How to Register Your Domain with HostGator
Every website needs a domain name. While your main address on the web is your IP address – a string of numbers separated by periods – you can’t expect anyone to remember that. For people to be able to find your website (and return to it if they like it), you have to figure out the right domain name and register it.
For anyone registering a domain name with HostGator, you have three different possible routes to take:
- You can register a new domain name when you purchase a new HostGator web hosting plan.
- You can register a domain name with HostGator without purchasing web hosting.
- You can transfer a domain name you’ve purchased elsewhere over to HostGator.
Whichever option describes your situation, it’s pretty easy to get your domain set up with HostGator. Here are step-by-step instructions on how to do so.
How to Register Your Domain Name with HostGator
This is the easiest option of the three. When you purchase your web hosting package with HostGator, one of the first things you’ll see on the order form is a space to register your domain. Fill in the domain you want.
If it’s unavailable, you’ll see a message letting you know that, along with a list of other suggestions.
You can choose from these recommendations or try searching for another available domain until you find one you like that’s available.
Then just finish filling out the order form and as soon as your hosting is set up, your domain will be ready for you.
How to Register a Domain Name for a New Website Without Hosting
If you’ve already purchased a hosting package, are buying domains to sell, or if you’re not sure if you’re ready to get your web hosting set up yet, then you can still register your domain through HostGator’s website services.
Simply go to https://www.hostgator.com/domains, then enter the domain name you hope to register into the search bar.
Here as well, you’ll get a message letting you know if the domain you selected isn’t available, along with suggestions for alternatives.
You can search until you find one that is available and then select “Continue to Checkout” to complete your purchase.
Privacy protection will be automatically added to your shopping cart, but you can choose to remove it before checking out by clicking the X next to it.
How to Register a Domain that Requires Support Assistance
Occasionally, an available domain can’t be registered through the link above. In these cases, or if you’d prefer to use a different method of payment than those accepted by the website, you can go through HostGator’s support team to make your purchase.
Contact HostGator’s support staff by either phone or live chat for help.
How to Move Your Existing Domain to Your HostGator Site
Moving a domain name you already own over to your HostGator account is a little more complicated than the other options. Structures have been put in place to protect domain owners that make this process a little tedious in the moment, but ensure that only the true domain owner can move it to a new provider.
If you just recently registered your domain name, you have to wait 60 days from the time of purchase before you’ll be able to transfer it, so mark the date on your calendar and come back and revisit this post at that time. And you can’t transfer an expired domain, so check to make sure your domain registration is up to date and that it isn’t set to expire within the next week (a domain transfer can take up to 7 days, and if it expires during the process, the transfer will fail).
If you’ve checked on all that and know the timing’s right, then you have a few more steps to take before you start the transfer.
- Update your name servers. Make sure you do this before the transfer begins, if you try to do it after the process has started, the transfer could fail.
- Disable WHOIS privacy. Check to see if you have WHOIS privacy enabled and disable it if you do.
- Check the accuracy of your WHOIS information. Outdated information could make it look like you’re not the legitimate owner, or could mean you miss important communication during the transfer, so check the information you have in there now and make any needed updates.
- Unlock your domain. A locked domain can’t be transferred. Do this step right before you make the transfer.
- Get your EPP code. Your current provider should provide you with an EPP authorization code that allows you to make the transfer. Do this soon before you make the transfer so the code doesn’t expire before it’s complete.
That was the hard part. Now just go to https://www.hostgator.com/transfer and enter your domain into the search bar.
If you did everything right on the list above, you should be able to complete the transfer without a problem. If you have additional steps you need to take, the website will let you know what you still need to do.
Once your domain is registered, you can rest assured your chosen online address is yours and will be there waiting for the moment your website is ready to go up.
Again, HostGator’s support team is available 24/7 via phone and Live Chat to answer any questions you might have.
Kristen Hicks is an Austin-based freelance content writer and lifelong learner with an ongoing curiosity to learn new things. She uses that curiosity, combined with her experience as a freelance business owner, to write about subjects valuable to small business owners on the HostGator blog. You can find her on Twitter at @atxcopywriter.