At one time, all domain names cost the same: $70 to register the name for the first two years and $35 a year thereafter.
Today, however, increased competition in the domain name market means you'll probably pay less to register a domain name. Some registrars charge less than $10 per domain name, and some charge even less if you buy more than one domain name at a time.
There's a catch, however: Many domain name registrars make money selling extra services, and it isn't always easy to figure out what you're buying. Some registrars, for example, combine low registration fees with mandatory Web hosting packages — you'll pay the hosting fee even if you don't want the service. Others require you to pay registration fees several years in advance rather than paying one year at a time.
One of the most common services registrars provide is domain name "parking," where you can reserve a domain name for later use. For technical reasons, you need to provide two numerical IP addresses to register a domain name. The registrar can provide these IP addresses, either for free (that is, as part of the price you pay for the domain name) or for an additional charge. If you currently have an account with an Internet service provider, however, you might be able to use its IP addresses at no additional charge instead of using the registrar's addresses.
If someone else already owns the domain name you want, you'll have to deal with them directly if you'd like to buy the name. Buying a preowned domain name can cost hundreds or thousands of dollars, so think carefully about whether or not you must have a particular name. Even if you believe you have a legitimate claim to a trademarked domain name, you might need to hire an attorney and go to court to prove it.
In addition, some countries sell domain names that end in the country's two-letter national suffix. If you want an address that ends in .ms, for example, the island nation of Montserrat will sell it to you for $50 a year. Domain names ending in the United States' .us extension can also include separate state and city extensions but you'll have to deal with a longer, more obscure name. In addition, local subdomains are handled by "Delegated Managers." For more information on .us domains, visit the NeuStar site.