How much do domains cost, and what are you actually getting?

A photo of a man sitting with an open book.

Let’s start with another question — how much is your digital identity worth? Some will answer $10, others their AirPod Maxs, but some would bet their entire Bitcoin portfolio. 

We’re not just talking about your Uncle’s Facebook profile. It’s about building your name in an ever-changing digital world. And doing so with one of the most powerful online assets to exist — a domain.

From small businesses to corporate giants, every online journey starts with a domain. And given the endless possibilities for your digital journey, you might be shocked to learn some cost less than $5.00.

Let’s break it down.

Domains in part

Connecting with users, making impressions that last, and growing your brand require a little something. Identity, relevance, memorability — ultimately, when it comes to domains, you want the perfect address that reflects the qualities of your entire brand.

So how do they work?

Your online address is made up of two parts, the second-level domain (SLD) and the top-level domain (TLD). Each part performs for your brand, and both will affect your costs. Keyword relevance, character length, market demand, and the rest — the right domain ticks all the boxes.

A domain name divided into parts SLD and TLD.

Second-level domain

What’s an SLD? Everything to the left of the dot. Easy. It’s the first character combo or word that users read, so it’s pretty important. It could be a part of your offline brand name — think — or your entire brand name, like

Marketability, searchability, and memorability all factor into your SLD cost. But what happens when you pair it with a TLD? 

Top-level domain

A TLD is everything to the right of the dot — .com, .net, .org. Simple. And it’s a vital part of your online brand. Sure, desirable traits of your SLD should also be found in your TLD, but depending on what you choose, the overall quality of your entire domain will be affected. 


Initially, TLDs were created and allocated for purpose. The .com extension stood for commercial. But the early days of the Internet aren’t so early anymore. And what TLDs can really stand for, what they can actually do for your brand, has evolved into something better. 

Now, the Internet is filled with extensions from .xyz to .us, .cruises to .boston, and even abbreviations like .lol. But let's leave laughing out loud for a second and start thinking out loud instead. 

With so many to choose from, how do you know which is right? And how much is the right one going to cost? 

A gTLD is a generic top-level domain. Essentially, they’re TLDs that aren’t country specific and are designed forgeneral purpose and business. 

Addresses like .com, .net, and .org are your popular, classic gTLDs. You’ve probably heard of these, millions of domains use them, and they’ve had decades of legacy building in motion — so how expensive are they?

Simply, your most popular names were snapped up years ago. As a brand builder this means you’ve got fewer quality options to choose from. This drives the price down. But just because the most popular names are long gone and registered doesn't mean you can’t profit from a classic. 

Original TLDs are perfect for brands with limited funds that want instant recognition, easy recall, and higher levels of trust. And given that brand names will need to be nicher, yours may well be available.

Green circles symbolising .com, .net and .org TLDs.

Take a look at the domain rates for these examples on Spaceship, at the time of writing:

What other choices do you have? 

New gTLDs

‘All the good names are running out. Something needs to change.’

In 2012, ICANN (The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) started accepting new gTLDs. Everything from .blog to .adult and .cool to .dev released to the public. 

These TLDs were fresh and alternative, highly relevant, and offered new ways for brands to establish their online identity. Sounds good, but does that mean they’re expensive?

Well, if these TLDs were introduced, with less recognition and trust, because people had to compete, you wouldn’t be blamed for thinking they were cheaper. That said, see for yourself:

Given their relevance to a niche and industry demands, new gTLDs can be more expensive. But even then, it’s not by much. And for most businesses assessing upfront costs, they’d still fall well within the affordable range. 

Country-code TLDs

5 drops as geo tags symbolising cTLDs.

Think about a flag for a second. The power in what a flag can represent. It evokes so much in the minds of those viewing it. What if you could use that ethos with your online address? 

Country-code TLDs are what they sound like — domain extensions that represent specific countries or territories in the Domain Name System (DNS). You can literally attach the connotations of a nation onto your brand. 

So, how much would that cost? The answer depends on purpose. The extension can be yours for a few dollars. But the .io extension can cost between $30 to $50. 

This is where things get interesting.

Despite initially being tied to British Indian Ocean Territories, .io has been adopted by tech companies — for its input and output abbreviation — driving up the cost. Another great example is .tv, the country code for Tuvalu or .ai, the domain assigned to Anguilla.

