Beginner's Guide to Domain Names

Introduction to Domain Registration, Management, and Maintenance

Table of Contents


Introduction to Domain Names


Domain Registration Process


Understanding Domain Prices & Costs


Domain Protection


Domain Maintenance


Helpful Domain Tools


Using the Dynadot Platform


Frequently Asked Questions


Introduction to Domain Names

The question of how to register domains, what they are, and how to accomplish domain-related tasks comes up frequently, especially since domains have become an important component of how individuals engage with the digital world. While domains are simple at first glance, there are actually many intricacies involved when considering how they're used, what they fulfill, and the steps associated with registering and managing them.
In this guide, we'll be simplifying domain names and the nuances surrounding them. Our goal is to get you feeling comfortable with the domain registration and management process, wherever that takes place.

What are domain names?

A domain name is a human-readable address that serves as a recognizable label to access websites. They make the internet a more accessible place by allowing a unique set of characters to be used in web browsers to take the user to an address, which generates a website's content.

This address is an important concept, as website information and data is stored on a web server with a numerical IP address (e.g. Rather than having internet users manually type IP addresses to access websites, domain names were created to make the process more user-friendly.

To turn a domain name into an IP address, the Domain Name System (DNS) is used. Users can simply type a domain name into a web browser address bar and be automatically taken to the associated IP address without having to type a contextless series of numbers.

Domain names are made up of a top-level domain (like '.com') and a second-level domain (the website's name, such as 'dynadot' in ''). They play a crucial role in branding, online navigation, and user engagement on the internet while having many different uses.

dynadot second-level domain
.com top-level domain

Domain names vs. web hosting: What's the difference?

For those unfamiliar, it can be confusing that domains aren't connected to a website by default; after all, websites just load when domain names are placed into your address bar, right?

Web hosting is the service that provides the user's browser with the necessary files to load a website once a user enters the domain in the browser address bar. It's completely separate from the individual domain name you search for and register.

How does this fit with the domain name system already mentioned? To help understand the process, let's go through what happens when a user types a domain into an address bar.

1. User enters into their web browser address bar.
2. DNS servers attempt to locate the IP address associated with the domain name.
3. DNS servers return the IP address to the user's browser.
4. User's computer now has the correct IP address, and it loads the web server that contains the website files.

To simplify, the domain name system is responsible for connecting a domain name with an IP address, which is then used to connect to the web server that contains the website's files and assets. Those files are compiled to load the website that users can engage with.

When it comes to web hosting, you can register domains before you've even acquired web hosting. Typically, many domain registrars (websites you can register domain names from) have a tool or service available that includes web hosting with the domain, such as our website builder.

Why domain names are important

The importance of domain names in today's digitally dominated world can't be understated. Many businesses, brands, and online communities thrive because of what domain names enable. Let's highlight why domains play such a crucial role.

Brand Representation

Individuals, especially in younger generations, gravitate online, and they expect brands to follow suit. Domains are a necessity for building an online presence. In order for a brand to exist in the digital realm, they need to have a domain that allows users to visit, engage with, and foster a connection.

Having a digital presence to help brands accomplish their objectives is critical, as not owning a domain for a website leaves a gap for your competitors to take advantage of. Domains create endless opportunities that can all be directly connected to a brand and are the door to helping users find information, products, support, and entertainment.

Brand Protection

As much as a domain is the gateway to a brand's online presence, it is also a safeguard used to prevent misrepresentation or letting audiences get lost online. Not having a domain can result in malicious entities using another brand's audience, or it can open a path for competitors to overrun a brand due to a lack of an online presence. Registering a domain lets a brand guide and control how users engage with it.

Gateway to Information

Much of the internet is all about learning, sharing, and discussing information, and domains are part of the platforms that contain this knowledge. By owning a domain that frequently provides this information, whether it's about a brand's products or discussing the latest movies, you provide value to online users. This value allows you to generate an audience, which can help foster an online community, which can in turn be used to grow a business and improve overall discoverability online.

Establish Credibility

Domain names are a form of online representation. By properly establishing and nurturing it with content, the domain and brand associated with it can become a credible resource for any audience. The more credible a domain and website is, the higher the likelihood of providing valuable traffic to either build an online community or help a business grow.

Build Communities

While the internet is decentralized, domain names and websites naturally pull individuals together based on shared interests, creating new communities of any and all types. Through establishing an online environment, a domain can be a hub for individuals to engage confidently while expressing themselves.

Drive Traffic

Having any sort of brand reputation online requires a home base to work out of, and a brand's domain is the entrance. By establishing your domain and building online notoriety (organically or through paid advertising), your domain functions as a funnel to capture audiences online and bring them into the world that is your brand.

Home of Commerce

Websites for many brands are a tool you can leverage to generate income, and registering domains is one of the first key steps to setting up a successful ecommerce store. Selling goods and services through a domain is how many online businesses operate, and the more distinguished and memorable the domain, the higher the chance you'll get more eyes on what you're selling.
TIPRegistering the right domain can provide incredible value for so many businesses and brands, especially when considering the cost of a domain compared to the potential advantages it can provide.

Domain names and their many uses

It's clear how domains are crucial in the online space for both brands and communities alike, but how are they actually used? There are many ways domain names are used to shape an online presence.

Creating a Website

The most obvious use of a domain is also one of their primary purposes: hosting a website. Websites have a huge variety of uses, often depending on the goals of the website owner. From gateways into brand interaction to marketplaces for niche items to community-shared discussion boards, it's all enabled by the website that is hosted on the domain name.

Build an Online Store

Digital markets are booming, and brands often focus their efforts on supporting their products online through a digital store. Domain names act as a retail store entrance that audiences can access from any location. Gone are the challenges and costs of needing a physical space to create a store; a business ecommerce website can now be set up quickly at a fraction of the price.

Set up a Custom Email Address

For businesses, @gmail or @yahoo email addresses aren't the best way to represent a brand through email communication. Domain names provide an avenue to custom-create email addresses to make their emails more professional and branded. They're a powerful tool that can help legitimize interactions online.

Building a Social Media Presence

Domains can be used to create a quick-access link to a brand's social media. They can also be used as link shorteners to make it easy for audiences to be connected to a brand's social media presence, wherever they're located.

Advertising and Promotion

Domains are often registered to support a specific advertising campaign, which can help narrow user engagement to exactly what a brand wants to promote. If brands are looking for their audience to take specific action, they'll utilize a custom domain to keep that domain's website laser-focused on their promotional objective.

Domain Investing Purposes

The domain investing world is niche, but it's got a booming community where domains are traded, sold, and acquired as the primary commodity. Within the domain investing space, domains have a variety of uses, including: placing advertisements on domains to earn residual income; buying and selling domains to others; and creating content on a website to later resell the domain name.

Types of domain names

Beyond the whys and hows of domain name usage, we should touch on the various types of domain names, as they can play an important role in the domain registration process.

Introduction to TLDs

Top-level domains (TLDs), sometimes referred to as 'domain extensions', come in all sorts of lengths, can each include various meanings, and can represent different things depending on how they're used. With over 2,000 TLDs in total, finding a good fit is key.

What are Top-level Domains (TLD)?

A top-level domain is the letter combination that appears after the registered domain. The most recognized and common is '.COM', but there are so many other types to mix and match to fit one's needs. Here are the various other types of top-level domains that you may come across on the web.

Generic Top-level Domains (gTLDs)

Domain extensions that are not geographically-based that often have an industry, field, or theme attached to them fall into the generic TLD category. This could include broader-meaning domain extensions such as .COM or .XYZ that can fit just about any brand, or they can include extensions that fall into a specific industry or use cases, such as .SHOP, .PHOTO or .DEV.

Country-code Top-level Domains (ccTLDs)

ccTLDs are domain extensions that represent a specific country and uniquely contain only two characters. For example, .CA is Canada's ccTLD, .UK is for the United Kingdom, and .IN is for India. While ccTLDs are usually created to indicate a brand or website's presence within a country, some ccTLDs have loosened registration requirements and have become globally accessible, allowing any brands or individuals to also utilize the extension.

