How Much Does a Domain Name Cost and Can You Get One for Free
The cost of a domain name varies depending on multiple factors, from the registrar that you choose to additional privacy protection. The average domain name cost is around $10-$15/year.
Investing in your domain name can help build a strong brand for your business. By having a consistent branding, you can create a robust online presence and user experience.
This tutorial will explain what a domain name is, how to register one, the different factors influencing the cost, and if you can get one for free. We will also share the cost of premium domain names and how to redeem an expired domain.
How Much Does a Domain Name Cost
There are various factors that influence a website’s domain price. Consider the following factors to see how much your domain name costs.
1. Check the Domain Registrar Fees
The first step to get a domain name is to choose the right registrar. We recommend choosing an accredited registrar in Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN)’s list.
ICANN is a non-profit organization that has databases for all the available domain names and their different registrars. Illegitimate domain registrars are often linked to phishing attacks.
You can find Hostinger in ICANN’s List of Accredited Registrars, making it a trustworthy registrar to purchase a domain name from.
Each domain registrar has different methods to price the domain names. While some domain registrars provide a great discount for the first year and charge higher renewal costs, others offer standardized plans.
Select a reputable registrar that suits your needs and budget. A good tip is to choose a web hosting provider that includes a free domain name in its hosting services for a faster and more budget-friendly option.
2. Think of the Top-Level Domain
Top-level domains (TLDs) refer to extensions like .com and .shop. Some of these domain extensions are more expensive than others.
The familiar extensions carry more credibility and memorability. Therefore, they are often more expensive.
For example, Hostinger offers a website name with .com as the extension for $9.99/year, but the .store costs $0.99/year. Since .com is a more popular extension, it often costs more.
Another factor is the domain extension availability. As many users go for popular TLDs like .com and .net, a lot of names are already taken. As a result, you may need to negotiate with the current domain name’s owner or choose a different extension.
If you want to learn more about what affects the prices of TLDs, check out our blog post on the future of domains and TLD trends.
3. Include Domain Privacy Protection
Adding domain privacy protection is a great way to prevent cyber attacks on your website. When registering a domain, WHOIS stores your personal details, including the phone number, home address, domain name, IP address, and expiration date.
A WHOIS lookup tool can share your personal information, as the domain owner, to the public.
Therefore, purchasing domain privacy protection can hide all the personal information in the WHOIS records from the public. Doing so can help avoid identity theft, email phishing, and spam attacks.
The price for this privacy protection depends on the registrar. With Hostinger, you can get domain privacy protection for free with every purchase.
Follow these steps to turn on your WHOIS protection with Hostinger:
- Access your Hostinger’s account hPanel and head to Domain → Manage.
- Find the WHOIS Privacy section and toggle the button to turn it on.
- Head to WHOIS domain lookup tool to check if there is GDPR Masked next to the domain owner’s personal information.
Other registrars can charge around $10-$40/year for domain privacy protection. Each domain registrar can also have different ways of adding privacy protection.
Note that some TLDs don’t support domain privacy protection, such as .us and .it. Other TLDs have personal information hidden by default, like .al and .gr. We recommend checking your extension before purchasing a domain privacy protection.
4. Consider the Domain Registration Duration
Domain name prices also depend on the duration of the registration. Users can register and pay for the domain name license for one year or more.
When buying a domain, most registrars will show how much you save if you choose one year compared to two years or more. So, make sure to check before making the purchase.
In addition, most trustworthy registrars do not offer less than a year for the period to prevent web spamming.
With Hostinger, the price difference between different registration duration also varies depending on the extension. For example, with .com you can save 14% for a two year period, but with .online you can save 49% with the same duration.
5. Consider the Cost of Domain Transfers
Domain transfer refers to changing the registrar, usually for better maintenance and support services or refund policies.
Generally, the new registrar will charge a domain transfer fee that varies depending on the extension you want to transfer. Some registrars offer a free domain transfer but require the owner to pay for a one-year renewal.
Here are our domain transfer prices for the most popular TLDs.
Don’t forget to check the registrar’s policy since some extensions are not transferable.
You can also point the nameservers to a web hosting company if a registrar doesn’t accept certain TLDs. In this case, you’ll need to access the Domain Name System (DNS) to point the nameserver to another web host.
If you want to point a domain to Hostinger, for example, our nameservers are:
There are three possibilities that can happen to a domain name after a transfer, depending on the TLD:
- Expiration date gets extended for a year
- Expiration date gets restarted from the transfer date
- Expiration date stays the same
6. Add Custom Email Accounts
Business email accounts like email@example.com are popular add-ons for some domain name registrars. They offer email storage with varied costs depending on the number of branded email accounts.
Creating a domain-based email helps increase your brand awareness and recognition. By doing so, your potential customers can easily recognize the business’ emails in their inboxes.
At Hostinger, we include this feature in our hosting packages. Our Single Web Hosting plan, for example, will support one email account, while the Premium Web Hosting package lets users create up to 100 email accounts and register a domain name free of charge.
Check out our tutorial about how to get a free domain.
How to Register a Domain Name
Here are the steps on how to buy a domain name for your website:
- Find the best domain name registrar.
- Run a domain name search on its checker.
- Pick the perfect domain name for your needs.
- Complete the registration and verify the domain ownership.
With Hostinger, you can use the Domain Name Search tool to find an available name and make a purchase right away.
Domain Name Checker
Instantly check domain name availability.
Before registering a new domain name at Hostinger, make sure to comply with the requirements – such as the terms of service, valid contact details, and domain registration agreement.
Can I Get a Domain Name for Free
In short, yes. Some hosting companies, like Hostinger, provide free domain names when customers purchase their hosting services. Hostinger’s hosting plans also already include WHOIS privacy protection and an SSL certificate.
