Buying a website with bitcoin involves several steps similar to a normal website transaction. The only differences come from bitcoin being a non-reversible form of payment. While this is great in some cases, it also adds some complications to domain purchases that require a hand-off to occur.
Before you begin the website purchasing process, it is important to bear in mind that you may need to find a web hosting service and a domain registrar. While this may sometimes be the same platform, it also may not, adding an extra step in the website purchasing process.
Buy separate hosting & domain services
To start purchasing your website, you will first need to buy a domain that is available to purchase. Many platforms now offer an availability lookup to check domain vacancy. You can browse through variations of your proposed domain until you find one that you like.
Previous buyers will likely have already snatched up most of the short, catchy domain names. Therefore, most domain registrars will have some sort of search engine functionality for you to search for similar names. For example, while another user may already own bitcoin.com, the site might suggest bitcoin.biz or bitcoin.org as available options.
What to look for in your domain contract
After, you will need to consider the duration of your registration, which may vary between one year, three or five, or more. Other restrictions may exist on your contract, such as the registrar reserving the right to revoke your domain for illegal or unaccepted practices. In some cases, the registrar might delete your domain name for no apparent reason, so understanding the implications ahead of time will be to your benefit.
Purchasing with bitcoin
The good thing is several platforms allow users to buy a domain with bitcoin, similar to how they would with a credit card. Since this platform is also a cryptocurrency exchange, buyers may create an account with an email and password. From there, they may choose from one of the funding options, which include credit or debit cards. Once a balance of fiat currency is available, they may select the fiat to bitcoin trading pair and the amount they would like to trade. The transaction will be completed almost instantly and appear on the user's dashboard. Afterward, buyers may navigate to the cryptocurrency marketplace, where they can go through the search process.
To check out, users will have to add their bitcoin address to complete the payment.
When checking out, users may also have the option to purchase SSL certificates or domain privacy.
For those new to the website world, we can define these two services as:
SSL certificates: SSL certificates will activate the HTTPS protocol and secure connections from a web server to a browser. Many savvy online shoppers will look for the presence of the HTTPS protocol to verify the website is secure.
Domain privacy: Anytime a user registers a domain name, the WHOIS database will save their personal details. When domain privacy protection is purchased, you can keep your personal details hidden from any database viewers with this service add-on.
Purchasing from an unknown party
Alternatively, you might be after a certain domain that another party owns. If you come to an agreement with the seller, you can set an agreement to pay for the domain with bitcoin and transfer the ownership. The transfer process is complicated for beginners, so industry experts will highly recommend using a third party to facilitate the transaction.
Since transactions with bitcoin are permanent, it can be hard to feel protected throughout the transaction process, whether you are the buyer or the seller. A crypto escrow service will hold the money until the transaction is confirmed. This guarantees the seller gets paid, and the buyer receives the domain they have been working so hard to earn. To start this transaction, the buyer or seller may sign up for an account on the platform and follow the steps as specified. The buyer will never have to conduct a transaction directly with the seller and instead go to the escrow service as a middleman. The escrow process will ensure the buyer has properly transferred the domain before the seller receives any funds. While an inspection period would typically occur, most exchanges will already have verified that this domain is valid and will release it at the appropriate time.
We can summarize the benefits of using a domain escrow as follows:
- Peace of mind
- Ability to confirm domain ownership before paying the seller
- 24/7 customer support
- Security in transferring payment information to a financial institution rather than a stranger
Crypto escrow services often come with a small fee that is a percentage of the transaction. For the benefits listed above, many escrow users would agree that it is worth the payment.
Whether you choose to browse through a domain marketplace or purchase from an unknown party, there will likely be a second step in buying your web hosting services.
Web hosting is an account on an online server that stores your website files. It is possible to create your own server for your website files, but the process is complicated. Many instead use a web hosting service to be pointed to from the domain they purchased in the previous section. Buyers can also purchase hosting services with bitcoin depending on the platform used.
One of the most popular is WordPress, giving users the option to purchase full hosted and self-hosted websites. Upgraded plans don't have ads and give the user greater flexibility when creating their website. Users can purchase this upgrade directly in bitcoin but must weigh the options when choosing the best hosting service (even within WordPress).
Factors to consider when purchasing a web hosting site
One of the major considerations you will need to make is upgrading your plan down the road. At the same time, many choose a shared hosting plan when they first buy their website; as their website grows and has more than 30,000 unique visitors, a more extensive plan will be required to accommodate the surge in traffic.
A secondary consideration for your web hosting service is the signup and renewal price. When you first start an engagement with a web hosting provider, there will often be an initial charge. Then, depending on the plan, there may be a renewal cost. Without the startup discounts, this will typically be significantly more than the initial fee. Most web hosts will raise their prices after your initial contract expires, so it is important to be aware of this additional cost.
Completing your transaction
WordPress handles all bitcoin transactions with a third-party payment processor. When it comes time to add in your payment information, WordPress will direct users to the third-party's page, where the platform will ask buyers to provide their information. Although this is just one example, the process to complete the purchase and upgrade your plan will likely be very similar.