For example, .TV was created for the country of Tuvalu but has since become associated with the livestreaming/video creation space online. ccTLDs that focus more on supporting local businesses or individuals within the country often have stricter requirements to be eligible to use the domain name.

New Top-level Domains (nTLDs)

In 2011, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) loosened the requirements for creating new top-level domains, which opened the floodgates for many businesses and organizations wanting to own their own TLD. Many TLDs created as a result of this action are referred to as "New Top-level Domains".

Second-level Domains (SLD)

When individuals mention second-level domains, they are referring to the actual name of the registered domain, excluding the TLD. For example, for, 'dynadot' would be the second-level domain.

Third-level Domains

A third-level domain, often referred to as a subdomain, is the set of characters found to the left of the second-level domain. Subdomains are used to designate a specific type of content that separates the primary domain's content from the subdomain's content.

For example, if I owned and wanted to create a blog, I may use, with 'blog' being the third-level domain (the subdomain). You'll commonly see blogs, shops, and tools being used as subdomains, usually when the brand wants to keep certain content separate from the main website.

Understanding TLD Requirements

It's important to understand that certain TLDs have requirements that must be met to either acquire them and/or use them. While the majority of gTLDs don't have any requirements attached to them, some still do (for example, .ARCHI requiring you to be in or around the architecture industry). While it's rare for gTLDs to have restrictions, it isn't uncommon for ccTLDs.
gTLD Requirements: Uncommon, but when they are in place they usually restrict the usage of a domain to keep its content to a certain industry or vertical.
ccTLD Requirements: Country-based domain extensions often require the registrant to reside or operate in/around the country of said ccTLD. This is not always the case, as some ccTLDs allow for more general registrations.

Premium Domains

Along your domain registration journey, you may come across domains with higher-than-usual prices. These domains often fall into the 'premium' domain category, which is where a domain is designated as valuable by the domain registry (organizations that own certain TLDs), which typically means it's a high-quality domain for either brands to use or for domain investors to leverage for their investing strategy.

Domains can be premium for many reasons. One of the most popular reasons being the keyword(s) included in the domain, followed by the brevity of the domain name. The price of a premium domain will vary, usually depending on what the domain name is along with the TLD.

Domain name ownership

When acquiring domains, it's important to know that ownership of domains is temporary. Since you're registering domains, they provide access to manage the domain during the registered period, which is determined by the length specified when registering the domain. This ownership period is crucial to understand, as ignoring it can result in the domain expiring, ultimately causing it to return to the open market.

Registrations Length

Most domain extensions allow for between 1 and 10 year registration durations, which is chosen upon registration. This will determine how long a domain stays under your ownership.

Domain Renewal

At any point while a domain is registered under your account, you can renew it to add an additional year(s) to your domain name. Renewal availability changes if the domain has expired.

Domain Expiration

Domains that aren't renewed enter the expiration process, containing steps that eventually end in the owner losing domain ownership. The exact dates and availability to renew a domain during expiration varies between registrars, but the general process remains consistent.
TIPThe vast majority of domains must be registered and renewed to maintain ownership. Permanent domain ownership isn't possible.

Domain Name Life Cycle Visualized

Jan 1st, 2024
Domain registeredUser registers the domain for a selected number of years. In this example, it's a one year registration.
Jan 1st, 2024 - Dec 31st, 2024
Renewal availabilityAnytime during the ownership period, the user can renew the domain. They will typically be reminded multiple times near expiration to renew the domain via renewal email notices.
Mar 1st, 2024
Transfer availability60 days after registering the domain, your domain becomes eligible for transfer to another registrar.
Jan 1st, 2025
Domain expiredDomain has expired if not renewed.
Jan 1st, 2025
Grace period beginsThe domain is still renewable for the 30-day grace period despite being expired.
Jan 31st, 2025
Grace period ends, redemption period beginsOnce the grace period concludes, the domain begins the deletion process. There is a 30 day restoration period where the domain may be able to be restored for a higher price. This isn't guaranteed.
Mar 2nd, 2025
Redemption period endsDomain can no longer be restored. It may be available for backorder requests to attempt to register the domain once it's fully released.
Mar 7th, 2025
Domain reenters open marketThe domain concludes the deletion process and, approximately 5 days after the redemption period ends, the domain becomes available for general registration. If the domain has value, it may be registered quickly.


Domain Registration Process

Understanding the steps to register your domain.

Process Overview

Registering a domain name can be a simple endeavor or a research-intensive process depending on domain availability, what the domain is going to be used for, and how the domain fits with the owner's objectives. In this section, we'll cover the process of registering a domain name from start to finish.

Brainstorming your domain name:

Idea generation, best practices, and tools.

Selecting your top-level domain:

Tips to help narrow down TLD options.

Checking domain availability:

Ways to check and domain availability issues.

Selecting your domain registrar:

What to consider when deciding.

Domain registration checkout options:

Choices during checkout.

Registration complete:

Domain name acquired!

Brainstorming your domain name

Coming up with the perfect domain name for business or personal use is difficult. Great options may seem plentiful, but often the best choices are already registered or just don't match the brand. Luckily, there are tools and best practices that will help narrow your options to get you on the right track.

Best practices when selecting a domain name

Identifying and becoming aware of what will set your domain up for success is key during the selection process. After all, domains connect directly with your online presence and can be used as a powerful tool for promotion, brand recognition, connecting with your audience, and much more.

1. Decide on a domain type: descriptive vs. brandable

Consider narrowing the brainstorming process by identifying what domain type aligns with your brand or domain use. There are two primary options when it comes to your naming approach:
Descriptive domains
Domains that describe their website's content, services, or brand products are defined as descriptive domains. Reading the domain will immediately give a user an indication of what may be included on the website.
Brandable domains
Domains that are more abstract and aren't an indication of the website's content, services, or products are called brandable domains. They can be fabricated words or words that have completely different meanings that represent your brand. A user's first interactions with the domain won't tell them what content to expect; you'll have to create that connection.
TIPSelecting which options work for you and your objectives often comes down to branding. Do you want to acquire a brandable domain and establish your brand name through exposure and user engagement? Or do you want a descriptive domain that isn't as memorable but can set expectations for content found on your website right from the domain name? For more information, visit our blog article discussing the topic.

2. Keep your domain short

Shorter domains make the path to your website or online presence more accessible. This simple consideration has ramifications on many other important efforts, such as promotions that include your domain and building general brand awareness by making it easy for your audience to recall your domain.

3. Memorability is king

Having a memorable domain name is one of the most important factors in both building and maintaining an audience. Combined with a strong website and user engagement, having a distinct and easy-to-recall domain will help develop consistent website traffic.

4. Keep your domain accessible

Your domain should be easy to type and spelled exactly as it sounds. Name complexity should be avoided if possible. While it may be tempting to register an unconventional domain due to lack of availability for your ideal domain, it's not worth the hurdle created for new or returning users trying to reach your website. Avoid hyphens or numbers.

5. Future-proofing your domain

Consider the long-term value your domain can provide and don't rush the domain selection process. While just grabbing a domain to move forward with can be tempting, your selection can impact you and your brand in many subtle ways. While you can switch domains down the line, it can impact both your marketing efforts and branding. Take time to consider your options.

Tools to help brainstorm

With those best practices in mind, it's time to come up with some domain names! Hitting roadblocks during the idea generation phase is common. Here are some common online tools that can help you with your research:

1. Domain name generator tools

Generates ideas for domain names based on specific requested criteria. Often, these will check domain availability while trying to come up with options for you.

2. Keyword research tools

Use keyword research tools like Google Keyword Planner, AnswerThePublic, or other SEO-focused tools to identify relevant keywords in your niche. These keywords can inspire domain name ideas.

