Domain Registration Advice
Straightforward Domain Buying Advice
The easiest way to feel like you’re building a website is buying a domain. We recommend waiting until you have a website before buying your domain. People have been able to register domains since 1985, so your domain will almost certainly last another month. Instead, start by making something simple to help clarify your ideas. We believe that before you can buy a domain that fits your site well, you have to be able to write a good description of your idea.
We think the best way to find a great domain is to be flexible and to develop your idea over time. Write down any slogans or catchy ways to describe your idea. The ideal is to describe or reference your idea in a simple phrase. This makes it easy for search engines to show you off. You also should think about how easy your phrase is to say and type.
Once you have a few possible domains written down and a website you can see, research buying your domain! Domain registration should be cheap (for sure under $20, ideally $10), but there are predatory people in the world so sometimes it’s not. A company will register a domain they don’t intend to use (“parking” the domain) until a rich startup, existing company, or Courtney Love’s son really wants it, then it’s sold for thousands.
What Is Domain Registration
Every domain registrar has a different interface, price point, and level of virtuousness, but what they do is pretty similar. They manage DNS records, which is the technical way of telling the internet exactly which computer your website lives on. A lot of them also offer to host your website, which means they’ll sell (or just give) you space for your website.
Because the services registrars provide are pretty similar, you can mix and match to meet your needs. We currently use namecheap.com as a registrar because it’s cheap and has features we like, but there are a lot of registrars.
Research and Accomplish
The first thing to do is check if your domain exists. There are two parts of any domain you want to buy. The
domain and the
sub-domain. The domain for this site is
toughpixels and the subdomain is
.com. Every subdomain can register exactly one of every domain. Search a domain registrar for your phrase, and they will probably offer you a few subdomain options. Some are more valuable than others (
.io is expensive,
.art is cheap). Search around, it’s likely your first couple ideas will be taken, but the registrar will provide a list of options to check out and different registrars work with different subdomain owners. Note any you like, research until you find one you can afford for the long run, then publish your site as quickly as you can!
Remember that you want people to visit your website because the content is engaging and valuable. It’s great to have an awesome domain name, but your first focus should be creating the best and most attainable description of your idea for the world. The domain supports that goal.
Be aware that DNS records are published to everyone on the internet, so making your information anonymous is important. You will get phone calls and emails if you make information public. Some companies charge you to make that information private, which we think is unacceptable. Again, we like namecheap.com because anonymization is default and free.
Learning To Start
You can build a simple HTML site locally using just the browser, a text editor and some research. If you’re struggling to get a website deployed, or don’t know how, check out Github Pages or Netlify, take a course, or send us an email.
Good luck, and you’re doing great!