A domain name typically costs between $10 and $20 per year. But in some cases, you can get a domain name for free. However, you may need to pay for web hosting and other add-ons.
Domain name prices also vary from one seller to another, but factors such as the extension (e.g., “.org,” “.com,” or “.news”), the popularity of the domain name, and how long you intend to keep the domain name will generally affect the overall cost.
Having a strong domain name can boost your credibility and online visibility, helping to support your corporate brand. Read on to discover the costs associated with buying a domain name. Plus, get to know some of the top domain name sellers and discover tips for getting the right domain name for your business.
- 6 factors that influence domain name cost
- Cost of a premium domain name
- Cost of an expired domain name
- Buying a domain name that’s not listed
- Tips on how to buy the best domain name for your business
- Is a good domain name worth the money?
6 factors that influence domain name cost
Different factors can impact the cost of your domain. While you may want to minimize costs, make sure the domain you pick can be easily remembered by customers and connects to your business and industry.
We explain some of the biggest factors that can influence your domain name cost.
- Domain name popularity
- Your top-level domain (TLD)
- Your domain registrar
- Renewal fees and contract length
- WHOIS protection
- Business email accounts
Domain name popularity
The domain name you choose will have a significant impact on the final cost. Extremely popular domains can come with high costs. For example, Voice.com sold for over $30 million in 2019—one of the most expensive domains ever.
This is the same principle that applies to paid advertising. When setting up a paid search campaign, popular keywords that many businesses want to rank for will typically cost more to bid on than less popular keywords that fewer businesses have an interest in. With both paid search and domain names, high interest drives the price up.
You may also find that certain domain names with common words or phrases are already purchased. However, the owner might be willing to sell them to you. Just keep in mind that you might have to pay a pretty penny for these.
Check domain availability
As you begin to think about the domain name for your business, you can use a few sites to check for domain availability. These searches can help you see if your preferred domain is available for sale and reveal common variations that you can potentially use that might impact price. You might also see that one version of your domain has been taken, but another is available.
Some great sites to begin this search include:
2. Your top-level domain (TLD)
The top-level domain (TLD) is the part of the URL that comes after your specialized domain name. For example, Upwork.com has a top-level domain of “.com.”
Top-level domains can fit into a few categories. You can have country top-level domains, such as “.ca” for Canada or “.uk” for the United Kingdom. Other top-level domains might indicate a particular type of domain, such as “.mil” for a domain with the military or “.gov” for a governmental organization. You can also get specialized top-level domains, such as “.travel.”
While many TLDs exist, some carry more credibility than others. For example, customers tend to be more trusting of websites ending in “.com,” “.edu,” or “.gov” than TLDs like “.ing” or .am.”
While less common top-level domains might be more affordable, it’s important to consider how customers will view the ending. The best domain is one that customers remember and can visit often.
Also, understand that some TLDs are sponsored, meaning the ending indicates a particular affiliation for the domain carrying it. When you register for a sponsored top-level domain, you should expect to undergo an approval process from the governing entity.
Some common top-level domains you might encounter include:
- .com. .com domains are among the most common and most recognized TLDs. This extension stands for “dot commercial,” although a website doesn’t have to be commercial or e-commerce-based to use it.
- .org. This is another highly recognizable domain ending and stands for “dot organization.” This was originally used for nonprofits but has expanded.
- .net. The name of this top-level domain comes from “network,” originally for infrastructure companies. Now, however, usage is more general.
- .edu. This indicates the domain is for an educational institution accredited in the United States. This is a sponsored TLD.
- .gov. This TLD is used to indicate a U.S. governmental organization and is also a sponsored TLD.
- .co. This TLD indicates “dot company” and is used to designate a company or corporation.
- .biz. The abbreviation found in this TLD is used for “dot business.”
- .mil. This top-level domain indicates the website is associated with the U.S. military. This is also a sponsored domain.
3. Your domain registrar
A domain name registrar sells you the domain, often offers web hosting, and will typically serve as your domain host. The company handles the reservation of internet domain names.
Make sure to work with a domain registrar you can trust. You can find the most reputable options through the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). You can check the full list of available domain registrars, but we’ll provide the most popular domain registrars below.