3. Word combiner tools

Tools that merge random or preselected words/syllables to create unique and catchy domain names can get you thinking outside the box.

4. Utilizing AI domain searches

There are even AI search tools that can take a word or phrase and generate potential domains that aren't already taken.

Selecting your
top-level domain

Depending on how you approached the brainstorming process, you may already have a domain extension in mind. However, if you've only got a name selected, it's time to consider the many, many top-level domain options available.

Choose the Right Domain Extension for You

While we covered what top-level domains actually are, selecting from the massive list available can be daunting. Looking for alternative TLDs is especially common when your domain of choice is already taken in your preferred TLD. Here are some tips that can help with the TLD selection process.

1. Understand the options

Learn about all of the available TLD options that could apply to your website's content or industry. If your ideal domain is taken in a popular extension, there are plenty of generic yet appropriate alternative TLDs that likely have availability. These other extensions may allow you to get your brand's exact match domain.

2. Match your brand

There are many domain extensions that match specific industries, topics, interests, and even hobbies. Some are broader in meaning which apply to a wide number of brands (e.g. .SHOP or .ONLINE), while others have a more refined focus that apply to a smaller group of brands (e.g. .TV or .WINE). Finding a TLD that aligns with your website's content can amplify brand recognition while being a fantastic way to make your domain more distinct and meaningful.

3. Create memorability and accessibility

Domain names are a form of branding all in themselves. Acquiring a domain extension that adds complexity to your domain is a hurdle that can cause you to lose traffic and weaken promotion efforts. Consider TLDs that are easy to remember that, when combined with your domain name, support your brand or online objectives. A domain extension can help your domain stand out or make your domain name become lost in the crowd.

Checking domain availability

You've got your domain name selected, chosen a top-level domain that aligns with it, and now comes the hopeful check to see if your ideal domain is available for registration. You can use either of the following tools to check availability:
Domain Search
Use any domain name search on a registrar's website to quickly let you know if a domain is taken or available. If you're unsure on which registrar to choose, see our list of guidelines that can assist.
Whois Lookup
Use a dedicated Whois search tool to also check a domain's availability. You can use the additional information outlined later in this article to understand how they work.
If your desired domain is available, it's time to select your registrar to make your domain registration official! Otherwise, you will need to go back to the drawing board and come up with an alternative name and/or TLD combination that is available to proceed. Alternatively, you could attempt to register the taken domain name.

Registering domains that are taken

One of the most common pain points when going through the domain research process is finding out the domain you want is already registered.
While this is often a dead-end, start-from-square-one scenario, you still have a few options to check if you're dedicated to one specific domain:
1. Contacting the existing ownerPrivately communicating with the domain name owner and checking if they're willing to sell the domain name may result in negotiations.
2. Search domain aftermarketsLook for the domain name in domain aftermarkets. If the domain isn't in use, it could already be listed for sale.
Both of these options require some steps.
1. Visit the domain name to see if and how it's being used2. Check the domain on a WHOIS lookup3. Determine the value of the domain through research4. Contact the owner or check aftermarkets to see if it's listed5. Find a domain broker (optional)6. Negotiate and potentially acquire
While these steps can on rare occasions result in acquisition, there's a strong likelihood you need to restart the brainstorming process. Keep in mind the best practices and find yourself a new domain.

Selecting your domain registrar

Found out that your ideal domain name is still available? It's time to grab it at your domain registrar of choice. While we happen to be a domain registrar that has everything you need to register and manage your domain, we encourage you to research accordingly to find one that aligns with your needs.

What to look for in a domain registrar

While all registrar's function very similarly when it comes to how to register a domain, the true differences lie in the nuances. Here are some key factors that you should be keeping in mind while selecting your registrar.

1. Domain pricing

You may not know this, but pricing can vary quite heavily from registrar to registrar. Between registration, renewal, and transfer prices for every TLD being different, there are a whole lot of opportunities to save. Do some research and find a fit for you.
Be aware of some registrars reducing first-year registration prices and then inflating the second-year renewal price while making that second-year mandatory; it often ends up being more expensive in the long run.

2. Add-ons and upselling

Knowing your options are important, but going through the checkout process can at times be deceiving. Be aware of what you require versus don't require, as some registrars can push add-ons while upselling products you may not require. Most domain add-ons tied to your domain should be free, such as domain privacy or account security.

3. User interfaces are important

If you're going to be managing the domain yourself, create an account at some of your selected registrars to see how their account control panel is structured along with how accessible it is. A strong user interface and user experience can save you a lot of time and frustration, and registering a domain blindly before checking may lead to you wanting to transfer your domain to another registrar.

4. Tools available

Most registrars offer additional tools and services to help provide you with the whole domain package, so you don't need to rely on external brands related to domain and website tasks. These tools can include website builders, email, web hosting, domain management tools, and various aftermarket services (to buy and sell domains). Be sure to check out their roster and find one that aligns with your objectives.

5. Available TLDs

Obviously you want domains, so make sure your selected registrar has 'em! The number of domain extensions available from registrar to registrar will vary greatly, and if there is one you're particularly eyeing, check to make sure they have it.

6. Privacy protection

This can be quite important for businesses and individual domain owners. Domain privacy helps keep your contact information private so others can't discover it through a WHOIS lookup. Most registrars include this for free, so ensure you're not paying extra.

7. Account protection

Just as important as domain privacy is account protection. Having measures in place to prevent unwanted account access is the best way to protect others from getting into your account. This could include two-factor authentication or account lock settings.

8. Checkout and payment options

The simplicity of the checkout process, along with the payment options they offer, can make domain acquisition a whole lot easier. This is especially important if you're planning on frequently registering domains or utilizing their other services.

9. Customer support

Issues may come up regardless of what registrar you choose. Registrar support teams are there to resolve any problems that arise, and having a knowledgeable and efficient team can make any domain headaches disappear quickly. Reading other customer reviews can help paint a picture of how support teams can assist.

Domain registration checkout options

Once you've decided on your preferred domain registrar and know your domain is available, you can use their domain search to find the domain and add it to your cart. While going through checkout, you'll be provided with a variety of options depending on your selected registrar. Here are some of the more common choices you'll be presented with.

Registration duration

Select the number of years you wish to register the domain for. The options available range from 1 year, all the way to 10 years. The selected duration will determine how long the domain is under your ownership. Your selection should be based on the predicted long-term use of the domain name. If unsure, you can always register the domain for the shortest duration (1 year) and renew later.

Domain privacy

Protects your personal contact information from appearing in Whois search results. If you're registering a domain for business or personal use, you should consider using privacy. Many registrars include this for free, including Dynadot.

Website builders

Tool that enables you to build your own website. The functionality, implementation, design, cost, and components of every website builder will vary, so it is best to research the registrar's provided tool to find more information.


Ability to create a custom email address utilizing your domain name. If your domain is '', email services will typically allow you to create a '[email protected]' email address. This can help create credibility and professionalism to your email communications.


An SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate allows you to encrypt your website, helping to protect user data while they engage with your website. This can be especially important for online stores and building a secure website. There are free SSL providers available, along with paid options that have more specific usage, such as subdomain compatibility.
TIPTo determine which tools align with your needs, consider your objectives with the domain name and how you plan to approach your goals. This should provide insight into what's necessary to acquire. Just be aware that domain addons are optional, and be wary of registrars that heavily push them.

Registration complete!

If you've selected the duration of the registration, along with which add-ons you will or won't be acquiring, the last step is to simply proceed through the checkout process. Payment options will vary depending on where you're registering the domain. Once the payment is processed, you'll have your new domain name! You may be wondering: 'now what?'. Here are two options depending on what you want to accomplish. If you want a larger list of options, check out the choices available when setting your DNS settings.
Option 1

Setup your website

For most, creating a website is the primary reason to grab a domain. There are two common ways to approach the creation process.
Website builder
Website builders provide the tools required to assemble your website, often with minimal or no coding knowledge required. Website builders commonly have the advantage of including built-in web hosting, allowing you to automatically set your DNS settings to your website builder if you've registered your domain at the same location that your website builder resides.

