A domain name is the location of your website on the Internet. It translates the digits that make up your IP address into something catchy that people can remember. Domain names are acquired through domain name registrars, companies that manage the reservation of domain names and point to your website.
RELATED: What is DNS and should I use a different DNS server?
Where to buy? A domain name
When you purchase a domain name, it does so through a "domain registrar" that manages the registration of this domain name. For most registrars, you buy the domain from them and then use a hosting provider to manage the site. Some companies offer both services.
Google Domains is an excellent domain discovery tool that integrates well with Google mail services. Namecheap and Hover are other good options and offer good DNS support and mail hosting as well as low domain prices.
You can also buy directly from your hosting provider (like GoDaddy), but if you want to switch providers, this is usually more difficult as you usually need to transfer the domain to another registrar, sometimes even need to be bound to this host.
What if my domain is already taken?
If someone already has your domain, you may still be able to buy it, but it costs more. This is because you do not have to buy them from a registrar at a standard price, but from the one who owns them. Many people register domains that they believe are profitable, and then sell them to domain marketplaces like Sedo and Afternic. You can try searching for these services if you need this particular domain.
However, it is better to try another top-level domain (such as ".net" or ".biz" instead of ".com"). There are many mainstream systems like .org, .net and .co, but also some more obscure ones like .xyz, .biz and .business. Often these are not taken and you can find a domain with the same name by buying one of them.
What happens after I buy my domain?
The first thing you need to know is that your domain is not a web site, just the "name" of your web site on the Internet. You have reserved the name, but you still need the actual site. If you purchased your domain through your hosting provider, you should already have it set up. However, if you have just purchased the domain, you must refer it to a hosting provider by changing the DNS settings.
If you do not know how to create a website, you can read our guide to the best website builders without code. With these services, you can create your website without coding, often just by applying a pre-made template. Weebly and Wix are easy to use and both have free plans to get started.
If you want to create a blog, you probably want to use WordPress, a content management system that meets all your blogging needs with a nice editor and powerful templates. You still need to host it so you can read our guide to the best-managed WordPress hosting providers to see what's right for you.