How Much Does a Domain Name Cost in 2021?

The Ultimate Guide

Ogi Djuraskovic
Updated: August 19th, 2021
9 min read
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How Much Does a Domain Name Cost in 2021?

Having a memorable domain name is simply a necessity in the digital age, especially if you’re running a business in 2021. 

Whether you’re starting a blog or you’re selling art, your domain should be something relevant, simple, and easy to remember so that people can find you with ease. There are good reasons why modern business owners spend a lot of time and money to find that perfect attention-grabbing domain name. 

However, while some of the most popular domain names have reached millions of dollars in value, that doesn’t mean that you have to pay that much. If you’re a bit creative, you can get a real bargain. 

We’ll go over the main domain name registrars and the average price ranges that you can expect, as well as some hidden costs you should watch out for.    

Table of contents

Why your domain name is important

Domain names put businesses on the map online, and can even help them get ahead of their competitors in the online marketplace simply by being more recognizable. 

Your domain name is a pathway for customers and internet visitors to find and visit your website, learn more about your brand and business, and finally become loyal consumers by purchasing your services and products. It’s a glimpse into your brand story and an easy way to grab people’s attention.

Since a domain is obviously vital to your brand identity online, you should use a business name generator to check available domains and find a suitable, brandable business name quickly and easily.

Who provides domain names?

Domain names are provided by domain name registrars – companies that sell domain names. It’s important to know a few of the top players in the industry, as the services they provide can greatly differ in terms of price, reliability, and features. 

Fortunately, there is a huge variety of domain registrars on the internet to tap into, such as:

  • GoDaddy – aside from also being a hosting provider, GoDaddy is one of the most popular domain registrars on the web. More importantly, it has an advanced domain search tool that allows users to find a top-notch domain name quickly and easily. GoDaddy is a go-to solution for countless businesses and is considered the most reputable provider around. They currently manage more than 75 million domains.
  • NameCheap – NameCheap is an excellent solution for all those looking to either transfer or register their domain name almost effortlessly. Many businesses praise the company for providing real value for your money. At the moment, the company manages over 5 million domains.
  • Domain.com – Domain.com is a provider with highly competitive prices and offers a wide variety of ccTLDs and TLDs. The company has support for more than 25 country codes and is a reputable provider for selling premium domains.
  • Bluehost – a hosting company that gives free domain names to users with a new hosting plan. Bluehost offers a free domain name for the first year, as well as 24/7 support, WordPress install, and a free SSL certificate. The company currently manages over 2 million domains.

Aside from domain registrar companies, you can also buy a domain from hosting companies that offer a free domain for 1 year if you choose a hosting plan. Domains are also available through website builders, in case you plan on using one. Website builders are platforms for those new to domain names that help people set up professional websites without knowing a thing about coding or web design.

What are the prices of domain names in 2021?

When you’re looking to buy a domain, it’s only normal to want to know everything about the prices. Buying a new domain generally costs somewhere between $10–$20 per year, but the cost varies depending on the domain provider you purchase your domain from. 

The type of domain also determines the price. Different domain providers offer different pricing packages and features. In other words, you should invest some time into shopping around before you decide to make a purchase. 

There are two most common types of domain names:

  • Top-level domains (TLD) – TLDs are reliable and trustworthy and include the most popular domain name extensions like .edu, .net, and .com.
  • Country code top-level domains (ccTLD) – ccTLDs are reliable because they add national legitimacy to a website.

Let’s take a look at some of the prices from the most popular domain name registrars:

GoDaddy 

  • com – $4.99 per year
  • .org – $10.17per year
  • .us – $7.99 per year
  • .me – $3.49 per year
  • .co – $11.99 per year
  • .net – $14.99 per year

NameCheap

  • .com – $8.88 per year
  • .org – $11.98 per year
  • .us – $3.88 per year
  • .me – $3.88 per year
  • .io – $32.98 per year
  • .net – $10.98 per year

Domain.com

  • .com – $8.99 per year
  • .net – $12.99 per year
  • non-premium TLDs – $12.99 per year

Hidden costs of domain names

Domain name registrars are similar to all other companies out there. They all rely on the fine print to get more money for their services, just like any other IT company. In other words, buying a domain name isn’t without its downsides, and in this case, it’s the hidden costs that you should be worrying about. 

Before you make a purchase, it is recommended to inspect the fine print. Companies selling domains create their prices with the main goal to lure in customers. While different domain name providers have different prices, there are always hidden fees and additional costs that they somehow forget to mention. 

You can avoid these by carefully going through the terms of service or the fine print. The prices you see are usually for a year only. After that, the pricing changes. Some providers will try to sell you additional features or services or even charge you for additional TLDs that you never requested. 

Keep an eye on domain name registrars that offer their services at the lowest prices, as these usually involve hidden fees, as well as extra charges for renewals.

Free domains

There are countless hosting companies on the internet claiming that their domain services are free. However, don’t let this trick you into believing that it’s true. One of the most common offers on the web comes from hosting companies offering a free domain name. 

The trick is that their service is only free for the first year. Then, there’s also the fact that you have to purchase a hosting plan to gain access to such a free service. If you don’t mind paying for the domain name after one year, then, by all means, proceed. 

Some companies also offer free domains but ask you to host your website using their services in return. While this can be a good option for some users, the problem is that you’ll end up paying for it in the end. The price of your domain is included in the pricing plan of the hosting services they provide. 

Whatever form it takes, there is no such thing as a free domain – you’ll eventually pay for it one way or the other.

What affects domain name price?

When you visit some domain name registrar’s website to see their prices, keep in mind that those are introductory prices for a year of service. After one year, you pay renewal prices that can be significantly higher. 

On top of that, there are other costs to consider when choosing and buying a domain. Let’s break down the most common additional costs that affect domain name price.

