The WebsiteBasics logos consisting of a black on white computer icon with a green checkmark inside and a green circle around it on a light blue background with the letters Website Basics below it.

Guide to Find, Buy and Register a Website Domain

Unlock online success for your business with the perfect domain name: Tips for memorable names, steps to buy and register a domain and pitfalls to avoid.

This post was last updated on January 19, 2024

In this guide

An illustration of a man and a woman with a computer screen in the middle. The woman is sitting in an office chair, the man is sitting on the office desk. Green and blue colours on white background.

A domain is your business's internet address in the format of, which you can register and use for your website and email accounts. Many providers offer domain registration, website hosting, and email hosting in one package.

Register a domain with Namecheap in a few simple steps: Enter the domain in the format in the form, then proceed with the registration if the domain name is available.

I recommend to use Namecheap for your domain name research as other well-known [registrars are being accused of domain front running][]. Domain front running is the practice of registering a domain name that somebody shows interest in to sell it to them at a higher price source.

How to Find the Best Domain and Business Name

Ideally, include your business or brand name in your domain. I suggest using website name generators to find a domain and a business name.

Here is a selection of website name generators:

A screenshot of the Namelix name generator styles form with checkboxes for various styles
A screenshot of the Namelix brand name style options.
A screenshot of the Namelix name generator output consisting of cards in various colours with brand name suggestions on it.
A screenshot of the Namelix brand name results page.

Should I Add Keywords to My Domain Name?

Avoid purchasing a domain solely based on Google search keywords, as exact match domains like do not offer advantages in Google ranking source.

Keywords can be added to the URL path for search engine optimization as soon as you start adding content:

Avoid Lawsuits When Registering a Domain

Don't Add Existing Business Names in Your Domain Name To Avoid Lawsuits. It's not advisable to register a domain similar to an existing business name to avoid legal issues; browse the US Patent and Trademark Office and the European Union Intellectual Property Office websites for existing and similar business names.

Trademark attorneys can assist you with the risk evaluation for a brand or domain name and help you protect a name using trademark rights.

Finding a free and recognizable website domain can be challenging. Treat your domain as an asset and do your research: It's a decision that will impact your business for years.

I strongly advise to research similar domain names. It is not a good idea to start a website under the domain if already exists.

Make Your Website Domain Name Memorable

Use real words, avoid abbreviations and odd spellings; for instance, is preferable to Local businesses can append their city or state to the domain, such as or, to niche down and avoid competing directly with larger national or international companies.

Is a .com Domain Better for My Business Website?

Trust in your domain is crucial. While domains ending in .com are recommended for business websites, they are often already taken; consider alternatives like .io or .net. Some country-specific top-level domains, like .de for Germany or .fr for France, are suitable if you are targeting users in that country.

I always try to get the .com domain, even if it means a slightly longer name or if I have to purchase the domain at a higher cost

Can I use Hyphens in Website Domain Names?

Hyphens (-) are the only allowable spacing in domain names, and they don't negatively impact Google ranking source.

There are two perspectives on hyphens in domain names source.

Pro-Hyphen in Domain Names:

  • Enhance domain readability.
  • Popular in certain markets like Germany but less so in the US.

Anti-Hyphen in Domain Names:

  • Suggest untrustworthiness and reduced credibility.
  • Require spelling the hyphen when discussing the domain.
  • More challenging to type.

I avoid hyphens for my websites.

What Are the Steps to Buy A Taken Domain Name?

  1. Reach out to the owner of the domain. You find the domain owner's contact by doing a Whois research. Sometimes domains are parked and the website has a form to submit an offer to purchase the domain. You can browse taken domains using tools like Namecheap's domain marketplace.
  2. Pay using a secure payment method with money back option like PayPal.
  3. Receive the authentication code from the domain seller and enter it on your domain registrars transfer page. Click here to transfer a domain to Namecheap.

What Does a Website Domain Cost?

Registered domains can be expensive, but free domains are affordable, costing only a few US Dollars or Euros per month. Registration typically includes an automatic yearly renewal unless canceled. A domain registration usually costs between 1 and 3 US Dollars or Euros per month. Many web packages include one free domain and a SSL certificate. A SSL certificate is necessary to enable a secure connection via https:// and is mandatory to view websites in a browser without a blocking warning page.

What are the Steps to Register a Website Domain?

  1. Check domain availability by querying a free WHOIS database.
  2. Do you want to use a website builder like Squarespace, Wix, Spotify? Signing-up with the website builder redirects to a domain registration page.
  3. Alternatively immediately register your domain with a registrar like Namecheap. Simply type your desired domain name in the form field to check if it's free, then proceed with the registration.
  4. Sign up and follow the domain hoster's instructions; be sure to purchase an SSL certificate alongside the domain for secure https service.

Register your domain directly with your preferred website builder:

Uncertain about the best website builder? Read my website builder review.

If you prefer to use a content management system like WordPress, register your domain with your website hoster; here's a list of recommended hosters:

Learn more in my website hosters review.

Not sure what website builder or hoster you want to use? Decide later and only register a domain with Namecheap now. You can still point your domain to another website hosting company later.


Receive new guides directly into your inbox. No spam, no bullshit!

You may unsubscribe and delete your data at any time using the link in the newsletter or by contacting me. I only use your email to send newsletters. By clicking the button above you agree to submitting your email address to Intuit Inc. and accept their data privacy statement.

Continue with these guides: