What is a Domain Name? See our ABC Guide to Domain Names for Beginners

Last updated on February 21, 2019

what is a domain nameWhat is a domain name? This seems to be such a basic thing, but it’s not always THAT easy especially if you’re a beginner.

When we decided to build our first website a few years ago, we had no idea what a domain name was, and what issues we needed consider so we can set things up properly.

We were concerned about privacy, how to connect / disconnect a domain name from a website, if a .com or .net is better, costs, etc.

Are these some concerns you share as well?

Sure, it all sounds very basic to people who have experience with building websites. But for a beginner, it all can feel a bit uneasy.

There are plenty of resources out there telling you in technical terms, what a domain name is.

But that’s the problem, it’s a bit more technical and may not always be in plain English that normal people can easily understand.

You’re probably not too interested in the technical ins and outs of how a domain name actually works.

You’re probably more interested in how to practically manage the domain name, and what potential issues you should be aware of.

This short guide is written to go over the basics of what you need to know about domain names – in plain English.

Let’s get going!


1. What is a domain name?

Simplistically, a domain name is the address that you type into a website browser address bar, to get to a website.

For example, the domain name for Google is https://www.google.com

The domain name for this website is https://www.websitebuilderexpert.com

A domain name is unique to your website (just like a fingerprint), and cannot be shared between different websites.


2. Are domain names and websites separate things?

Think of a domain name as your phone number and a website on your phone. While they are connected, they are separate items.

You can change your phone (website) at any time, and still, keep your existing phone number (domain name), and just connect it to your new phone (new website).

Or, you can move your phone number (domain name) to a different phone service provider (domain name registrar), and still keep it connected to your existing phone (your website).

Confused yet? Let’s do a simple illustration:

  • I can purchase a new domain name (let’s say www.brandnewdomain.com) and connect it to this website you are on right now. All the content on this site will not change at all.  But the website will have a new domain name of www.brandnewdomainname.com, instead of www.websitebuilderexpert.com
  • I can build a brand new website elsewhere, and disconnect www.websitebuilderexpert.com from this website, and reconnect it to the new website I’ve built elsewhere. So when you type in the web address, you will be taken to the new website.

The key is that your domain name is not permanently stuck with any specific website.  You can disconnect it and reconnect it to any other website you want. But keep in mind that the domain name can only be connected to 1 single website at a time.


3. Free vs Paid Domain Names

There are free domain names you can get from various website builders that you use, such as Wordpress.com, Wix, Squarespace, Weebly, etc.

To be more specific, these website builders give you a “sub-domain”.  So if we were to use our website name as an example again, a sub-domain will look something like:

  • websitebuilderexpert.wordpress.com
  • websitebuilderexpert.wix.com
  • websitebuilderexpert.weebly.com

A free sub-domain name is not always good – especially if you want to build a long term business with your own unique branding.

You want to avoid using free sub-domains because of these two important reasons:

  1. You don’t own the sub-domain. While it is free to use – you don’t own it. The website builder owns the sub-domain name. If you ever decide to switch to another service provider, the domain is not portable.
  2. A sub-domain is an extension to the service provider’s own domain.  At the end of the domain name, it will have the name of the service provider. For example, if we used Weebly, our web address will be websitebuilderexpert.weebly.com rather than websitebuilderexpert.com.

This is why I always recommend spending a few bucks to get a proper domain that you fully own. It will also help your branding.


4. Where can I buy a domain name?

There are a lot of different domain name registrars out there.  A couple of well-known ones include GoDaddy and NameCheap.

Note that when you buy / register for a domain name, you actually pay an annual fee to the domain name registrar so that the domain name remains registered under your name.

When your registration period expires and if you don’t renew, you will lose the domain name as it will be made available for other people to register in the open market.

Fortunately, domain name registrars will email you to remind you that your registration period is about to expire, or they provide you with an auto-renewal option so you don’t have to remember.

PRO TIP: It’s always helpful to set up a calendar reminder ahead of the expiration date, to remind yourself to double check whether you want to renew the domain name, or that the auto-renew option is set up properly. 

You wouldn’t want someone else to end up registering your domain name, especially once you have your website up and running for years!  Imagine if one of your business competitors end up taking your domain name! So set up a reminder right away every time you renew your domain name.


5. How much does it cost to register a domain name?

Generally speaking, a domain name will cost you around $10 – $15 per year.

But if a domain name is highly demanded then it can cost hundreds, all the way up to thousands of dollars for you to make the initial purchase. The annual renewal fee should be normal afterward ($10 – $15 per year).

The reason why it is expensive to make the initial purchase is that someone may already own the domain name, and is holding it for resale.  Or, the domain name registrar knows that the domain name is highly demanded so they increase its price.

What’s a popular domain name?  Think of something like www.fitness.com or www.insurance.com

The majority of the time, if you are using your unique company name as the domain name, you will not have to worry too much about paying a hefty price.


6. Can I purchase a domain name directly from a website builder?

Yes, you can.

Some website builders, such as Wix, Squarespace, or Weebly give you a free custom domain name for one year – if you sign up to their annual plans.

