How to Register a Domain Name for your Website

How to Register a Domain Name for your Website

Are you looking to start a website?  If you’re a web developer or small business, have you decided that you need to get a presence on the web, but aren’t sure where to start?  Continue reading or checkout the video below to find out more.

How to Register a Domain

Hey guys, this is Nick from Mobile Code Media.  So today I want to talk about how to register a domain name for your website.  Now, what is a domain name? A domain name is just an easy way for people to find your site, where it maps an easy to remember word or phrase to an IP address, which is the server where your website is stored.  Think of a domain name as a sign that says where your site lives and tells computers how to find it. At an abstract level, there are 2 parts here. You need a domain name and then you need webhosting, because the files for the site actually need to be hosted on a computer that is connected to the Internet and is never turned off.  This video is going to focus on the first part, which is the domain name, but in future videos I’m going to go through the whole process of setting up a website.

You’re probably wondering if you can get the domain name the same place that you get webhosting.  The answer is that yes you can, but that’s often similar to buying popcorn at the movies. It’s probably going to be more expensive than it needs.  A lot of domain registrars will often give you a registration coupon, hoping that they’ll make more money on your domain renewal after the registration expires after one year.  So you might buy the domain for $9 with a coupon, and they’re hoping they make $13 when it autobills next year, since you have to register your domain name each and every year and pay a fee.

Some popular domain registrars are GoDaddy, Namecheap, and the one that I personally use, which is Name.com.  Full disclosure, but I have an affiliate link for Name.com and make a tiny commission if you use them, but I’ve been using them for years and years and have been very happy with them and their customer support, so they’re the ones that I recommend.  Their interface is also really easy to use.

So if I do a search for Name.com coupons, and you can do this kind of search for coupons from any of the domain registrars, then I get these coupons here.  This one says if I use coupon code HELLO, then I get a registration for $8 for the 1st year. Here’s a renewal coupon and here’s a hosting coupon. Now, I’ve never used them for hosting, but I’ll get into that in my next video, so stick with me.  So in this case I’ve got my HELLO coupon and I want to register something for $8. A domain registration has to be unique, so you can’t register something that is already taken. And I will admit, since .com top level domains (TLD’s) have been around for decades, a lot of the really good ones are taken.  You won’t find domains like Hardware.com or ToolShop.com for $8, you’d have to check if they’re for sale on a secondary market for big bucks. But let’s just say we have our own business name and it’s pretty unique, so we’re pretty sure we can get what we want.

Google recommends that domain names be no longer than 15 characters, and that’s where I’m at with this one.  You don’t want something too long, because then people won’t want to type it. Even though I typed it a certain way, domain names are NOT case sensitive.  So all of these letter’s uppercase, lowercase, or a mix are all valid. So we see that my domain is available, but I also see all of these other choices down here.

.com stands for commerce and it is decades old and the best choice, if you can get your preferred name with that TLD.  Other TLD, top level domains, are .net, .org, .info, etc. We even have what’s called gTLDs like .shop and .parts. .net and .org are ok because people are used to seeing them, but I wouldn’t recommend anything outside of that.  While gTLDs and other uncommon ones like .biz and .info rank in Google, users just aren’t as familiar with them and some will try to add .com to everything and get confused when the site doesn’t load or they’ll not want to go there because they think it’s a hacker trick.  Stick with .com, .net, or .org, with .com being the best. And if you buy the .com, don’t bother getting the .net or .org. You’re fine with just the .com.

So we see when we add to the cart that they’re trying to sell me all of these extras.  I don’t really want all this, because I’m just looking to buy the domain here. Remember, that $8 coupon is a loss leader to get you in the door spending.  I can add all of this stuff later if I decide that I need to, so I’ll just click “No thanks” at the bottom and continue.

You can also see here they defaulted to 2 years.  If you want 2, that’s fine, but I usually just do 1 year at a time and then look for another coupon when the renewal comes around.  You can always transfer your domain name to a different registrar if you find a really good coupon at renewal time, so realize that you’re not stuck with these guys for forever if you don’t want to be.

And if we look at these extras, we see that I’m offered an SSL, domain lock, and whois privacy.  Now, wherever you host the website will probably offer you a free domain validated SSL, so we don’t need that.  You can already lock your domain to prevent a transfer, so we don’t need that either. The most important part is WHOIS privacy.  Let’s see an example:

https://who.is/whois/mobilecodemedia.com

So here is the domain registration for my website, MobileCodeMedia.com.  You can see some information about me in the WHOIS database, which is like a phonebook for domain registrations.  You can see that my information isn’t masked and my PO Box that I registered teh site under is listed there as well as my name and email.  If you want this stuff masked, then you need to pay for what’s called WHOIS privacy. If you pay for that, then none of your info will be listed.  That’s a personal preference, so it’s up to you, but that’s what it does.  

So we can see that I’ve trimmed it down to what I want to pay for, then I enter the coupon code and check out.  That’s pretty much all there is to actually registering a domain name. In a later video I’m going to show you how to set the nameservers for this domain name, but we can only do that after we’ve bought webhosting somewhere to match it to.  And as a reminder, if you want to help support this channel, please use my affiliate link if you decide to use Name.com for your domain registration, as it helps keep my channel going.

So we’ve gone over how to register a domain name.  How you should limit it to about 3 words and no more than 15 characters.  How you should do your best to stick to a .com, but even a .net or .org is tolerable.  How to search for a coupon and how to not get upsold more than you want to be. In the next video, we’re going to go over how to get webhosting and what to look for so you can find a plan that works for you.

I know that a lot of us are developers or developers in training, but it’s easy to sit at your desk all day and not get up and move around.  So make sure you set some time aside to standing up, stretching and getting some fresh air. Life is short, so make sure that you enjoy it. This is Nick from Mobile Code Media, and if you’ve gotten value out of this video, I’d appreciate a like.  Feel free to also leave a comment and let me know any domain registration tips you have. If you want to see my future videos, please subscribe. I’ll see you next time.

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