Domain name registration is the process of reserving or purchasing rights to a domain name. Domains have to be registered with a domain name registrar by choosing a combination of a top level and second level domain. The Internet Credited Association of Assigned Names and Numbers(ICAAN) regulates the issuance of domain names and domain name registrars.
Domains are registered in yearly intervals. Once registered, the domain is the property of the registerer until sold or relinquished by failing to renew the domain. Information about the domain registerer is listed in the public domain whois database. If you register your domain with a private certificate it will keep all you information private from public view.
Domain registration varies in price depending on the type of top level domain. Average cost for domain registration is between $10-$20 annually. Many web hosting providers will provide discounted or free domain registration with the purchase of their web hosting services. Private certificates typically cost around $10 more.
Free domain registration offers will typically be for the length of the first agreed hosting term. For instance if you sign up for two years of web hosting, they register your domain for you free of charge for the first two years. Some free domain offers register your domain for the entire time you host your web site with them.