A domain name is an Internet address (yourname.com) that you register so people can find your website online. Other domain extensions include .net, .edu and .org. Before domain registration became so competitive, domain registration companies charged $70 and sometimes more. With the competition for domain name registration as intense as it has become, registering a domain is cheaper than it has ever been, with a range of price options that make it affordable for anyone.
Basic domain name registration with a domain registrar can vary in pricing, depending upon the company you choose and the deals they are running to get your business. There are many official domain registrars available (see Resources), with pricing that ranges from $2.00 a month to over $30, as of January 2011. The lower end of the price zone typically doesn't offer any benefits, such as parking or hosting your domain, while the higher-priced companies may offer these services and others to get your business. Smart shopping can help you avoid paying higher prices while still getting a host of services.
Domain registration is just part of the expense of having a domain name. You may purchase a domain name for as little as $5.00 a month, but that typically doesn't include the renewal fee for the name. The renewal fee is a yearly fee that averages between $12 and $15 as of 2011. You can often avoid this yearly fee by registering your domain name for several years in advance.
Getting your website (with your domain name) on the Internet is a process in itself. Owning a domain name does you no good if you can't make it available for online surfers. For this, you will need to pay for a domain host. Many domain hosts offer yearly packages and many of them include free domain registration included with the hosting. As of 2011, these packages range in price from as low as $5.95 a month to $12.95, depending upon the features you need. The higher priced packages are usually for businesses and include extensive shopping features. For these prices, you not only get your domain name and a place to host your domain, but unlimited email addresses, online storage and tools to help you build your own website. Many of these companies will still charge a yearly registration fee, though the domain registration is free.
Moving Your Domain Name
Once a domain name is registered to you and you are the owner, you can move the domain name to any web hosting service of your choice, as long as all of your fees are current. Keep in mind that transferring to a host other than the company that registered your domain for you can result in a transfer fee that ranges from $10 to $50 (as of January 2011).