Essentially, while ccTLDs are always connected to a country or region, usually, they can be used for creative purposes too.


If you’re from New York or London you may feel like you’re in a country of your own. And the idea of applying regional status to your brand is just as powerful with geoTLDs.

GeoTLDs reflect cities and continents alike, harnessing the power of both global and local recognition into your brand. Let’s look at the standard registration fee at the moment for some examples:

Premium domains

The word premium should tell you what you need to know. Take the words memorable, searchable, and brandable and then put the word highly in front of each. 

Premium names can come from gTLDs, ccTLDs, and geoTLDs alike. But it’s the combination of the SLD and TLD that makes it premium.

Unsurprisingly, premium domains are more expensive than standard TLDs. But they follow the same principles. Names like are the perfect example. If you need more proof, was available for $12,937.50, and you can see why.

Sure, costs change over time. Deals, policy alterations, and market changes are common. But take a look at these names available through Spaceship to get the idea: 

Ready to register

Now you know your price ranges, you might be set on a domain, and your online journey could be about to begin. 

You go to Spaceship, you search, and it’s available. But then something happens, maybe your laptop crashes, or your Bitcoin portfolio turns to dust, and you stop. 

When you return a week later, the price of your domain has changed — why?

Image symbolising a sunrise.

Sunrise period

Registries release domains in stages. The SP is the first. And it also happens to be the most expensive. 

Think of the SP as a pre-order phase for a brand-new product or service. Before the general public has access, specific buyers (usually trademark holders) can reserve or purchase the domain in advance. 

Registries know these companies will protect their brands at a high cost, and the price of a domain usually reflects that. 

Early access period

EAP is like a soft launch. It uses a tiered pricing structure, where the cost of domain registration decreases over time. Those willing to pay more for their domain can, and mostly, they will.

General availability

The GA phase is more of an official launch. Anyone interested in the product or service can access it on a first-come, first-served basis.

In other words, if you miss this, your dream domain could fuel someone else's vision instead. So, if you’re managing domain name costs carefully, this is your opportunity to buy low. 

Domain owning costs

Let’s say you buy a house. It’s your dream home. You’d be naive to think that buying it outright would be your only cost. At this point, you might think you’ve answered ‘how much do domains cost?’, but there’s more to it than just domain registration pricing.


Naturally, you want a brand that’s built to last. Your domain is a major player here. When you reach the end of the business year, having seen 500% profit, you don’t want to panic when you read, ‘Your domain is about to expire.’

Renewal costs are straightforward. Generally, it’s the same price as your initial registration fee. But with premium domains at high-tier prices, you’ll need a few dollars tucked away for when the time comes. 


Moving your domain to another provider could be key to your online journey. Maybe you’re unhappy with what’s being offered and see other platforms have better prices. If that’s true, it’s simple. Transfer costs generally mirror both the initial registration and renewal fees. Easy.


Let’s say you were too busy living lavishly from your online prosperity and forgot to renew your domain. At this point, your domain will enter the Redemption Grace Period. 

This will cost you. 

Your domain will cease to function, and you’ll have to pay the price to redeem it. So, be ready to add around $50 to $300 on top of the bill — depending on where you register.

How to register your domain

Green magnifier glass icon.

Now you know the cost for a domain name, it’s time to search for one. Even if you don’t have a solid idea yet, weighing up options now is key to getting ahead.

There are plenty of choices when it comes to platforms. You’ve probably heard of Namecheap, GoDaddy, and Each will have its advantages. But when it comes to lower cost, easy management, and supporting products, Spaceship is a great place to launch from. 

Putting deals and discounts aside, having security as standard, stronger performance, and effortless comms are great examples. And given how extras can enhance your online growth, ignoring them is like buying a smartphone… and only using it to text. 

Whois lookup offers another avenue for price assessments. In seconds, you can quickly analyze currently owned domains. If your perfect name is taken, you can search for owner details and maybe even put in an offer. 

Some, however, don’t want to be found. Hiding your ownership details is ideal for those who prioritize security. Most registrars offer Whois, but only some, like Spaceship, offer it for free. 

Time to register. Just head to the domains page, type in your domain, and get yours today. 


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