Whoever has a domain name pays a small annual fee for it. That amount varies depending for instance on the extension or the extra services offered by your hosting partner.
What you pay for a domain name is not what it actually costs, of course, but neither do you pay what it is worth. Depending on the registrar you go to, a .be domain name usually costs between €5 and €50 per year. And we are not talking about temporary promotions that registrars offer.
Cost vs value
And that brings us to an important price determining factor: the extension. Some extensions are very cheap, others very expensive. For a domain name with the business extension .inc, you can easily pay €3000 per year. Such peaks prove that a domain name costs as much as it is worth to the person or, in case of .inc, to the company.
Availability also plays a role: if you want to buy a registered domain name from the current registrant , it can cost you a pretty penny. So-called "domainers" see their business in registering interesting domain names and selling them to interested parties afterwards. Some companies, such as Sedo, offer domain names for sale on an auction site. The prices can rise significantly.
The real value of a domain name is of course not that high. DNS Belgium determines the 'wholesale price' for .be, .vlaanderen and .brussels domain names. That wholesale price is a lot lower than the price at which registrars sell them, but you cannot buy a domain name directly from us.
It is the registrars who determine how much you ultimately pay for a domain name. They also charge you for the extra services you get with your domain name. These differ from one registrar to another. With some, you pay a price for a package that includes hosting your website and a number of e-mail addresses. For others, you pay for everything separately.
Ecological cost of a domain name
A large part of the activities of DNS Belgium is aimed at keeping the various zones that we manage (.be, .vlaanderen and .brussels) available and secure. In other words, by what we do, we ensure that the website you have on your domain name remains online and people continue to consult it.
But our activities also have an environmental impact (although we try to keep it as small as possible). This means that your domain name also has an ecological cost. In 2020, DNS Belgium emitted 123 tonnes of CO2. The footprint per domain name amounts to 72 grams of CO2. That is as much as the direct CO2 emissions of driving 475 metres with an average car.
You might think that this is not so bad. But bear in mind that there are millions of websites and domain names worldwide. DNS Belgium does everything it can to reduce its CO2 emissions. The part that we are unable to reduce, we offset. As a result, we have been able to call ourselves carbon-neutral every year since 2018.
Free domain names?
Are there also free domain names? There certainly are. Many well-known website-building platforms offer a free alternative to their paid solutions. Your website or blog will be hosted on a domain name that looks like this:
Such a generic domain name is nice for personal use, to experiment and test your ideas, but it does not come across as very professional.
Especially if you want to use your website, shop or blog for professional purposes, you should buy a unique domain name. Because be honest, if you start your own business, the annual price of a domain name is just a small expense to make a professional impression as well as to improve your findability in search engines and your brand awareness, right?