How To Register A Domain Name in South Africa

Your step-by-step guide to owning your address on the world wide web.

On the market for a domain name? It might seem like a simple task, look up an available domain name – add to cart – and checkout…

However, buying a domain name is so much more than one might think at the onset.

If this is your first time buying a domain name – be sure not to rush – follow the steps and tips below to get the most out of registering your new domain name in South Africa, and you will surely avoid some of the mistakes I’ve made. Countless times.

Some Key Takeaways

  • Anyone can register a domain name
  • Domains can be registered and live within 24 hours
  • Domains are priced differently at different registrars
  • Domains need to be renewed annually
  • Domains can be transferred in the future

Steps For Buying A Domain Name in South Africa

  1. Identify Your Why
  2. List Relevant Keywords
  3. Combine Your Keywords
  4. Check Domain Name Availability
  5. Choose The Correct Domain Name Extension
  6. Purchase Your Domain Name
  7. Take Your New Domain Name Online

Step 1: Identify Your Why

Anyone can register almost any domain (provided it’s available) and for this reason it can be easy to get lost, even overwhelmed, when being faced with a never ending list of available domain names, different domain extensions, additional domain addons, and pricing differences between various registrars.

Knowing why you are buying a domain name will save you time and potentially even money.

  • Are you planning on starting an online business? 
  • Do you already have a business that you want to take online? 
  • Or do you want to buy brandable domain names and sell them for profit later on?

List down your reason why you are registering your domain name. This may seem like an unnecessary step, however it can make a massive difference in which domain name registrar and domain name extension you choose.

Because you are able to register a new domain name with just a few clicks, you want to make sure that you don’t regret making a purchase because you unfortunately won’t get a refund from registrars.

Step 2: List Relevant Keywords

After you know your “why”, for example, The reason why you may be registering a domain name could be to take your personal brand online in order to showcase your portfolio to employers and recruiters in order to stand out in the jobs marketplace.

List as many relevant keywords as you can come up with.

We’ll use generic “Bob” as an example…

Some of the keywords Bob might list include:

  • Bob
  • Portfolio
  • Showcase
  • Designs
  • Work

Step 3: Combine Your Keywords

Now You’ll want to combine your keywords and create as many variations as possible.

  • Bobsportfolio
  • Bobsworkshowcase
  • Bobsdesigns
  • Myportfolio
  • Bobswork

Pro Tip: An awesome free tool for getting tons of domain name variations, ideas, and finding new keywords (while looking up and allowing you to quickly register available domain names) is lean domain name generator. The tool allows you to find a great available domain name with a simple search of any keyword. I used this tool to come up with some cool domains, one of which is (a place to help lost marketers become “un-lost”).

Step 4: Check Domain Name Availability

Head on over to a domain name registrars’ domain search page.

We recommend:

Next enter your keyword combinations in the search bar (always one word) and hit search. The domain name registrar will show you available domain names and many variations of your desired domain name as well as which domain name extensions are available.

Example of domain name search on

Remember to triple check your spelling! You do not want to make a spelling mistake when registering a domain name – it will cost you money and headaches.

Step 5: Choose The Correct Domain Name Extension vs .com? Choosing the best domain name extension available can make your brand or project be seen as more authoritative. .com domains is probably your best bet, as it generally refers to commercial websites, and is the most popular domain choice online. Think of all your favorite websites and brands – they almost all most likely have .com domain name extensions. Like or

A good second choice, and your best bet if you’re going local and targeting a South African target market with your website, is domain names. Learn more about these two domain name extensions by reading our guide on The Difference Between and .com, or learn more abut the meaning of

If you would like to maximize your options when it comes to finding the perfect domain name extension, check out registrars like Namecheap and Dreamhost which offer numerous domain name extensions and amazing alternative domain name variations.

Step 6: Purchase Your Domain Name

Once you’ve found our ideal available domain name, the next step is to purchase it.

It may be tempting to purchase it right away because you may have found it available on a domain name checkup tool from a specific registrar – it is important to note that the domain name will be available via other registrars too and you may even score a better deal.

A better deal may include a lower annual renewal cost, free domain name privacy, or additional value added services such as a free website builder tool or the ability to list your domain name in a domain name auction to sell for large profits.

Registrars almost always have special deals and promotions, especially around Black Friday – and they differ – registrar to registrar.

Finally, with some registrars you could even score your domain name “FREE” for your first year with selected hosting packages.

Pro Tip: Watch out for unnecessary domain name addons. Registrars are most often “for profit” and want to maximize revenue – check that you are not purchasing any addons you don’t need when buying your domain name.

You may be asked to provide Domain Name Servers when buying a domain name – this simply refers to where the registrar will point the domain name when it is active.

For example – you may have hosting with an international host like Dreamhost for example, buy your domain names from a local registrar like – in this case you can point your domain name to the host where you’d like the domain name pointed to.

If you are not sure about where you would like the domain name to be hosted, you can simply leave the fields blank and they’ll most definitely go live on a temporary generic page from your selected registrar.

This can always be updated in the future, and usually takes 24 – 72 hours to propagate. Domain name propagation refers to the time it takes for DNS records to be updated across the internet.

Once again, before hitting checkout, ensure your domain name is typed and spelled correctly.

Other than that, once you’ve “paid” for your domain name it is yours and you can proceed to take it online.

Step 7: Take Your New Domain Name Online

Now that you’ve successfully purchased your new domain name, you’ll get an email from your registrar confirming your purchase.

Depending on the registrar, you may need to provide additional information which will be linked to your domain name, this could simply include your contact info or you being required to click a link to confirm your email address which will be used for all domain name-specific communications.

At last, after your domain name has propagated, you will officially have your own address on the world wide web and you can now create something awesome and share it it with the world – or you can keep your domain name for a rainy day, list it for sale or take it to a domain name auction where you can rake in some real profits.

More Domain Name Buying Questions Answered:

Why Do I Need a Domain Name?

A domain name allows you to take control of your online identity and build confidence and trust in your brand or business. Having a unique domain name also allows you to stand out online and it can be an appreciating asset too which could be sold later on for massive profits.

What Do I Need To Buy A Domain Name?

Money and creativity. Depending on the domain after you will need money, new registrations are really affordable, however if you’re looking at the domain name aftermarket or domain name auctions, a domain name can cost you thousands of rands.

You definitely need to be creative when buying your domain name and well aware of existing brands with those domain names or close variations. It’s all about standing out.

Additionally, always look at domain names as investments. You’ll be paying a yearly renewal fee, so make sure you put in the research well before buying your domain name – because there are no refunds!

How Long Does it Take For My Domain Name To Go Live?

It can take 24-72 hours for your newly registered domain (or transferred domain) to propagate.

How much does it cost to register a domain in South Africa?

The prices of domain names vary from registrar to registrar, and each domain name extension has its own pricing too.

For new registration, your looking at around R80 annually for a domain name and R180 – R200 annually for a .com domain. Premium domain names, and domains in domain name auctions or domain name aftermarkets can fetch higher prices, especially the more creative and short ones.

How Do I get a domain from CIPC?

If you have a company you can also register your domain name with the Companies and Intellectual Property Commision (CIPC). Log in to your profile and navigate to the eServices section and select on Transact at the top right of the page. Next click on the “Domain Name Services” option and follow the steps provided by the CIPC.

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Leigh Williams
Leigh Williams
Leigh Williams is a digital marketing specialist and writer currently interning in digital media at Conversion Science, and works alongside Incubeta as a paid media manager. Leigh began his career as an SEO intern at Adevia Health. Leigh is also the founder of IXA Media, publisher of The Frontline.




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