If your domain is located separately from your website builder service, you'll need to find the assigned name server settings provided by the website builder hosting service, and apply them to your domain's DNS settings. If unsure, contact the website builder provider for more information.
Custom websites
If you already have a website built, are planning to create one yourself, or use the help of a web developer, you'll need to connect your web hosting server to your domain name. This can be done through adjusting the DNS settings for your domain, which is typically a straightforward process of applying the name server settings provided by your web hosting service provider. If you're unsure what the correct name server setting should be, you should contact your hosting provider.
Option 2

Park your domain name

If you're not sure what you'll be using the domain for quite yet or when you'll be utilizing it, you can put the domain name into parking. This can often be done through your domain registrar's control panel, in the same location you would adjust your DNS settings. Typically, there is a parking option listed.


Domain Name Prices

All domains have a cost attached to registrations, renewals, and transfers. How much do you have to pay? Well, that varies depending on the domain. We'll break down some of the important details about the costs of a domain name, along with why there is a price difference between different TLDs.

Understanding the cost of domain ownership

In order to maintain ownership of a domain, there are fees that must be paid:

Registration cost

Paid upon registering a domain name. Cost increases depending on the number of years the domain is registered for, with 1 year being the minimum and 10 years being the maximum.To save on registration costs, keep an eye out for general sales and promotions, multi-year registration sales (discounts when registering for multiple years at a time) and discount bundles (saving when registering multiple extensions at once).

Renewal cost

Paid upon deciding to keep a domain name under your ownership. The renewal cost can be paid at any point during the domain ownership period, and a variable amount of time after the domain has expired. Typically, domain renewals are more expensive than domain registrations.
Both these costs are unavoidable if you wish to keep a domain under your control. Luckily, for most domains these two costs are relatively low and accessible, ultimately being easy to maintain so long as you remember to renew.
TIPAdditional feesWhile the registration and renewal fees are the standard cost of acquiring and maintaining a domain, some registrars and resellers will bundle tools and/or services with the registration fee. In many cases, these add-ons are not mandatory. You should not be charged for Whois privacy, account protection, or be required to purchase web hosting if you don't want it.

Why TLD costs vary

If you've shopped around for domain names, you may have noticed that not all domain prices are alike. Some go for as little as $0.99 while others will reach $200 per registration. How is there such a discrepancy? Let's talk about it.

Understanding the Registry and Registrar relationship

Registries, the organization that own and manage certain top-level domains, play a critical role in the market of the TLDs they manage. They set the base price that TLDs cost, and since registries act like wholesalers in the domain space, the registrars pay the base cost of a domain when it is registered as a fee.

Like any other business, registrars have overhead they must account for. Employees to manage, offices, accreditation fees - all general expenses that come with running a registrar. Due to this, there is markup that is added by the registrars to actually earn some profit on domains.

Why are some domain prices so low and others so high?

Since registries are responsible for setting the base price for their TLD, registrars have to adjust their price accordingly. If a registry sets a $20 registration base cost fee and the registrar sells it for $15, they would be down $5 per registration.

There is a huge variance of TLD prices, and registries consider a lot of factors when it comes to determining their base price, such as: their audience type, industry the TLD may fit into, and how large of a market pool the TLD may have.

Some specific high-popularity domain extensions have their base prices negotiated between ICANN (the regulators of the domain name space) and the registry. On the other hand, newer TLDs don't have this regulation applied, which is also why there is such a large range.

Why do some domains under specific TLDs have a higher price?

Registries will occasionally select a number of domains perceived as high value compared to others, and they are designated as 'premium domains'. Premium domains often have a much higher registration cost due to either the length of the domain or the keyword included, which pushes them into premium pricing.

Where to register domains at low prices

Now that you have a better understanding of the costs of a domain, where do you get them for a good price? You'll have to conduct research as domain prices fluctuate often at registrars. To help with your research, it is useful to understand what domain resellers are.
Resellers in the domain industry are businesses that allow domain registrations but are reselling domains through a selected domain registrar. This means that the reseller is taking the price of a domain from a registrar (not the base price from the registry) and adding a markup to make profit. This usually means that the user is paying more for the domain. How does that benefit the customer?

Registrars vs. Resellers

If you're strictly looking to register a domain, resellers shouldn't necessarily be your first choice. You're almost guaranteed to pay more, and there's a chance the reseller's platform may not support your domain management needs. With that said, one advantage resellers have is that they typically bundle services together, which can make the domain acquisition cost more lucrative for the customer by getting a domain with a specific service or tool the reseller provides.

If you're looking for a bundled deal from a trusted service provider, resellers can be great options. If you're looking for a dedicated accredited brand to register domains from that have robust tool sets specifically tailored towards domains - registrars will be your best bet. You can find a full list of accredited registrars on the ICANN website.


Domain Privacy & Protection

When it comes to online engagement, keeping your information and data protected should be a priority. For domain registration, domain privacy plays an important role in data protection.

What is domain privacy?

Every time a domain name is registered, up-to-date personal information is required to be provided to the registrar you decide to register your domain through. This information is a requirement from the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), who are the regulators of the domain space. This contact information is then tied to the domain name.
This collection of information, without domain privacy, is actually publicly accessible through a Whois lookup (which we'll cover shortly). In order to hide and protect your information, domain privacy is key. Luckily, domain privacy is often free at most domain registrars, making it more accessible than ever to get yourself properly protected.
TIPIf your registrar of choice requires you to pay for domain privacy, consider searching for an alternative provider that offers it for free.
Privacy Disabled
Updated Date:2022-10-18T 17:43:26Z
Creation Date:2002-10-30T 17:44:41Z
Registry Expiry Date:2024-10-30T 16:44:41Z
Registrant Name:John Appleseed
Registrant City:San Mateo
Registrant Phone:+1.6502620100
Registrant Email:[email protected]
Admin Name:John Appleseed
Tech Name:My Name CO.
Privacy Enabled
Updated Date:2022-10-18T 17:43:26Z
Creation Date:2002-10-30T 17:44:41Z
Registry Expiry Date:2024-10-30T 16:44:41Z

How domain privacy helps

It's hard to understate the value that domain privacy provides when it comes to most domain holders online. Domain privacy helps:

Secure your personal information

Your information is yours to control, and limiting who has access to it can prevent future security issues. Domain privacy puts a barrier between your domain contact information and internet users, which can even prevent major issues such as identity theft.

Prevent spam

With your email becoming hidden through domain privacy, you don't need to worry about endless emails from spammers online. Phishing emails, unwanted unsolicited marketing, and just general junk content sent to your will be minimized by enabling privacy.

Provides scam protection

Access to your contact information is an opportunity someone may take to attempt malicious actions. By hiding your information through privacy, the first step of gathering information by bad entities online is prevented.

Provides peace-of-mind

The best part of enabling privacy is that once it is enabled, it's out of sight, out of mind. You're protected, and if it's working properly, most of the issues and consequences of disabled privacy are negated.

Consequences of no domain privacy

Domain names that don't have domain privacy enabled open some of their personal information to the public through Whois search tools. As a result, details attached to the domain becomes accessible, which can create generally unwanted consequences, such as:
  • Spam emails & phone calls
  • Unsolicited marketing
  • Information added to sales lists
  • Outreach to initiate scams and domain theft
  • General unwanted contact
  • Undesirable traffic to your domain

Advantages of no domain privacy

With the issues outlined, it may be surprising to hear that there are scenarios where you may not want to have domain privacy enabled. Specifically, if you're a domain investor that has valuable domains under your belt, having privacy disabled can provide an easy method for potential buyers to conduct outreach regarding acquisition.
Your name, email, and phone number all provide an accessible avenue for businesses or other investors to express interest and start negotiations. If this is the route someone wishes to take, make sure to be careful, be diligent, and take necessary precautions when communicating. The importance of an escrow service or broker when it comes to finalizing deals or even starting discussions can't be understated.
TIPRegardless of whether you decide to enable or disable domain privacy, it's very important to consciously make the decision. Decide what works best for you, your business, or your brand.