(Note: These are not sub-domains like what we discussed above. They are custom branded domain names like www.websitebuilderexpert.com)

After the first year, you will have to renew the domain name at their listed price.

With Wix, the annual renewal fee is around $14.95 per year ($24.85 if you include privacy registration).

With Squarespace, the renewal fee is $20 (includes privacy registration).

So with these website builders, the pricing is more aligned with domain name registrars (such as GoDaddy or Namecheap).

With Weebly, the annual renewal fee is $19.95 (or $29.95 to include privacy registration) – just slightly more expensive than what Wix, Squarespace or other domain name registrars offer.

The benefits of getting a custom domain name through a drag & drop website builder include:

  • You get one year for free (assuming you subscribe to their annual plans)
  • They make it easier for you to connect the domain name to your website, as they’ve streamlined the process of connection within their platform

Here are some drag & drop website builders that offer you free custom domain names for your first year.

Specifically, here are the links to more information about domain names being offered to you from:

Keep in mind that if you subscribe to a month-to-month plan with the website builders, you will need to purchase the domain name.  But if you subscribe to an annual plan, you get the first year of a domain name for free.


7. Can I transfer my domain name if I change website builders?

Yes, you can – so your domain name is not locked into one specific location.  

You can take it with you as your own the domain name (as long as you keep paying the annual fee).

The receiving domain registrar / website builder (the location where you want to transfer the domain name to) will provide you with instructions on how to do this.

For instance, if you want to transfer your domain name from NameCheap to GoDaddy, then GoDaddy will have tutorials showing you how to do that.

If you want to transfer a domain name from GoDaddy to Wix, then Wix will have tutorials on how to accomplish that.

Why would you want to transfer your domain name?

One popular reason is that if you decide to switch website builders, then you should transfer your domain name out of the website builder you are leaving.  This assumes that you purchased your domain name from the website builder, and not with a domain name registrar.

But if your domain name is purchased through a domain name registrar, you can just sever the connection to your previous website builder, and reconnect your domain name to the new website builder. You can keep your domain name in your current registrar.


8. Should I purchase a domain name through a registrar or a website builder?

There are pros and cons to each approach here.

Purchase a domain name through a website builder:

  • Benefit – If you subscribe to an annual plan with a website builder (such as Wix, Squarespace, or Weebly), they give you a free domain name for one year.  So you save 1 year’s worth of domain name fees (around $10 – $15)
  • Benefit – It’s easier for you to connect the domain name to your website (as the website builder streamlined the connection process to just a few clicks). With domain name registrars, you have to do a few configuration edits (it’s a bit more work).
  • Drawback – After the first free year, you will need to renew your domain name at around $15 – 20 per year for Wix and Squarespace, and $19.95 with Weebly. These are not inclusive of privacy registration for your domain name. With domain name registrars, the annual renewal fee is usually around $10 – $15. So the trade off here is free for one year and slightly more expensive in subsequent years.
  • Drawback – If you were to switch website builders, you will need to transfer your domain name out of your old website builder. This has to be done as you will no longer be using the old website builder. Just a bit more administrative, if you were ever to change builders.

Purchase a domain name through a domain name registrar:

  • Benefit – If you switch website builders, you can keep the domain name with the domain name registrar, and connect it to the new website builder. This can usually be done within a day.  So there is no need to go through the export / import process, which can be technical and usually takes a few days.
  • Benefit – The annual fees are usually cheaper by a few dollars per year.
  • Drawback – Since the domain name registrar is outside of the web builder, connecting the domain name is a bit more technical and administrative.

PRO TIP: If you have a few different websites, you might want to consider registering all the domain names with a domain name registrar such as GoDaddy or NameCheapIt’s just easier to manage all of them under one single roof, especially if you are using different website builders. 

Also, you will have the ability to quickly disconnect and reconnect a domain name without the hassle of transferring it out of one website builder and into another. It’s more of an administrative hassle, and can take a few days to process. 


9. Are domain names with .com always preferable?

Generally speaking, we feel that people tend to prefer more popular Top Level Domains (“TLD”), such as .com, .org, .net.  Or even TLDs that are country specific (such as .ca for Canada, or .com.au for Australia), which is good for businesses that are targeting local customers.

We’ve heard some people tend to distrust some TLDs such a .biz as they look a bit scammier.  But at the end of the day, it’s the website itself that’s dishonest and not the domain name structure.  So there is definitely some sort of subjective bias favoring typical TLDs (such as .com).

One case study to consider is that Google set up a new parent company and used the domain name ABC.xyz for the parent company.  It doesn’t end with a .com, suggesting that Google doesn’t really have any biases against non .com domain names.

So don’t over-think this selection process.  Try to match the domain name with your business name, as this helps with branding.

PRO TIP: If your business is more established, consider registering your domain name across all TLDs (or as many as you can find). 

For instance, if your business name is ABCDE.com, try registering for the other TLDs (such as ABCDE.net, ABCDE.org, etc.).  The idea is that you don’t want someone else to register those domain names, in order to help protect your branding online.

What if a competitor registered ABCDE.org?  This will most likely lead to some sort of brand confusion.  So it’s not a bad idea to take precautionary measures ahead of time.

