How to Buy a Domain Name and Where to Look

This article is intended for beginners who have no idea on how to buy a domain name and where to look.

Before you buy a domain name, you should know that you never truly “own” a domain name. You can register it for up to 10 years at a time and use it however you’d like, but it is not something you own permanently like buying a pair of shoes or a car. You will eventually lose ownership of it.

There are 3 ways in which you can lose ownership of your domain name:

1. If you pass away, and you have not assigned a beneficiary.
2. You forget to renew your domain and it gets dropped.
3. You sell your domain to someone else.

Now that you understand what it means to own a domain, here are some places where you could buy a domain:

Domain Registrars

This is the most popular and direct way for people to register a new domain name. Most people find their favorite registrar after they’ve tested out some of them. Some people will choose a registrar simply based on recommendations from other people. Prices and features will vary from registrar to registrar so it is a good idea to do some comparisons.

Web Hosting Companies

Most web hosting companies offer domain registration as a part of their overall service. Registering a domain through a web hosting company is not mandatory, but it is an option for those that want to keep things simple. Some people prefer to use different companies for their domain and hosting for various reasons. It is entirely up to you.

Domain Marketplaces

Domain marketplaces are sites that are set up strictly for the purpose of domain name sales. These marketplaces are similar to eBay and other auction houses where buyers can bid on domain names listed for sale. Domain marketplaces are also known as the aftermarket because the domains are not being purchased at registration prices through a registrar. Buying a domain through a domain marketplace is not recommended for newbies. One needs to do proper due dilligence on a domain name prior to purchase.

Domain Forums

Technically, a domain forum can be categorized under a marketplace because the idea is the same. A seller lists the domain for sale, and interested buyers can bid on them. The difference is in the platform. Buyers and sellers of a domain forum auction are not nearly as protected as those on a trusted marketplace. Good faith and reputation are the main criteria used when doing business with others on domain forums. For transactions involving high-value domains, an escrow company should always be used.

Drop-catch Services

Domain drop-catching is the act of using a software program to register a domain name as soon as an expired domain becomes available for public registration. This may not seem like a big deal for most of us, but for domain investors and developers, it is a chance snatch up some high quality domain names. So, what’s the appeal of dropped domains? Well, most of them are worthless, but once in a while you can come across some valuable gems. Some examples of drop catching services include: Pheenix.com, SnapNames, and BackorderZone.

Private Sale

If there is a domain name that you really like, but someone has already registered it, you can always try to buy it direct from the owner. When dealing with a private party, it is important to perform due dilligence on the domain name so you are getting your money’s worth. Also, make sure to use an escrow company so you are protected financially.

Note: All of these buying platforms can facilitate the domain sales transaction, but the actual transfer of domain from one person to another happens through a domain registrar.

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