Whois Lookup Overview

When it comes to domain name research, a Whois lookup is a core tool to have in your repertoire.
As mentioned, registered domains require contact information as outlined by ICANN, and that information is publicly available through a Whois Lookup unless domain privacy is used. They are free, widely accessible tools that many registrars include, but they all feature the same functionality and search results. Here is a breakdown of the general components of a Whois search result.
Domain name:Name of the domain in the search.
Registrar information:Which registrar the domain name resides under, along with contact information from that registrar for domain abuse complaints.
Updated & Creation dates:When the domain name Whois information was last updated, along with when it was first registered.
Expiration date:The upcoming expiration date for the domain name searched. If the searched domain name is already expired, it will actually display one year beyond the initial expiry date. You can check the 'Status' field for clarification on this.
Domain status:This is the status of the domain in relation to the registrar, referring to various status codes indicating the state of the domain. There are a variety of status codes, with each having their own meaning.
Registrant information:Information regarding the domain holder, including their name, designated address (street, city, province/state, postal code and country), phone number, and email address.
Admin information:Information about the assigned admin for the domain, following the same format as the registrant information. Often it will be the same repeated values.
Tech information:Information about the assigned technical contact for the domain, following the same format as the registrant information. Also will often repeat the same values.
Name servers:The nameservers assigned to the domain name.
TIPWith domain privacy enabled, the registrant, admin, and tech contact information will all be displayed as 'REDACTED FOR PRIVACY' to safeguard the domain holder's private information.

How a Whois Lookup works

When a domain name is registered, the owner submits their contact information to the registrar, who automatically passes that information along to the associated registry of the domain registered. That registry manages a database of information for all domains that reside under their TLDs. This database is then accessed when a Whois lookup is conducted.

The process of collecting and storing registrant contact information is a policy established by ICANN as a means of regulating the internet, connecting an individual with an associated domain name.

Whois Lookup use cases: Why it's important

A Whois lookup tool has a surprising number of uses, many of which can easily be overlooked.


Checking to see if a desired domain name is available for general registration or if it's already been registered.


Journalists will use Whois lookups to get information about domain owners to contact them for details about specific stories or news.

Legal Reasons

Domains unfortunately get used for illegal purposes, and in certain scenarios law enforcement may use a Whois search to gather information about an owner.


Whois lookups are frequently used to get information to submit domain abuse claims, which could include trademark infringement, phishing claims, or general fraud.


Domain investors will use Whois lookups to check domain availability or to see if a registered domain has the owner's contact information displayed. They often use this info to see if the owner is interested in selling.

Expiration Monitoring

Eager individuals who want to acquire specific domains may monitor their expiration date and keep track of when the domain potentially could become available for registration in the open domain market.

Network Diagnosis

On occasion, network administrators will use a Whois lookup to troubleshoot domain-related issues to resolve networking or DNS problems.


Maintaining Domains After Registration

So you have a domain name in your account - now what? Well, you decide what to use it for of course! As discussed in the domain registration process section, domains have plenty of use cases, but they're only helpful if they stay under your ownership.

Domain renewals

Once you have your domain set up to meet whatever your online objectives are, you need to make an important decision: do you renew your domain? Before that, let's talk about what a domain renewal even is.

What is a domain renewal?

Since registering a domain name only provides the owner with temporary ownership, renewing a domain extends the period that the domain name is under that owner's control. It's simple enough in concept, but it's key to maintaining any domains that are being used.

Domain renewals, much like domain registrations, are available for a single-year or multiple-year renewals - allowing you to renew for 1 year or up to a maximum of 10. This flexibility provides owners the option to maintain domains under their control for longer periods, but there is no way to acquire permanent ownership. Understanding and monitoring upcoming expirations to renew accordingly is as close as you get, though there is one step that automates this process.

Auto Renewal

The key to never forgetting a domain renewal is available... Well, sort of. Auto renewal is exactly as the name would imply; it's an automated process of renewing your domain names. This is a setting you can apply to domains in your registrar account control panel. Some registrars will have auto-renewal applied to all domains by default, which can be either relieving or frustrating, depending on the domain owner.

The reason auto-renewal isn't always the perfect solution is that it still requires a valid, up-to-date payment source. Many users will have auto-renewal setup for their domains and simply forget to update their expired payment method, such as their credit card, resulting in the domain proceeding through the expiration process.

Domain transfers

There may come a time when you wish to switch registrars for one reason or another. It could be price-related, tool-related, support-related, or even outside of your control with the registrar going out of service. Whatever the reason, domain transfers are the solution to maintaining domain ownership while switching.
As the name would imply, a domain transfer is moving your domain name from one registrar or reseller to another. While the process is relatively simple, there are some nuances that are helpful to know if you're considering transferring a domain.

Helpful details about domain transfers:

Transfer eligibility
To transfer a domain, it must have been at your current registrar for at least 60 days.
1-year renewal
Most domains transferred include 1 year added to the next expiration date. There are exceptions for certain TLDs, but they are not common.
Domain transfer length
Domain transfers can take anywhere from a few hours to a week to proceed through the transfer process.
Check your Whois email
You will be contacted through email to confirm and approve the transfer. Ensure your contact information is correct.
Transfer prices
Domain transfers typically cost the same amount as a domain renewal, and that transfer is paid at the registrar/reseller that you're transferring to.
Be aware of domain expirations
Domains that have expired or that may expire during the transfer process can cause complications. The transfer could fail, or the registrar may not let the transfer even initiate. It's best to renew prior to starting a domain transfer if it's close to the expiration date.
Your website status
You don't need to worry about your website during a domain transfer. Transferring a domain name will not likely cause any downtime on your website as the nameservers set will not change during the process.

How to Transfer a Domain

With the details above in mind, let's talk about the actual process of transferring your domain. You can follow the steps listed, but keep in mind that there may be subtle differences depending on where you're transferring your domain from, and where it's going to.

1. Check eligibility

Always consider when the domain was registered to ensure it's been with its current registrar or reseller for at least 60 days and that the domain hasn't expired. Ignoring this step can result in wasted time.

2. Up-to-date contact information

Double check that the contact information is correct, as you'll be required to confirm on transfer confirmation emails during the transfer process.

3. Unlock your domain name

Domains are locked to prevent accidental adjustments to domain settings, and unlocking is required to proceed with the transfer. To do so, visit your registrar's user control panel, locate the domain you wish to transfer, and find the option to unlock it. The location will vary depending on your registrar, though it's often with other domain settings or attached to domain security. On rare occasions, you may need to request an unlock from your provider.

4. Get your authorization code

Once unlocked, it's time to find the domain's authorization code (sometimes called 'auth code' or 'EPP code'), which will connect your domain on its current registrar to its new potential home. Authorization codes are often found on the domain settings page in your control panel, and need to be generated. Once acquired, copy the code.

5. Visit your new registrar home

Go to your new registrar and make sure you've got an account created. Find their domain transfer page, enter the domain you're moving, and paste the copied authorization code. Once provided, you'll have the transfer added to your cart, where you'll be required to pay to initiate the transfer process.

6. Approve the transfer

After paying for the transfer, you'll need to authorize the transfer. You'll receive an email from your current registrar for approval to proceed through the process. Double check that your contact information is correct, and then approve the transfer.

7. Finalize the transfer

The domain transfer process has been initiated! It can take anywhere from a few hours to a week for the transfer process to be completed. Your website will remain active and accessible during this time.
TIPDomain registrars will also provide bulk domain transfers if you ever require to move multiple domains at once. This process is similar to the steps above, with the difference being entering in multiple domains/authorization codes on a bulk transfer page.

