How to buy a domain? An instruction

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How to buy a domain? An instruction

Having your own website as a "digital business card" or contact point for customers is almost indispensable in modern everyday life. Although social media channels also offer an excellent platform for presenting yourself online , they are automatically linked to the respective third-party providers and their specifications. Your own homepage offers much more creative freedom. In order for users to find and call up your web project, you need a memorable web address, also called a domain, that goes well with your service, your person or your company or your products.

How do you buy a domain or how do you secure a domain if the desired address ending only becomes available in the future? The following guide explains these and other important questions about buying a domain step by step, using IONOS as an example


Step 1: Choose a reputable domain registrar

Since 1998, ICANN ( Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers ) has been responsible for assigning all available domain endings . The organization manages all established and new top-level domains and sells the issuing rights to registries, which in turn work with domain registrars (also known as domain providers or providers ). So if you want to get a custom address for your website, the first step is to choose a suitable registrar. Here, you shouldn't just focus on the costpay attention, but also make sure that the desired top-level domain is available .

It is also important that you choose a reputable provider : otherwise you run the risk that the domain you have purchased will not be registered correctly or is in fact no longer available. In our large domain provider comparison , we took a closer look at the best domain contact points such as IONOS or united-domains for you.

Step 2: Find the right domain name including top-level domain

As mentioned, the name plays an important role in the success of your website. A memorable and appropriate combination of ending (top-level domain) and domain name (second-level domain) is important so that visitors not only find your site via links, but also through simple search engine entries. Furthermore, search engines like Google include the domain name directly in the evaluation for the ranking in the search results, which is why a suitable name can definitely help you to get a better placement .

When it comes to second-level domains, you basically have free design options: Names with up to 63 characters consisting of letters (now also including umlauts) and numbers as well as the hyphen are possible. The big challenge is to match the name with the desired top-level domain. In particular, the most popular domain endings are often already assigned or reserved in a wide variety of combinations . Our detailed guide with the most important tips for domain registration provides further information and assistance on the way to the right domain name .

Step 3: Check the availability of the address with the domain checker

Once you have one or, ideally, multiple options in mind for your website name, it's time to check availability. Almost all major domain providers offer access to special tools for this purpose , which are also known as domain checkers . Typically, you just enter your desired domain in the tool's search bar and then start the search. With the IONOS domain checker , for example, you can do this by clicking on " Check ":

After a short wait, you will receive the result of the check : If the address is still available, the tool will confirm availability. Otherwise you will receive a notification that the desired domain has already been assigned or registered. In this case, many providers will automatically give you suggestions for alternative top-level domains or revised second-level domains . This is also the case with the domain checker from IONOS:

Step 4: Order or register a domain

The availability check gives you certainty as to whether your desired domain is available or not. But how exactly do you buy a domain?

The domain checker of the respective provider can also be used for this: As soon as you have checked an address, the tools typically provide buttons (e.g. a shopping cart icon) that take you directly to the purchase and registration process. The " Select " button , which you can use to continue the purchase of your domain from IONOS, is also popular. Press this button for the desired domain or for all domains that you want to buy and select " Continue to product selection " in the window that pops up:
Keep the already selected option " Only with domain " if you are not interested in another IONOS product.You will now receive a list of the monthly costs for all currently selected domains (including the option for the contract period). Finally, confirm the conditions by clicking on " Next ":Create an IONOS account or log in to your active IONOS account to continue processing payments. You can also pay for your domain(s) directly via PayPal.

Step 5: Verify ownership of the new domain

According to an ICANN regulation, domain providers have been obliged since September 1, 2014 to check the contact details of domain buyers for authenticity . This applies to both the new and the classic, generic top-level domains . Following the purchase of a new web address, the providers therefore send an e-mail to the contact address that you provided when registering.

A central component of said e-mail is a verification link , which you can use to confirm your ownership within 15 days. The provider usually sends a reminder email after a week if you haven't verified yourself by then. If the 15-day period is exceeded, the provider deactivates the domain. By providing new contact details, the verification process can then be restarted. However, ICANN reserves the right to release web addresses again if there is no confirmation for a longer period of time.

How do you secure a domain?

The new TLDs are in great demand, but are only gradually being released by ICANN. If there is no release for a domain at the time of the availability check , you cannot buy the desired address with this TLD. However, you can secure or reserve the domain with the provider of your choice . With IONOS, proceed as in step 4 (order or register a domain):

When entering the desired address, press " Select " and continue the process through " Proceed to product selection ". Instead of the cost overview, you will now find a contact form. Log in with your existing IONOS account or enter the requested information (name, email and telephone number) and then click on " Pre-order a domain for free ".

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How to buy a domain? An instruction

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