How to buy a domain name

6 min read
Will Stevens

Want to buy a domain name for a new project but aren’t sure how to get one? Don’t worry, it’s easy. In this guide, we’ll outline the few brief steps that explain how you can buy a domain name.

1 Find a reliable registrar to buy your domain from

The first thing you need to do is to find a reputable company to register your domain with. These companies are known as domain registrars and they provide domain registration services to the public.

GoDaddy is a domain registrar.

You can check if a domain registrar is reliable by reading online reviews about the business and searching for news stories about it – a reputable registrar is highly likely to have a significant amount of coverage on review sites and in online news publications.

Image showing GoDaddy's trustpilot score of 4.6
At the time of writing, GoDaddy has a Trustpilot score of 4.6

Once you’ve found a domain registrar that’s right for you, you can start the process of registering your domain.

2 Search for the domain you want

All reputable domain registrars will offer a search function, which makes it easy to see if the domain name you want to buy is available. You can search for a domain with GoDaddy here.

An example of a domain name search run with GoDaddy
This is what it looks like when you search for a domain with GoDaddy

We’re going to assume you already have a domain name in mind, so at this stage you can simply run a search for your domain to see if you can buy it. (If you need inspiration, check out this guide to what makes a good domain name.)

Find the perfect domain name now:

If the domain you want to buy isn’t available, you have a few options. These are:

Find an alternative domain

If you first choice domain name isn’t available, you might have to move further down your list of potential names.

Use a different domain name extension

There are a huge range of domain name extensions available (such as .com,, .net and so on).

If you can’t buy the domain name you want with a particular extension, you may want to consider buying it with another extension, this could even help you get your desired domain for less.

In a situation like this, it’s even more important to make sure that the domain name you want to buy doesn’t infringe on someone else’s intellectual property. (You can learn more about intellectual property in this guide.)

Buy the domain in the domain aftermarket

If you have your heart set on a particular domain name, it may be possible to buy it from the current owner. For this, you can use a WhoIs lookup tool to find the domain’s owner information.

However, buying a domain in this way is usually much more expensive than registering an unused domain.

The price you can expect to pay for a domain in the aftermarket can run from a few hundred pounds to several million pounds, depending on the strength of the domain.

You can learn more about buying domains in the aftermarket here.

Use GoDaddy’s Domain Backorder Service

If you have patience, you can use our Domain Backorder service to enable us to monitor the domain. Once the domain expires, you have the opportunity to get it.

3 Pick your domain(s)

Once you’ve found a domain that you like and that’s available to buy, it’s time to pick the one (or ones) that you like.

The GoDaddy buy domains page. Multiple domains have been added to the customer's basket
GoDaddy makes it easy to buy multiple domains at the same time

It may be a good idea to register the domain you want across a number of different extensions, particularly if you’re planning to do business in different locations.

For example, you might want to register both a and a .london version of your domain if you plan to do business both in London and across the UK.

You may also want to register different across multiple extensions to make sure no one else can register a similar domain to yours.

Editor’s Note: Create a list of desired names and use GoDaddy’s Bulk Domain registration tool to check their availability in one go.

Another thing to consider at this stage is how long you want to register your domain for. Although we’ve talked about “how to buy a domain name” in this guide, it’s important to note that you don’t strictly buy a domain name – the process is more like leasing.

This means that when you register your domain, you’ll be asked how long you want to register it for. The minimum period is one year and the maximum period tends to be ten years.

The advantage of registering a domain for a longer period is that you don’t have to worry about losing control of your domain if you forget to renew it and it expires.

The downside of registering a domain for a longer period is that you’ll have to spend more upfront.

If you want to keep your domain for a long period of time but don’t want to spend money upfront, consider activating automatic renewal for the domain. This will allow your registrar to keep renewing your domain as long as it is able to take a payment from you.

4 Complete the checkout process and verify your domain

Now there’s nothing left to do but complete the checkout process. If you’re new to a domain provider, you’ll need to sign up for an account.

The checkout screen for buying a domain name with GoDaddy
The GoDaddy checkout screen you'll see when buying domain names

Make sure the details you use to sign up for an account are accurate, as once you’ve bought your domain(s) you may get an email from the registrar asking you to verify your contact information is correct. If you don’t do this, your domain(s) may be suspended.

This happens because ICANN, the body that manages the Domain Name System, requires registrars to verify these details with customers.

You can learn more about ICANN verification here.

5 Put your domain to use

Once you have your domain name, you’ll probably want to use it for a website. To do that, you’ll either need to pay someone to create your site for you or build a site yourself.

If you want to create a site yourself but don’t have technical skills, you might want to consider buying a website builder package like the one offered by GoDaddy.

Anna Hewitt, of GoDaddy customer HapPea, holds up a piece of paper with wavey lines
Anna Hewitt, of hapPEA created her site with GoDaddy's Website Builder

Website builders offer a drag and drop interface, which lets you build a website without having to know how to code. (You also get a free domain name for a year, so bear that in mind when you're thinking about buying a domain name.)

Summing up

Buying a domain name should be a quick and easy process. If you have any questions about buying a domain with GoDaddy, feel free to call the GoDaddy guides on 020 7084 1810.

Products Used

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