Auto-renew costs

Auto-renew is an excellent option for users who need a domain for more than one year. However, the problem is that many domain name providers include this option in the first-time sign-up packages by default. 

If you only need a domain for the first year, auto-renew is an additional cost. Fortunately, top registrars like NameCheap allow their users to opt-in for the auto-renew option and decide if they want to use it.

Privacy and protection

When you register your domain, you’re required to provide some personal information, such as phone number, email address, and name, to allow your registrar to add your details to the Whois database. By doing so, your information will be publicly listed alongside other owners of every domain online. 

The problem is that many domain users don’t want their information to be easily accessible to everyone. That’s why different registrars provide different privacy policies, including total privacy for the first year. There are also tiered solutions, along with some top-rated registrars offering free Whois privacy protection after the first year, although these are quite a rarity.

Transferring domains

Transferring your domain to a different registrar is usually free of charge, although this can vary from registrar to registrar. Most providers will offer a free transfer if you choose their hosting or website builder service. 

Extension type and term length

The type of extension greatly affects the price of a domain name. Extension types like .org and .com tend to cost more. Term length is also a factor that affects the price. The longer the term length, the higher the price.

Premium domain name costs

If you think you’re going to secure a perfect domain name easily, think again, as chances are that it’s already taken. Fortunately, anything is possible if you’re prepared to spend more to get what you’re looking for. 

While it’s quite hard to estimate the value of a domain, you can find an affordable and catchy domain name if you invest enough time and effort into it. Premium domains are the best domain names as they are both memorable and short. 

More importantly, they usually come with the .com extension type that everyone is after. The shorter the name, the higher the price. If you can’t register the domain you want, there are other ways to obtain a catchy domain, such as buying it from the current owner. 

Premium domains are pretty costly and can reach millions of dollars, but they can also be a worthwhile investment. An easily memorable name provides extra leverage that you can use to your advantage to beat your competitors and improve your ranking on search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing. 

If you’re looking to buy a premium domain, there are top places to take into consideration:

Estimating a domain name value

If you want to estimate a domain name value properly, you first need to know about the most important features that determine the value:

  • TLD – .com is still the most desirable option, as well as being common and recognizable. If your domain includes .com, its value will go up.
  • Traffic and popularity – the volume of traffic a website drives is a crucial factor in estimating the domain’s value, as that name already comes with an existing target audience and has a well-established ranking on search engines.
  • Keywords – since your ranking depends on SEO, keywords in your domain name are vital to achieving the highest ranking on Google. If a domain name includes a popular keyword, this could increase its value.
  • Brandability – the most popular websites on the web have unique, memorable, and clear domain names that are attention-grabbing, trendy, and catchy. If your domain is like that, it will cost more.
  • Spelling – believe it or not, but unexpected spelling can help increase your domain’s value. It could make your name more brandable.
  • Length – the shorter a name is, the easier it is to remember. It’s crucial to making a domain more valuable.

Now that you know what to look for, you can estimate a domain name value by following these steps.

Do some research to see the common price for similar domains

The first step toward estimating your domain value is to see the most common prices for similar domains. It will help you understand what domain owners are charging for similar names. Find similar domains to the ones you own using a domain search tool and compare the prices. 

Hire an appraisal service

Another excellent way to determine the value of your domain is to use a domain appraisal service. It is a platform that allows you to find information about your domain name and compare it to similar domains to estimate its value, saving you time and effort in the process.

Find the highest bidder

Finally, put your domain up for sale and wait for the highest bidder. That could be the most effective way to get the highest price for your name.

Things to check before buying a domain name

Before you decide to buy a domain, there are 4 things to consider to make the process as straightforward as possible:

  • Hidden fees and pricing – we already mentioned that the prices you see on a domain name registrar’s website are introductory and could change after one year of service. We also reflected on hidden fees that you should be aware of before you make a purchase. Pay special attention to the fine print before you agree to anything.
  • Data and privacy protection – certain domain companies charge additional fees for hiding your personal and company information. Since this is vital to keeping your data away from spammers, check the privacy policy before you make a purchase.
  • Auto-renewal and cancellation policies – auto-renewal is one of the hidden charges that most domain name registrars won’t tell you about. If you plan on using a domain for more than one year, it’s fine, but if you don’t need it for more than a year, look for a provider that allows you to choose if you want a renewal. You should also check the cancellation policy if you decide to transfer your domain to another provider.
  • Subdomains – pay special attention to subdomains as they are treated as separate names by search engines and have separate rankings. Since they are viewed as separate websites, this could be a disadvantage if you plan on using them in the long run.

FAQs

What is the average cost for a domain name?

The typical price of a new domain name ranges from $9-$14.99 per year. However, the cost may differ based on the domain registrar, type of domain, and the domain extension you choose.

Are there free domain names?

Yes, there are, but they aren’t exactly free. In other words, free domains require you to pay for an additional service to get them. Typically, it’s a hosting or website builder service that comes with a free domain name. The registration also comes with a cost. You can expect to get a free domain for only the first year. After that, you need to pay for renewal.

Do I need hosting and a domain name?

If you’re building a new website, you’ll need a domain name and web hosting account. If you’re looking to use a domain name only for a specific period, you won’t need hosting. Hosting is an excellent option if you need to store your website’s files or change your domain name settings.

Who sells domain names?

When it comes to buying domain names, you have three options at your disposal:

– Domain registrar companies
– Hosting companies 
– Website builders

Conclusion 

Domain name prices can vary based on several different factors, and you have to consider the availability of certain domains and the domain name registrar you will be using. There are also renewal prices after the first year and even some hidden fees. However, you can generally get a domain name for just under or slightly above the $10 to $15 per year range, as long as you choose something creative and unique. 

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