There are 314 million registered domain names in use around the world.
And since 2014, the number of people registering domain names has seen a 9% annual increase! So they must be worth something. In fact, some domain names are worth millions of dollars.
But, don’t worry. If you’re setting up your own website and wondering ‘how much does a domain name cost’ you won’t have to fork out millions of euros! Most domain names are much more affordable and act as an investment in your business.
Read on to find out all about how much a domain name costs and how to get yours set up today!
Domain names, or domains, are vital for keeping the internet organized. Every page or website on the internet has a domain name.
Domain names mean that when we do an internet search we can find the right website. They work sort of like an address book for the internet. Without them, it would be nearly impossible to find your way through the millions of pages out there.
The Domain Name System assigns these names but you can also purchase or register your own domain name. This means you can have an individual domain name that is relevant to your website.
As a beginner domain-related terminology might feel overwhelming. So let’s take a look at it.
There are three pieces of the basic terminology that you need to get to know. They all relate to one another but aren’t the same thing. These are:
The reason that these are confusing is that they look very similar. But each has an individual job.
As we’ve said, domain names are the names used to register your website or email address. This doesn’t mean you have a website.
It just means you own the name. So no one else can create a website with the same name. ‘Google.com’ and ‘youtube.com’ are both examples of domain names.
A URL or Universal Resource Locator is what people use to find your website. This will look like your domain name but have ‘www.’ in front of it. For example, ‘www.google.com’ is a URL.
Finally, your website is what people see when they search your URL. It can’t exist without a domain name. And people can’t find it without a URL.
So the first step to getting a personalized website and URL is getting a domain name in place.
There are two parts to all domain names: top-level domains and second-level domains.
The top-level domain appears on the right of your domain name. This usually relates to your location in the world or the type of website that uses the domain.
For example, ‘.ie’ is the top-level domain for Ireland. Or government websites often end in ‘.gov’.
Location top-level domains don’t mean you can only use that domain within your country. In fact, they might offer you more flexibility when choosing your second-level domain.
This appears on the left-hand side of your domain. For example, in ‘google.com’, ‘google’ is the second-level domain. This part usually relates to the name of your business.
However, you create your domain by combining the top-level and second-level domains. This can offer you more flexibility with domain names.
For example, the domain ’boutiquehandbags.co.uk’ might not be available to buy. But ’boutiquehandbags.net’ might be available. So you could still get the second-level domain that you want by switching up the top-level domain.
Whether you have a one-page website or an online empire your domain name will help people find you. And choosing it carefully could hugely increase your web traffic!
If you want to create a website most web hosting sites will provide you with a free temporary domain name. This will often contain the name of the host site. But you can usually alter this at a price to make it specific to your company.
Having a specific domain name makes your website easier to find. This is a great way to increase traffic to your website and promote its content.
Having your own domain name also protects your website. This means no one else can use your domain name. So anyone looking you up will find you rather than someone pretending to be you!
Picking the right domain name could also help increase traffic to your website. This is why a lot of generic domain names that already exist are worth thousands of euros!
The right domain name boosts your website’s chances of success so take the time to think about this.
There are lots of things to consider when choosing a domain name. Obviously, you need something that relates to you and your business. This will help people find you.
Including keywords in your domain name can also help. This means that when people search those keywords you’re more likely to come up as a result.
And don’t go for anything too long. The longer your domain name, the more likely someone is to make a mistake when typing it out.
Or they might misread it when it’s written down. You need a domain name that clearly shows what the website is all about.
Avoid things like numbers or hyphens. This reduces the room for errors when typing out your domain name.
People might forget where the hyphen goes. Or they might write out the word ‘six’ instead of putting the number ‘6’. All of these things make you harder to find.
It might be tempting to use slang in your domain name. For example, changing ‘you’ to ‘u’ might offer more available domains. But this can also make you harder to find.
If you’re struggling to find a domain name that you like try doing some research into the market. Seeing what else is out there might inspire you to think outside the box.