Yes, it’s a bit of financial commitment on a yearly basis, but it’s well worth the investment, especially when your business becomes a bit more established.


10. Should I protect my personal information with private registration?

Did you know that anyone can look up the ownership and contact information of a domain name owner by using WHOIS?

So if you feel strongly that you don’t want your contact information to be disclosed publicly, most domain name registrars offer you the ability to privately register your domain name, so your contact information will be shielded from public eyes.

The privacy registration fee ranges.  But generally speaking, it’s around $10 – $15 per year.


Other Useful Resources

If you want a few more helpful resources so you get a bit more comfortable with domain names and how they work, here are a couple of recommended sites:

Some of our other helpful discussions relating to building websites:


Got Questions or Comments?

Did this guide clarify things for you?  Do you have experiences you’d like to share?

Drop your questions or comments below!  

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Did this guide benefit you? Leave a comment below. 

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About Jeremy

Maybe just like you, at first we didn't have a darn clue about how to build a website, nevermind write half a line of code if our life depended on it! We wanted to build a website to start a side business, and felt overwhelmed, confused & scared about how to actually do it, which builder to use, and making wrong decisions. After years of trials & errors using different website builders, we're here to share our experiences with you.



About Jeremy

Maybe just like you, at first we didn't have a darn clue about how to build a website, nevermind write half a line of code if our life depended on it! We wanted to build a website to start a side business, and felt overwhelmed, confused & scared about how to actually do it, which builder to use, and making wrong decisions. After years of trials & errors using different website builders, we're here to share our experiences with you.

Leave a Reply

126 Responses to What is a Domain Name? See our ABC Guide to Domain Names for Beginners

  1. #

    I’m looking for a domain name and wondered if I should have the word “The” at the beginning or leave it off. Example: http://www.TheLuckyOne.com or http://www.LuckyOne.com. Want to get it set up correctly the first time. Any help would be appreciated.

    • Lucy Carney

      Hi Beverly,
      Thanks for your question. It doesn’t make any difference from a technical or SEO point of view, so it’s purely down to your personal choice! If your website is called “The Lucky One” then leaving “The” in your domain should be absolutely fine. Make sure you check if your domain name is available – if one of them is already taken, then that might make your decision for you!
      Hope that’s helped,

  2. #

    Thanks for helping me understand that a domain name is just like a cell phone number. I just got curious about how these things work because I heard my mom that she will be setting up a website next year. It appears that she has decided to finally follow her dreams of becoming a blogger now that she has retired. She wanted to have her own site.

    • Charlie Carmichael

      Hi Millie,

      No problem at all, and best of luck to your mother with her blogging!


  3. #

    Thanks for sharing such a great information with us.

  4. #

    Very Useful and comprehensive information about the Domain Name and Website Builders.


  5. #

    Hey I have a domain registered with NameCheap and and hosted with Hostgator. I want to transfer it to GoDaddy. Is that possible? I have purchased Deluxe Linux hosting from GoDaddy. I have also changed the namsservers but it didn’t work. My domain is namobot.com. You can check my nameservers in WHOIS. Thanks.

    • #

      Hi Jeffery,

      Yes you can. Domains are a separate entity and can be attached to whatever server you like. GoDaddy has a guide to transferring domains which is well worth a read if you’re stuck. Keep in mind as well that transfers can take up to 10 days to go through, so don’t worry if it doesn’t turn up immediately.



  6. #

    Nowadays, choosing the right domain name for your website has become more difficult than a few years ago. Many short and brandable domains are already taken and also domain brokers register potential domain names to sell them to website owners for lots of money. However, with some creativity it’s still possible to find great domain names that are available.

    • Lucy Carney

      Hi Aalejandro,
      Thanks for your comment! Choosing the right domain is certainly an important decision, and you’re right to suggest a creative approach as there are definitely still plenty of great options out there to make your website stand out.
      Hope you found the article useful and thank you for joining the discussion!
      Thanks for reading,

  7. #

    The web domain of your website is essentially the equivalent of a physical address. In the same way that a satellite needs an address or a postal code to give directions, a web browser needs a domain name to go to a website.

  8. #

    Hi, this is about the best website with helpful and easy to comprehend information about domains. Thanks

    • Fred Isaac

      Glad you found it useful Marcel!

  9. #

    Exactly the advice I was after and have had trouble finding. Thanks.

  10. #

    Brilliantly clear. Thanks

  11. #

    so helpful and informative!

  12. #

    Awesome! Was quite helpful. Thanks.

  13. #

    very informative! I feel 100% more in tuned.

    • Fred Isaac

      Good to hear Ken!

  14. #

    Very helpful thank you

    • Fred Isaac

      Thanks for the comment Nicola, glad you found it useful!

  15. #

    What is the difference between a .com and a .org? My organization is a non-profit just starting up.

    • Fred Isaac

      Hi Kathy, as far as I understand it a .com is for commercial sites, while a .org is for not-for-profits. Have you chosen a website builder yet?

  16. #

    Thank you for doing this. Almost all my questions were answered just by reading thru the questions from viewers and reading your responses. I may have some other questions but I think I want to get my feet wet first!

