A domain name purchase agreement, or domain name assignment, is similar to a website's bill of sale. This is necessary when you're selling or buying a domain name or website. Some forms are used commonly, so it's essential to know what their limitations are. This form addresses the particular situation of a website that's for sale.

What Are Domain Name Purchase Agreements?

A domain name purchase agreement is used when a domain name is being bought from a third party or company or a domain name is being sold to someone else. Domain names are similar to personal property and can be sold or bought just the same. When selling or buying a domain name, it's crucial to put this in writing in the domain name assignment.

Other names for a domain name purchase agreement include the following:

  • Domain name purchase agreement
  • Domain name transfer agreement
  • Domain name assignment agreement

Domain Names Defined

Domain names give a friendly face to an otherwise confusing and long numeric internet address. Each computer has its own unique internet protocol (or IP) number. A domain name represents one if not more IP numbers. As an example, say a domain name is whitehouse.gov and the IP number is 103.109.190.13. Users want a handle that's easy to remember, so they're much more likely to remember the president's email is president@whitehouse.gov instead of president@103.109.190.13.

There are no limitations on who can buy a domain name. To purchase one, you must visit the registrar for a domain name, such as HostGator or GoDaddy. You'll enter the domain you want to purchase and pay that fee. Only a domain that isn't already registered can be used by a business or another person, and it must have a domain suffix that's valid. You'll want to buy something short and catchy so others can remember it, such as PCMag.

This is also important for search engine optimization, or SEO, which is how people find you on the internet. You'll want to spend some time researching keywords, which are the terms people type into search engines to find your site. Many of the short, catchy names might already be taken, which can be frustrating. Cybersquatters also exist who buy popular names early on and then try to sell them for a ridiculous price to legitimate owners. If you can't find a domain name, look at the help section on the registrar's website.

Domain registrars often have search engines that show you a list of names that are available similar to what you want. When you look for a domain name, you'll get the status of the name and any suffixes that are available for it. You might want cookies.com and it's already taken, but cookies.org or cookies.biz may be available.

The Suffix Factor

The suffix is the name that belongs to a certain top-level domain. There are many different top-level domains available, including .edu, .hiphop, .org, .net, .com, .game, .green, and more. The most popular one is .com, which was originally intended to show a website was a commercial site, but now it includes almost anything. How much you'll pay for your name varies depending on the suffix and domain name. If you have a domain name and suffix that's popular, you might need to pay a lot for it, as someone might already have it.

Web Hosts and Domain Names

You don't need to go to a dedicated registration service in order to buy a domain name, however. Some web hosting services, such as HostGator and DreamHost, have a registration mechanism that's part of the process. You can get a free domain name when you sign up for one of their web hosting packages. However, free domain names typically only last for a few years, after which you'll be billed an annual fee.

You should also note whether there's a fee to set up the domain name. Many services will transfer a domain name that already exists to their servers for no extra charge, but will have a setup fee that's required when establishing a new website.

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