For most people, one of the very first steps to build a website is the domain name. In this tutorial, learn how to search for, buy, and register a domain name from Google Domains.
While you can find domain names elsewhere for a few dollars cheaper than Google Domains, I am more than happy to spend the extra money. Although Google Domains is slightly more expensive at $12 per year, I find their product to be seriously intuitive and secure with free privacy protection.
Domain Name Search with Google Domains
First, head on over to Google Domains which you can access at domains.google. In the Search for a domain name box, type in your desired domain name.
If you’re lucky, your domain name will be available for purchase. Otherwise, Google will give you plenty of alternative options to choose from.
In this tutorial series, I will take you step-by-step through the process of building my cereal blog. While I wanted the domain name cereal.com, it wasn’t available, so I settled on cereal.guru which was available under the All Endings tab.
While .com domain names cost just $12 per year, other “premium” domain name endings like .club or .gold can cost upwards of $320/year and even thousands of dollars. The cheapest domain name extension that I consistently found was .pw which costs just $9/year with Google Domains.
For my cereal blog, I chose cereal.guru which costs $20/year.
How to Buy a Domain Name
When you are satisfied with your domain name, click on the cart icon with the plus sign above it to add that specific domain name to your cart. In the upper right corner, click on the other cart icon in the navigation bar.
Within your cart, you will see your domain name and the yearly price.
For most domains, there are two options that are by default turned on. The first is privacy protection. Included privacy protection is one of the reasons I use Google Domains. I’ve bought domains in the past from other domain name registrars like GoDaddy and Dreamhost and unless you pay extra for privacy protection, your contact information will be made public and you’ll get loads of junk mail and spam calls from companies trying to sell you their services.
Take it from me—leave privacy protection on.
The other option is auto-renewal. If you plan to keep your website going for more than I year, I also suggest you leave this option on.
Don’t be like Google and forget to renew your domain name. Instead, leave auto-renew on.
Finally, click on the Check Out button at the bottom and enter your personal and billing information.
Namecheap DNS and Google Domains
Now that you officially own a domain name, the next step is to link it to your website host. While we will learn how to host your website next, we can link your domain name to your host ahead of time.
Only perform this step if you plan on following along in this tutorial series or at least plan to use Namecheap to host your website.
From Google Domains, click on the My domains menu item on the left and find your domain in the list. Next, click on Manage. On the next page, click on the DNS menu item on the left.
DNS stands for domain name server and simply is a way to link your domain name to your website host.
By default, Google name servers are used, but since we plan to host your website with Namecheap servers, we must select to option to Use custom name servers.
Type in the following two URLs into the first two custom name server text boxes to link your domain to Namecheap.
Finally, click on Save. At this point, even though we haven’t purchased hosting yet, your new Google Domain name is now pointing to the Namecheap servers.
UP NEXT: How to Host Your Website
Now that you own your very own domain name, you need a home for your website to live. Websites exist all over the world on computers and servers, often maintained by hosting companies.
In the next part of this WordPress tutorial series, you’ll learn how to host your website with my favorite hosting company, Namecheap.
As always, if you have any questions about getting a domain name for your website or blog, let me know in the comments below. I’ll be more than happy to help you out.