  17. #

    I’m completely agree tih Kit !
    I’ve been looking for lowest price domains for just couple of pieces of information but here i found a complete, even perfect guide with the answers that were not in my mind. Thank you very much for sharing such a great piece of content.

  18. #

    Thank you so much Jeremy

    Really straight forward, easy to understand information regarding what has been for me, up to now, totally confusing and was so difficult not only to understand the terminology being used but trying to link everything together as a ‘whole’.

    I am approaching 70yrs of age and although try to keep knowledge updated – your website is what I have been trying to find for over a year to take my photography business to the next level — I feel a lot more confident now in my decision to create my own website and domain name – with the help of — I think! — Square Space and now even know what a ‘domain name’ actually is!

    • Fred Isaac

      Hi Kit,

      Delighted to hear you’ve found our guide useful!

      All the best for your photography business.


  19. #

    Thanks for the useful info. I had a question which might be obvious but I may be missing.

    Can I create a single website, say using my name, and then have two separate domain names linked to it? I want to offer two different products/services but would rather not manage two different sites. Thanks so much!

    • charlie Carmichael

      Hi Albert,

      Thanks for your comment.

      I can confirm it is possible to have two domains pointing to the same website, so you won’t have to worry about managing two sites. I’m glad you found the article useful, please feel free to share it across your social media pages – you never know who else could benefit from it!


  20. #

    Very helpful. V.useful. Thanks

  21. #

    Good, down-to-earth explanation of the Domain issue and the questions and answers really clear it up. Congratulations for work well done.

    • Tom Watts

      Hi GR,

      Thanks for the feedback, glad everything made sense!

      We found these topics tricky to understand at first, so it’s good to know that we can help readers like yourself get to grips with these ‘need to know’ ideas.

      Thanks for reading,
      – Tom

  22. Tom Watts

    Hi Stanley,

    I don’t believe it is possible to juggle a domain across two different website builders.

    You would need to do research into ‘301 redirects’ to see if you could achieve what you hope to.

    It’s also worth pointing out that the URLs you’ve used in your example aren’t actually sub-domains. A sub-domain prefixes the actual domain in the web address (e.g. video.google.com, mail.google.com – where video and mail are the sub-domains). Your structure is based on a traditional sub-folder structure, which you wouldn’t be able to redirect to my knowledge.

    You’ll also want to bear in mind the SEO effects of redirecting users between platforms as it is not very search engine friendly. Your site would not be looked upon too favorably by search engines and your ranking potential would be negatively impacted from my experience.

    Your best bet is to weigh up the pros and cons on both platforms and then decide which is better overall.

    Hope that gives you some food for thought,
    – Tom

  23. #

    Really a nice article. Thanks a ton to the author. looking forward to your next posts.

  24. #

    Excellent article: the depth and breadth of your experience shines through. I’ve just shared and I rarely post anything!

    • Tom Watts

      Hi Nigel

      Thanks for your comment!

      We really appreciate it when readers spread the word, so thank you 🙂

      – Tom

  25. #

    I have a wierd but specific question about my domain.

    Background: I own a photography website domain say http://www.xyzphotography.com and I had built it with the Wix premium plan and a one year free domain offer. After a whole year it turns out that i really like the client gallery features of pixieset better so have now purchased their plan and reconnected this domain to pixieset. However the blog design section, homepage design facility in Wix is much better so now i’m caught in between and want to have the best of both worlds (Wix and pixieset).

    So my question is: without registering a for new domain can i connect http://www.xyzphotography.com to my Wix premium plan and then connect a sub-domain http://www.xyzphotography.com/client-gallery to my pixieset premuim plan or is that not possible?

    I want to retain a common top level domain common so that my clients know that all hyperlinks are authentic.

  26. #

    So very helpful – I thought I knew most of this info but it was a good refresher, especially with the continuous changes to website builders. I appreciate you making it easy to read/not too lengthy/to the point – thanks for posting! I will share this with others.

    • Tom Watts

      Hi Karin,

      Thanks for the kind feedback, it’s good to hear you found the guide handy.

      We really appreciate it when readers share our content, so that’s great to hear! 🙂

      – Tom

  27. #

    I had been wondering, after reading the Wix review, whether people were not being overly generous with their positive comments. After reading this domain name guide, I’m left with no choice but to join the chorus of positive comments.

    I really have a better understanding of this topic now. All that is left is for me to decide between Wix and WordPress. I’ll just follow your advice to try each one out first.

    Good job.

    • Tom Watts

      Hello Sola,

      Thanks for your insightful feedback. It’s good to know our domain name discussion helped to clarify things for you.

      Feel free to share if you think others could benefit too – we really appreciate it!

      thanks for reading,

  28. #

    That’s really cool that you can take your domain name with you if you start using a different company. I think that another important thing to remember when picking one is your audience. If they have Spanish, let’s say, for their first language, you’d want to have a Spanish domain name. It’d be a good idea to figure out exactly what you want and then find somewhere that will let you have that name.

    • Tom Watts

      Hello Amanda,

      Thanks for contributing to the conversation – definitely a good idea to consider your target audience when choosing a domain name!

