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.
How Much Does It Cost to Buy a Domain Name?
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 GoDaddy’s offers for the following TLDs:
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 initial prices for registering a .com domain between leading domain name registrars:
|Domain Name Registrar||First-Year Pricing for .com Domains*|
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 bank on the fact that someone would pay top dollar for the usage rights of a domain name and want to sell it for a higher price.
- 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, Help.com went for $3 million earlier this year. Check out our video below to learn more about the most lucrative domain name sales:
Hidden Costs of a Domain Name
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 force you to sign up for a multi-year subscription and 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.
Let’s say I want to register a personal domain name, milossoro.com. If I visit GoDaddy, the price for it is $0.19 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 $247.92, and that’s for the first year.
In August 2024, if I wish to renew all the services, the price will actually amount to $355.92.
Note: 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,
- Domain length,
- Name popularity.
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. 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? OpenAI.com doesn’t seem to think so, and they’re doing pretty well if you ask me.
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.