How to Buy a Domain Name

Brand your site with the URL address you want

Choose the URL you want for your website.  Jamie Grill/Getty Images

Domain names or website addresses, such as or, are available for purchase from many website services or registrars. You, too, can buy a domain name for your website to help establish your business as a brand on the internet.

A domain name will give your website a unique identity, and sometimes (though nowadays not quite as likely) affect the success of your site. Once you purchase a name and build a brand around it, it is yours to use until you choose not to renew it.

How to Find Available Domain Names

With millions of domain names already taken, what domain name to purchase will largely be determined by what is still available. If you are looking to purchase a name but don’t want to invest a lot of money, you may need to spend a good deal of time thinking up names and then searching for them.

All of the websites that sell domain names will first allow you to search for ones that are available. When names come up taken, you will often have the option to purchase the name for a higher cost. While many names are taken, a great deal are not in use and are for sale.

In addition to blindly searching for names, some sites will recommend available names related to your search. NameStation allows you to search by keyword, starting and ending phrases, and domain extension to find available names and ones for purchase. Domain Tools offers a free search tool as well.

Where to Buy a New Domain Name

Domain names can be purchased from the many online registrars. It pays to shop around, not only for price but also for reputation and ease-of-use of the site and online account. Most offer deals for long-term registrations, bulk registrations, and transfers from other services (for existing names). A few of the most popular sites for purchasing names are:

Where to Buy an Existing Domain Name

In some cases, you may wish to search through existing domain names for the right address. Many services offer extensive collections of names with the ability to bid on or buy addresses. Some will have minimum prices, while others require an opening bid from you.

With no exact science to determining the value of a name, what you’re willing to pay will be based on personal preference and the value of the name to you. Two popular services for purchasing names are:

WHOIS Searches

If you are looking to purchase a name that you know exists, you can often find the owner through a WHOIS search. Available on most registrar sites, including the ones listed above, WHOIS searches will show the available contact information tied to a specific name. For a fee, you can hide your contact information from a WHOIS search when you buy your own domain names.