      It’s certainly something that isn’t at the top of most people’s considerations, so many thanks for flagging it up.

      – Tom

  29. #

    I love you guys. So much info. Thumbs up !

  30. #

    Thanks, Jeremy! I’ll be back.

    • Tom Watts

      Hi Sherrie,

      Thanks for reading, we look forward to seeing you again,

      – Tom

  31. #

    Thankyou for your honest and down-to-earth explanations to these questions about Website building, Domain registering, and pertinent facts. I found this informative and reassuring.

  32. #

    Jeremy, I am complete novice aspiring to start a food blog. I am finding a wealth of helpful information in your articles. What a generous contribution you are making – thank you!

    I have narrowed my choice down to WIX and Weebly and want to take advantage of the free trail period with both. Do I need to have a registered domaine name before I proceed?

    Cheers, Poppy

    • Tom Watts

      Hey Poppy,

      Great to hear you’ve found the site so useful! Hopefully it’ll help make your food blog a success.

      I think you’ve narrowed it down to two strong choices, especially if this is your first site.

      The best way to see which platform is right is to just dive in and try them both out – here are our reviews for Wix and Weebly, which may help you with your decision.

      Fortunately you don’t need a registered domain before you jump in. A domain will come in handy at a later stage though when you think it’s time to expand your blog and brand a bit further.

      It’s also worth bearing in mind that you won’t need your own domain name until you’re ready to upgrade to a paid plan, as even if you had a domain name, you won’t be able to connect it until you upgrade.

      – Tom

  33. #

    I have recently paid Pixel design website to register a domain name Bullcreek Building Co for me which I paid $50. I am not happy with the cost or design they came up with for a website and would like to try someone else or try myself. I have tried to see if my domain name has been registered but I cannot find it. Can you tell me how to find out and how to access it if I want to do my own design

    • Tom Watts

      Hi Allan,

      Sorry to hear about your situation, it definitely sounds frustrating.

      One way to check if your domain is registered is to head to GoDaddy and then search for your web address under the ‘Domain’ section of their website.

      If it is not registered I would definitely contact the company you used for clarification on what you have paid for.

      To create your own design I would recommend Wix or Weebly, which are both very easy platforms to use for non-technical users and also allow you to purchase a domain through them. Check out our comparison chart of the top web builders and see which might be best for you.

      Hope that helps,
      – Tom

  34. #

    Very helpful and clear information, thank you.

  35. #

    Hi Jeremy,
    I recently purchased a domain name from GoDaddy.
    Is it possible to, and can I go ahead and try out both Wix and Weebly in designing a web site using
    my domain name without any concerns?

    • Jeremy

      Hey Kim,

      Unfortunately for the free accounts for both Wix and Weebly, you can’t connect your custom domain name to the websites. To do so, you’ll need to upgrade to at least their lowest premium plans.


  36. #

    Hi Jeremy, I’m curious. If I pay using a current credit card and want to switch my information using a different credit card to pay for my website is that a possibility. I’m currently using Weebly.

    • Jeremy

      Hey William,

      Yes. After you’ve logged into your Weebly account, on the dashboard go to payment settings and you can update your payment information there.


  37. #

    Very helpful, thank you.

  38. #

    This article was awesome! I loved the phone number analogy. Thank you for finally explaining domains in terms non-techie people like me can understand!

    • Jeremy

      Thanks! Glad you found this guide helpful and easy to understand.


  39. #

    Jeremy, I just discovered your site today and am learning a lot. Thank you! My friend and I recently purchased a .com domain name and will be hosting through Bluehost. I purchased a WP theme through Envato, which I believe I can add to a WP.org account. (I’ve set up two sites on WP.com, so .org is new territory.)

    My (possibly stupid) question is, if our site is designed through .org but we bought a .com domain name, can we still use that url? I’m assuming so.

    • Jeremy

      Hey Amanda,

      You that works.

      WordPress.org is just a platform which offers you a framework to build your website.

      At the end of the day, you’ll need to connect your domain name (from Bluehost) to your website. So when someone types in your .com domain name into a web browser, your website will show up. WordPress.org won’t have anything to do with how your visitors find or interact with your website.

      Hope this makes sense.


      • #

        Yes, it does, that’s what I thought. Thanks very much for confirming…and responding so quickly!

  40. #

    Your guides/info are fantastic for those of us who are not very fluent in website related language and just want to know the basic pros and cons of some choices that we are faced with in trying to create a website for a hobby/business without investing too much time or money! Thank you!

    • Jeremy

      Hey Lisa,

      Thanks for your comment! I appreciate it and I’m glad you found the discussion above helpful.

      Domain names were confusing to me as well, at the very beginning. I wished there was someone who could explain it to me in a non-technical way when I first started. That’s why I decided to put this guide together! I’m glad to hear that’s helpful to you!


  41. #

    Great Information in an easy to understand format. I like that it talks about the benefit to user vs the technical differences.

    • Jeremy

      Thanks for your feedback, Greg. Glad you found this guide helpful and easy to understand!


  42. #

    Really useful article.

