A domain name is your site's location on the internet. It translates the numbers that make up your IP address in some way that people can remember. Domain names are purchased through Domain Name Registrars, companies that handle domain name booking and point them to your site.
RELATED: What is DNS and should I use another DNS server?
Where to Buy a Domain Name
When you purchase a domain name, you do it through a "Domain Registrar" that manages the registration of that domain name. For most registrars, you buy the domain from them and then use a web host to manage the site. Some companies provide both services.
Google Domains is an excellent tool for finding domains and integrating well with Google's mail services. Name Chips and Hover are other good alternatives and offer good DNS support and mail hosting in addition to low domain rates.
You can also buy directly from your hosting provider (like GoDaddy), but if you want to switch providers, it's generally harder because you usually need to transfer the domain to another registrar, sometimes even lock it to the specific host.
If my domain has already been taken?
If someone already has your domain, you can still buy it, but it costs more. This is because instead of buying it from a registrar at a standard price, you have to buy it from the one who has it. Many register domains that they think may be profitable and then sell them on domain markets like Sedo and Afternic. You can try to search for these services if you need the specific domain.
The cheaper thing to do is try another top-level domain (like ".net" or ".biz" instead of ".com"). There are many common ones like .org, .net and .co, but also some more obscure ones like .xyz, .biz and .business. Often these will not be taken, and you can find a domain with the same name by purchasing one of these.
What happens after I've purchased my domain?
The first thing you know is that your domain is not a website; it's only the name of your website on the Internet. You have reserved the name, but you still need the actual site. If you purchased your domain through your hosting provider, you should already have it configured, but if you have just purchased the domain, you must point it to a hosting provider by changing the DNS settings.
If you do not know how to build a website, please read our guide to the best code-free website builders. With these services you can build your site without encoding, often just by using a premade mall. Weebly and Wix are easy to use, and both have free plans to get started.
If you plan to build a blog, you will use WordPress, which is a content management system that manages all your blog posts with a good editor and powerful templates. You still need to host it so you can read our guide to the best-managed WordPress web hosting service to find what's right for you.
Image Credits: Rawpixel.com/Shutterstock