Domain Registration FAQs

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A domain registration is an ownership of a specific domain name. This article lists the most frequently asked questions regarding domain registrations in general, as well as specifically with DreamHost.

General questions

What is a domain name?

A domain name is the address, or URL, of your website. For example, ‘’ is a domain name.

Every domain name is unique across the entire planet and are assigned to whomever registers them on a first-come first-serve basis.

You can register domain names followed by many extensions, such as .com, .net, .org, .info and more through DreamHost.

Why would I want a domain?

There are many good reasons to register your own unique domain name, including:

  • Permanent address for your site and email, as long as you keep the domain registered and have an active web hosting and email service linked to the domain.
  • A unique domain name looks much more professional than a URL such as ‘’.
  • Easier for people to remember than ‘’.
  • Registering a new domain name in your panel is simple and only takes a few minutes.
  • It's affordable at $13.95/year (current price for a .com domain for one year) which is about $1/month.
  • If you purchase a shared hosting plan through DreamHost, you receive one free credit that you can use to register a .com, .net, .org, .info, or .xyz domain. This is for the first year of your hosting. You can read more about this on the Free Registration article.
  • Once your domain name is reserved, you own that domain name until you choose to let it expire. If you don’t reserve the domain name you want, someone else can reserve it before you get the opportunity.

Do I have to register a domain name?

If you want to own your own top-level domain (TLD) name, then the answer is ‘Yes’. But DreamHost also offers the use of a free subdomain name under the ‘’ TLD. So, you don’t need to purchase a domain registration if you do not mind your site showing with ‘’ at the end. (For example:

If you purchase a DreamHost shared hosting plan, you are entitled to one free domain registration for the year as noted in the following article:

What is the difference between domain registration and web hosting?

Here is a comparison of differences between domain registration and web hosting:

Domain Registration
Gives you sole ownership and rights to the name of your site. No one else has access to the actual name of the domain and it is taken off the market.
However, owning the domain registration is only half of the process needed to have a website or email at your domain – you also need to connect that domain name to a service that offers you server space and bandwidth for your website content and email.
Web Hosting
Provides the server, its network connection, its configuration, and its upkeep. You just need to upload your site to the server and configure your email via an online account control panel.
DreamHost offers both, and you can manage everything in one place via the DreamHost Panel.

Once I register my domain name, can I change it later?

Unfortunately, as the registry does not allow for domain names to be changed after purchase, this is not possible. Once you have registered and reserved the domain name, you own that domain name through it’s expiration date. Be sure to ensure that the spelling of your domain name is exact when you register it (i.e., ensure that there are no typos or misspellings).

If you did register a domain that was not spelled correctly, or want to change the domain name completely, you may also choose to just register the new correctly-spelled domain name. Then, let the old one expire after the period you have purchased it for has passed.

Does it matter which kind of domain I register (.com, .net, .org, or .info)?

No. You can register any kind of domain. All four of these are "unrestricted" Top-Level Domains (TLDs), which means they have no restrictions on who can register what domain and for what purpose.

When it comes to securing the name that you want, these four domains are some of the most popular. In terms of availability, .com is the most popular. If you can’t find your desired domain available as a .com, you may want to check if it’s available as a .net, .org, or .info domain.

Does registering a domain mean I can publish my site right away?

When you buy a domain, you have the sole rights to that name for as long as you registered it for.

However, there's a difference between registering a domain and having a site published on the internet. You must also add a hosting plan if you want the site to be visible online.

If you have an active hosting plan on your DreamHost account, you can link that hosting plan to your new domain so you can start publishing content online by following the steps at:

You can also point your domain name to another provider for hosting. In order to do that, please contact your external hosting provider for instructions on how to point your domain name to their hosting services.

There is usually a delay of up to 72 hours from when you first register your domain and link it to a hosting service, until the time it is viewable online. This is due to DNS propagation which DreamHost does not control.

Should I register my domain with "www" in front?

