I’m a big fan of Godaddy.com for registering domain names, however, their registration process can be confusing to new bloggers. Once you’re ready to checkout after finally selecting a domain name you want, you’ll be put through Godaddy’s infamous “upsell” tactics. This is where Godaddy offers you a bunch of other options and services along with your domain name. If you know what you are doing, purchasing a domain name from Godaddy is straight forward and easy. I’m going to show you exactly what all the options mean and tell you which you should and should not add to your purchase.
- Goto Godaddy.com and sign up for an account. The sign-up process takes only 2-3 minutes and you don’t have to purchase anything for an account. Just have this ready for future domain name purchases.
- On Godaddy’s homepage, you’ll find a large “Search for a new domain name” box. Enter a domain name here to check for availability. Click “Go”.
- Godaddy will tell you the availability of this domain name along with other variations on the next page. If the domain name is not available or you want to keep searching, click on the “new search” button.
- Click the “Add” button to add a domain name into your shopping cart. You can continue searching and adding until you’re ready to checkout. Godaddy does offer discounts for bulk purchases.
- Ready to checkout? click on the “Continue to registration” button on the right. A pop up window will appear asking if you want to purchase matching domain variations for a large discount. That is, if you’re buying a .com domain name, Godaddy will ask if you want the .net, .org, and .info as well for around $15.00.
The way I see it, unless you’re buying the domain to use as a business domain (you want protect your business name) or if you think you’ve found a great exact match domain, then I would just say “no thanks!” clicking on the “don’t show this again”.
- Go for 1 year registration. When I bought my first domain, I had no clue what I was doing. I was so excited about what I thought to be a great blog idea that I purchased a domain name with the .com, .net, and .org variations for 5 years. Well, to make the story short, I never really made use of the domain names and allowed them expire when the 5 years came up. Definite waste of money.
My advice would be to always purchase a 1 year registration. How I see it, if you can’t get an idea rolling within the first year, it’ll never start rolling. If I keep a domain name for the second year, that usually means it is bringing in enough income to cover all expenses. As long as you have a credit card on file, Godaddy will auto renew the domain if the free “auto renew” feature is turned on.
- No to Certified Domains. I don’t see the point of certified domains. Just click “Next”.
- Skip Name Servers and Auto Renew. If you already have a web hosting plan, you can insert the name server information here. Otherwise, you can submit this information after registration. If you’re not sure about your name servers, ask your web hosting company. For Dreamhost.com, the name servers are NS1.DREAMHOST.COM, NS2.DREAMHOST.COM, and NS3.DREAMHOST.COM.
- Standard Private & Domain Name Protection is fine. Usually speaking, I would just leave this to the standard option. However, if you’re up tight about your privacy on the internet, you can choose the “privacy & business registration” option. The privacy option is great because it hides your personal information (such as name and address) from possible lurkers on the internet.
When you register for a domain name, the registrant’s details are placed online in a large database. It’s quite easy to find a website owner’s name, address, and phone number by doing a quick search on whois.net. If the domain is managed by Godaddy.com, search for the domain in Godaddy’s search box and click on the “whois” link directly below the availability results.
If you want to hide this information, you can choose the privacy option which comes with business registration for $11.99. The business registration is probably not important to have and you can remove this on the review page before checkout. You can also just add the privacy option in the final review page for $7.99.
- No Emails. This option is offered in the “Activate your Domain” section. Many people think that buying the domain name is related to setting up email accounts. This is far from the truth! Instead, email accounts are setup with your web hosting provider.
- No Hosting. Godaddy is great for domain names. They don’t have a very good reputation for webhosting. I will show you how to setup hosting with Dreamhost.com in another article.
- No SSL. SSL stands for “Secured Socket Layer” and is an encryption technology mainly used for sending private and payment information across the internet. If you’re running an online store where you need to take credit card payments, you may need this. For general purpose blogs, there is no need. Click “Next”.
- Final Review! This next page is the final review page where you review the order. Just check to make sure the spelling of the domain name is correct. If you didn’t add private registration to the order in the prior steps, you can add this now for $7.99.
- Stop! Promo Code. You’re almost there and in the next page, you’ll be inserting your credit card or paypal information. However, before doing so, open a new window on your web browser and find a quick discount for your order. Just goto Google.com and search for “Godaddy promo codes”. After inserting a promo code, don’t forget to click on “round up for charity”. I just saved you money on this purchase, it’s fair that I ask you to give a little to charity right?
- You’ve made it! Enter your credit card and you’re done! You’ve successfully registered a domain name with Godaddy! Not too tough right? You should receive an email about this purchase almost instantly. Make sure you keep your Godaddy login and password in a safe and memorable location (I like to email it to myself). If you ever change email addresses, make sure to update your Godaddy account. Tons of domains unexpectedly expire daily because the owners changed their email address and never received the expiration notifications from Godaddy.
Pat yourself on the back because you’ve successfully registered a domain name, it’s a start to a very cool hobby and possible carrer.
Now that you have a domain name, there are only a couple things to setup and manage. You can manage your domain under the “Domain” tab clicking on “Domain Management”. You will find a list of all your registered domains here. If this is a new purchase, it usually takes several minutes for the new order to show up. Click on the domain name you want to manage to enter the “domain details” page. You need to make sure that:
- Make sure the domain is “locked”, this prevents accidental transfers.
- Make sure the domain is set on “auto renew”, this renews the domain name every year if you have a credit card on file.
- I assume you are not hosting your website with Godaddy? Click on “set nameservers” under the Nameserver heading. A pop-up will appear. Click on “I have specific nameservers for my domains” and enter your nameservers. Again, your web hosting company should provide you with this information. For all Dreamhost.com customers, enter NS1.DREAMHOST.COM, NS2.DREAMHOST.COM, and NS3.DREAMHOST.COM and click ok. This usually takes several minutes to update, however, it may take up to 24 hours to spread globally.