Although obtaining a domain name for your website is a relatively easy process, calculating just how much it will cost isn’t always as straightforward. You may encounter some hidden fees and extra costs, depending on your needs. You could also save money with a difficult-to-remember site name, but your visitors may not find you.
If you would like an easy-to-use option for taking care of all the steps for selecting, registering, and paying for a domain name, we like Bluehost. It gives you a great price and allows you to complete the process in a few steps. When you host your site with Bluehost, you’ll even receive your domain name for free for the first year.
Crazy Egg’s Favorite Tools for Calculating How Much A New Domain Name Costs
The best domain registrars make the process of purchasing a new domain name easier, because they also offer web hosting services. Purchasing the domain gives your new website a name, but the hosting service gives it a place to exist. With both of these items working in tandem, you can publish content and visitors can find you.
We like Bluehost as the best domain registrar for most people because it greatly simplifies every aspect of starting a website, including purchasing the new domain name. Get a free domain for one year when you bundle web hosting with domain registration from Bluehost.
When you want to keep an eye on the costs for your new website both now and in the future, Domain.com has some of the best renewal rates for your new domain name. Crazy Egg readers receive a 25% discount on all costs of setting up a new domain at Domain.com.
If you are finding that domain names featuring the popular .com extension are too expensive, Porkbun is our favorite registrar for helping you find great domain names featuring other extensions. Porkbun offers some extremely low first-year sale prices on domain names with non-traditional extensions.
More Top Domain Registrars
We have a lot of experience with purchasing domain names and starting websites. Through our work, we know that domain registrars simplify the process so much that they easily represent the best way to go. If you need some different features in a domain registrar than those we listed, check out all our picks for the best domain registrars.
Step 1 – Get Started With Bluehost
When you want to begin pricing domain names, Bluehost makes the process extremely easy. Visit Bluehost’s domain page to begin looking at costs.
Remember, in certain circumstances, Bluehost may provide you with a domain name free for a year. This means the prices you see potentially would only apply in the second year and beyond. You have to pay for your domain name annually to maintain it.
Bluehost lists the prices based on the extension, as do other domain registrars. The extension is the portion of the domain name after the dot. For our crazyegg.com site, the .com is the extension.
The .com extension is the most popular extension. Consequently, it also is the hardest to find for your desired domain name. If our website was crazyegg.xyz instead of crazyegg.com, we might not receive as much traffic since many people default to .com when typing a domain name.
If someone already owns the .com extension for your desired domain name, you would have to switch to a different extension or change your desired domain name. Two websites cannot have the same domain name and extension, so you must buy a unique domain name and extension.
Additionally, the cost for the domain is only the cost for your website’s name. If you don’t host the site yourself, you still would need to pay someone (like Bluehost) to host the site for you. If you would like to learn more about all the services that Bluehost offers, we wrote a detailed Bluehost review.
Step 2 – Understand Different Costs Based on Domain Name Extensions
Because the extension you select for your domain name plays the primary role in the cost of the domain name, you may want to further research some of these costs. Porkbun maintains a list of the costs for hundreds of different extensions for your website. (As we mentioned earlier, Porkbun is one of the best registrars for finding non-traditional extensions.)
Costs for extensions can vary significantly. In the first year, you could pay as little as $1 for a certain extension for your domain name if you find a sale price. At the top end, you could pay $100 or more in the first year. Renewals for particular extensions typically cost $10 to $100 per year.
For example, Porkbun says a website using the .travel extension costs $21.09 annually in the first year and $87.83 at renewal. A domain name with the .bar extension costs $1.27 in the first year and $51.99 at renewal. With a .com extension, you would pay $9.73 in the first year and $9.73 at renewal. All these prices are subject to change.
The costs for extensions will vary from registrar to registrar, both in terms of the first-year cost and renewal costs. Once you have an extension and domain name in mind that you want to use, you may want to shop around with various registrars to find the best price.
If you also want your domain registrar to provide hosting services, you should also research hosting costs. It certainly is easier to use the same company as your domain registrar and your hosting service. However, you can potentially save money by purchasing the two items from separate entities.
Step 3 – Check for Your Desired Domain Name
Once you have an idea of the cost for a few different extensions you may want to use with your domain name, you then can begin searching for availability. The domain name is the section of your website name in front of the extension. For us, crazyegg is the domain name ahead of the .com extension.
Back at the domain name search tool page on Bluehost. Simple enter your desired domain, and click Search.
Bluehost will automatically look for three things. First, it will determine whether any websites already exist with this domain name. If another website owner already has the .com extension for this domain name, you will see a message that someone already owns the most popular extension for your domain name.
Second, Bluehost will look for other potential extensions that you can use with your desired domain name, along with the annual price for each one.
Third, you’ll see some options for tweaking your desired domain name. Bluehost provides suggestions that are similar to the domain name you wanted with various extensions. You also see the annual price for each one.