No. There's no need to register the domain with "www" as the ‘www’ portion isn’t actually a part of your domain name. Just register without the ‘www’. When setting up hosting for the domain, you can set up the ‘www’ record to be hosted for the domain name as well.

How often do I renew my domain?

You can renew a domain for up to 3 years, with payment required upon renewal. You can also set an automatic renewal option to your domain registration as well. You can read more about that here:

How long does my registration last?

Depending on the domain extension, you can register domains for 1–3 years in advance. Some registries have limits on how far in advance you can register a domain.

You can also set your domains to renew automatically every year in your panel, on the (Panel > ‘Domains’ > ‘Registrations’) page. To set your domains to automatically renew, simply click the “yes” link under the “Auto Renew” column to set this domain to renew automatically each year. You can also set all of your domains to renew at the bottom of the table.

DreamHost-related questions

Can I purchase a domain through DreamHost?

You can purchase a domain registration on your DreamHost account panel at (Panel > ‘Domains’ > ‘Registrations’) or through one of the many domain registrars that are available. But, it’s easier to manage everything on a single account. So, if you have hosting on your DreamHost account, it would make it easier to manage your domain registrations on your DreamHost account as well.

There are other reasons to register a domain with DreamHost:

  • The purchase can be done through your account panel using a credit card.
  • Domains purchased are registered within 15 minutes of the completion of the purchase form, so it’s quick and easy.
  • With a shared hosting plan, the purchase of your domain name is free for the first year. But it must be a .COM/.INFO/.NET/.ORG/.XYZ TLD.
  • Domain names have a maximum character length of 67 characters.
  • You can modify your domain registration and manage it yourself through the panel.
  • For the domains that offer privacy protection, this feature is free of charge, whereas many registrars charge a hefty fee for this feature.

Why would I want to get a domain from DreamHost?

That's a good question. At their core, every domain registrar out there is offering exactly the same thing. There really is no difference in the core domain registration service every registrar provides.

So, what is the difference between registrars? Is there anything that makes one better than another?

Below are important features that individual registrars do have control of, and how DreamHost compares on each, which you'll want to take into consideration:

Free WHOIS privacy
The majority of registrars charge you an additional fee to make your WHOIS information private. DreamHost offers this free of charge.
The price that is charged to customers per domain, per year.
DreamHost charges $13.95/year (for .com domains), with no minimum commitment, which is definitely in the mid-range of the price scale. Many places that offer lower prices require bulk purchases of some sort, or extra services to be purchased in conjunction with the registration.
The interface that customers can use to register, modify, transfer, renew, pay for, and generally manage their domain registrations.
DreamHost prides itself on making all aspects of managing your domain registration fast and easy to use, as well as fully automated and available at any time right through your DreamHost panel
The stability, speed, and security of that interface.
The DreamHost registration interface is built on the same foundation as DreamHost’s web hosting which was started in 1996. Every day DreamHost is responsible for the uninterrupted service of over one million websites. More than 4500 Linux servers keep this system up and running at a blazing speed. System administrators take an active stance towards security and keep full back ups of all customer and internal data so it may be recovered quickly in the case of a catastrophic failure.
The level of service provided to the customer.
DreamHost offers a high level of customer service, and is consistently rated for exemplary performance by third parties several times. In 2014, DreamHost was recognized by PCMag and given their “Business Choice Award”. You can read more about this at DreamHost wins 2014 business choice award from PCMag.
The domain registration agreement to which you must agree.
The DreamHost Domain Registration Terms of Agreement is publicly available for you to review.

Does DreamHost offer any free registrations?

If you sign up for a shared web hosting plan, DreamHost offers a free credit (for the first year) for a .com, .net, .org, .info, or .xyz domain registration.

Please refer to the Free Registration article for more information.

How can I find out if the domain I want is still available?

You can check if the domain you want is available in your panel, on the (Panel > ‘Domains’ > ‘Registrations’)page.

01 reg basics.fw.png
  • Enter your desired domain name in the box, and then click the Check Availability button.
  • Your panel checks to see if the domain is currently available to be registered by you.

