How much does a domain name cost?

Choosing a domain name is an exciting step, but paying for one often comes with its own set of hurdles. Here’s the rundown on the charges, and some hidden costs to watch out for.

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You can generally expect to pay around £0.01 to £20 yearly for a domain name in the first year, with some small additional costs for extras such as a business email address. A quick search will offer you a long menu of providers to choose from, but there’s more to calculating the cost of a domain name than those initial prices suggest.

We’ve searched the market for the main companies to source you all the information you need about buying a domain name. Our independent research shows that Bluehost provides consistently great and affordable website services, including domain name purchases. On the other hand, A2 Hosting is currently our top choice for domain hosting specifically.

Read on to learn about hidden costs and to find the best option to buy your domain name.

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How much does a domain name cost in the UK?

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0 out of 0
Cost

.com – £9.35/y*

.org – £7.79/y*

.co.uk – £19.49/y*

Cost

.com – $10.99/y*

.org – $17.99/y*

.co.uk – $11.99/y*

Cost

.com $11.99/y*

.org $9.99/y*

.co.uk- not available

Cost

.com – $17.99 $8.99/y*

.org – $15.99 $11.99/y*

.co.uk – $11.95/y*

Cost

com – £0.01/y*

.org – £11.01/y*

.co.uk – £0.01/y*

Cost

.com – $19.99/y*

.org – $19.99/y*

.co.uk – Not available

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*Prices correct as of January 2024

From the table above, we can see that:

  • Pricing is generally in a similar region for comparable domain names
  • A low introduction fee is typically offered for domain names, which can be very attractive and beneficial if you're a business owner who is just getting started on your business, and
  • While you may be shopping for a domain name for a UK website, don’t be surprised if most of the domain name prices are advertised in dollars, as most are US-Based companies and cater to an american audience primarily.

How much does it cost to buy a domain name?

As mentioned above, you can expect to pay in the region of up to £12 for a new domain registration – that price will most likely increase in the years moving forward to around £15 to £30. Remember having a domain name is important for brand recognition. After all, it's your very own internet real estate and it a unique, easy-to-remember address users type into a browser to visit your website.

As a business, it’s likely that you’ll want to buy a new domain name. However, it’s possible to purchase existing domain names, such as those that are expired or pre-existing, highly sought-after domain names. As well as this, you can negotiate to buy a domain name that isn’t listed for sale. 

While you might consider these options if there’s a particular domain name that you intend to use but isn’t available, the cost of a domain name that’s already in existence is likely to be considerably more expensive than registering a new one.

Domain name prices can vary significantly, with very cheap options possible (e.g. around £1, or for free when included with hosting or other web packages). And at the other end of the scale, the sky’s the limit for the most in-demand names, which can sell for millions of pounds!

Which factors contribute to the cost of a domain name?

The registration fee isn’t the only charge to consider when calculating your overall domain name cost. Pay attention to any hidden or extra fees, including:

Renewal fees 

Domain names are purchased for a set period of time, e.g. one year, three years etc. When the term length finishes, you’ll be required to pay a domain name renewal cost. While this is usually similar to the initial registration cost, some providers’ renewal charges can be a lot higher than the initial payment.

For example, A2 Hosting’s pricing offers registrations and renewals for the same amount

By contrast, with Domain.com, a .com registration costs $9.99 per year, whereas renewal costs $19.99 per year. 

As well as this, many providers offer auto-renewals, taking the stress out of having to do it yourself. But if you’re uncertain about a domain name, then assess if auto-renewal is the best option for you. Also, auto-renewal can be an unwelcome surprise, particularly if the charges are considerably higher than the first year fees. 

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Privacy protection 

If you own a domain name, the registrar must provide the owner’s contact information – including name, address (email and physical), and phone number – to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). This information is stored in the WHOIS database, which is a publicly available resource. 

To keep this information private, though, most providers offer privacy protection for an extra fee. Your personal information is still provided to the registrar, but theirs is then listed on the database – particularly useful for avoiding spam emails and phone calls.

Some examples include Domain.com which offers privacy protection for $8.99 per year, and HostGator, which charges $14.95 per year. DreamHost goes one step further, and offers privacy protection free of charge

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Transfer costs

If you already own a domain name, it's possible to transfer it to another provider. There are a number of reasons for transferring domain names, such as swapping to a provider that offers better prices, or one with superior features or support. 

If this is something you want to do, or think you might want to in the future, then it’s worth finding out if a provider charges for this service. After all, you wouldn’t want to get to the transfer stage, only to receive an unexpected fee.

Domain.com charges a transfer fee, which includes a year-long registration. DreamHost charges $9.99 to transfer a .com domain name, and $13.95 for a .org domain name transfer.

GoDaddy transfers are charged at a flat rate, plus the cost of ICANN registration, if required. You’re allowed to keep any time left on your current registration, and a free year of registration is available per transfer.

Extension type

The cost of domain names can be affected by the type of extension, also known as the top level domain (TLD). There are two types of TLDs: generic top level domain (gTLD) and country code top level domains (ccTLD).

