How Much Does It Cost to Buy a Domain Name?

Registering a domain name is the first step toward establishing an online presence. With most registrars, initial prices are low, but when it gets to the renewal stages, they go up by a lot. Learn how much domain names cost and what affects their prices.

Although getting a domain name sounds like a one-time investment, it’s not. Registering a domain name is a subscription-based service, and you need to renew it every time it expires. The registration period is usually between one and ten years.

In this article, we’ll show you how much a domain name costs, the difference between unregistered and premium domains, and we’ll go over the factors of domain registration prices.

If you’re more of a visual learner, check out our video guide on domain name cost and what affects it:

How Much Does It Cost to Register a Domain Name?

If a domain name is not currently registered, you can register it. That’s the cheaper option compared to buying a domain name from someone else.

Domain name registration typically costs from $10 to $20 a year, but this price can go up significantly depending on a variety of factors. One of the major ones is the domain type, i.e., what top-level domain (TLD) you choose. For example, look at some of the offers for the following TLDs (per year):


Although .com, .net, .org, .co, and .us are the most popular domains, making it hard to find one that’s available, that doesn’t make them the most expensive.

The interest in .ai domains has risen significantly in the past few years due to the development of artificial intelligence. Coupled with the scarcity of these domains (only selected registrars offer them), it makes them valuable goods.

If you’re not looking for a creative TLD, you’ll probably find a solution in the $10-$20 range, especially for the first year when companies offer discounts.

How Much Does a Domain Name Cost per Year

Let’s compare prices for registering and renewing a .com domain between leading domain name registrars:

Domain Name RegistrarFirst-Year Pricing for .com Domains*Renewal Price*$11.99$21.99
GoDaddy$0.01 (requires three-year registration totaling $43.99)$22.17
*As of March 2024

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How Much Does a Premium Domain Name Cost?

Premium domain names are high-quality names that are registered but available for sale. Basically, businesses (and individuals) register a domain name that contains a significant keyword, has the potential to be brandable, or matches a certain trend in domain naming.

These businesses (called domain flippers) bank on the fact that someone would pay top dollar for domain name acquisition and want to sell it for a higher price.

There are many domain name brokers you can use to find a premium domain name that fits your business’s needs. The price of a premium domain depends on various factors, such as:

  • Extension,
  • Name,
  • SEO ranking,
  • Previous purpose of the website,
  • Connected social media accounts,
  • Domain variations included in the package.

A premium account can range from $5 all the way to thousands and millions of dollars. For instance, went for $600,000 earlier this year, whereas owner sold the domain name for $30 million. Check out our video below to learn more about the most lucrative domain name sales:

MORE: Learn how to value a domain name

Hidden Domain Name Costs

As always, when you sign a deal, you should always read the fine print. Domain name registrars lure customers in with a low entry fee, but when the time for renewal comes, you’ll see that the price has gone up by $15+. Some companies even enforce a multi-year subscription to make customers pay a higher price in advance.

Other costs come from the fact that registering a domain name usually isn’t enough. As a business owner, you want to have a secure domain and website with a great user experience. To do that, you need safety certificates, privacy features, professional email domains, etc.

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Let’s say I want to register a personal domain name, If I visit GoDaddy, the price for it is $0.01 for the initial year, which sounds more than affordable. But, if I want the best domain name protection and a year-long Microsoft 365 Business Professional account, the price jumps to $550.00 for the first three years.

If I wish to renew after the first three years, my renewal price would jump to $884.85.

GoDaddy shopping cart
*Prices from March 2024

Of course, the largest chunk of this goes on Microsoft 365, but it illustrates the fact that you should do your research before jumping into the registration process.


You can register a domain name for free, but as a serious business, you should avoid going down that road. Free domain names are unprofessional due to irremovable watermarks and the fact you only get a subdomain of a platform. They can also be associated with untrustworthy extensions, which will deter many potential clients from clicking on your website.

MORE: What is a DNS?

What Affects the Cost of Domain Names

As we’ve already discussed, your domain name’s extension is one of the most important factors for determining the cost. An available .com domain is easier to get (all registrars offer it) and maintain compared to some other TLDs, such as .hr or .me.

Aside from the domain type, the following factors also play a role in domain name costs:

  • Additional features (e.g., privacy protection),
  • Registration period,
  • Registrar’s pricing policy,
  • Availability,
  • Domain length,
  • Domain history,
  • Name popularity.
Domain Cost Factors

MORE: How to change a domain name

Tips to Save Money on Your Domain Name 

  • Research the Market: Do some research and compare prices between reputable registrars. You can get the same name for a lower price.
  • Check out if there’s any active promotions you can take advantage of. Make sure to go through the fine print. For example, one registrar might give a huge discount for the first year but force you to sign up for at least three years, making it more expensive in the long run. 
  • If you subscribe for a longer period, you’ll pay more at once, but the average yearly price will be lower.
  • Consider registering a domain name via a hosting service provider. Many hosting providers offer free domain names as a part of their bundle offer for hosting services.
  • Think about the TLD you’re going with. If your heart is set on a specific domain name, that’s great, but you might get a better deal with a different extension, maybe even some of the new TLDs. As we’ve discussed earlier, .ai domains are a lot more expensive than .com ones. Will it really hurt your AI startup if you get a .com domain? doesn’t seem to think so, and they’re doing pretty well if you ask me.

Takeaway Points

Registering a domain name that will help you showcase your products or services online is a must for any business that wants to succeed in today’s world. It’s a fee you need to pay, and you should weigh your options carefully.

If you have the budget for a premium domain name that will skyrocket your sales, go for it. But, you can still invest that money elsewhere and build a reputable website from scratch for significantly less money.

To do that, you’ll need a catchy, easy-to-spell domain name that will reflect your brand perfectly. Use our AI-powered domain name generator for free to get 1,000+ memorable name ideas.

When you choose a domain name, it’s time to make it yours. Just make sure you fully understand the pricing you’re about to choose and check out what the renewal costs will be in a few years’ time.

MORE: How to trademark a domain name

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

A year-long domain name registration usually varies between $10 and $20. However, if you want to register the name for just a single year, you can benefit from the registrars’ entry prices. Most registrars offer lower prices for the initial year. For example, GoDaddy’s price for a .com domain is $21.99 a year, but you’ll pay only $0.01 for the first year.

Registering a domain name is a subscription-based process. You need to pay for the registration every time it expires. If you don’t want to pay the fee every year, you can choose a longer registration period, with the maximum limit being ten years.

You can buy an already-registered domain name if the current owner is willing to sell it. However, premium and taken domain names are pricier, and their cost often goes in the thousands of dollars.

The interest in domain names is high. There were 359.8 million domain name registrations in Q4 2023 alone. With that in mind, it’s only natural that the registration fee will go up. Still, with a $10-$20 yearly fee, it’s not an expense that will sink your company.

While you can create an online presence solely on social media, you need a domain name if you want to create a reputable brand. Without a website your customers can visit, many of them will feel discouraged from making a purchase.


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