If you do not have a DreamHost account yet, you can also check for domain availability at:

How can I view my list of registered domains?

To view a list of your registered domains, simply navigate to the (Panel > ‘Domains’ > ‘Registrations’) page.

The bottom portion of this page displays any domains you registered through DreamHost.

What types of domains can I register at DreamHost?

DreamHost currently offers the standard .com, .net, .org, and .info domains, as well as several hundred other unique domain extensions.

For a current list of domain extensions that DreamHost supports:

  1. Visit the (Panel > ‘Domains’ > ‘Registrations’) page.
    02 reg basics.fw.png
  2. Click the ‘See all domain extensions and pricing’ link.

If you do not have a DreamHost account yet, you can also check for domain availability and pricing by searching for your desired domain name at:

Is there anything I should know BEFORE I have DreamHost register my domain?

  • Domain registrations done through DreamHost require a major credit card. Account credit balances can be used to purchase the domain registration as well.
  • DreamHost has a very limited window to delete certain newly purchased domains. Be sure you wish to purchase the domain name in question and ensure that the domain name is spelled correctly. If the deletion window has closed, the domain name cannot be deleted and refunded. For most TLDs, this window for deletion is open for as long as 5 days.
  • Registering the domain name is just one part of having your own website. You also need to have a hosting plan (in order to host the site) and its contents uploaded to your server.

Privacy/Ownership questions

Do I have to make my address and phone number public?

You do not need to post your contact details for your domain registration publicly for the more commonly known TLDs, including .COM/.NET/.ORG/.INFO. DreamHost offers a free privacy protection setting that hides the ownership details for the domain registration on public WHOIS searches. However, only certain TLDs offer this option. Some international TLDs require some information to be posted publicly, but that depends on that domain registry’s policy.

For domains that offer privacy protection, the WHOIS search displays DreamHost’s contact details along with a proxy email address tied to your ownership email address so that it remains hidden, but can still receive messages sent to you regarding the domain name.

Is my domain be registered under my name or DreamHost's?

The domain registration is registered under the name you set for the owner on the purchase form. It’s not owned under DreamHost.

If you enable privacy protection, the public WHOIS hides your personal ownership details from whomever looks up your domain registration through a WHOIS search. DreamHost’s details appear on the privacy protection search page, but your internal contact and ownership info are listed with the registrar for the owner of that domain name.

Only nonpayment prevents you from having complete control of your domain. Should your account become suspended for a delinquent balance due, DreamHost retains control of the domain – including the right to transfer, sell, or modify it -- until your balance is paid and the account re-enabled. Virtually all registrars operate this way. (DreamHost is an ICANN-accredited registrar.)

Pricing questions

How much does domain registration cost?

Domain registrations start as low as $5.95 (for the .DE TLD) and vary depending on the TLD selected. The cost of each domain extension is listed on the (Panel > ‘Domains’ > ‘Registrations’) page by clicking the 'See all domain extensions and pricing' button.

The popular extensions of .com, .net, .org, and .info cost a flat rate of $13.95 per year (USD). Some registrars only offer these prices if you register multiple domains at once, or register domains for several years in advance. However, DreamHost does not have any bulk requirements for domain registrations. So, even if you register just a single domain for only one year, you won’t pay any more than the listed price.

If you add a shared hosting plan to your account, you are also provided with a free credit that you can use toward a .com, .net, .org, or .info domain. This credit is good for the first year of hosting. You can read more about this at:

When do I pay for domain registration?

All purchases of a domain registration require immediate payment. Manual renewals also require immediate payment. However, DreamHost bills accounts for domains that are set to automatically renew when the automatic renewal is processed. This charge must be paid in full within 60-days from the date of the charge.

How may I pay for a domain registration?

New domain registrations can only be processed via a major credit card or through the use of a credit balance on the account. That said, you can prepay to your account using Paypal or a check sent in advanced so that the account is left with a credit balance.