Selling domains

There may come a time when a domain you acquired is no longer being used. It could be an old brand you had that no longer exists, or just a domain registered that never ended up being used. Regardless of the reason, you can let the domain expire or you can attempt to sell the domain for profit.

Where to sell domains

To list your domains for sale, you'll need a domain aftermarket. Domain aftermarkets are digital marketplaces where domains are acquired or sold, either through user domain listings or through domain auctions.

There are many different aftermarkets that can be used to sell your domain, each with their own unique qualities, including commission fees, user interfaces, methods of selling, payment options, and audiences.

Selecting the right place to list your domain for sale is important, which is why it's recommended to find a platform that provides wide exposure for your domain. Ideally, being able to list your domain on platforms such as Sedo and Afternic can help get eyes on your listings. At Dynadot, you're able to list your domains on our aftermarket, along with on Afternic and Sedo simultaneously.

Determining the value of a domain

Finding a good price to list your domain for sale requires knowledge. There are so many qualifiers that can indicate the price of a domain. If you're looking to quickly list a domain, the best advice would be to find comparable domain sales on a website such as Namebios and use that as a benchmark. From there, you can set your price higher and work your way lower until you land the sale.

If you're struggling with selecting a price, there are appraisal resources and tools online that can help guide you. Dynadot has a domain appraisal that can indicate the approximate value of your domain. Appraisal forums or connecting with domain investors can also help determine the value.
TIPIf you're interested in learning more about what qualifies a domain to be valuable, check out our domain investing guide to learn the intricacies of selling a domain.

Tips for selling domains

Be patient
It can take time to sell a domain, don't expect to land a sale overnight.
Consider promoting
There are a lot of domain aftermarkets and domains listed for sale. Promoting that your domain is for sale through domain-based forums, social media, or even through direct contact outreach can help your domain get traction.
Be realistic with pricing
Thinking you have the holy grail of domains won't help you sell your domain. Look for comparable sales and consider how valuable the domain might be to others.
Place on multiple aftermarkets
If possible, find opportunities to put your domain for sale on as many aftermarkets as you can for additional exposure.
Consider renewal worth
Evaluate if renewing your domain is worth it based on the potential sales price. On occasion, it may be better to just let some domains expire instead of making yearly payments.
Provide options to buyers
Some aftermarkets are more limited than others. Find an aftermarket that gives buyers options in terms of payment types, or one that offers installment plans. This can make the difference between landing a sale and missing one.


Supporting Domain Tools & Add-ons

Understanding what tools, add-ons, and other services you may require in order to achieve any of your domain-related objectives isn't always obvious, especially if you're just registering your first domain. In this section, we'll cover the most popular tools & add-ons while providing an overview of their role so you can decide if and how you want to approach utilizing them.

Research Tools

Tools that let you come up with name ideas or look into the historical data of a domain name can be helpful during the domain selection process.

1. Whois Lookups

As previously mentioned in the protection section, a Whois search can be used to quickly gather a variety of information about a domain name, including: availability, expiration dates, and ownership information. They're simple to use, and all Whois search tools will display similar results regardless of where you search from. Be sure to have one saved and ready if you're frequently looking for or monitoring domain names.

2. Domain name generators

Tools that assist with brainstorming domain names are plentiful online, and are used to ease the process of coming up with the perfect domain name. They often all have slightly different approaches to generating a domain, with some being more keyword-focused, while others can be more category-focused. It's recommended to use multiple to help generate a wider variety of potential domains to narrow down from.

There are even AI search tools that will take a phrase or word and use AI to provide suggestions. Business name generators can also help you think outside the box and may cover some unique angles you have not considered. If you're looking for any of these options, Dynadot has you covered:

3. Wayback machine

This handy tool lets you look at an archive of any website, which can be helpful when looking to register previously-owned domains. Knowing a domain's historical context can provide insight into how a website might be perceived by search engines. For example, if it looks like the domain was previously used for spam, it could negatively affect future use if the domain is used for emailing services or even affect the domain's SEO rankings. On the other hand, if it previously had quality content residing on it that aligns with your website's content, that can be beneficial for future websites hosted on the domain.

4. Domain appraisals

Whether you're looking to buy or sell domain names, domain appraisal tools can assist with gauging the value of a domain, allowing you to either feel more confident when acquiring a domain for your business or provide a benchmark if you're interested in selling a domain. They provide an estimated monetary value for a domain based on various criteria that make certain domains valuable.
TIPResearch tools for domain investing are usually more extensive, but can be helpful when trying to determine the value of a domain. You can find out more information about these in our domain investing guide.

Domain Add-ons

The following tools are all closely tied to domain names and are optional to expand the usage of a domain to meet your online objectives.

Website builders

If you don't have access to a web developer to help create a website for your domain, website builders are a strong alternative that bundle together the pieces required to assemble a website. There are a huge variety of website builders, all with unique building interfaces and tools to assist with the process. It's best to do your own research and find one that fits both your website needs and price range.

Custom email addresses

Businesses or brands that use a domain for their primary website likely want branded email addresses to match their business name. To do this, many registrars provide the option to bundle an email service with the domain, allowing the domain holder to easily set up their custom email address with their domain. What exactly is included in an email package will vary, along with the associated cost.

Domain privacy

Using domain privacy is an important step to keeping your personal contact information secure. As mentioned in the protection section, domain privacy replaces your personal contact information attached to your domain on a Whois lookup with default information provided by the registrar the domain resides with.

SSL certificates

Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificates play a key role in securing a website and building online confidence for your audience. SSL, along with its more modern counterpart, Transport Layer Security (TLS), both are responsible for encrypting domain URLs, providing a secure connection between a website server and a web browser. SSLs keep user information private and secure, so acquiring an SSL certificate for a domain is a high priority if you're planning on building a website. Luckily, it's becoming more common for SSLs to be provided free of charge.

Domain APIs

A domain API (application programming interface) allows users to register, transfer, renew, manage and organize their domain names from external software outside of the registrar's platform. Users can make 'requests' through their preferred software which make domain adjustments based on the request made. The functionality of domain APIs align with the options available on the primary registrar platform, but can be done in bulk and much more efficiently.

Grace deletions

While not offered as an addon that comes with domain names, grace period deletions can be a useful tool to 'return' domain names. After a domain name is registered, there is a grace period allowing recently registered domains to be grace deleted, providing money back to the user and deleting the domain. This is used to either return accidental domain registrations or to test domains for potential traffic (referred to as 'domain tasting'). Grace deletions often have a small charge associated with them.

Aftermarket Tools

Domain aftermarkets provide users with an alternative way to acquire desirable domains or sell them. They can be a valuable tool for both building new brands and investing in domains.

Aftermarket Overview

A domain aftermarket refers to an online service where domains can be registered outside of the traditional 'search and register' method. This includes bidding on domain auctions, placing backorders on soon to be available domains, or purchasing a domain from other users. Each domain aftermarket is unique, with their own listings available to acquire domains from, or you can list your own domains for sale on them.
What to consider when selecting an aftermarket
Commission pricing
Aftermarkets each have a different commission model which can impact earnings on sales.
Available listings
Every aftermarket has different types of listings - from expired auctions to backorder placements. Find an aftermarket that matches what you may be looking for.
Domain diversity
Some aftermarkets have restrictions on the types of domains that can appear on them, such as specific TLDs.
Domain quantity
The more domains on the aftermarket, the higher the chance of finding domains that meet your needs.

Types of Aftermarket Listings

Expired Auction Listings

Expired domain auctions feature expired domain names placed for auction. These domains are often listed by the registrar automatically, and allow users to place bids on the domains, with the highest bidder receiving the domain upon the end of the auction.

Due to domain expiration occurring frequently, expired domain auctions are often one of the most valuable ways to acquire great domains, but they can also become quite expensive. The auction period, base starting cost, and auction extension duration when placing bids near the end of the auction all can change depending on which aftermarket you're on.

