What is a Domain Registrar?
Themeisle content is free. When you purchase through referral links on our site, we earn a commission. Learn More

What is a domain registrar? Lets make this easy – a domain registrar helps you purchase and manage your own domain name.

A domain name is the address a website uses on the Internet. For example, ours is themeisle.com.

If you want to make a website, you need a domain name, which means that you’ll need to interact with a domain registrar in some way.

Let’s get into more detail…

What is a domain registrar? In more detail

An example of a domain registrar

Like I mentioned before, you need to buy and register your domain name. You can buy one of these from a domain registrar. A domain registrar is a person or entity who helps you to buy and register a domain.

Helpfully, most registrars offer intuitive tools that help you search available names. On your part, you simply fill in the name of your choice and make payment.

In practice, domain names are not sold to you outright. You only get to lease the names for a period of time. Most domain registrars keep track of expiry dates and offer renewal services too.

How domain registrars work

Domain names are not something that can be bought off the shelf. There’s a top-level non profit authority for managing domain names – ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names).

ICANN oversees domain registration. The domain names are all entered in a central registry (domain registry), and needless to say, your domain name will have to find a place in it to be valid.

In fact, it’s the domain registry that actually manages and maintains domain names. The registry leaves the task of commercial sales of domain names to domain registrars.

In order to be a domain name registrar, you need accredition from ICANN. In turn, domain registrars can sell domain names to you directly, or through re-sellers. If you’re looking for proper service, it’s best to buy the domain names directly from the domain registrars.

To widen the choice of domain names, we use different domain extensions – for example .com, .edu and .org. Or country specific extensions such as .en, .in and .au. You should know that not all domain registrars sell all extensions and this may limit your choice of domain registrars.

Lets do this with an example – Verisign maintains the registry for .com domains. In case you want a .com domain for your website, you’ll have to buy it from a domain registrar who deals with the .com extensions. The registrar will inform Verisign to reserve the domain for you and pays a fee to Verisign on your behalf. The registrar includes this fee in the amount he collects from you.

Nowadays, domain registrars offer a number of add-on services like hosting or privacy or domain transfers. In fact, many of them are one-stop shops for domain name registration, website setup, hosting and managed hosting. If you wish, you can find out more about hosting here. In case you’re particular about WordPress hosting, this post will help you. It makes sense to get your domain name from your host, else you may have to pay a transfer fee for shifting the domain.

Next steps & how to get started

If you want to get started with a domain name and domain registrar, we have plenty of guides to help you out.

First, we’ve collected the best affordable domain registrars. We also have an entire guide on how to register a domain name.

If you just want a quick recommendation, Domain.com works great as a domain registrar. Alternatively, if you want to get your hosting and domain from the same place, check out Bluehost.

If you’re not sure which domain to purchase, we have some tips on how to pick a domain name, as well as a guide to domain extensions (like .com vs .net).

If you’re still short on ideas, you can always use a domain name generator.

And once you have a domain name, you can follow our complete guide on how to make a website to turn your domain into a working website.

Any other questions about what a domain registrar is? Leave a comment and we’ll try to help!

Free guide

5 Essential Tips to Speed Up
Your WordPress Site

Reduce your loading time by even 50-80%
just by following simple tips.

Download free guide

* This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links and then purchase the product, we’ll receive a commission. No worries though, you’ll still pay the standard amount so there’s no cost on your part.

Or start the conversation in our Facebook group for WordPress professionals. Find answers, share tips, and get help from other WordPress experts. Join now (it’s free)!