A new domain name costs $9 to $12 per year, depending on the extension, such as .com or .org, and depending on the registrar, such as GoDaddy or Namesilo. Domains that have been registered already can cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars from a private seller, especially for popular and sought-after domain names.
In this guide, we’ll uncover the cheapest places to buy a new domain, and show you how to buy from a private seller. If you want a domain name in order to create a website and professional email account, we recommend using Bluehost. They tie everything into a single package, starting at $2.95/month. For all other purposes, Namesilo and GoDaddy offer the best-priced domains.
Use the tool below to search for an available domain name:
Domain Name Pricing 2018
Below is the 2018 pricing for various top level domains, including .com, .org and .info:
Namesilo has the best pricing for .com domain name registration, whereas GoDaddy is cheapest for .org, and .info, as well as .us, .biz, and many more. GoDaddy also offers promotions where you can save by buying multiple years up front, or by bundling multiple domains.
Web Hosting Pricing
If you’re creating a business website, buying a domain name is just the first step. You also need to get web hosting in order to point your domain to a website. Fortunately, many of the companies that offer domain names also offer web hosting, including Bluehost, GoDaddy and HostGator:
Pricing is about the same, starting at just under $3/month for shared website hosting. The main difference is what’s included in the base price. Bluehost and GoDaddy provide domains and professional email accounts, whereas HostGator does not.
Bluehost also includes SSL encryption, which makes your website more secure for visitors, and gives it HTTPS in the address bar instead of HTTP. While this may seem like a subtle difference, HTTPS websites are far more trusted, and preferred by Google in its search rankings. Purchasing this separately costs $60 to 100 per year, so it’s a huge advantage that Bluehost includes this in their base price.
Domain Privacy Protection
Privacy protection is an optional add-on that shields your private information from the internet. All domain owners are required to share their name, address, and contact information to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), where it is publicly listed.
Domain privacy protection replaces your private information with your domain provider’s information. This way, salespeople and advertisers who target new business owners are not able to find your private information. It clamps down on cold calls and spam letters you might otherwise receive.
Domain Privacy Protection Costs
- Namesilo: Free
- Namecheap: $2.88/year
- GoDaddy: $7.99/year
- Bluehost: $11.88/year
- Google Domains: Free
Again, Namesilo comes out ahead, providing free domain privacy protection to all users.
Buying a Domain from a Private Seller
Sometimes the perfect domain name is already taken, but doesn’t seem to be used by the current owner. Entering the URL, you may even reach a webpage like this, offering the domain for sale:
Other times the domain could 404, or reach an ad-covered landing page. In all of these cases, you can often still buy the domain for anywhere from $200 to $5,000-plus. You just have to follow a few important steps:
How to Buy a Domain from a Private Seller
1. Check Who Owns the Domain on WhoIs
When the homepage doesn’t tell you who owns the domain, or who to contact, you can often still find this information on the public ICANN database. Simply head to whois.icann.org and enter the domain name into the search bar. On the resulting page, you will find the owner’s name (or business name), mailing address, phone number and email.
From here, you can use Google to learn a little more about the seller, like how large is their business, have they sold other domains recently, and if so, for how much?
2. Find How Long They’ve Owned It For
A little further down on the whois results page is another key piece of information. Find the box that says “Important Dates.” Now note the “Created Date,” which is when the domain was registered by the current owner.
“If we found a domain that had recently been registered, we would suspect that the seller is a pro and would be very motivated to sell and ready for some haggling,” Accini explained. “If we found a domain that had been registered for a long time and was not listed on any broker sites, we might think that the seller was less interested in selling but also, possibly, less aware of domain name values.”
3. Ask for the Selling Price
When you feel you’ve done enough research on the seller, it’s time to contact them. Log in to your personal email and send a short message, such as, “Hi, I’m inquiring about the domain for sale, www.example.com. What is the asking price?”
Avoid giving out too much information about yourself, like where you work or other websites you own. If the seller figures out your motivation, or considers you a high-profile buyer, it could raise the price.
4. Offer 50 – 85% of the Selling Price
Figuring out how much to offer is simply a matter of balancing how much you can afford versus how badly you want the domain.
“If your goal is domain obtainment, make your first offer at around 70 percent to 85 percent of the seller’s price to up your odds of winning the domain,” Kelley recommended. “Or if budget is a greater concern, start your first offer low at about 50 percent of seller’s price.”
The exception is a domain that has been dormant for a long time—say, over five years. In these cases, you can roll the dice with a low-ball offer, although you will want some backups in mind in case you don’t get a response.
The Bottom Line
New domain name registration is a lot easier and cheaper than buying from private seller. It’s often worth experimenting to find some good unregistered domains before making a costly purchase. With a little bit of creativity, you might be surprised to find what’s available.
If you’re buying a domain in order to create a website and professional email address, we recommend registering with Bluehost. Domain, hosting and email are all tied together for just $2.95/month. Click the button below to start searching for available domains: