hasn't already been taken by someone else. Finding out whether a name is already in use is easy — and free. To see whether a domain name is already registered, do a simple search at any domain registration Web site. All domain registrars check the same master databases that track all domain names on the Web. Hundreds of sites offer the service; the following steps use Web host 1and1 as an example, but most work the same way:
1. Use a Web browser to visit a domain name registrar.
2. In the Search area on the registrar's site, type the name you want to register.
3. Click to begin your search.
The results of your search are displayed.
4. If the name you want isn't available and you don't like the alternatives offered, you can enter another name to see whether it's available. Domain registrars don't limit the number of names you can search for in any given search session.
Don't get frustrated if you find that the domain name you want is already taken. You can almost always find a name that will serve you well if you try a few variations. Here are a few tips for finding a suitable variation:
- Add a word or phrase that indicates geographic location or makes the name more specific: For example, if www.news.com is taken, consider www.PointReyesNews.com or www.WestMarinNews.com.
- Sometimes a different name that has similar meaning can work: For example, you can try to register www.PointReyesReports.com.
- Try looking for playful names: For example, www.Accountant.com is taken, but you might still find www.FunnyAccountants.com or www.FrugalAccountants.com.
Before you choose a close variation (or any domain name, for that matter), always check for sites whose names are similar to yours. Don't choose a name that's too close to someone else's if they are a competitor or if they have a site you would be embarrassed to be associated with. Similarly, consider whether others have already set up sites with your domain name but a different domain name ending.