User Market Listings

User markets are the home of buying and selling domains between other users on an aftermarket. There are usually multiple ways to list a domain for sale, such as putting a domain up for auction and letting other users drive up the price, or setting a fixed listing price for other users to purchase the domain at.

User markets are a good way to get exposure to a domain when selling or a good way to uncover some hidden gems if you're looking to acquire. They can often be very saturated with domains, so discovering strong domains can require some sifting, especially with larger aftermarkets.

Backorder Listings

When a domain fully completes the expiration process, it will re-enter the open market for the public to search and register that domain again. Backorder listings allow users to place backorder requests on domains that are still going through expiration, allowing them to instantly acquire the domain upon completion of the expiration process.

Oftentimes, if one domain receives multiple backorder requests, it will become a backorder auction. This is where the highest bidder will acquire the domain upon re-entering the open market. Backorder listings are a great way to find and acquire good domains at a lower cost.

For-sale landing pages

Selling domains can be a challenging process, but for-sale landing pages are tools to help make it slightly easier. A for-sale page is a popular tool that is often tied to domain aftermarkets. They provide a templated page that allows you to promote your domain for sale, often listing contact information, a potential price, and even a location where a domain sale can be securely made.

These pages are usually the primary page the user arrives on when visiting a domain that's for sale, allowing for easy communication/next steps between the buyer and seller.


How to Register and Manage Your Domains

While going over the ins and outs of domain registration in this guide, we kept the information from being Dynadot-specific, so you could apply the knowledge to wherever your domains reside. With that said, we wanted to provide a visual guide to help users navigate the domain registration and management process to make it that much easier.

Registering your domains

Steps to acquiring your domain through Dynadot.
2. Use our domain search to find your domain name, or check availability.
3. Add your domain name to your cart.
4. Proceed through checkout.
5. Consider if you require a website builder or custom email addresses. Domain privacy is included at additional cost.
6. Complete your payment.
Easy as that! If you've followed these steps, your domain will be in your account.

Introduction to domain control panels

So you have your domain, but aren't quite sure about the next steps? Before you start trying to search the web, let us introduce the Dynadot control panel to help you understand what adjustments are possible and where. Below you will see a recreation of our control panel, with the sidebar being interactable to learn more about what each page includes.
My Domain
Manage Domain
Name Servers
Contact Records
New Domains
Inactive Domains
Open Orders
Domain Defaults
TLD Settings
My Websites
My Emails
Domain Monitoring
Payment Center
My Info
Summary Panel
Includes an overview of your Dynadot account, including if your account is locked (to prevent certain domain adjustments), the amount of account credit in your account, the status of any open orders, your recent aftermarket activity, the domains that have website builder setup, and more.
Manage Domains
Make individual or bulk adjustments to your domain names, including: setting privacy, auto-renewal toggle, domain lock toggle, quick DNS changes, monitoring expiration/registration dates, vast domain filtering options to help find specific domains in your account, and even the ability to track domains on other registrars. If you're looking to make any adjustments to your domains, this is the page to visit first.
Name Servers
Manage and organize your list of name servers, with the ability to create name server templates to easily allow them to be assigned to any domain(s). Name servers are not assigned to domains on this page; it is used to store any name servers you wish to save.
Contact Records
Your home for contact information assigned to domain names, which, as previously mentioned, is a requirement by ICANN. You can create multiple contact records in this area to easily swap one or many domains to on the 'Manage Domains' page.
Create folders to assign certain domains to, allowing you to make sweeping adjustments to all domains included in that folder, such as privacy, auto-renewal, domain lock, contact record, DNS, and transfer lock settings changes. This page also includes the ability to download information about all domains included in a specific folder.
New Domains
Quickly find any domains that you have recently acquired to make adjustments without having to search through your entire account. This can be helpful if you have a larger number of domains in your account.
Inactive Domains
Monitor domains that haven't been updated or no longer reside under your Dynadot account. This could include domains that have expired or have been grace deleted. It's useful for finding historical data if you're searching for older domains in your account.
Open Orders
Any Dynadot orders that have not been completed for one of many reasons will be listed here, along with their status and the ability to take action on those domains.
Domain Defaults
Set the default settings for any domain names acquired by your Dynadot account. This includes default contact records, name servers, which TLDs appear in our search results, domain privacy, and more.
TLD Settings
Some domain extensions have specific requirements when registering a domain. This page allows you to include any information pertaining to a certain TLD, making future registrations with them easier.
This page allows you to add Domain Name System Security Extensions (DNSSEC) to your domains to add an extra layer of protection onto any DNS settings you may have.
My Websites
Your quick link to start editing any of your Dynadot Website Builder creations. You can also upgrade your Website Builder plan here or copy and paste a website's content/design to another domain name.
My Emails
Your central location to manage any domains that have custom email addresses attached to them through the Dynadot Email tool.
Your hub for managing any of your Dynadot Wildcard or Alpha SSL settings.
Monitor your aftermarket activity, all from one convenient location. This includes any domain auctions you've participated in, domains you've listed for sale, backorders you've placed requests on, and even incoming/outgoing offers that have been made through our make offer system.
Domain Monitoring
Keep a close eye on domains of interest through our watchlist, where you can monitor any domains. You can also use our tracker tool to outline what domains you're interested in, so our tool can provide Dynadot aftermarket recommendations for you.
Take advantage of our extra free tools, including our Dynadot Apps, our API to make bulk domain management and acquisition quick, insta-reg to instantly register domains, get valuable information from domains that are pending deletion in our backorders listings, or even sign up for our auction affiliate program.
Payment Center
Manage everything related to account payments here. This includes adjusting payment methods, getting invoices, checking historical purchase information, any installment payments currently setup, and much more.
My Info
Adjust any settings tied specifically to your Dynadot account, including account information, password settings and security, your referral code for our Refer-a-Friend program, sub account settings for allowing others to manage your domains, notification and email settings, and statement requests.

Introduction to the Domain Name System

One of the more seemingly complex steps after registering a domain name is connecting it properly with your domain name system settings.
What is DNS?
The Domain Name System (DNS) is responsible for turning a domain name into a specific IP address. This address will contain the information/data that generates a webpage. The DNS is a requirement when utilizing a domain for a website, as without it, your domain wouldn't have a designated address and would be unable to connect with a web hosting server.
Setting up DNS for your domain
While DNS can be a difficult concept to grasp, setting up your DNS doesn't have to be a complicated task. Here is the general process so you feel more comfortable adjusting your domain's DNS settings. You can use the visual guide to find the DNS settings in our control panel below, along with an overview of each of the various options available.
Where is the DNS Settings
Name Servers
Dynadot Parking
Dynadot Forwarding
302 Redirect
301 Redirect
Stealth Forwarding
Dynadot DNS
Dynadot Site Builder
For Sale Landing Page
Name Servers:
Connect your domain to external hosting name servers. The name server information entered will be dependent on your selected hosting provider. Contact them if you're looking for the correct name server settings. Once acquired, it's as simple as entering in the Name Server into the field provided.
Dynadot Parking:
Set your domain name to parking, creating a placeholder web page for any visitors to your domain name. This is useful if you're not ready to use your domain name.
Dynadot Forwarding:
Point your domain to another web page by forwarding your domain name. Any user who visits your domain will be redirected to the specified URL entered into the field provided. You can use a 301 redirect or a 302 redirect.
302 Redirect:
A temporary redirect, indicating that the domain will only temporarily be redirected to a new URL.
301 Redirect:
A permanent redirect, indicating that your domain has permanently changed locations.
Stealth Forwarding:
Redirect users to another domain name, but keep your existing domain URL in the browser. Functions the same as regular forwarding, but the browser will maintain the original URL.
Dynadot DNS:
Utilize the Dynadot name servers, but customize your own DNS records. This can be helpful when using our name servers but connecting your domain to other external web services.
Dynadot Site Builder:
Set your domain to utilize our drag-and-drop website builder to assemble your website.
For Sale Landing Page:
Place your domain for sale with our for-sale landing page. Our landing page will display the domain price and other relevant information that will assist with selling your domain name.

