Domain Name Costs

a woman pointing to a giant smartphone that has a domain name types in the url

Picking out a domain name for your website is one of the fun parts. You have a lot of leeway to come up with something creative, witty, or even just accurately descriptive of your business.

However, there are several costs (and potential costs) associated with registering a domain name that many small business owners aren’t aware of.

We put together this page to give you the lowdown on everything related to choosing your domain name!

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Registering your domain name

We’ll start with the most obvious cost: actually paying for your domain name. It’s important to understand that this isn’t a once-and-done investment – you’re essentially renting the domain name, not buying it outright.

Generally speaking, you can find acceptable domain names for a relatively small amount of money. For example, GoDaddy currently offers general .com domains from as low as $11.99/year. This pricing applies to most branded domain names, as your company brand isn’t usually a high-volume search keyword.

If you were hoping to land a prime, “generic” domain name like “,” you’ll be very unpleasantly surprised by the price tag. Domains that are considered “premium” can easily cost thousands of dollars and beyond. For example, the domain name “” will incur you a $4,999 fee upfront.

Choosing a TLD

A TLD, or Top Level Domain, is the (dot) extension at the end of your domain name, like .com, .net. org, and so on. Different extensions for the same domain name often vary in cost, so it’s good to keep an eye out and make sure you’re comparing extensions and picking the one you want to use.

There is now a whole host of “vanity” TLDs available to choose some, which allow you to be even more creative in choosing a domain name.

While these various TLDs don’t appear to have any measurable impact on SEO, site performance, etc., you probably want to stick with .com for your first, official business website, if possible.

How pricing works

Typically, you pay for the use of a domain name on a year-to-year basis. Most domain registrars will offer automatic renewals, so you don’t actually have to remember to pay every year.

In addition, most registrars offer reduced pricing if you sign up for a multi-year term instead of just paying year by year.

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Associated costs

Unfortunately, there are several places throughout the domain name registering process where you may be charged extraneously. These features are all optional, although many registrars will try to sneak them through without you noticing.


This is one of the most common “extras” offered with a domain name registration.

When you register a domain name, your contact information is passed along to the registrar’s “WHOIS” database, as they’re required to maintain records of every webmaster. Often times, this information is publicly available. This means spammers and hackers will have access to your name, email address, and so on.

WhoisGuard acts as a shield between you and the spammers. Instead of displaying your personal information in the registrar’s WHOIS database, it will simply display the generic company information of WhoisGuard.

WhoisGuard then filters all incoming emails, and passes along only the legitimate ones to you.

WhoisGuard is fairly inexpensive, costing between $2 and $5 extra per year from most registrars. Whether you want WhoisGuard or not is up to you, but it’s definitely an extra cost you should be aware of.

There are a number of privacy protection services out there – WhoisGuard is probably just the most recognizable.

Website builders

Various registrars will try to upsell you with “easy website builder” apps for an extra $X.XX/month. It’s once more up to you if you want to utilize these services or not, but it’s best to make sure you’re not paying for objectively simple functionality.

Professional email addresses

Plenty of registrars will also try to sell you “professional” email address, like “[email protected]”.

While these are legitimate, this option is almost always included by your hosting provider. Again, it’s best to be cautious and make sure you’re not paying for redundant functionality.

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In conclusion…

This page is a brief rundown of most major and associated domain name costs.

When buying a domain name, it’s always best to go through a big-name, trusted registrar, like NameCheap or GoDaddy. There are hundreds of basement-operation registrars that will try to price gouge you at every corner.

As per any purchase, simple proceed with caution. If something is confusing or seems incorrect, back up and spend some time researching before you hit process a payment. You could be saving yourself a year of headaches, find out how much it costs to buy a domain name with our free website cost calculator!

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Your domain name is only one piece of the puzzle when it comes to establishing a web presence. Dealing with your own website can be a daunting task, but we’ve got you covered.

We put together a free website cost estimate calculator that will help you gain a better understanding of what goes into the website creation process. It provides you with an overall cost estimate based on your personal needs, so you’ll have a point of reference going forward. Get your free estimate now!

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