Finally, use an appropriate top-level domain. If you’re based in France it doesn’t make sense to use an extension for New Zealand!
Keep it short and memorable. This will make it easier to find you.
Buying a domain name online is relatively straight forward.
The easiest way to do this is through domain registrar services or web hosting sites. They will let you search for possible domains and tell you what is available.
Then you simply purchase it. You can choose to pay on an annual basis or as a monthly subscription.
Different services will also offer you different options for cancellation. It’s worth checking these out before you buy so you know what you’re tied into.
A web hosting service is usually a good option if you’re just setting your website up as well. This is because they also offer website creation services. So, it is easy to connect your domain name to your website through these sites.
You can also buy premium domain names for a lump sum. This is usually much greater than the cost of a monthly subscription. This is because the demand for these domain names is already high.
Another place to buy your domain names is at domain auction sites. These work like other online auction sites just with domain names. Sellers put up their domain names for set prices and buyers bid on them.
These sites only work for registered domain names. If you’re looking to create a domain name then you won’t be able to do it at an auction site.
If you’re buying from an auction site make sure they offer buyer protection. This could save you from losing out on thousands of euros!
Purchasing domain names helps to regulate them.
It means that only one person at a time can own a domain name. And we can trace the ownership of a domain name through the purchase history.
This helps to resolve any disputes over ownership of domain names.
When you pay for a domain name subscription through a web hosting site you might also pay a premium to use the site. Their servers will store your website and domain name.
For small businesses using a web hosting site makes financial sense. You pay a monthly or annual subscription to the website for your domain name.
In exchange, they register the domain name as yours. The subscription also covers the cost of website support and basic software use.
The cost of domain names varies depending on several factors.
How specific they are is a big one. If your website is uniquely named then the price should be reasonable. This is because there isn’t a high demand to use it.
You usually pay for these per year. This costs around €14.99 as an annual subscription. This covers the cost of protection so no one else can use it while you own it.
While you own a domain name no one else can buy it unless you choose to sell it or stop paying for it.
Some hosting websites also offer you a bundle. These offer one or two domain names along with help building your website. And they will host your website as well.
There are two reasons for this.
The name itself is likely to come up high in a lot of searches. This increases the chance of people finding you through random searches. For example, if someone googles gambling and your domain is ‘gambling.com’ you’ll come up.
The other reason is that some domains are very well known. So buying them means your website might automatically get more hits. People will search for sites they know and visit them without realizing the domain owner is different.
You can also view buying a domain name as an investment. The first domain name was registered in 1985. And with time domain names can gain value.
This means that you could sell your domain name in the future and actually make money off it.
By attaching a domain name to a website that gets a lot of traffic and hits you increase its value. Things like backlinking and selling ad space on your website can increase the number of hits you get. So it’s worth putting the time and care into this.
Of course, you also need to have a domain name that people want to buy. That’s why very unique domain names are often cheap. The more specific they are, the narrower the market for selling them.
The domain names that are worth the most are generic. This means they’re easy to find in search engines.
In comparison, more famous websites’ domain names don’t sell for nearly as much. In 2012 one man reportedly bought ‘google.com’ for €12!
This cheap price was actually just a clerical error. The domain should never have been available to buy in the first place. But Google paid just €12,000 to get it back.
This is a nice lump sum to make and not to be sniffed at. But it pails in comparison to the cost of some other domains out there.
It’s important to remember that owning a domain name doesn’t mean you own a website. Building a website for your domain name can increase its value with time.
Some web hosting sites which offer domain registration also offer website building services. This is ideal for any small business looking to create their company site for the first time.
So if you’re worried about how much it costs to build a website you can save money on both services by using a host site.
For more advice, check out our seven tips for building your own website from scratch.
Choosing the right domain name is an investment for your website. So to answer the question ‘how much does a domain name cost’, you need to look at how it could benefit your website’s traffic and your business overall.