As you look at the different domain registrars, you’ll see that each one offers different features and packages depending on what add-ons you want to receive with your domain purchase. For example, you might want:
- SSL (secure sockets layer) certificates
- DNS (domain name system) management
- VPS (virtual private server) hosting
- Email hosting
If you need additional support, such as implementing DNS management, consider turning to an independent DNS specialist on Upwork. We have a large pool of proven, remote experts with experience accomplishing goals just like yours.
Domain registration allows you to reserve a domain name for a particular period, which is usually one year. As the end of the period approaches, you have the option of renewing the domain name.
While domain registration may seem straightforward, a number of extra features and costs can contribute to the final price. We break down the costs you might incur during domain registration.
- Introductory price. Many domain registrars offer low starting prices for the first year of registration. The introductory price varies depending on your desired domain extension (.org, .net, .com, .biz, etc.) and domain name seller but can be as low as a few dollars.
- Renewal price. Once the first year of registration ends, you’ll need to renew your ownership of the domain name, which is usually a higher rate than the introductory price. Remember to renew your domain name on time to keep your website online and the domain name off the market.
- Domain extensions. The type of domain extension you choose can affect the overall registration cost. Popular extensions such as .com tend to be more expensive than less common ones like .info, .biz, .me, and .site.
- Additional services. The domain registration cost can increase if you opt for extra features like DNS management, email hosting, VPS hosting, and SSL certificates.
- Premium domains. These types of domains are considered more valuable due to their keywords, short length, and brandability.
- Privacy protection. As a domain owner, privacy protection allows you to hide personal information like your home address and contact details from the public WHOIS database. Some domain registrars offer the privacy protection feature for free, while others require extra payment.
Where to buy a domain name
Here are the most popular domain registrar options and the cost associated with each of them. Explore each to see the packages they offer and how their hosting services fit with your domain purchase.
GoDaddy is a domain registrar and web hosting company that offers services like website building, email marketing, and design. GoDaddy also provides a web security service to protect users from different types of threats.
With GoDaddy’s SSL checker tool, users can analyze their websites and determine if they’re secure. GoDaddy also shields businesses from data loss through its website backup offering.
- Custom domain extensions. GoDaddy provides custom domain name extensions to match your brand. You can also create your own extension and register it on GoDaddy.
- Domain auction. GoDaddy features a marketplace where you can bid, buy, and sell domain names.
- Bulk domain search. GoDaddy allows you to register multiple domain names and receive discounts when doing so.
- Domain value appraisal. GoDaddy’s appraisal tool helps you determine the value of your domain name.
- Domain name generator. Not sure what domain name you should use? GoDaddy’s domain name generator can help you find the right domain name for your business or brand.
- Domain broker service. GoDaddy can act as an intermediary between you and a domain seller.
- Domain backorders. You can add yourself to a waitlist to purchase a domain name when it becomes available.
Price: Introductory prices start at $0.99.
Bluehost offers different services, including web hosting, domain registration, web design, digital marketing, and website migration. The platform features a library of themes, plug-ins, and templates that users can take advantage of to develop their websites. Bluehost also supports automatic malware scans, enabling businesses to keep their data safe.
- Domain forwarding. You can redirect users visiting your website to other desired domains. This feature is useful, especially when migrating to a new domain.
- Domain lock. Bluehost helps you protect your domain name from unauthorized transfers.
- Easy domain management. You can manage all aspects of your domain using Bluehost’s user-friendly control panel.
- Auto-renewal. Bluehost allows you to renew your domain name automatically, so your website remains online at all times. This also ensures the domain name isn’t resold.
- Domain privacy. Keep your personal details off the public WHOIS database using Bluehost’s privacy protection feature.
- Geolocation domain. Want a domain extension to reflect your geographical location? Bluehost can help you get domain names such as .uk, .us, and more.
Price: The Basic plan starts at $2.95 per month.
Namecheap provides a wide range of comprehensive tools for web hosting, domain registration, digital marketing, and security. For example, the platform’s personal and business site makers allow users to quickly develop websites and host them on the platform. Tools like PositiveSSL and Domain Vault also provide security for your site.
