How Much Does a Domain Name Cost in 2023 + Can I Get One for Free?
A domain name is essential for building a strong online presence. The good news is, registering one does not have to be expensive.
The average domain name cost is around $10-20/year. That said, domain name prices vary depending on factors such as the chosen registrar, registration period, and additional features.
In this article, we’ll explore each factor influencing domain registration fees and the steps to buy a domain. If you want to save money, we’ll also briefly explain how to get free domains.
How Much Does a Domain Name Cost on Average in 2023?
On average, registering a new domain name costs between $10-20/year. Domain renewal prices are higher, ranging from $10-60/year or more.
At Hostinger, expect to spend between $7.99-12.99/year for popular extensions like .com and .net. We also offer low cost domains for only $0.99/year.
What Influences the Domain Name Cost: 6 Factors to Consider
Various factors affect domain prices. Let’s explore each one of them in greater detail.
1. Domain Registrar Fees
Different domain registrars have their own pricing policies. Some provide a big discount for the first year and charge higher renewal costs, while others offer flat pricing plans.
To save on costs, choose a web hosting provider that includes a free domain name in its plans. Hostinger offers a free domain name and privacy protection with most web hosting purchases.
Illegitimate domain registrars are often linked to phishing attacks. We recommend buying a domain name from an ICANN-accredited registrar to ensure credibility. You can find Hostinger in ICANN’s List of Accredited Registrars.
How to Register a Domain Name
Here are the steps to register a domain name via Hostinger:
- Choose a memorable domain name your target audience will easily recognize.
- After finding a suitable address, check its availability via our Domain Name Search tool.
Domain Name Checker
Instantly check domain name availability.
- If no one has purchased it, click Add to cart.
- Select the registration period, create a new account, and choose the payment method.
- Verify the domain ownership via email.
Before registering a new domain name at Hostinger, make sure to comply with the requirements, such as the terms of service, valid contact details, and domain registration agreement.
2. Top-Level Domain Pricing
Top-level domains (TLDs), or domain extensions, refer to the last part of a domain name. For example, google.com has Google as the address and .com as the domain extension.
There are three popular types of TLDs:
- Generic. This domain extension type is available for anyone without any geographical restrictions. Generic TLD examples include .com, .net, .org, .store, and .tech.
- Sponsored. Since they belong to a certain entity, only eligible users can register sponsored TLDs. For instance, .gov is the official extension for US-based government agencies, while .edu is for educational institutions.
- Country-code. Top-level domains like .us, .uk, and .jp represent specific regions. To purchase one, users must provide a registered address in the area.
Due to their perceived value, more familiar extensions like .com are often more expensive.
For example, Hostinger offers the .com extension for $9.99/year. In comparison, .store costs only $0.99/year.
Another factor is domain name availability. Many users go for popular domain extensions like .com and .net, so a lot of web addresses are already taken.
If you want a domain that’s already taken, you must negotiate with the current owner. Alternatively, choose a different extension or come up with another name.
To learn more about what affects the prices of TLDs, check out our blog post on the future of domains and TLD trends.
3. Domain Privacy Protection
When registering a domain, WHOIS stores your personal details like phone number, home address, domain name, IP address, and expiration date. Since the information is publicly available, your site may be prone to identity theft, email phishing, and spam attacks.
We recommend getting domain privacy protection to keep your data hidden in the WHOIS directory. Hostinger offers domain privacy protection for free, while other registrars charge around $1-20/year.
Here’s how to activate domain privacy protection at Hostinger:
- Access hPanel → Domains.
- Click your domain name and scroll down to the WHOIS Privacy section.
- Toggle the button to turn it on.
Head to the WHOIS domain lookup tool and enter your domain name to check whether your contact details are marked Not Disclosed.
Note that some TLDs don’t support privacy protection, such as .us and .uk. Other TLDs have personal information hidden by default, like .ch and .li. Make sure to check the extension before purchasing domain privacy protection.
4. Domain Registration Duration
Another factor contributing to domain name cost is the registration period. While most domain registrars offer a minimum period of one year, choose a longer duration to save money in the long run.
For example, Hostinger offers a 21% price reduction if you purchase .com for two years. Buying .online for the same duration lets you save 49%.
Make sure to renew the domain name before it expires. Otherwise, you might need to pay additional fees to re-activate the address.
To prevent this, we recommend turning on the auto-renew feature. Hostinger users can access hPanel → Domains and toggle on the Enable auto-renewal button next to the domain name.
If you own multiple domains, simply activate the option on each one.
5. The Cost of Domain Transfers
Domain transfer refers to the process of migrating a domain name to another registrar, usually for better support services or refund policies.
Before transferring a domain, compare the domain transfer prices from different registrars. Some providers offer free migration but charge a one-year renewal fee.
Here are Hostinger’s domain name transfer costs for popular TLDs.
For a successful transfer, ensure your domain is active and that 60 days have passed since the registration or last transfer date.
Moreover, check the domain registrar’s policy since some extensions are not transferable.
If a registrar does not support your top-level domain, access the Domain Name System (DNS) and point the nameserver to a web hosting company. For example, use the following nameservers to point a domain to Hostinger:
Depending on the TLD, three possibilities can happen to the domain expiration date after a transfer:
- It gets extended for a year
- It gets restarted from the transfer date
- It stays the same
6. Custom Email Accounts
A custom email address that represents your business name helps boost brand recognition. For instance, using email@example.com over firstname.lastname@example.org will make you appear more professional.