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  • Generic top level domains include general, popular extensions like .com or .org
  • Country code top level domains are country-specific, such as .co.uk for the UK, or .ie for Ireland

Term length

Most registrars offer a minimum term length of one year. If you want to secure your domain name for a longer period of time, it's usually possible to select a longer term length, with some providers offering up to 10 years. 

While it’s reassuring to know that your domain name is protected for a set period of time, be sure to balance this with the costs of an extended term length, as the price increases can be quite significant.

Some domain name providers offer combined domain name and hosting services. If you’re interested in this, check out our article on the best web hosting for small businesses

If you’re building your own website, then you might want to use the same provider for your domain name too, if available. Read our article on the best website builders for small businesses for more information.

How to Reduce Costs When Buying a Domain Name

Whether you’re on a tight budget or you just want to have the certainty you walked away with the best deal possible, here are a couple of strategies to reduce the cost of your domain name:

  • Do your research → be sure to compare prices from different registrars to get a benchmark for what the right market price is for your domain name. This will give you a sense of a fair price and be better informed in case you need to negotiate.
  • Ask for a discount → there’s a couple of avenues where you can reasonably ask for a discounted price on a domain name. You can ask to purchase the domain name for multiple years or renew your domain name early.
  • Choose a less popular extension → if you’re ok with foregoing your top extension choice, you could be discounting your domain name price. As long as it doesn’t stray too far away from your brand identity or gives the wrong impression about what type of business you have, this is a good way to cut down your domain bill.
  • Consider using a domain name broker → brokers often have access to discounted domain names that aren’t available to the general public.

How to choose the best domain name for your business

Choosing a domain name is nearly as important as buying your own domain name in the first place. You want it to be recognisable but, most importantly, safe. Here’s a couple of best practices to apply as you choose how to name yourself on the internet.

  • Have your URL reflect your business purpose → you want a domain name that gives audiences an idea of who you are or what you do. Most likely, this means having your business name on the URL. This will help customers easily find you on the SERPs as well.
  • Choose your extension carefully → there’s plenty of extensions you can have for your website like .com, .io, .org, .edu and more. Each has a different price but also reflects a different ethos. Choose the one that is most relevant to your brand.
  • Check for a trademark → as you choose your domain name, you want to make sure your choice is not already a registered trademark of an existing business. If a domain name violates a company’s registered trademark, they could claim your domain name or ask you to take it down, so it’s important to tread carefully. You can use the Gov.uk site to search for at trademark, as shown below.

 

  • Investigate past domain name usage → using tools like Wayback Machine, you can check what kind of websites were made before using that specific domain name. This will also help protect your business reputation, as you don’t want customers associating your brand with a domain name that was previously used for shady purposes or content that doesn’t align at all with your business.

 

  • Test the domain health → make sure that the domain you choose isn’t used for spam, to launch DDoS attacks or spread malware. You can use MxToolBox’s domain health tool for this.

Summary

A domain name is an important business purchase, so it’s worth taking the time to work out how much one could cost you. New domain registrations are typically in the £0.01-£20 price bracket. 

However, since this is an approximate cost for a one year registration, you’ll also need to factor in domain name renewal costs, plus extra charges like privacy protection. You'll also need to consider the type of domain you want, and how long you want it for, as this can also influence the cost.

Aftermarket domain names can give you access to competitive domain names, or help you if the name you want is already in use, although this can be an expensive option. 

Fortunately, registering a new domain name is quick,cheap and easy for the most part. Some of the top domain name providers include:

Frequently Asked Questions
  • How much does a domain name cost?
    Domain name prices are often in the £7-12 per year price bracket, and will include the initial cost to secure your chosen domain name, as well as additional charges for any privacy protection you also decide to purchase.
  • How do I permanently buy a domain name?
    Currently it's not possible to purchase a domain name permanently with any provider - only continue to renew yearly to retain your rights. Domain names are considered impermanent assets in general, but you can purchase for up to 10 years at a time if you choose.
  • How much does a domain name cost per month?
    Domain names are usually purchased annually, and therefore there is no monthly fee to be maintained.
  • Is it worth paying for a domain?
    It is definitely worth it to purchase a domain if you are serious about creating a website with your own personal or business brand.
  • Why are domains so expensive?
    Considering the prestige they bring to whatever venture you're pursuing online, it's a small annual price to pay for the reputation and professionalism having a domain name can bring you.

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Written by:
Stephanie Lennox is the resident funding & finance expert at Startups: A successful startup founder in her own right, 2x bestselling author and business strategist, she covers everything from business grants and loans to venture capital and angel investing. With over 14 years of hands-on experience in the startup industry, Stephanie is passionate about how business owners can not only survive but thrive in the face of turbulent financial times and economic crises. With a background in media, publishing, finance and sales psychology, and an education at Oxford University, Stephanie has been featured on all things 'entrepreneur' in such prominent media outlets as The Bookseller, The Guardian, TimeOut, The Southbank Centre and ITV News, as well as several other national publications.
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