    Just wondered if you could explain the difference between Godaddy’s Privacy Protection and Privacy + Business Protection plans. I very confused and think that the first one would suffice but don’t want to just go for that if I don’t understand 100% what I won’t be getting.

    Also, do you have an article about general website security issues. I am planning on building a site myself using squareface, wix or weebly. Additionally I and am based in the UK, does that alter anything in terms of your recommendations generally?

    • Jeremy

      Hello Mo,

      I personally think that the Privacy Protection plan should be sufficient. The Privacy + Business Protection plan gives you a few more bells and whistles but I personally haven’t had a need for those features all these years. But if you feel more “protected” if you subscribe to the higher plan, then by all means go for it!

      We don’t have a specific discussion on website security issues. But my personal take on security is to ensure that you have a very strong password (long password with upper / lower cases, numerical values and symbols). It’s also a good practice to change your password every few months. A good / strong password is the best defense.

      My general recommendations is the same even if you are in the UK! The only thing to consider is if your website is only targeted to UK visitors. If it is, then you might want to consider getting a .co.uk domain name. But if your website is not country specific, then getting a .com domain name is probably better.


  43. #

    This is incredibly helpful. Like others said, I appreciate it being in layman’s terms.

    Question: my business name consists of three initials and two words. (Ex. ABC Business Source) Just like in that example, the last letter of the first word (“business”) is the same as the first letter of the second word (“source”). It seems odd when you write the website…too many S’s.

    My question is do you know if there’s a negative perception or any other issues with having a hyphen in the domain name? So in this case, it would be ‘www.abcbusiness-source.com.

    (Not my real business name obviously.)

    • Jeremy

      Hey Chelsea,

      Thanks for your comment and question. Personally, I don’t think there are any negative perceptions. I suppose without the hyphen, it might be easier to verbally communicate your domain name as people just have to type in your full business name. But I understand what you mean by the visual impact of including the hyphen. I’m fairly neutral either way (again in my own personal view).


  44. #

    Jargon free – thanks

    • Jeremy

      Thank you! We really try to use “normal” language in our guides. So glad you found this domain name guide easy to understand!


  45. #

    Awesome information! Thank you very much. I am a novice and feel much more confident after reading through the information you provide. Cheers!

    • Jeremy

      Thanks Lisa. It’s not super challenging to manage domain names – once you understand the fundamentals. But I remember when I first started out, it was definitely a bit daunting.

      Glad to hear that you’re feeling more confident now!


  46. #

    Very helpful article. Thank you.

    • Jeremy

      You’re very welcome.

      Please do share this guide with others who you think might find it helpful. I’d really appreciate it!


  47. #

    Looking for a Free Lance website designer.

  48. #

    Hi Jeremy
    I wish I had read this a few years ago!
    Do you know how to add a privacy option once you already have bought a domain name? I was horrified to see ALL my personal info displayed. I really want that changed!

    • Jeremy

      Hey Emma,

      Thanks for your feedback! I appreciate it.

      Domain name registrars will offer you privacy option, which is usually about $10 per year. You should be able to add that to your domain name pretty easily. Just purchase it and it’s done – you don’t have to configure it.


  49. #

    Hi Jeremy,
    I currently manage a few websites for some community music groups and have been using webeden but they are discontinuing their free plan. I’ve bought domain names for two of these sites, do you know if there is a free website builder I could connect these domains to without having to upgrade to a paid plan?

    • Jeremy

      Hey Hannah,

      Unfortunately, I don’t know of any reputable website builders that allow you to connect a custom domain name for free. All of them require you to upgrade to at least their lowest premium plan.


  50. #

    Thank you for letting me know that website builders will give you a free domain name for one year! I don’t need my website for too long. Maybe I will try something like Weebly first!

    • Jeremy

      Hi Luke,

      Cool. Let me know how you like working with Weebly.


  51. #

    Do we have to pay web hosting when we choose to get domain names from godaddy or namecheap and not from the website builder? Pls enlighten ne. Thanks!

    • Jeremy

      Hello Teeya,

      No you don’t have to. Domain names and hosting services are separate items.

      For instance, if you decide to use one of the hosted website builders to build your website, they provide all the hosting need for you, so you don’t have to purchase hosting yourself.

      You can get a custom domain name from GoDaddy or Namecheap (or any other domain name providers) and connect it to your website.

      Hope this clarifies things a bit.


      • #

        HI Jeremy,

        First, this website and it’s pertaining articles have been incredibly helpful. Second, here is what I am confused about:

        Let’s say I have get a domain name from godaddy then I use it for WIXI am then paying a godaddy fee (for the domain name) and a monthly fee for WIX – as I am reading on WIX to connect my own domain name you MUST select a premium plan monthly. I see now first free annual option.

        I basically would like a website on wix (without the subdomain) but no matter it looks like I have to pay a yearly fee for the domain name register (like godaddy) and a monthly fee for WIX in order to have my unique domain with WIX…

        I’m trying to find the most flexible, but affordable option. What confuses me is I have three totally different websites in mind and I would like all three to have unique domains and possibly through wix or another builder.

