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How Much Does a Domain Name Cost?

Navigating the process of securing a domain name can be confusing. Learn more about how much a domain name costs and what impacts the final price.

When creating a new website, a domain is one of the essential components you’ll need, but how much does a domain name cost?

The answer is that it depends. There are many factors that impact how much a domain name will cost you, including whether it’s a .com or a .net URL, if it’s already owned by someone else, and if you pay your renewal fees up front or annually. Additionally, some domain names can be free, but there are usually other costs to account for.

Another important aspect to consider is what other services you want to combine with the purchase of your domain name. Sometimes purchasing your domain name with hosting can save you in the long run. You’ll be able to determine what the right course of action is for you when you look at the pricing structure.

To help you get a better understanding of how much it’ll cost you to purchase a new domain name, we’ve outlined the general costs based on the top-level domain as well as factors that will impact the final price you pay.

What Is a Domain Name?

Simply stated, your domain name or domain is your online address or your URL. Domain names come after the “https://www.” portion of the URL. Your domain name can be a word or phrase that summarizes your business combined with a top-level domain such as .com, .net, or .info. There are many choices for top-level domains (TLD)—the ending portion of your URL—nowadays, with some denoting a type of business or organization while others identify the country the website originates from.

Many older sites use .com because it was the first option available, but that doesn't necessarily make it better than any of the other options. Large corporations that do business in several countries often have their main domain on .com or .net, then have domains for the other countries they do business in, like for England, .de for Germany, and .ca for Canada.

Amazon is a good example of this. They have different websites for different regions or countries, so there's (U.S.), (England), and (Germany), just to name a few.

Ultimately, your domain name is your internet or online address where users can find you and your company.

Now that we’ve refreshed you on the basics, let’s get down to answering your biggest question, “how much does a domain cost?”.

How Much Does a Domain Cost? A Breakdown

To get an idea of how much a domain name might cost, you’ll first need to consider the top-level domain.

Here are some estimates of the lowest potential costs of a domain name based on some of the most common top-level domain names:

  • .com: Total cost per year starts at $12.99.
  • .net: Total cost per year starts at $15.29
  • .org: Total cost per year starts at $15.29
  • .info: Total cost per year starts at $17.99

Here’s a quick breakdown of what goes into setting that price point:

  • Actual domain name fee (TLDR or Top Level Domain Registry): This is the fee for the domain name itself, with yearly renewals.
  • Domain availability: Is the domain name you want currently available or is it in someone else’s possession.
  • Any state and local taxes - What taxes apply to buying a domain name?
  • Email authentication and domain records for publishing content - Does the price include all the required records?
  • Registration for one year - How much is the cost for each year, and what does it include?
  • Security - Do you get WHOIS privacy protection and a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate with the price of a domain, or do you have an additional cost?

The cost of your domain name relies on a variety of factors which we’ll cover in more detail in the next section.

How Much Does a Domain Name Cost? 7 Factors to Consider

Let's go a bit deeper into the breakdown of costs to consider when buying a domain name. Like other business costs, you should decide what your budget is for a domain name.

1. Where You’re Purchasing Your Domain Name

The first thing to consider when trying to figure out how much a domain name will cost you is where you're buying the domain. When shopping around for a domain name, you need to make sure the provider—known as a domain name registrar—is legitimate.

Your domain name is part of the foundation of your website and online business, so you want to ensure you’re securing one you can actually use. When you get a domain, you will need to rely on the seller to supply services to your domain and keep the domain name exclusive to you and you alone.

Some domain name registrars serve as both a registrar and a hosting company—like Mailchimp.

Note that you may find that you have additional fees to pay due to choosing a name that is highly popular, or the type of domain makes the price higher, or pay for other services in a package, like hosting.

For more guidance on how to buy a domain name read this post.

2. The Type of Top-Level Domain You Buy

As we mentioned, the type of top-level domain you buy influences the price. TLDs have many different domain extensions in today's market. The extensions are the suffixes that come immediately after the dot. Most, but not all of them are three letters.

Some of the TLDs you can buy include:

  • .com: The original TLD and most popular. The name comes from the word commercial and it was originally used for commercial businesses.
  • .net: This suffix was originally created for technological businesses or organizations, but now it's just another suffix for businesses. Net stands for network.
  • .edu: This domain suffix was originally designated for educational organizations like colleges and universities. This domain suffix is primarily used by U.S. educational organizations and schools today.
  • .org: This domain suffix, which stands for organization, was developed for non-profit organizations to use; however it is used now by both non-profit schools and organizations and for-profit businesses.
  • .gov: Developed for U.S. government usage, this suffix is still only used for federal, state, and local government websites.
  • .mil: Another government domain suffix used for various branches of the U.S. military.
  • .ca: This suffix is used for websites based in Canada, and there are domain suffixes for most countries.
  • .coffee: You can also find domain suffixes for niche industries or subjects, like this example.

As you can see, there are a lot of choices when it comes to the type of top-level domain that you buy.

You may want to get a more in-depth understanding of domain name extensions before making your purchase.

3. Domain Name Renewal

Most domains are renewed yearly for the same amount you paid for your website domain name originally. This fee is charged so you can keep usage rights of that domain name.

Your domain name seller can tell you the price of your renewal upfront. Some costs may increase slightly over time, like taxes, but those changes should be recorded when you renew.

