What is the purpose of registering a domain name?
Registering a domain name with a registry is similar to registering a trade mark with the IPO. This name is your online identity, and the digital address at which your visitors can view your website. You are its sole owner until the renewal date.
Domain name registration proves that you have an internet address. Once your website is hosted on a server, you can publish content on it. It will remain online as long as you renew your domain name and hosting plan.
Once you become the holder of a domain name, you can use it or resell it to a third party. You can also transfer your current website to this new domain name, or buy different extensions for it.
When should I buy a domain name?
The domain name market operates on a first come, first served basis. To ensure that you can use the domain name you want, it is best to reserve it before you create your website.
The sooner you reserve your domain name, the better — because you can start working on your brand image and website design without the nasty surprise of finding out the domain name you want is taken.
You can order a free domain name from a web hosting provider like OVHcloud. This purchase is valid for one to ten years, and the contract can be renewed. If you forget to renew it, you will be given priority to retrieve your expired domain name for 30 days after the expiry date.
What do I do if the domain name I want is not available?
There are now more than 200 million active websites, and a total of 1.7 billion websites worldwide. Each one has its own URL.
If the domain name you are looking for is not available, you can buy a domain name with another extension, or buy a domain name from its owner. Some domain names are no longer used — like when a brand name is changed, or when a business is transferred, for example.
Choosing the right domain name
Creating a domain name for your website is a crucial step to giving your online business a flying start. The domain name you choose should:
- Build your online reputation.
- Establish your online presence.
- Acquire natural traffic with an increasing flow of visitors.
Good domain names are easy to remember, and can be typed on all types of devices — including smartphone keypads. For this reason, we recommend reserving a short, concise name that does not contain any special characters or hyphens. It should also attract the attention of web users. A relevant internet domain name will make it easy for customers to remember your company’s name and website.
Registering a domain name with OVHcloud
1. Check that the domain name you want is available.
There are tools you can use to find out whether a domain name and extension are available to reserve.
OVHcloud offers a simple search bar system. Simply enter the domain name and search to ensure:
- Its availability by direct purchase or repurchase from its owner.
- Other available extensions and variations of this domain name.
- The price of each domain name, depending on the extension you have chosen.
Check the availability of a domain name
What do I do if the domain name I want is not available?
You can decide on a new, different domain name, or buy the domain name of your choice from its current owner.
In this case, there are 3 options:
- The domain name owner has bought it for resale at a profit.
- The website is active. In this case, the domain name holder may not wish to resell the domain name.
- The website owner has stopped using their domain name. However, you will need to search for their contact details and get in touch with them to negotiate the purchase.
If a website owner wishes to resell their domain name, the domain name appears with the label ‘secondary market’ on our website. This means you can buy it straight away.
To find the owner of a website, simply copy the domain name into your browser’s search bar and read the website’s legal terms. Here, you can find the administrator’s email address, and contact them to propose a purchase.
If a domain name does not redirect to a website because it is no longer being used, you can obtain information on it in accordance with the GDPR. To find out about a domain name owner, you can perform a WHOIS search using our free tool.
Buying back a domain name costs more than a standard domain name registration. In the event of an agreement on the selling price, the repurchasing budget will include:
- The purchase price of the domain name from the current owner.
- The domain name transfer fees.
- The cost of changing ownership.
2. Choose your extension to register a free or paid domain name.
You can get a free domain name with the extensions .tk, .ml, .ga, .cf and .gq.
However, we do not recommend using them, as both web users and search engines may consider them spam. Extensions like .co.uk, .com and .net are more widely trusted.
It is better to create a website with a paid domain name, which differs from the free and less standard ones. With a well-chosen, simple and optimised name, your website will gain more visibility. It will be easier for users to remember, and both its visibility and traffic will be increased as a result.
Extensions are available from £0.57/year on OVHcloud, which is one of the most competitive prices on the market. This means you can register a cheap domain name by comparing the costs of different extensions.
3. Check the services associated with purchasing a domain name.
There is more to launching a website than buying a domain name. To be visible online, the website’s content and the visuals you create must be hosted somewhere. By choosing an OVHcloud web hosting plan, you get one year free on certain domain names.
4. Renew your domain name.
Once you have registered your domain name, you can choose between manual or automatic renewal. You can change your mind at any time by enabling or disabling automatic renewal for your services (registration, web hosting, emails) on the OVHcloud Control Panel.
This will generate a direct debit when your services expire.
For manual renewal, you will need to remember to renew your domain name, and proceed with the payment. If you forget what the renewal date is, you will receive several reminders via email before the domain name expires. You can also pay for the renewal via the OVHcloud Control Panel. Another option is to pay for domain names before their expiry date.
5. Transfer a website to a new domain name.
There are many reasons for transferring a website to a new registry (the organisation a domain name is registered with). You may be changing your brand, changing web hosting provider, or purchasing a domain name from a third party, for example.
The new registrar is responsible for initiating the transfer.
In order to prevent unauthorised domain transfers, domain names hosted at OVHcloud are usually locked with a ‘clientTransferProhibited’ status. Once the transfer code is received, you can remove this protection via the OVHcloud Control Panel. The transfer code must be provided to your new registry to start the operation.
Duration of a .com, .net or .uk domain transfer
The transfer stage can take up to ten days for most top-level domain names (TLDs). In practice, the transfer time and steps may vary, particularly for some extensions. Examples of this can be geographical extensions such as .pl, .lu, .hk, .ro, .be, or more specific ones such as .am, .fm, etc.
The cost of transferring a domain name to OVHcloud
The procedure for transferring your domain name to OVHcloud is free. Most content management systems (CMS) and hosting providers offer this service free of charge or at a low price.
How do I check if the domain name I want has been registered?
When you search for the domain name you want, you will see whether it is available, already registered or transferrable from one registry to another.