How Much Does a Domain Name Cost?

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Key Takeaways

  • How much does a domain name cost? It depends.
  • There are a number of factors that define what you end up paying for a preferred domain.
  • Understanding these factors can help you plan for your purchase.
Domain registration cost is an important consideration for all types of businesses, including large enterprises, small businesses, established companies and new ventures alike. But how much money a domain name costs and how much you can expect to pay are two different topics. While the former is defined by regulations, the latter is more complicated depending on who it is acquired from and where it is maintained. 

Before we dive deep into how much domain names cost or how much you can expect to spend on them, we want to make sure we provide a brief introduction to how domain registration works. There are several important things to note:

  • It is incorrect to suggest that you can buy a domain name. “Domain owners” are more accurately characterized as “registrants” who lease domain names from domain registrars such as Network Solutions with annual term agreements.
  • If a domain name registration is not extended by its renewal date, which is marked by the anniversary of registration, then it becomes an expired domain name, making it available to the public. There are exceptions to this rule; some domain name extensions include grace periods for renewal or periods where you can pay a late fee and still retain your domain name.
  • Domain name registrations can be renewed an indefinite number of times, but cannot be extended for more than 10 years at a time. So, if you were to register a domain for 10 years, you would need to wait at least one year before adding another year to your term.
    • There are exceptions to the 10-year limit. 
    • For example, Network Solutions allows 20- and 100-year registration terms for .com, .net, .org, .info and .biz
  • Domain registrars are certified and regulated by The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), which is the organization that maintains and coordinates the procedures and databases related to the namespaces and numerical spaces of the internet, ensuring “…the stable and secure operation of the Internet…” according to their mission statement.

How Much Do Domains Cost?

As mentioned before, how much domain names cost and how much you can expect to spend on them are two different, though related topics.

What you can expect to spend on a domain name is informed by who you acquire it from as well as who you renew it through. New and unregistered domain name prices are determined by registrars, whereas domains that are acquired from private registrants are negotiated between you and the registrant.

If you register a new domain name, one that’s not taken by someone else, then the price you pay to register and renew your domain every year is determined by your chosen registrar. 

For new registrations and renewals of common TLDs such as .com and .net, most reputable registrars typically charge anywhere between $20 to $50 (USD) per year; however, there are other factors that can influence the price of a new registration. Registrars that also offer website and email services such as Network Solutions often bundle and sometimes even cover the cost of domain registration with the purchase of hosting services for building a website or setting up an email address. You should also look out for money-saving promotions.

An important consideration to weigh when comparing prices between registrars is that those offering cheap domain names may not offer as high a level of customer service or access to domain name management as those who charge more than the average price. 

If you want to register a domain name that is already taken by someone else, then you can expect a very different experience that will likely cost you more than what it would cost to register a new domain name. This is assuming that the registrant is interested in selling it in the first place, because if they’re not, then you might not be able to acquire it. 

If acquiring a domain name from a private registrant seems daunting, we encourage you to read this article detailing strategies for acquiring domain names on the domain aftermarket.

What Drives Domain Costs Up

The principles of supply and demand are at the core of what drives domain costs up for both new registrations and those made on the domain aftermarket. Another important consideration is that while there are a huge number of possible domain names, there is still a limit. Combine this with the fact that a domain name can be registered to only one person, and you have the perfect recipe for competition. 

When you consider whether domain registration is worth the cost, you also have to weigh what the cost of not registering domain names would be. The value of domain names is informed by the brands they represent, past, present and future. Domain names that are easy to remember, contain words that are commonly searched and ones that have been registered for a long time can generally fetch a good price. 

The value of your domain name is more than its renewal cost. If you’re interested in learning what aftermarket domain names can cost, browse popular sights including Network Solutions, SnapNames and NameJet.

Finding the Right Domain Name

Want to learn how to choose the right domain name for your business? Here’s how.

 

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