Some website domain registrars will allow you to purchase renewals for more than one year. It's a win-win scenario if you can fit it into your budget because you lock in the price for multiple years, and the seller gets more money than a single year renewal.

Knowing your renewal fee before you buy a domain is definitely worth taking the time to investigate. If the domain registrar is reputable, they will present you with fee information openly. If they don't have it readily available, then you may be dealing with a fraudulent seller, which you should look into closely.

4. Privacy Protection for Your Domain

Even if you get a free domain name, there are other domain name costs to consider when you get one. One of these costs is privacy protection for your domain. Privacy protection has grown more important as hackers and ransomware have increased in number. Keeping records secure and private is one of the most important ways you serve your customers and visitors.

Adding privacy protection is a must in many countries in order to follow government laws and regulations. For instance, any website that does business in Europe must comply with the General Data Protection Regulation or GDPR. If you don't comply, it can be a costly error.

In the U.S., there are privacy regulations for doing business with the federal government but no overarching privacy regulations for business websites. However, most users prefer that websites have a privacy policy, so it is good business to include an SSL certificate when buying a domain. SSL certificates also need to be renewed yearly, so you need to add the cost to your website yearly renewal fees.

Check with your domain provider to see if they can add the SSL certificate to your domain. If not, it may be an indication that they aren’t a legitimate registrar.

5. If You Need to Purchase a Domain That’s Already Owned

Buying a domain name that's already owned can complicate the process a bit. The current owner sets the cost of the domain name in this case. If it’s a highly competitive or desirable domain name, it’s likely they will set the cost higher than the average domain name. However, in some cases, you can try to negotiate the cost down if you feel it’s priced unfairly.

If the price is too high for your budget, it's time to take a second look at a new domain name.

Since a new domain name is usually a fraction of the cost, buying an existing domain name may not be the best decision unless it’s your brand name and you want ownership of that asset.

6. If You Need to Buy More Than One Domain Name

How much does a domain name cost per year when you buy more than one domain? If your purchases are all new domains, you’ll need to look at the cost for each specific one and add them all together. However, some domain name sellers may give you a discount for buying more than one domain name.

If you do get a discount, make sure that the cost includes all of the services you want for each of the domains.

Another consideration is whether you really need to buy other domain names. Why do you need more than one? Is it so the others can all redirect to your main website? Are you trying to prevent competitors or other businesses from purchasing them? Or do you need them to do business in different countries?

Before you decide to buy more than one domain name, research whether the added value is worth the cost.

7. If You Need to Transfer Your Domain

You may decide you need a domain name transfer—meaning you’re moving that domain name from one registrar to another. You might transfer a domain for better customer service from a host or even to lower your costs of maintaining your domain name.

Usually, there is a fee to transfer your domain which is an added cost in the long run. However, you could save monthly—or annually—on the cost of your action domain name and hosting going forward.

Before transferring your domain name, consider whether it’s worth the additional fee. While it’s usually small, it may be impactful if you’re on a tight business budget.

Can You Get a Free Domain?

Yes, anyone can get a free domain name. However, like many other free offers, a free domain name isn't really free. The free domain name usually comes with a package of other services that you still have to pay for. So, in reality, you're still paying for the domain.

The real question is how much you need to invest in your new domain name. It is part of your cost of doing business if you want to have a presence online. Instead of looking for a free domain, it's better to look for which domain provider has the best reputation, overall cost for domain names, and offers other optional services at a good price.

When comparing providers, make sure to include any "hidden" costs, how much guidance or help they provide, and what current clients think of their services.

Pros for getting a free domain

  • It won’t cost you anything extra up front
  • It’s included with your other services you’re already paying for

Cons for getting a free domain

  • It's free, so it might not be the exact domain name you wanted
  • It comes with a package of services that you have to pay for, and you probably don't need all of them
  • It sounds good, but might be a scam. Make sure you're dealing with a reputable registrar

All in all, there's really no such thing as a completely free domain. Like with anything that you receive for free, it's best to see what you're getting when you sign up for a free domain name. It's possible that your free domain comes with limited storage and bandwidth. These can cause issues with how your website operates, and how it appears to users.

If your site's user experience (UX) is less than great, your website can lose ranking in search engines. That means you'll get less traffic and fewer sales.

A paid domain is worth it if you get more traffic and higher page views, which can improve your SEO ranking and draw more interested customers and drive more revenues.

How Much Does a Domain Name Cost: Key Takeaways

Now that you have a better idea about how much a new domain name costs, you can take the first steps to start your new website. Remember to do your research when researching the domain name you want to use for your business.

Here are a few final considerations to keep in mind as you move forward:

  • Think carefully about how much you want to invest in a domain name by incorporating the cost into your budget.
    • You'll be required to pay a yearly renewal on the domain name and other services when you renew. So make sure to account for those fees as well.
  • Learn about the different services that may or may not be included with your domain name purchase.
    • Do you want to have security like an SSL certificate to keep your and your customers' information private and protected?
  • Do you think you'll be working with or selling to customers in Europe so you'll need to comply with the GDPR requirements?
    • If so, you'll need to make sure that your domain name purchase and operations meet those standards.

Get a Domain & Start Your Website

Now that you have an in-depth answer to “how much does it cost to buy a domain name?”, you can decide how you want to go about buying yours. If you’re ready to get started with your website on your new domain, sign up now. Mailchimp provides the support and resources you need through all of the stages of setting up a new website.

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