OK, so now that you’ve spent some time thinking about what you’re going to name your website, it’s time to register your domain name so that it becomes official. There are a lot of domain registrars out there but the one I recommend and have been using for over eight years now is GoDaddy. I like GoDaddy because it’s the largest and most trusted domain name registrar, web hosting, and SSL certificate provider in the world. Plus it is cheap and has the biggest domain marketplace online. Even though it’s cheap, the service is top-notch. For five consecutive years GoDaddy has been voted “Best Registrar” according to the Domain Name Wire’s annual survey. If, for whatever reason, you don’t want anything to do with your website anymore and want to sell your domain name, GoDaddy is the perfect marketplace because it’s the eBay of domain auctions. I once registered a domain that I bought for a promo price of 99 cents and then about four years later, sold it for $175. All the good domain names have already been taken and so people will pay a lot of money (sometimes even several thousand dollars) to get a domain that other people don’t want anymore.
Let’s go through this process together. Say you want to start a website that sells shoes and you picked the name ‘MyShoeChoice’ as the name of your website. The first step is to go to GoDaddy.com and check which extensions (.com, .net, .org, etc.) are available:
In case the extension .com is not available you have other excellent choices. My personal preference is to get a .com domain and if it’s not available, go with a .net or .org extension. If those are also unavailable then I’ll try .co, .info, or .us. You can see all the available extensions by clicking ‘Show All’:
In this example there are 118 extensions that I can choose from. Sweet! Let’s go with the .com extension since it’s the most common. Click ‘Select’ and then ‘Continue to Cart’:
In the next page, you’ll be presented with a few choices. Let’s go through each of them:
Select to purchase ‘Privacy Protection’ in ‘Step 1 – Privacy’. This is important so that your name, address, phone number, email, etc. are all hidden to the public eye when someone does a WHOIS on you. For example, instead of showing your full name, ‘DomainsByProxy’ will be shown instead. Privacy and anonymity are very important online and for less than $8 per year, you can sleep soundly knowing that all your confidential info is safe from prying eyes. To learn more about this feature, go here.
Let’s continue down this page. Don’t select anything here:
We don’t need ‘Website Builder’ because I’ll show you later on in this tutorial series how to build a better one using professionally made WordPress themes. As for hosting there are far better choices than this one which we’ll look into in the next tutorial. For now just focus on registering your own domain name.
Last optional add-on on this page – ‘Step 3 – Email’:
We don’t need to get any email service right now because when we sign up with a web hosting provider later, we’ll use their free email service and save ourselves some cash.
To recap, we only need one thing in this whole page of optional features – ‘Privacy Protection’. Make sure you have that selected (and everything else unselected) and when you’re done, click ‘Continue to Cart’ to review your order.
Alright, let’s go through the next page in the domain ordering process together. Under ‘Term’, click the drop-down arrow and select ’1 Year’:
In my opinion it’s better to renew your domain on a year-by-year basis than paying for three or five years up front. A lot can happen between now and three or five years from now and you don’t know whether you’ll keep working on this project or move on to a different one. Play it safe, save yourself some cash, and just pay for the domain yearly.
Also, check to make sure you still have ‘Privacy Protection’ selected (and no other add-ons from the previous page selected):
Click ‘Proceed to Checkout’ and it will take you to the billing and payment page. If you don’t have a GoDaddy account yet this is the part where you’ll create one. If you have one already just login using your account details and proceed to the payment page. After sending payment you’ll get a bunch of emails (confirmation, receipt, etc.) that you should save in case you need to contact customer support.
If you would like to see your domain’s ‘Privacy Protection’ settings, go to DomainsByProxy.com and login using your GoDaddy account. To see this feature in action, go to your GoDaddy account page and click ‘Launch’ in the ‘Products’ tab:
In the next page, click your domain name which will take you to the ‘Domain Details’ page. Click ‘Contacts’ to see how ‘Privacy Protection’ by DomainsByProxy works and what users will see when they do a WHOIS on you:
Pretty neat, huh? You now have all your personal info kept private.
One last thing (and this is optional) – turn off auto-renew. To do this, click the ‘Settings’ tab and under ‘Auto-Renew’ click ‘Manage’ and turn off auto-renew in the window that will popup:
Don’t worry you’ll get several emails reminding you to renew your domain. And even if you did miss your renewal date you’ll be given a one-week extension period so there’s no need to worry. I manually renew all my domains because after one year I like to evaluate the ones I’ll keep and the ones I won’t.
So there you have it… congratulations! You now have registered your first ever domain name complete with ‘Privacy Protection’. In the next tutorial I’ll show you how to choose a web hosting company and then guide you through the sign-up process just like what I did here. You’re getting closer and closer towards having your first website up and running so sit tight and see you soon!