Finding and buying an available domain is simple enough when you know what to do.
Yes, you can go to any hosting company and search a desired domain to see if it’s available. However, those hosting company/domain name sellers (registrars) have a vested interested in grabbing domains that have been searched and selling them for extravagant prices.
There are many anecdotal instances where someone looked up their name with a company such as Godaddy and saw it was available. They go back a couple of days later to buy it, but it’s no longer available and now Godaddy owns it! It’s still for sale. It’s just that now the price has gone WAY up.
So here’s what I do. I go to a website called WhoIs.net to check on my desired domain names. They don’t sell domains and I’ve seen no evidence that they buy up searched domains, though they do seem to be affiliated with Hover.com, a reputable domain service. WhoIs.net has been my standard go-to for domain searches for years. I suggest you do your searches there!
When you do go to search your desired domain, be sure that you first make a list of alternative domain names that make sense for your business. This list is just in case your first choice is not available.
Try to keep the name as concise as possible. Make sure it’s easy for someone to say without tripping over the words. And make sure your words together don’t actually make an unintended other word or meaning. Could be very embarrassing.
When coming up with domain names (addresses), avoid dashes and numbers as much as possible. They are allowed for domains, but people just don’t think to use them when typing in a web address. But if there is a numerical digit in the name of your business, then using that number may be just the right thing to do. You want it to reflect your business and also be easy to memorize or type.
Now It’s Time to Buy Your Domain!
You can certainly buy your domain at the same time you purchase your website hosting. It’s very easy to do everything all at once and you don’t have to mess with “pointing” your domain to your website. Everything is set up at the time of purchase. But some suggest it’s a better idea to purchase your domains in one place and your hosting in another.
This is because if you decide at some point that you don’t like your hosting company anymore (it happens) and want to move your website, it is an easier thing to just move the website, than to move the website AND your domain. Transferring a domain can take your site and email down for up to 7 days!
But if you were to purchase your domain at Hover.com or NameCheap.com, then all you would have to do is move your website, and change two settings in your domain account. Downtime is a matter of a couple hours.
If you don’t have a website yet and are not sure how to choose a hosting company, I definitely suggest just purchasing your domain from one of the aforementioned registrars. That way, you can make sure you own it, and you don’t make any snap decisions about your website hosting provider.
Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or if you need help with a move or setup. I understand not everyone wants to deal with this!
Okay. Happy hunting!