How to Register a Domain Name for Your WordPress Site - dummies

How to Register a Domain Name for Your WordPress Site

By Lisa Sabin-Wilson

The first steps toward installing and setting up a WordPress website are making a decision about a domain name and then purchasing the registration of that name through a domain registrar, a company that sells and administers domain names. A domain name is the unique web address that you type in a web browser’s address bar to visit a website — for example, wordpress.org and google.com.

Domain name extensions

When registering a domain name, consider the extension that you want. The .com, .net, .org, .info, .tv (for video), .fm (for audio), .co, or .biz extension that you see tagged on to the end of any domain name is the top-level domain (TLD) extension. A top-level domain is the main domain name of a website, whereas a second level is a subdomain, or subdirectory, within the main domain.

For example the main, top-level domain for Wiley is wiley.com; whereas Wiley’s Online Library is located on a second-level domain: onlinelibrary.wiley.com. When you register your domain name, you also choose the extension you want for your domain (as long as it’s available, that is).

Just because you register 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 in the hope of riding the coattails of your website’s popularity.

The cost of a domain name

Registering a domain costs you anywhere from $10 to $30 per 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.

After you pay the initial domain registration fee, you need to pay another fee when the renewal date comes up again — however many years you choose to register your domain name for. (If you’re planning to use a domain name for a long time, most registrars will give you a slight discount on the price if you register it for more than one year.)

Most registrars let you sign up for an auto-renew service to automatically renew your domain name and bill the charges to the credit card you have set up on that account. The registrar sends you a reminder a few months in advance. If you don’t have auto renew set up, you need to log in to your registrar account before it expires and manually renew your domain name.

Register 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, the ones 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):

Currently, GoDaddy.com is probably the easiest and most cost-efficient way to register a domain name. At the time of this writing, GoDaddy.com currently has domain name registration starting at $9.99 per year.

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No matter where you choose to register your domain name, here are the general steps to do so:

  1. Decide on a domain name.

    Doing a little planning here is necessary. Many people think of a domain name as a brand — a way to identify 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 to see whether it’s available. If the domain name isn’t available as a .com, try .net or .info.

  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 be sure to use a valid e-mail address during the registration process.

After completing these steps, you need to obtain 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.