It is best to find a registrar that is an "official" Internet registering service to register your name. Quite often, web hosting sites offer to register your domain name for you, however, there is some confusion among these sites when it comes to "ownership," so it is best to register your domain name yourself.
Where to Go
The domain name can be anything you think of that describes your site. As long as it is not already taken by someone else, you can be the owner of a name once you register it.
Find out if your choice is available by visiting http://www.whois.org and search the name you have chosen. Whois is a database that displays information for anyone searching for domain names. If someone does a search for the name you have chosen after you register it, this is where the information comes from that shows the name is already taken.
For instance, if you want to offer web design, then the name you select will be in the URL people enter when doing a search for web designers.
The name you choose should reflect the service or information you provide so it will be easy to find. There are millions of domain names out there already, so this can prove difficult. Do a search for all the keywords that describe your site, and you should be able to come up with the right combination.
Once you have chosen a name, make sure it is available by visiting some Internet registrars and finding the one you want. What a registrar basically does is resell domain names.
Prices vary among registrar sites but they typically start at around $5.00 for one year. This can run as high as $50, so finding the one that offers the best price for you may take some investigation.
When you are ready to register a name, you will be required to provide either a PayPal account or a credit card number. This is not optional. Most providers require these methods of payment. On the plus side, you will immediately have access to the name.
How Long Can You Keep a Name?
You may also register a name for longer than one year but that is the minimum. Domain names may be registered for up to 10 years. The longer time period is a good idea if you are worried about forgetting to re-register. If you have a very popular name and want to ensure that it remains yours, go ahead and register it for as long as possible and keep anyone else from purchasing it.
When you find the registrar you choose to use, be sure to input accurate contact information. This is what shows up in the Whois database when someone else searches your domain name.
The contact information should have your correct email address; this is also where you'll find re-registering information and anything else concerning your name.
If someone should want to purchase your name for their site, they can contact you and make an offer. Some of the more popular domain names have sold for a great deal of money.
The Domain Name is Important
The web hosting site you choose may not always be the site that you use. If you switch to another site at some point you can take your name with you.
If you have a web hosting service already, you need to get your name on its servers. There are normally primary and secondary servers. Email the host if you cannot find information on how to do this easily.
By following the instructions at your web hosting site, you can register your name. The main thing to remember is you'll need to re-register your domain name at the end of the time period you selected. This ensures that your name remains with you and people can always find your website.