Many website builders also offer this feature in the form of a subdomain. For example, users can get hotel.wordpress.com from WordPress.com instead of hotel.com.
However, these domain names are not the best choice for business websites as they make branding more difficult.
Even though you are getting a free domain name, we still recommend looking into the legitimacy of the registrar from ICANN.
If you are just starting and tight on budget, some reliable hosting providers also offer trustworthy and affordable domain names.
How to Buy a Domain Name That Is Already Registered
There’s still a chance to get the domain name that is already registered.
The first option is to contact the domain’s owner and make an offer. Use WHOIS to find the owner’s contact information or send messages via the contact form on the website.
Many registered domains also go back on sale. SnapNames is one of the websites showing domains that have recently become available, letting users bid on an already registered name.
The safest way to buy a domain name from someone else is to use a broker. On your behalf, they will approach the domain owner with your offer, mediate between buyer and seller, and then handle the escrow process if an agreement is made. An intermediary and escrow are key parts of most domain purchases from other private parties, allowing the money for the purchase to be deposited into a safe holding account while the domain transfer to the new owner is made.
Alternatively, consider using an alternative when you check the domain availability. Domain checkers generally recommend different TLDs or alternative titles.
Let’s check the domain travelnomad.com as an example. As it is taken, look into a domain name generator to get suggestions and alternatives like travelnomad.info and traveldigitalnomad.site.
A business or a blog name generator is also helpful in coming up with a new name.
Let’s say we use Zyro’s business name generator and enter the keyword “travel nomad.” The tool will list several names, like “Epic Travel.” Since this generator doesn’t display domain name availability, make sure to use a domain checker to see if the name is available.
Whatever method you choose, ensure you pick the right domain for your business. Remember that a good domain should be short and avoid numbers and dashes.
What Is a Premium Domain Name
A premium domain name is a high-quality registered domain that people buy and sell to make a significant profit in the domain aftermarket. The website domain name costs can be anywhere from a few thousand dollars to tens of millions.
The most expensive domains include LasVegas.com for $90 million and CarInsurance.com for $49.7 million. These aftermarket domains’ prices depend on the uniqueness of the name, domain history, length, and overall brand potential.
People registering premium domains generally aim for better branding, memorability, and search ranking.
Premium domain names are available via private sellers, organizations, or auctions. You can contact the domain owner to buy their registered domain or visit aftermarket domain marketplaces like Sedo and Flippa.
Flippa uses an auction-based system, while Sedo offers ready-to-buy domain listings too. They also provide broker services to negotiate for a premium domain on your behalf.
The Cost of Redeeming an Expired Domain Name
When the registration period is over and the owner does not renew a domain, you will need to pay a certain amount to redeem it. The cost depends on the domain name cycle.
A domain registrar generally offers a Grace period from 0 to 45 days with a standard renewal fee if the owner forgets to renew the domain during its Active period.
Domain renewal fees depend on the registrar and domain extension, but they typically cost higher than the registration fee. For instance, Hostinger offers .com starting at $9.99 with a renewal domain cost of $13.99.
The domain will enter the Redemption period once the Grace period ends, and the registrar generally requests additional fees if the owner wants to get the domain back. The redemption fee and period may depend on the registrar.
For example, Hostinger offers a redemption fee of $80 for most extensions and $180 for .com. In addition to the redemption fee, users also have to pay the renewal fee.
After the Redemption period ends, the domain will go to a pending delete status, and users won’t be able to make changes and redeem the domain. It goes back on sale, and anyone can purchase it at a price similar to the yearly rate of a new domain.
Therefore, if you plan to use the domain name for a longer period, consider registrars offering auto-renewals or pick a plan with two or more years of registration.
Domain name cost varies from less than a dollar to millions of dollars, depending on several factors:
- Company where you register the domain.
- Top-level domains, like .com and .store.
- Duration of a domain name and its annual renewal fee.
- Types of domain names – general, expired, or premium.
- Add-ons, like domain privacy protection and business email accounts.
- Transferring fee if you decide to change the registrar.
Now that you know what affects the domain price, it’s time to decide which is the best for your needs and budget. Some people may just need a free one included in the hosting package or invest more for a better branding strategy.
Consider choosing our web hosting plan with a free domain name and an SSL certificate to save your budget.
Additional Reading After Buying a Domain
Domain Name Cost FAQ
In this section, we will answer some of the most common questions about the domain name price.
What Is a Domain Name?
A domain name, like hostinger.com, refers to a website’s internet address containing two main elements – a site name (hostinger) and a domain name extension (.com). Note that a domain name is not the same as web hosting. While a domain name acts as a website’s address, hosting refers to storing your site files on the server.
Why Do You Need a Domain Name?
Choosing the right domain helps the owner strengthen their brand, build trust, and improve search engine optimization (SEO).
How Do I Permanently Buy a Domain Name?
There’s no way to buy a permanent domain name. Typically, you’ll need to renew your domain name yearly, though some registrars allow you to pre-purchase your domain name for a 10-year guarantee.
Is It Worth Paying for a Domain Name?
Yes, it is. A custom domain name helps you have a consistent brand name across channels – building trust with the target audience. Custom domains are also easier to remember than the free ones featuring a web builder’s name.
Do I Need to Buy a Domain Name to Have a Website?
You don’t have to buy a custom domain name to make a website, as you can get a free domain from web builders, for example. However, having a branded domain name provides more authority and credibility for your site, content, and online presence – essential factors to starting a business successfully.
Why Are Domain Prices Different?
The cost for a website domain varies based on several factors, like the extensions, the registrar through which you purchase the domain, and the domain popularity. Some people even charge premium domains for more than $1,000/year due to their high market value.