Renewing and transferring your domains

Steps to Renew Your Domains

1. Go to 'My Domains' -> 'Manage Domains' in your Dynadot account control panel.

2. Select any domains in your list that you want to renew by clicking the checkbox beside them.

3. Click the 'Action' button, followed by 'Renew'.

4. Select the number of years you wish to renew your domain(s) for, and then add the renewal to your cart.

5. Proceed through checkout, and your domain(s) will be successfully renewed.

Steps to Transfer Your Domains

1. Unlock the domain you wish to transfer in your user control panel wherever your domain currently resides. You may also need to unlock your account as well.

2. Acquire your authorization code. This is often found in the same location you manage your domains from.

3. Visit the registrar you wish to transfer your domain to and find their domain transfer page. Enter the domain name and authorization code in the fields provided and proceed with the transfer.

4. This will add the domain transfer to your cart. Proceed through checkout.

5. Once you've completed the checkout process, you'll receive an email asking for confirmation from your previous registrar. Authorize the transfer.

6. You will be notified that the transfer has been initiated, and will be contacted again once the transfer has been completed.

Organizing your domains

Whether you have one, ten, or hundreds of domains in your account, keeping your domains organized is one of the best ways to efficiently manage your domains.


Group together domain names based on any criteria you define, allowing you to make folder-wide domain adjustments and set default settings.
Creating & Managing Folders
1. Go to the 'My Domains' -> 'Folders' page in your Dynadot account control panel.
2. Click the '+ New Folder' button and create a new folder.
3. Enter the folder name and select 'Save Folder'.
4. From this page, you can adjust the default contact information, DNS settings, or transfer lock status of any domains within your created folders.
Adding Domains to Folders
1. On the 'My Domains' control panel page, select the domain(s) you want to add to a folder by clicking the checkbox beside the domain.
2. Click the 'Folder' button, and find the folder you want to place the domain into.
3. Select 'Move'. This will place any domains into your selected folder.

Contact Records & Name Servers

You can create and manage saved contact records and name servers directly through our control panel, making it easy to apply any that are saved to your domains with a few simple clicks.
Creating Name Servers
1. Go to the 'My Domains' -> 'Name Servers' page in your Dynadot account control panel.
2. Click the '+ Add Name Server' button to add your hosting provider's name server to your account, or register your own by clicking the 'Register Name Server' button and adding your host name and IP address.
3. Once complete, you can easily apply these name server settings to your domains when adjusting their DNS settings.
Creating Contact Records
1. Go to the 'My Domains' -> 'Contact Records' page in your Dynadot account control panel.
2. Click the '+ Create Contact Record' button.
3. Enter in the required contact information. Ensure your information is accurate, while also double checking your email address as it is required for domain-related communication.
4. Click the 'Create Contact' button.
5. Any contact in this list can be quickly applied to any of your existing domains.

Domain Defaults

Set default information for domain-related settings, both for your newly acquired domains and for other pages on the Dynadot website.
Set the default contact information tied to your domain names.
Name Servers
Set the default DNS settings for your future domain registrations.
Transfer Lock
Decide if you want your domains locked by default after registration.
Watchlist Per Page
Select the number of domains you want to appear on our 'Watchlist' page.
Domain Privacy Level
Decide on the level of privacy applied to your domains after registration.
Auctions Per Page
Default number of domains displayed through our expired domain auctions aftermarket listing.
Search TLD Settings
Choose to show or hide any particular domain extensions when using the Dynadot domain search.

TLD Settings

Certain domain extensions require specific information in order to register/utilize those domains. On this page, you have the ability to apply your default settings for those TLD-specific requirements to avoid re-entering the information if making repeat registrations for those TLDs.
TLDs in this list include:
TIPGot a specific question about using our control panel that wasn't covered? Either check our vast help file directory for more guidance, or contact our support team to get more information.

08. FAQ

Commonly Asked Domain Questions

We covered a lot, but you may still have some questions. Lets cover some questions that are commonly associated with domains.

What are subdomains and what are their uses?

Subdomains are subdivisions of a main domain used to categorize and organize website content or services. They provide a way to create separate web addresses for different purposes, such as hosting blogs, e-commerce stores, or localized versions of a site. Subdomains can help with organization, content separation, branding, and security.

Can you use multiple domains for one website?

While one domain can only contain one website (unless subdomains are utilized), you are able to forward as many domain names to one address as you would like. As a best practice, try to contain as much content on your primary domain to help focus your search engine optimization (SEO) efforts.

What are the parts of the domain name?

A domain name has three main components:
  • Top-Level Domain (TLD): The rightmost part of a domain, such as '.com.'
  • Second-Level Domain (SLD): The main name of the domain. For, 'example' would be the SLD.
  • Subdomain: Optional, additional sections separating content on a website, such as 'blog' in ''

How important is choosing the right domain extension?

Choosing the right domain extension is essential for building a successful online presence. This extension can indicate your site's content and increase your site's credibility. By taking the time to research your options and choose wisely, you can set your website up for success.

How long do I have to renew my domain after it's expired?

When domains have expired, the renewal window becomes quite narrow. You'll have a 30-day grace period where the domain can be renewed. After this, the domain will start the redemption period which lasts 30 days. You can attempt to renew your domain for a steeper fee but it may not be successful. This process may vary depending on where the domain is registered - you can contact the reseller or registrar where the domain is registered to get more information.

This is all about domains, how do I create a website?

Creating a website from scratch is a complicated task that can involve HTML, CSS, and Javascript coding knowledge. If you don't have an experienced coding background, it is recommended to either look into website builders, or hire a web developer to assist with the website creation process.

Are we able to change a domain name?

Yes, you can change your current website domain to another one. Changing a domain name typically involves actions taken by the domain owner or administrator through a domain registrar and/or hosting provider. It will require a separate domain name, new DNS setting changes, and updates to web hosting settings.

I want to switch my domain name to another domain, what are the steps?

Swapping a website from one domain to another is a big decision, especially if you've been using your current domain for a while. If you're committed to making the switch, consider the following actions:
  • Acquire your new domain name.
  • Back up your existing website content (just in case there are any issues that arise).
  • Change your DNS settings to point to the new domain name.
  • Prepare and implement redirects to point your old domain name URLs to the new URLs. Be thorough, this step is quite important.
  • Submit your website sitemap to search engines to help your website get indexed quicker (which will help it appear quicker on search engines).

Can I move domain names between accounts on the same registrar?

Yes, this is often called a 'domain push' or a domain change ownership request. To be eligible for a domain push, the accounts must both reside on the same registrar, the domain is not about to expire, and the domain name is unlocked. You can follow these steps to initiate a domain push.

What is domain parking?

Domain parking is the practice of registering a domain name and then placing it on a "parked" web page with the intent of either reserving it for future use or monetizing the domain through advertisements placed on the parking page. Occasionally, they're used to provide contact information to allow other users to contact the domain owner for acquisition inquiries.

What is domain investing?

Domain investing is the practice of buying domain names with the goal of earning more revenue than the acquisition cost. This is typically done by making money through reselling the domain, placing advertisements on the parked domain name, creating a business on the domain, leasing it, or developing content on it to increase the value. Domain investors seek valuable names and monitor market trends to maximize their investments. To learn more, visit our domain investing guide.

Dynadot Support

We've covered a lot in this guide! If you have any questions about any of the steps to register domains, manage domains, or have questions about Dynadot, please reach out to our support team. We're ready to help.
Back to Top
Are you sure you want to close the chat?Chat will be closed and the chat history will be cleared.
continue to sign out,
or stay on chat.
To review this chat session please click this windows.
Chat Online
Chat Online0