        I hope I’m making sense! lol
        Thank you,

        • Jeremy

          Hey Court,

          If you register for a domain name with GoDaddy, you will pay an annual fee to them. You won’t need to pay an annual fee to Wix for your domain name.

          Separately, if you want to connect your domain name to your Wix website, you will have to upgrade to one of their paid plans.

          So this fee to Wix is not for your domain name. It is the ability to connect your domain name to your website (and at the same time gaining more access to website building tools).

          If you want to purchase a domain name through Wix, then you pay Wix the domain name fee, in addition to the premium plan fee.

          So you either pay GoDaddy or Wix for your domain name fee. But either way, you will have to pay Wix to subscribe to one of their premium plans.

          Hope this clarifies things.


          • #

            Thanks Jeremy! This makes sense now. 🙂

  52. #

    Is it possible to change domain name registrars? I bought mine with internic, but I find them more expensive than others. Is that possible?

    • Jeremy

      Hi Natasha,

      Yes you can, as long as you purchased the domain name more than 60 days ago. Once you purchase a domain name, it cannot be transferred to other domain name registrars until after the first 60 days.

      If you want to transfer the domain to GoDaddy (for instance), you can purchase a transfer plan with GoDaddy and they will provide you with instructions on how to make the transfer.

      In my past experience, the transfer is around $15 or so, and it includes the first year of hosting your domain name.

      Hope this points you in the right direction.


  53. #

    I’m finding your website to be very informative and helpful. Thank you!

    One suggestion, though, would be to somehow streamline. I really like the step-by-step lists of what I need to know and want to follow through to get expanded details about several items on the list. So I scan through them all to decide which I want to read most. When I choose one it takes me to a page that poses questions, seemingly preparing for me what’s to come or how the info might help me, and then I must click again to actually get the info. And then the new page provides additional links that allow me to dig deeper or to check out sample sites. All very informative but kinda overwhelming, and I feel kind of lost; not sure how to easily return to the original list.

    I’m pretty detail oriented and am sometimes challenged when it comes to prioritizing tasks and info. If you can skim down the navigation some, it might help people like me to find my way through your site more easily.

    But, again, I am really happy to have found your site and will probably be referring back to it often as I make my way on this ‘creating a website’ journey. Thank you!!

    • Jeremy

      Thanks for your feedback, Donna.

      I can see how it could be a bit challenging to systematically absorb all the information we have on our website! That’s a challenge we’re constantly thinking about – how to improve our presentation / layout.

      Very helpful feedback, though. Thanks!


  54. #

    I had no idea that there were so many ways to register for a domain. As with most things in life, it’s good to know that they all have benefits and drawbacks, but I think the important part is to make sure you’re making the choice that’s going to help you. Everyone has different circumstances, so it’s good that there’s multiple ways to go about it. Thanks for sharing.

    • Jeremy

      Thanks for commenting, Tobias.

  55. #

    Extremely helpful and clear explanation. Thank you!

    • Jeremy

      Thanks Cathryne. Glad this domain name guide was helpful to you!


  56. #

    This post has helped with answering questions I had for a winery project I’m working on. This should help me out quite a bit in setting up a domain. I liked the explanation you gave on the differences between a domain name and a website, which was the biggest question I had. Thanks for the helpful post.

    • Jeremy

      Thanks John! Glad we were able to clarify a few things about domain names for you.

      Please do share this guide with others! I’d highly appreciate it!


  57. #

    Hi Jeremy,

    I had a question for you. What if I just bought the domain name and never connected any website to it? I mean I feel i am too good with phrasing newer names which can be in demand and maybe sell the domain name I bought at a higher price if there is a buyer. My question therefore is – Can one buy just a domain name (no website attached) and then sell when he gets a better price. I have heard of Flippa where you can do this. Are their any others? Kindly advice.

    • Jeremy

      Hello Tarun,

      If you purchase a domain name, you don’t have to connect it to any websites. You can “park” it on its own and retain full ownership.

      You can also sell the domain name if you want to, but just know that there are rules where you can’t transfer domain names within 60 days of purchasing it. This rules are fixed by ICANN (The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers).

      This is not to say you can’t sell the domain name, but you just can’t move it to another domain name registrar or change the registered name. As long as you can find a buyer who is willing to commit to purchasing the domain name and wait for the 60 day period to expire.

      I have heard of Flippa but haven’t used their services before.


  58. #

    Had a website built before and I tell you the fees to keep it going was not necessary. Paid more for the website than I was making. Wish I would have known some of the things I know today.

    This GUIDE was very informative and I always appreciate a good read. Thanks again for the help!!!

    • Jeremy

      Thank you, Antoinette. Glad the information here is helpful!


  59. #

    Will it matter which domain name registrar I buy the domain name from? I realized the price varies quite a bit from company to company. Is it better to buy the domain from a more reputable company such as GoDaddy?

    • Jeremy


      I don’t think it matters too much, but of course a more reputable company is probably better.

      My experiences with GoDaddy’s domain names have been very positive. I’m sure other reputable domain name registrars, such as Namecheap, will be just fine.


