Seemingly every web professional has a tale to tell about finding a domain name. The story could be silly, like how you snapped up the domain with your friend or coworker’s name. Or maybe you’re hoping to strike it rich by having the domain calling for a college football coach to be fired.
For me, it was securing a domain name for my freelance business — I had a unique brand in mind; how hard could it be? Alas, my dream domain was already taken. I returned to the drawing board with a domain generator to see what options existed for my no-longer-one-of-a-kind brand.
The free tools showed me that even if your first choice isn’t open, it doesn’t mean you can’t find a short, meaningful — and profitable — domain name. Keep reading for a list of our favorite domain name generators, tips to find the best one, and the hosts with which you can register them.
5 Best Domain Name Idea Generators
Almost 335 million domain names have been registered around the world, according to Verisign’s latest Domain Name Industry Brief, which also shows registration rates are still growing. No wonder it can be hard to get a particular domain name. Generators take your keywords and ideas and try to find different words, spellings, and domain extensions that are still available. Here are some of the most popular tools:
- Lean Domain Search: Acquired by WordPress parent company Automattic, Lean Domain Search turns up hundreds or thousands of available .com domains after a keyword search. They also will check if the name is available on Twitter and enable you to register the name via WordPress, Bluehost, GoDaddy, and other hosts.
- NameMesh: This generator breaks results into eight categories: common, similar, new, SEO, short, fun, extra, and mix. You can then filter them more based on domain extension, availability, and maximum length. NameMesh also boasts a startup company name generator.
- Bust a Name: After searching your keywords, Bust a Name lets you check different domain extensions, prefixes, suffixes, punctuation, and spelling. You can also look for domains that start or end with a certain word and will have 11 ways to buy the name you choose.
- domainhole: With seven brainstorming tools, domainhole can help you find a domain with or without a keyword. Look for recently expired domain names, or have them create random pronounceable domains. You can check any and all domain extensions to find what you need.
- Panabee: Interestingly, this generator wanted to be called Pandabee — but the domain name was already taken. Panabee will suggest related keywords and search if your suggestions are available social media user names.
With so many options for generators and all the domain choices they’re sure to provide, you should have no problem finding just the right domain name for your brand.
5 Tips for Cool & Catchy Domains
Domain names aren’t easy. You need a web address that will be memorable and meaningful for both your visitors and your brand. That alone can be a challenge, but you’re also playing against the clock: The more time passes, the more likely someone will come in and plant their flag on your great idea. Use these tools to find the most powerful domain available.
1. Use a .COM
I’m secretly envious of those who can pull off one of the funky, new domain extensions like .ninja or .pizza. Aside from the quick chuckle, though, users don’t naturally understand that actually is a domain name. The .com extension is far and away the most popular and recognizable. Your non-profit can still get away with .org, but that’s as far as we would push it.
2. Do Keyword Research
How do you expect visitors or customers to find your brand? Help them out by using words that describe your business or goals for the website. Your domain will also fare better in search results. Learn how to do keyword research well — while not overdoing it — here.
3. Keep It Short
Believe it or not, domain names can be up to 63 characters long — here’s the world record. Entertainment aside, you should avoid anything longer than 15 characters. Shorter domains are easier to remember, easier to share, and easier to type without messing up.
4. Avoid Legal Conflicts
This is a big one: Be wary of trademark infringement! Make sure the name you’ve chosen isn’t trademarked, copyrighted, or already being used by another company. Even if you own the domain, a lawsuit could cost you boatloads of money and the domain name itself.
5. Don’t Hyphenate
You might be desperate to use two specific words as your domain name. If that domain is taken, you might be tempted to separate the words with a hyphen — don’t! Punctuation is easy to forget, hard to type, difficult to share, and can give off a spammy vibe.
5 Best Hosts with Free Domains
A domain name is great and all, but you need a hosting plan to actually get a website online. Lucky for you, we know five hosting providers who make registering and transferring domains a breeze. Even better, most will give you a free domain for at least the first year of your plan.
- Register and host your domain for life for FREE
- Unlimited bandwidth, disk space, and domains
- FREE drag-and-drop site builder and cPanel included
- Gain exposure with $200-worth of advertising credits
- 24/7 customer support and network monitoring
- Get started on eHost now.
- Register and host your domain FREE for a year
- 1-click installs for WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal
- $200 towards Google AdWords and Bing paid ads
- Drag-and-drop site builder with up to 6 pages FREE
- 24/7 customer support via phone, email, and chat
- Get started on ideahost now.
- FREE domain registration and transfer
- Unlimited disk space, domains, and MySQL databases
- $100 towards Google AdWords and $100 in SEM credits
- Unlimited bandwidth and email addresses
- FREE online store and website builder
- Get started on iPage now.
- FREE domain name and seamless site transfer
- Includes 1-click installer with over 310 apps
- FREE SSDs for shared business hosting plans
- Easy installs for WordPress, Joomla, and PrestaShop
- FREE data backups and multilingual coding support
- Get started on InMotion now.
- FREE domain name registration and site-building tools
- Get up to unlimited emails and bandwidth
- Over $150 in offers with Google, Bing, and Yahoo!
- 1-click WordPress install and WordPress’s endorsement
- 24/7 customer support and online tutorials
- Get started on Bluehost now.
Start Building at Your Unique Domain
Finally have your domain name and hosting package? You’re just getting started — now begins the journey of getting a website designed, built, and published. You should be as proud of your site as you are of your domain name. If you need help with this step, we’ve got you covered. Tons of hosts include intuitive drag-and-drop website builders that remove all the coding from web design. Take a look at our recommended website builder hosts to get started.