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Don't expect to get something for nothing! With web host services, it is fairly common for a hosting service to give away a free Domain Name if you agree to a service contract. But, like for most things, there's always a cost.
At minimum, you can expect to sign up for a full year of service with the web hosting service to receive your free domain registration. Is this worth it to you? Is the company a good company or are you only interested in the deal? Be careful and do your homework before biting at a deal like this.
Domain names are nicknames for your website. Remember in the old days how telephone numbers were city names and a 2 digit number? Similarly, a domain name resolves back to your website's IP Address.
When you buy a domain registration, you are registering your nickname with the main directory that knows where your server is,and points the traffic that way.
Generally, domain name registration is anywhere from $7.95 (if purchasing in volume) to up to $35.00 per year. Each domain registration agency offers value add services that are either included or have additional fees.
In most cases, if you just want to purchase a domain name, you can search for the best value and go with the company that provides the most for your money. If you require special services, it's best to research your options and cost benefits.
Domain registration is usually offered for periods of one to ten year increments. You may purchase several years in advance to reserve the domain names you want to keep as staples, or those that have the best value.
If you do not purchase domains in advance, you will want to use a registrar that provides an auto-renew feature so that you never loose your web identity. If your domain expires, your domain name can be snapped up by the first person on a waiting list or open to the general public.
It's pretty easy to get a domain name. Simply go to a website that is an ICANN accredited Registrar. They will ask information from you for general contact, billing, and the choice of domain name. Domain registration takes only a few minutes, and the research in finding that perfect domain is usually quick and easy.
All reputable domain name registration agencies have a tool that allows you to see if the name you've chosen is available and they offer alternatives if the name you prefer is already taken.