However, creating a professional email account via a domain registrar or email service provider requires additional fees. To cut down the domain name cost, we recommend purchasing one from a web hosting provider like Hostinger.
We include custom email for free in all of our hosting services. The Single Web Hosting plan supports one email account, while the Premium Web Hosting package lets users create up to 100 domain-based email addresses.
How to Buy a Registered Domain Name
You can purchase a web address that’s already taken. The first option is to find the domain’s owner via WHOIS and make an offer. If the information is hidden, visit the website and send an inquiry via email or a contact form.
Alternatively, use sites like SnapNames to purchase registered domain names.
The safest way to buy a domain name from someone else is to use a broker who will approach the domain owner with an offer on your behalf. If an agreement is made, they will handle the escrow process. An intermediary and escrow are key to most domain purchases from private parties. It deposits the money into a safe holding account while the domain is transferred to the new owner.
Buying a registered domain is often more expensive than a new one, especially if you go for a premium domain. A premium domain is a high-quality web address that people buy and sell to make a significant profit.
Premium domain names cost between a few thousand dollars to tens of millions. The most expensive domains include lasvegas.com for $90 million and carinsurance.com for $49.7 million.
If you’re on a tight budget, consider using domain name generators to find alternative TLDs. Let’s check travelnomad.com as an example. Since the name is unavailable, the domain search tool will provide suggestions like travelnomad.store and travelnomad.pro.
A business name generator is also helpful in brainstorming a new name. For instance, when entering the “travel nomad” keyword, the tool will list several ideas, such as “Wanderlust Vacation.”
After finding an alternative address, check its availability using a domain checker tool.
Whatever method you choose, remember that good domain names should be short and memorable.
The Cost of Redeeming an Expired Domain Name
When a domain name expires, the owner might need to pay additional fees to redeem it. The amount depends on the domain name cycle.
The grace period usually lasts 0 to 45 days after the expiration date. During this timeframe, a standard renewal fee applies.
Renewal prices typically cost higher than the domain name registration fees. For instance, Hostinger offers .com for $9.99/year with a renewal cost of $13.99/year.
Once the grace period ends, the domain will enter the redemption period. It usually lasts 30 days, but the exact duration varies for different TLDs.
Expect to pay extra domain name costs to get it back during this stage. In addition to the redemption fee, you also have to pay the renewal rate.
Hostinger charges a redemption fee of $80 + renewal cost + VAT for most domain extensions. However, we charge $180 + renewal fee + VAT for .com.
After the redemption period ends, the domain will enter the pending delete status. Users can no longer make changes or redeem the domain. Instead, it goes back on sale, and anyone can purchase it at the normal price.
To maintain ownership over your domain for multiple years, activate the auto-renewal feature. Alternatively, pick a plan with a longer registration period.
Can I Get a Free Domain Name?
Yes, there are various ways to get a free domain name. Hostinger offers a free domain name for one year with most of our hosting plans. We also include free WHOIS protection and an SSL certificate.
Alternatively, use a free subdomain from a website builder like WordPress.com. For example, users can get yourdomain.wordpress.com instead of yourdomain.com.
As a last resort, it’s also possible to register a free domain name via Freenom. The registrar provides five country-code TLDs to choose from – .ga, .tk, .ml, .cf, .gq.
However, these extensions are not the best choice for business websites. They appear less professional in the eyes of potential customers and search engines.
Domain name cost varies from less than $1 to millions of dollars, depending on these factors:
- Your domain registrar
- The domain’s perceived value – popular top-level domains like .com cost more
- Registration period and annual renewal fee
- Domain name types – general, expired, or premium
- Add-ons, like privacy protection and business email accounts
- The transfer fee, if you decide to switch registrars
Now that you know what factors affect domain prices, it’s time to determine what type of domain suits your needs and budget. Some may prefer an industry-specific extension like .tech, while others might invest in a premium domain for effective branding.
To save money, choose a web hosting company that offers a free domain name, like Hostinger. If you have more questions regarding domain name cost, check out the FAQs section below.
Additional Reading After Buying a Domain
Domain Name Cost FAQ
This section will answer some of the most common questions about domain prices.
Can I Buy a Domain Name for a One-Time Fee?
Unfortunately, you can’t register a domain name permanently. 10 years is the maximum domain ownership period.
Are There Any Hidden Costs Associated With Owning a Domain Name?
In addition to a domain name, you must purchase a web hosting service and SSL certificate to launch a website. Fortunately, many web hosting companies offer a free domain and SSL certificate in their plans.
Why Do Domain Names Cost Money?
The domain registrar needs funds to operate and maintain the infrastructure required to make your web address accessible to visitors.
Can I Negotiate the Price of a Domain Name?
Yes, you can negotiate the price with the domain name owner. The best way to make an offer is via a professional broker. They will mediate the transaction to ease the process for both parties.
Should I Get a Premium Domain Name?
If you have the budget, we recommend investing in a premium domain name. It is excellent for improving your branding and search ranking. Premium domain names are available via private sellers, organizations, or auctions. You can contact the domain owner or visit domain marketplaces like Sedo and Flippa.