I'm sure you've already thought about what domain name you'd like. The thing is, since domains have grown so popular, many domains are already taken. If I could, I'd register "" in a second. However at the moment it's probably worth hundreds of dollars; as are any short, catchy, well known words as domain names.

Think up a few alternatives, and put them through a WHOIS server like this to see if they're still available. Don't limit yourself to dotCOM, also consider dotNET, dotORG, dotNU, dotCC, dotTV, the list goes on.

There are rules to registering a domain, although they depend on the Central Naming Authority in each country. The general rules to follow are:

  • Domain names should be between 3 and 67 characters long (this includes the dot and the tld). For example: is 10 characters in length, is 4 characters.
  • The domain name can only consist of alphanumeric characters (letters or numbers) and hyphens (-).
  • The hyphen (-), if used, cannot begin or end the domain name. is ok, but is not ok.
  • The domain name is not CaSe SeNsiTiVe. Meaning DoMain.Com will work the same as or DOMAIN.COM
  • No two domain names can be exactly the same. If you would like and it is already taken, you will need to register, or some other variation that is available.
  • You are advised to avoid registering a domain name that conflicts with another company's trademark, unless, of course, you own a trademark that also gives you rights to that domain name. In these circumstances it is generally agreed that the ownership of the name is awarded on a first come first served basis.

So, you've chosen your domain name. Now to find a place to register it, commonly called a "registrar." It used to be that the only place you could register a domain was through InterNIC, who charged $70 for two years. No more! There are now hoards of much cheaper places, who offer much better service. A few of the highly recommended are:

GoDaddy: $8.95 per year.
Stargate: $8.85 per year.
000domains: $13.50 per year.
NuNames: $60 for 2 years (for .nu domains).

A few you should avoid, in my opinion, are Network Solutions, and All provide questionable service and very slow (if non-existent) support.

Still confused? Read the domain FAQ. If you've got a grasp on the domain thing, next you'll need to know about hosting your domain.