- Domain transfer. Namecheap allows you to transfer domain names from other registrars to their platform.
- Bulk domain search. You can purchase multiple domain names for reselling or other purposes
- Domain privacy. Namecheap offers free privacy protection, allowing you to withhold personal details from the WHOIS database.
- Handshake domains. Handshake is a new form of domain name ownership built on blockchain technology—available on Namecheap. Handshake domains give you more freedom and security.
- Domain auctions. Find, bid, and buy domain names on Namecheap’s marketplace.
- Domain name generator. Namecheap helps you find a suitable domain name with its generator tool.
Price: Domain name prices start at $5.98.
HostGator is a global provider of shared hosting, VPS hosting, and WordPress hosting. The platform also provides tools to help you build websites and market them to your target audience.
With HostGator’s domain registration service, you can get your hands on top-level domain extensions, including .online, .blog, .press, .store, .space, .tech, .co, and .com. HostGator also partners with other companies, allowing you to choose custom domain names such as .ninja to reflect your brand.
- Auto-renewal. HostGator allows you to renew your domain name automatically, which can give you peace of mind, knowing you have ownership of the domain name at all times.
- Privacy protection. HostGator helps you hide personal information from the WHOIS database—but you have to pay extra for this privacy protection feature.
- Email forwarding. You can forward any of your domain’s email addresses to another supported email address, so you don’t miss any messages from your users.
- Domain locking. HostGator allows you to block unauthorized transfers of your domain name.
- DNS management. Manage all your domain names using HostGator’s centralized DNS management system.
Price: Domains start at $0.95 per month on the first invoice.
Whether you’re looking for web, WordPress-focused, cloud, or dedicated hosting, consider DreamHost. With its drag-and-drop builder, you can create a simple website quickly, even if you don’t have much experience. DreamHost also gives you access to unique top-level domain extensions such as .design, .xyz, and .store.
- Free domain privacy protection. DreamHost helps keep your personal details off the WHOIS databases for free. It also shields you from email spam and phishing.
- Domain transfer. You can transfer your domain name from other hosting companies to DreamHost.
- Control panel. Manage all your domain names, including setting up domain forwarding and editing DNS records, in a centralized location using DreamHost’s control panel.
- Hundreds of TLDs. DreamHost has 400+ top-level domains you can use for your website.
- Free subdomains. DreamHost offers unlimited subdomains when you purchase Dedicated, VPS, or Shared hosting.
Price: .com domains start at $7.99 per year.
4. Renewal fees and contract length
Once you purchase your domain name, you may have to renew the name after the first year or whenever your contract expires. The frequency with which you need to renew your domain name will vary depending on your initial contract. You can sometimes get a discount on the domain when you purchase it for a longer timeframe.
Regardless of your contract, make sure you set your domain purchase to auto-renew upfront. An expired domain can be costly and troublesome to your business. While you can still renew your domain for a few weeks after it expires, the site won’t be displayed to customers, which can result in lost business.
A site that doesn’t work can also damage your brand’s credibility and search engine optimization (SEO) efforts. The registrar might also charge additional fees for websites not renewed within a particular window of time. You even run the risk of someone else purchasing the domain name if you wait too long after the expiration to renew.
5. WHOIS protection
With a domain name registration, you’ll need to register and provide your personal contact information, such as your name and email address. The registrar needs to track the web properties of each domain owner to help them resolve any disputes that arise. This information becomes part of the public directory called “WHOIS.” This directory records the ownership of different domains.
If you don’t want your information to appear in this directory, you can get WHOIS protection. When you choose this privacy protection option, the information recorded in the actual directory is a proxy, such as a proxy email address. The registrar still has your real information, but they don’t provide it to the directory.
Some people who own websites want to use this service to limit the publicity of their information. They don’t want their email addresses ending up on spam lists, for example. If this issue concerns you, make sure you verify with your registrar that they offer hosting plans with WHOIS protection and that you understand any costs associated with it.
