How Do I Start?

How Do I Start?

There are a few core steps to getting your new .ORG domain: Find Your Domain, Register Your Domain, and Set Up Your Domain.

You have a great idea for a .ORG website. The first step is to brainstorm potential names for the domain name, which you can then search to see if it’s available via the WHOIS domain name lookup. The section below Find Your Domain gives you pointers on finding your optimal .ORG domain name.

Once you find your available .ORG name, you would need to register the domain name through an accredited registrar. As the manager and operator of the .ORG domain, Public Interest Registry (PIR) works with registrars, companies accredited to manage the registration of domain names for registrants, people or organizations that have domain names. Purchase Your Domain gives you the link to a list of accredited registrars and Set Up Your Domain offers guidelines on different kinds of registrar services so you can decide what you need for your new .ORG website.

Once you’ve registered your .ORG domain name you’re on the way to starting your .ORG’s story. Congratulations!

Find Your Domain

Let’s dig in to finding your .ORG domain name. When thinking about optional domain names, some helpful questions to keep in mind are:

  • What best represents your brand, organization, and mission?
  • Is it memorable and easy to type?
  • Am I avoiding names with more than one spelling, slang, and unnecessary punctuation?
  • Are there similar or closely named existing websites that people could accidentally visit?
  • Are those sites respectable to avoid any potential negative association?


How do I search for my .ORG?

You can look up the availability for potential domain names through the WHOIS service (RDAP is a tool provided by registries and registrars that provides the same functionality), a database that keeps track of all currently registered domain names. A WHOIS or RDAP search will let you know if the domain name is available or already registered.  You can search the availability of domain names via the WHOIS and RDAP tools of registries or registrars.

What if the domain name you want is unavailable?

If the domain name you desire is unavailable, check to see if there is a help section on your registrar’s website. A help section can provide more information on domain name availability. Most domain registrars have a search tool that generates available names similar to the one you want. Be creative and open to alternate names. Sometimes, they turn out to be better than your original choice!

If the domain name you really want is not available, you might be able to acquire it in the aftermarket. Domain investors acquire domain names that are attractive and invite offers or put them up for auction. Your registrar can help acquire a name that is already taken, or it might be available in a public auction. Read more about Domain Auctions in the later section below.

Register Your Domain

PIR offers an up to date list of accredited registrars that are available for you to choose from. Once you’ve decided who you want to register your new .ORG domain from, it’s simply a matter of adding it to a shopping cart and completing payment. Your registrar can provide answers to your questions and help set up your new .ORG domain.

Set Up Your Domain

While domain registration is what registrars are most commonly known for, many registrars also provide a variety of different services and value-adds that can help you set up your website depending your needs. Here are some common registrar offerings to help you differentiate between them, measure those offerings against your requirements, and make an informed decision.

Hosting services

After you’ve registered your domain name you will need to purchase hosting services that provide you with a designated space for your website on the Internet. Registrars often bundle or package these items together instead of using separate providers. Many people also use different hosting providers outside their registrars, depending on your requirements.

If you’re looking for existing website templates and a built-in toolset for quick customization then WordPress hosting could be a strong choice. Looking for scalability? Cloud web hosting allows site manager to scale their computing resources as they’d like, often resulting in cost savings. Want the affordability of shared hosting but the control of a dedicated server? VPS might be a better fit. By finding the service under your registrar umbrella that best fits your business, you can save time and ease overall website management.

Security applications

.ORG holds the protection of online assets for the .ORG community as a top priority so we will always recommend that you find a registrar that offers strong security feature options for your website. To optimize your website safety, look for a registrar with the following offerings: end user DNSSEC management support, privacy/proxy services, SSL certificate, website malware scanner, threat monitoring and hacker protection. These are examples of security functionality that protect you from hackers and other nefarious online activity.

Domain Auctions

Are you interested in purchasing one or multiple domain name that is already in use? Keep tabs on the registrars that offer domain auctions. It’s likely, if the current registrant of that domain name plans to sell the domain instead of letting their registration expire, they will do so from a registrar’s auction platform.


If you’re launching your own website and hoping to personalize it, there are several offerings to consider, including independent email accounts, access to a website builder platform/toolset and the ability to develop and design your site. With an independent email account, you can keep all your online communications branded, meaning your email domain would match your website domain, rather than the domain of popular email platforms such as gmail.com or comcast.net. Website design capabilities also allow you to make a more customized site by building it from scratch versus choosing from existing templates.