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Understanding what a domain name is and how to pick the right domain name can be critical when you’re beginning to build your web presence. 

You want it to be memorable, and you want it to reflect your brand. We will cover questions like:

  • How do you pick the right domain name for you? 
  • What are the costs involved? 
  • How do you connect it to your website?  
  • Can you change your domain name down the road? 

It’s helpful to understand a few common terms you’ll likely come across as you find the right domain. 

It’s worth mentioning that most of this happens behind the scenes. You can build a very successful website without being deeply familiar with these terms and how they operate with your website.

  • Registrar: A Domain Registrar is a company authorized to manage and sell specific domains – a company like Bluehost, for example. Most web hosts like Bluehost are domain registrars, but you are not required to buy your domain and host from the same company.
  • Domain Privacy: Part of the online regulations states that each domain must publicly display contact information. However, domain privacy is a service that masks your contact information while still keeping your domain compliant. So you can enjoy privacy while staying within the rules.
  • Domain Name System: Domain Name System (DNS, for short) is a phone book but for the internet. DNS is how human-readable domain names like can be turned into addresses that computers and phones can use. 

This matters because if you change hosting providers, you will probably have to update DNS records to point to the new web host. Again, we will cover more about what this means in the webinar.

Want to learn more about domains? Be sure to watch our webinar replay now!

Will changing where my domain is hosted affect my SEO?

Changing your name servers will impact SEO very little (if any). However, choosing a good host can positively impact your SEO rankings. 

Slow site load times and downed servers can affect your rankings. However, transferring the domain should have little to no impact on SEO.

Will changing the domain on my website affect my SEO?

Switching your website to a brand-new domain can have serious SEO implications. 

Best practices advise keeping your old domain and using a 301 redirect to push all traffic to your new domain until your new domain can build up credibility as the new page.

What is a domain registrar, and how many are available?

The domain registrar is what allows you to register your domain. If you’d like to register a domain, it has to be done through an official domain registrar. There is a list of organizations that have authority over TLDs (.com, .org, .edu, .net) that license the authority to 3rd party businesses.

Bluehost is a domain registrar, so when you have a website hosting plan with us, you can register domains alongside your hosting. 

Does it save me money to purchase a domain for years at a time?

Having your domain set up with auto-renewal and an active credit card is a great way to maintain ownership over your domain. If you buy several years upfront, it can help you lock in a certain rate, but it’s based on your preference.

Can someone else buy it if I don’t renew my domain in time?

Short answer, yes. However, Bluehost holds domains in ‘redemption’ for 30 days after they expire so that the previous owner can claim them before it’s released as an available domain to the general public.

What if I want to cancel a domain after I have purchased it?

You cannot cancel a domain after it is purchased. Domain registrations are always for one year; if you can purchase a domain for multiple years, it lets the registrar know that you want this domain at a specified rate.

A few options to consider if you no longer want the domain is removing the auto-renewal so it expires, or selling it.

Why are some domain names more expensive to purchase than others?

Some domain names are more desirable than others based on what’s trending at the time. For example, may be very popular in the domain market if you sell widgets.

Am I able to reserve a domain name?

Domain registration is an open marketplace where anyone can get any available domain. There is no holding or reserving them. If anyone has a domain you want, you can offer to purchase it from the owner or wait for it to expire.

I hired a developer to set up my website/domain. How do I know if they purchased it under my name or theirs? Which is better?

Before hiring a developer/designer, make sure that they know you want rights to your domain. Better yet, take the time to go and buy the domain yourself and use what we learned in today’s webinar to point it to the nameservers as suggested by your developer. 

If you’re already working with a developer, you can ask them to ensure the domain is registered under your(the site owner’s) name. If you have ownership, you should be able to log into the domain registrar.

Can you use special characters in a domain name?

In domain registration, letters, numbers, and hyphens are the only assets supported in domain registration.

We do recommend keeping it short. Try to avoid using hyphens because it may be hard to promote verbally. Also, unless numbers are a part of your brand, try to avoid using them in your domain to make it easier for people to remember your domain. 

Check out the slide deck for the presentation here.


Can I set up email addresses for the domain I purchased?

Yes! That is accessible from your Bluehost Dashboard under “email.”

Is it worth it to buy alternate spellings of my domain?

That depends on how people are going to get to your site. If you plan on people finding your site through ads, searches, and social media, alternate domain spellings won’t do much good. On the other hand, if you decide on advertising your site in a radio ad, then alternate spellings are probably a good idea to reserve. 

It can also be useful if you want to protect a brand from reserving the domain just so you can be sure only you have it. For example, if your domain ends in .com, and you think a competitor might take the .net version of your domain, you might want to get it before they can. But if you are a new business just starting, it might be less critical.

If I don’t want to pay for domain privacy, should I just put a spam email address for my contact info?

Absolutely NOT. It’s worth securing your domain with domain privacy. If you put a spam email as the contact, you could easily miss important notifications from the domain registrar about renewing your domain.

What happens to my files/emails if I transfer my domain?

You can buy your domain name and your hosting separately, or you can buy them together. In addition, you can change hosting providers without changing where you bought your domain and transfer a domain without changing hosting providers. 

So if you move your domain, your files will stay in the same spot (unless you move your files too).

What if my desired domain name is the same as a trademarked name?

That depends. If you have a good reason to keep the domain and show that you have a good reason to keep it, you will probably be able to keep the name. 

But if you only bought it so you can sell it to the company that owns the trademark, then they may be able to take the domain just by showing that they own the trademark. 

Also, you probably want to have original branding and not something that could be confused for another company, so if someone else owns a trademark, maybe consider another name.

  • Devin Sears

    Devin is a Senior Event Marketing Manager for the Bluehost brand. He is our brand steward for all things Bluehost and WordPress. You'll always see him supporting Bluehost at WordCamps around the world!

    Brigham Young University
    Previous Experience
    Social Media, Customer Experience, Field Marketing, Sponsorships, Event Coordinator
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