Wasn’t it Shakespeare who once said, “A blog by any other domain would read just as sweetly”? While it’s true that, as long as you are writing good content consistently, you will find your niche and audience, your site address is an important part of your online presence. A memorable site address is a direct link to your and your readers. Without it, they can’t find you.
When you sign up for a site on WordPress.com, you automatically receive a free WordPress.com subdomain, like dailypost.wordpress.com. Your site is always available through your WordPress.com address and you can use it for free for as long as you’d like. As your blog grows, you may find that you’d like to further customize your site address and replace your *.wordpress.com subdomain with your own .com.
To help familiarize you with the world of domains, we’ve crafted up a series of posts for you on domain basics, domain ownership, and the nitty gritty of how domains work.
It’s a habitual act for many of us: you sit down at your desk or pull your laptop onto your lap while lounging on the couch. You press the power button, the screen glows, and your cursor moves, almost automatically, to your browser of choice. In the address bar, you begin to type a web address, press enter, and voilà!
When you type a URL into your address bar, you send a signal through your computer to request the files that make up that website and display them in a neat little package on your browser. But guess what? Anyone can register their own, unique domain, including you.
To use your own custom domain, you first need to register it. Registering a domain means that you own this particular web address, just like we own the domain WordPress.com. No one else can use your domain while it’s registered to you, since the same URL can’t bring you to more than one site.
Before registering your domain, there are a few options you’ll want to note. The ending of a domain, such as .com or .net, is known as a TLD, or top-level domain. The TLD you choose doesn’t affect how visitors access your site or how your site is presented to the web. Instead, TLDs are primarily a style preference. A domain’s TLD can act as a regional marker, such as domains ending in .ca, which is the country code for Canada, or an opportunity for a clever play on words, such as allabout.me. Through WordPress.com, you can register .com, .net, .org, or .me TLDs.
During the registration process, you’ll also run into the option to register privately. By default, the contact information for the registrant, or owner, of a domain is publicly available through Whois (pronounced “Who is?”) which is a tool that allows you to see who owns a domain name. If you’d like to keep your information private, a domain registrar will offer a private registration. For private domain registrations, it is still important to keep your contact information accurate, but your information will be protected from Whois searches.
A few common questions
Q: Once I buy a domain, is it mine forever?
A: Domains need to be renewed yearly to maintain your ownership, and it is very important to make sure your domain never expires as long as you’d like to keep using that address.
If you register your domain through WordPress.com, it’s possible to set up an automatic renewal so that it’s renewed automatically each year. Automatic renewal for domains goes through 30 days before the domain expires. This way, if there’s a problem with your payment, we can alert you before the domain expires.
Q: No one can buy a domain with my name in it.
A: It’s a great idea to buy the domain that matches your name, but it’s not guaranteed to be yours. If there’s more than one person with the same name as you, it’s quite possible that one of your namesakes may have already bought the domain. With domains, it’s first-come, first-served.
Once a domain is registered, it’s not available for anyone else to buy. Some registrants will offer to sell a domain they own, but the price can vary considerably.
If the domain you want is already taken, consider a different TLD. For example, janedoe.com may be taken, but janedoe.me may be available instead.
Still have more questions? Don’t worry, we’ve got your covered. Stay tuned for the next part of our series on domains when we cover hosting, name servers, and DNS, oh my!
If you change from .wordpress.com to .com, will people who search for you at .wordpress.com still reach your site? Thanks!
So glad you decided to do this as I’ve never understood it!
I have a .co.uk domain registered, can I use that? It’s not on the list. :O)
Okay, so I’ve been debating changing my url for a while now. I hastily created my blog under nickywellsklippert.wordpress.com nearly two years ago. but I’m thinking of changing to nickywellsa or nickywellsauthor or somethting similar. HOWEVER! I have links to my blog embedded all over the place adn I’m worried about losing those if I register my own domain name. Do you have any advice? And also, is it possible to move my blog from the current domain name to something that is a little different, as opposed to ‘just’ dropoping the ‘wordpress’ from it? (I hope that makes any sense, I find this all very confusing!) Thanks for any advice!
Thanks. That was very helpful. I’ve been a little hesitant to get started, but you made it seem easy.
Thanks for the informative post. I imagine going from .wordpress.com to .org is a different matter with regard to links staying the same?
I was wondering can you attach other domain to another to get your main domain rank higher in the internet.
Hello Erica, I want to change the name of my current domain that I have in WordPress.com, which is marketerostools.com and go from .com to .org, also. Will I lose the domain that I have currently if I don’t use it anymore?
Thanks for your post,
I know that the domain have to be renewed yearly, but can you just pay for 5 or 10 years worth of renewal upfront?
Thank you for this commentary. I have been “parking” angelamhaigler.com for quite a while now since angelahaigler.com is taken. I am planning to move the contents of angelicmusings.wordpress.com to angelamhaigler.com. (Is this a good idea?) Is there an easy way to do this? Whups is this considered support?
The comment below was VERY helpful.
Pasted from another reply above: ” Since you would only be changing your site’s address, but not moving the site itself, your subscribers, followers, and your blog content would all remain the same”
just what I needed! looking forward to the next posts ;-) Thanks
My domain right now is gunsnwar.wordpress.com. Thing is, I have dozens of internal links. If I change my domain, will these links keep working just like now?
I don’t have any credit card but would like to buy a domain name for upgrading my wordpress account. Is there any other way to do so,? will western union do the payment?
bel sito complimenti
Thank you Erica. I plan to buy a custom domain and this post helped me A LOT. :)
abakadesign, If you don’t have a credit (or debit) card, you can use your bank account for PayPal. That way you can use PayPal to register a domain with WordPress.com. I hope this helps out. :)
Hello! I’ve been wanting this for a long time. I have two blogs in WordPress under the same email address. I’m wondering if only one of the blogs could have the .com domain? Or can I create a new blog with the same email address and make it my .com blog? Many thanks! :)
1. What happens when my custom domain expires (let’s say, because I forgot to turn on automatic renewal, or my credit card expired)? Will WP.com keep it for me for some time, or will it immediately available to be bought by anyone on the internet?
2. What will the visitors see when they go to that expired custom domain?
I use domain mapping but my dashboard is still on my .wordpress domain
Very useful information, for me especially about whois! Thanx so much!
This post is very informative. Thank you ;)
Hi Erica, great article. I have a doubt though. I recently changed my blog url from camatters.wordpress.com to camattersonline.com on wordpress.com only. Now I need to submit my sitemap to Google and Bing Webmaster but am not able to find the link url. Can you pls guide?
Fantastic post! It (and the ton of information in comments) answered a lot of my questions. I look forward to more of these informative posts!! Thank you for this!
So if it changes from .wordpress.com, can then start integrating advertising or is that still only allowed on .org templates?
Is it possible to use the domaine name I buy here for creating an email address?
Thank you for the information. Very informative
I’m stalling on buying a domain for myself… but I think I’ll do it soon :) Very informative article.
I currently have a .com account and was wanting to add the option for ads. Do I need to get a separate domain with an outside web hosting company to do this? Great article. Very informative.
Nice article. It is always good to inform people about domain name convention and the various attributes to think about when selecting a domain.
Does WordPress.com allow AdSense links for their free service ?