      • #

        Thanks Jeremy. I need to get a local domain name and I found out that some companies don’t provide free DNS hosting etc, so it is good to know and find out if there are hidden charges etc. At least there is the case for the domain name registrars in my country

  60. #

    Hi, Jeremy – such great, well-organized, and clearly written info here … thanks!

    Best domain registrar in my opinion is Namesilo. It’s under $9/year for a .com domain (*every* year – they don’t seduce you with a low price for the first year and then jack it up for renewals), with optional private registration at no additional cost. If you care about private (I do), it’s a way better deal than GoDaddy or any of the others. For the prices the others charge for private registration, you could register three private domains at Namesilo.

    I’ve been with them for years (ever since 1&1 stopped being the best deal, doubled their prices, and got a bit shady to deal with), and I’ve been extremely satisfied with their prices, integrity, and ease of use. Excellent company from what I’ve experienced. (I’m not affiliated in any way, just googled extensively when I got disgruntled with 1&1, and they were by far the best company *and* price I found, and as near as I can tell still are.)

    Good one to know about.

    Thanks so much for the great info here!

    • Jeremy

      Hey Wendy,

      Very helpful and another option for our readers. Thanks so much for sharing!

      Glad you’re enjoying our discussions here too!


  61. #

    Quick question just to clear confusion. I’m leaning toward wix but I want my website to be for example ABC.com not ABC.wix.com. with wix this is possible or no?

    • Jeremy

      Hi Rw,

      Yes it is – as long as you subscribe to one of their premium plans. If you use their free plan and don’t subscribe to a paid plan, then you can’t use your own custom domain name – you can only use the subdomain structure (such as abc.wix.com)

      To find out more about their pricing plans, take a look at our main discussion about Wix here.


  62. #

    This is great! Thanks for sharing Jeremy.

    • Jeremy

      Thanks Rosemary! Do share it with people who you might find this discussion helpful. I’d appreciate it!


  63. #

    Dear jeremy, I have tweeter you about my Q. I have bought a domain for 2 years today as per your suggestion. As I shall do online shop i shall drill into Weely or Shoplify. Do I need hosting services? As our address is in Hong Kong and most likely majority of possible buyers from Hong Kong, should I buy the hosting services from godaddy too? What more should i be prepared to start my website online shop building up?

    • Jeremy

      Hi there,

      If you are going to use either Shopify or Weebly, you don’t need your own hosting services, as both web builders provide you with hosting as part of the monthly plans already.


  64. #

    Thank you so much for this info! I read in another article that you should beware of registering your domain with a registrar (instead of with a website builder) b/c the “fine print” of the registrar’s terms and conditions (which many people sign without reading) will leave you responsible with a fine. Do you know if this is true? In my particular situation, I plan on registering my domain at go daddy and then directing people to a website I created with a paid weebly subscription. Thanks!

    • Jeremy

      Hello NZ,

      We’ve known people who have used GoDaddy as a domain registrar (including ourselves) for years and years and I’ve never heard of any unusual fines.

      Do you know what was the reason for the penalty in the article you read? For the domain names that we’ve registered with GoDaddy, we just pay the annual renewal fee and haven’t had any issues at all.


      • #

        Thanks Jeremy. I’m not sure what fines the article was referring to…but it seems as though people (including yourselves) overwhelmingly don’t have trouble…so I’m going to go ahead with Go Daddy. Thanks for your guidance! It is so appreciated!

  65. #

    Hi Jeremy,
    I find your articles wonderfully informative and appreciate the ‘plain English’ for explaining stuff which is usually presented the way I tend to zone out in few seconds. Not this time!
    I have a couple of questions:

    1/ I have an already established website, however it is not a mobile friendly one. Additionally, I would like to take over my site and do updates myself. I am considering a web template option to make a change – e.g.Square Space, World Press, Wix, etc. however I want to have continuity in my visibility. Can I build a new version of my website with one of the above companies while still using my old version and switch my domain name to the new website only when this one is ready?
    If not, what would be the best way to solve my problem?

    2/ can I change color of background on the provided templates?


    • Jeremy

      Hi Dagmar,

      1) Yes you can do that. So once your new website is ready to be launched, just disconnect your domain name from your first website, and connect it to your new website. It might take up to 24 hours for the reconnection to work, but in my own experience, it’s usually done within an hour.

      In any case, it’s best to do that at night and over a weekend, when traffic to your site is probably at its lowest.

      2) You can with Wix or Squarespace. But with WordPress, it depends on what template you use. You can probably find out from the creator of the template if you decide with go with WordPress.


  66. #

    Thank you very much Jeremy

    The information and experiences shared has been most helpful and you have just helped me to finally make a decision with which website builder to go with at this point in time

    • Jeremy

      Awesome! Glad to hear we’ve been helpful!


  67. #

    Could I have more than 1 domain/URL appointed to the same website or to a section on the same website

  68. #

    Great article. Thanks for the info!!

    • Jeremy

      Thank you, Samantha!


  69. #

    Great article, answered so many questions I had, thank you so much!

    • Jeremy

      You’re very welcome Gabriela! Glad our article here was helpful to you.

      Please do share it with others if you get a chance! Just click on on the social sharing bar on the left side.