How to buy a domain name.

In this guide, you’ll learn the different parts of a domain name, how the domain name system works (and is controlled
and operated), as well as how to find the domain you want and the rules you’ll need to follow.

Domains – What they are

If you want to make a website, it must first have an address, so people can find and visit it. This is called its IP address.  IP address are expressed as four numbers, each from 0-255.  For example,

Since remembering a long string of numbers can be difficult, the “domain” or “domain name” simply gives a name to this address is our domain name. When you type that in your browser, it takes you to the address of our website.

There are also various sections of a domain name, and each indicates something different. Let’s break them down.

Parts of a Domain Name

Top-Level Domain (TLD): This is the .com, .org, .net, etc., that you see at the end of a domain name. There are hundreds of TLDs, and if you are registering your website, you can get creative and use something like or .shop.

Second-Level Domain (SLD): This is the main domain name of your website. It’s the name you choose when you register. Here, it’s Cheap-DomainRegistration.

Subdomain: Think of this as a “subdivision” of your domain. It’s basically any page that isn’t the main page, and it will be reflected in the domain name at the top of the browser. An example would be the “register” in

Now that you know what a domain name is, it is easier to understand how your browser finds a website that it is directed toward in its address bar.  It’s all because of the DNS.

The Domain Name System (DNS)

The DNS is the Domain Name System. It’s what allows the conversion of a name-based search to an IP-based address. Basically, the DNS is like a phone book for website addresses.

Say you already own a website, and you want to show it to your family. Instead of putting in the IP address, you’ll enter in

Essentially, your browser needs to search the “address book” of IP addresses to find what you’re looking for. So, it starts with the TLD. Since your site ends in .com, it’ll start searching the list of .com domain names. Once it finds the name you’ve entered into the search, it takes you to the address associated with it.

Without DNS, we’d have to input the IP address into the browser every time we wanted to visit a website.

While some registrars charge for DNS, C-DR includes it with domain registration.

So, who controls these lists of IP addresses and domains?

How Domains are Controlled and Operated


Domains are generally governed by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). Essentially, ICANN controls and coordinates IP addresses. But they delegate work a lot of this control to other companies, called registry operators.

Registry Operators

A registry operator is the person/entity responsible for maintaining the registry, or list of TLDs that falls within certain parameters. For example, the registry operator VeriSign controls the registry containing all .com and .net TLDs.

But registry operators just control the list. They aren’t the ones who register the domain names. That job belongs to the registrar.


The registrar is a company that has the rights to sell and distribute domain names. Those are companies like GoDaddy, NameCheap, and Cheap-DomainRegistration.

Here’s how it works:

  1. 1. You buy a domain name from a registrar
  2. 2. That registrar pays a fee to the registry operator, and your domain is entered into the registry
  3. 3. You now own that domain

But to buy the domain you want, it must be available.

Using the WHOIS to Find the Domain You Want

The WHOIS is a database containing all registered domains. By searching it, you’ll find out if the domain name you want is available. If it is already taken, you can use the information in the database to reach out to the owner regarding purchase.

There are multiple ways to search the WHOIS, including our own WHOIS search engine.

If your desired domain is taken, you can fill out a domain backorder form.

But before you use our (or anybody’s) WHOIS lookup, you need to be aware of few important things that can directly impact your wallet.

What to Know Before Buying Your Domain

While C-DR prides itself on its transparency, other registrars aren’t so forthcoming, especially when it comes to pricing.

Many companies advertise a great introductory price, and lead you to believe that the price will remain the same over time. Much like the big cable companies, they don’t explicitly tell you that prices go up over time, or that they’re selling you on an expensive addition to your package that you can get cheaper elsewhere.

When comparing prices between registrars, make sure they don’t try to nickle and dime you in the following ways:

Obligating you to a second year of registration at a much higher price
Offer another product that’s much more expensive than market value
Offer a cheap first year with automatic payments that raise in the second year when you’re not paying attention

These are the type of tactics that C-DR stays away from. We offer fair prices that don’t skyrocket when you’re not paying attention. Over time, we’re usually much cheaper than even the leading domain registrars. (Hey, we’re allowed to toot our own horn every once in a while, too.)

Remember, have a good idea of which domain name you want before searching for it. It should be simple and easy to read. A good test is to say it to a friend out loud, and see if they can spell it out correctly.

Rules for Choosing Your Domain

No spaces: There can be no spaces anywhere in your domain name
Not case sensitive: Even if you want upper case letters in your domain, they will all be displayed as lower case
Character limit: The domain name can’t exceed 63 characters (not including the TLD)
No special characters: While hyphens, underscores, and numbers are allowed, special characters like #, %, *, @, etc., cannot be used. Also, a domain name cannot begin or end with a hyphen, and you cannot use 2 hyphens in a row.

Buying Your Domain

Bulk Domain Purchases:

These are common due to the great pricing that comes with buying more than one domain at a time. As with most things, buying in bulk is cheaper. Plus, there are several reasons you may want to do so, like domain forwarding and edging out the competition.. >>link to Bulk Registration page.

Private Domain Registration:

Generally, when you buy a domain from a registrar, your private information such as your name, address, and phone number are publicly kept. So, spammers often use this information to send you solicitation. Private domain registration >>links to Private Domain Registration page protects your information by entering proxy contact info instead. You keep your privacy, but you can still be contacted by legitimate entities.

What’s Next: What to Do After Buying Your Domain

Once you’ve gotten your domain name and IP address, you’ll need a place to store your website. This is called web hosting, and it comes with a large selection of options and plans that suit different needs. To learn more about web hosting, check out our Web Hosting 101 page.

Great ideas start with a great name.

Hundreds of domains specific to your idea, a custom domain can make your web address memorable.

Find Your Domain
Man with laptop searching cheap domain names.


What is a Domain?

A domain is the name that you give to the location of your website, so it’s easy to look up.

What is DNS?

The Domain Name Systems is like the phonebook of the internet. You type the name (website) you want it to find, and it takes you to the address.

I’ve seen websites offering a free domain name… are they legit?

Yes! lets you register domains for free, but there are some significant restrictions. Instead of using popular TLDs like .com, .shop, etc., you’re limited to .tk, .ml, .ga, .cf, and .gq. Your rights are limited as well, and you have to re-register each year (no automatic re-registration). This can cause problems if you forget to do it. Also, your website content is restricted, with no mention allowed of weapons, gambling, domain parking, and more. Use this website at your own risk, and be aware that the reviews are less than kind.

Why can’t I just buy right from the registry operator?

The registry operator is a wholesaler of domain names. When you buy a domain, you technically are buying from the registry operator, only through a registrar.

Who keeps track of all the domains?

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) delegates tracking to registry operators, who have different directories based on Top Level Domains (.com, .org, etc.) or alphabetical root names.

What do I do if the domain I want isn’t available?

The WHOIS will have contact information for the owner of the website, as well as the date of expiration. You can wait until the domain expires, and try to buy it then, or contact the owner and make an offer. Otherwise, you may be better off using a different, similar domain name.

Once I buy a domain, do I own it for life?

The maximum renewal period for a domain is 10 years, but it’s common practice to renew yearly. This is so registries have continual income for domain list management, as well as for keeping the pool of available domains continually replenished. If domains didn’t expire, we would soon have to resort to numbers, which would negate their purpose.

I have a question that wasn’t covered here. Where can I find an answer?

Just call us at (480) 624-2500 and we’ll answer any questions you may have, 24/7.

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