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How Do You Register a Domain Name?

written by: Lin Parker•edited by: Amy Carson•updated: 2/1/2011

If you are wondering, "How do I register a domain name?" this article will explain the process of domain registration and renewals.

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    Finding a Domain Registration Company

    The first step is finding a domain registration company. A Google search for "domain registration" will return plenty of results listing companies who will register a website domain. On visiting a domain registry website, there is usually a search box which can be used to find a suitable domain name for your proposed website. Simply type in your preferred name and click the search button. The results should show whether that domain has already been registered, and if so, will offer alternative names for you to consider.

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    Domain Name Registration Costs

    When searching on a domain registration website, the annual domain registration costs are usually displayed next to the available names. The initial purchase costs are only a few dollars and include registration for one or two years. Some domains must be registered for at least two years. The price may include other services such as email accounts, sub-domains and domain forwarding. Domain registration fees do not include web hosting. In order for a website to be published on the Internet, a web hosting package must be purchased at an additional monthly cost.

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    WHOIS Privacy Service

    When asking how to register a domain name, you may be wondering about what information will be held on records which can be accessed by the general public. Any individual who registers a domain name must provide their name, address, email and phone number. This information is stored in a database known as WHOIS. This database can be searched using a domain, personal or business name, Should you not wish this information to be available to the public, you may request privacy when registering the domain. Check with the registry company before buying your domain if this service is included, and if there will be an extra charge.

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    Choosing a Domain Name

    Domain names may contain up to 63 characters (excluding the suffix) and may contain letters, numbers and dashes. If you want to have a website name that people remember, then it may be best to choose a short name. Do not choose a domain name which includes the name of an existing business or trademark as you may be breaching copyright or intellectual property rights.

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    Domain Name Renewals

    Now that you know the answers to the question "How do I register a domain name?" you need to learn about domain renewals. Domain registration companies usually send email notifications 30 days before a domain name is due to expire. It is important that you keep your contact email information up to date, as failure to renew a domain name will result in your website disappearing from the Internet. Follow the instructions provided by the registry company and make the required payment. It may be possible to set your renewals to automatic, so that your credit card is billed each time the domain needs to be renewed.

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