If you have questions about maintaining your privacy and security online, working with a web hosting specialist can help. With an understanding of how to integrate and manage hosting issues, these professionals can assist you in creating a site that works well and provides customers with a good user experience.
6. Business email accounts
Many businesses find it helpful to create a domain-based email to connect to their URL. This can make it easy for customers to recognize your business’s email in their inbox. If you want to get started with an email marketing campaign, a branded email address can help.
Some domain registrars offer email storage along with domain-based email services. The costs associated with this type of service will vary. Investigate the email packages available through the different registrars for your domain if this is something that interests you.
Cost of a premium domain name
Premium domain names tend to be more valuable due to factors like their length, brandability, and keywords. These domain names may also feature common words or phrases likely to help a website rank higher in search engine results.
The cost of a premium domain name varies widely, ranging from hundreds to thousands of dollars—or even more. To illustrate, the “cars.com” domain name sold for $872 million in 2014!
While premium domain names can be expensive to acquire, they can bring value to your business, including increased web traffic, better brand recognition, and improved SEO.
Cost of an expired domain name
An expired domain name can sometimes be acquired at standard registration costs. However, things can heat up when the domain name enters into an auction process, meaning you’ll have to outbid other interested parties to acquire the domain name.
In some cases, expired domains with SEO value and high-quality backlinks can attract higher prices. Additional fees from auction platforms can also contribute to an increased cost.
Check out some domain names up for auction on GoDaddy.
Buying a domain name that’s not listed
In case a desired domain name isn’t listed for sale, it may still be possible to purchase it. You’ll need to identify the current domain owner from the WHOIS database and negotiate a price. If the owner is using privacy protection on WHOIS, you may need to be more creative to make contact. Use the about us page, contact us link, or other website information to reach the individual or organization with ownership.
This process can be time-consuming, and you may have to work with a domain broker to help with the negotiations. Keep an open mind since the owner may or may not be willing to sell.
There are also potential scams and other pitfalls that you should watch out for during the domain acquisition process. For example, the scammer might claim they’ve temporarily blocked someone else from buying the domain so you can purchase it—of course, for an astronomical price.
Tips on how to buy the best domain name for your business
A good domain name can help you get more traffic, increase your brand’s visibility, and drive sales. It can also add more credibility to your business and distinguish you from competitors.
We provide some tips to help you get the best domain name for your business.
- Use appropriate keywords. Use keywords that are relevant to your business or the services you’re offering. For example, if you’re a plumber, you might consider domain names like “plumbingrepair.com” or “plumbingmaintenance.com.”
- Keep your domain name short. A short domain name is more memorable, which lowers the likelihood of users mistyping it.
- Avoid numbers and hyphens. A domain name acts like your website address. So, avoid numbers and hyphens in the domain name to prevent confusion.
- Use relevant domain extensions. Consider using geographic-specific domain names to help users know the location of your business.
- Check for existing trademarks. Before registering a domain name, check if other businesses, companies, or individuals have a claim to it. You can get valuable information regarding the domain’s ownership from the WHOIS database.
- Act fast. When you find a suitable domain name, consider purchasing it quickly since there’s no guarantee the domain will be available for long.
Is a good domain name worth the money?
Yes, a good domain is definitely worth the money. A one-time investment in a premium or well-suited domain can lead to long-term benefits, including better brand visibility and credibility. A good domain name can also contribute positively to SEO, allowing your website to rank higher.
Think of a good domain name as an investment in your business’s digital identity and future success. But as you shop for a domain name, consider your budget to avoid overstretching yourself.
Start on your website today
Your website can make a big difference in your efforts to build your online presence. Leveraging the full potential of your website gives you a chance to reach customers through their online searches and encourage them to enter your sales funnel.
Registering your domain is the first step in creating a highly effective website that can help you grow your business. To help your brand stand out, consider hiring freelancers on Upwork to help maximize your potential for brand growth.
Upwork is not affiliated with and does not sponsor or endorse any of the tools or services discussed in this article. These tools and services are provided only as potential options, and each reader and company should take the time needed to adequately analyze and determine the tools or services that would best fit their specific needs and situation.
Prices are current at the time of writing and may change over time based on each service’s offerings.
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