If you want to purchase any of these domains, just click on Add to Cart. Otherwise, return to the search bar and try again with a tweaked domain name.
Step 4 – Understand the First-Year Cost of a Domain Name
When researching various domain registrars, you may find it challenging to try to compare domain name prices. Many registrars, including Bluehost, offer significant first-year discounts on the purchase of your domain name.
These discounts are great, and they may entice you to use a certain registrar. But those low rates don’t last forever, and you can expect them to increase after your first year.
Here’s an example of some first-year promotional rates from Bluehost on different domain extensions.
If you look closely, you’ll see that all of these say “1st year” after the price.
You may experience other costs with your first-year domain name purchase—like domain privacy and protection. Bluehost charges $11.88 for your first year of domain privacy before renewing it at $15 annually. Other registrars may offer domain privacy for free.
As we mentioned earlier, you need to have a way to host the site. This is the technical side of running a website, where you’ll store files and your webpage designs. You do not have to purchase your own computing hardware and software to run and manage your website when you subscribe to a hosting service.
Bluehost also tops our list of the best web hosting services. You will pay your web hosting service a monthly fee to host your site. You could pay as little as $2.95 per month for Bluehost to host your site, and you’ll receive your domain name for free for the first year. (Again, all prices are subject to change.)
Step 5 – Understand the Ongoing Cost of a Domain Name
When you purchase a domain name, you have to pay a fee each year to keep the name. If you do not pay your annual fee, your domain name goes back into the pool of available domain names.
The great part about using Bluehost to register your domain is that they’ll automatically renew it for you every year. So you won’t have to worry about it expiring or someone else snatching it from you.
However, the price will increase when it renews after the first year—for the registration itself and for domain privacy.
For example, Bluehost’s first-year pricing for registering a .com domain costs $12.99. But it renews at $19.99 per year. You’ll see this trend for all of its extensions, with some of the increases a bit steeper than others.
Other registrars let you register your domain for longer. When you agree to a longer-term contract for your domain name purchase, you can lock in the price for future years. One of the unknowns in the cost of purchasing a domain name is that you don’t know whether the domain registrar will increase the annual renewal cost down the road.
With Domain.com, the cost is $10.99 per year in years two and three (but you do have to pay $8.99 per year for domain privacy and protection).
Locking in your price avoids unwanted surprises in renewal costs. However, you do have to pay the entire amount upfront. (Should your domain registrar raise the cost for your domain name significantly in future years, you can transfer your website and domain name to a new host.)
Similarly, when you are paying for a hosting service, you have the option of locking in lower prices per month by agreeing to a longer contract period. At Bluehost, for example, you save more by signing up for a 36-month hosting contract compared to a 12-month contract.
Step 6 – Understand Add-on and Hidden Costs in Purchasing a Domain Name
As we explained earlier, a domain name may cost $1 to $100 per year in the first year, although most fit in the $1 to $25 range. For renewals, you may pay $10 to $100 per year, although the majority fit in the $10 to $40 range.
These price ranges are for the domain name only. Your actual price may extend beyond these ranges, though, depending on any extra optional services you want to purchase or whether you are paying hidden fees.
Some domain registrars provide quite a few services for free, along with your purchase of a domain name. Others may charge you for some of these services, quickly driving up the cost of purchasing the domain name. Pay attention to these potential hidden and add-on costs, including:
- Search: Nearly all registrars allow you to search for your preferred domain name and extension for free, but you occasionally may encounter one that charges a small fee.
- Help: Many registrars give you free customer service help should you run into problems while trying to find your domain name and extension. However, a few registrars may charge you for a customer service call during the step of purchasing a domain name.
- Domain privacy protection: This type of optional protection hides your personal information from public view in the WHOIS database. Without this protection, you could open yourself to spam and sales pitches. Such protection can cost almost $10 per year with some registrars, while others offer it for free.
- Automatic renewal: If you worry that you will forget to renew your domain name in a year or two, some registrars allow you to set up an automatic renewal for free. A few registrars may charge you an extra fee to set up automatic renewal. If you miss your renewal date, some registrars may charge you a restart fee.
- SSL certificate: Most registrars include the cost of the SSL certificate for free. However, some may charge you $5 per month or more for this feature, which is important to give your visitors the peace of mind of a secure connection.
- Web hosting: This isn’t a hidden cost, but some registrars offer to serve as your web hosting service in addition to setting up your domain name. If you also want this add-on service, expect to pay $2 to $20 per month for a small website in addition to the annual cost of your domain name. Large sites could spend hundreds per month on hosting.
The lack of hidden fees and the clear explanation provided for optional add-on costs is one of the reasons we like Bluehost so much for buying domain names and for web hosting services. Bluehost is a highly trusted entity that helps website owners receive great value and excellent service.