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How to buy a .CA domain: a step-by-step guide

This step by step guide will show you how to buy a domain name and shares a few helpful tips to know along the way.
By Kira Taylor

If you’re reading this, you are ready to embark on one of the most sacred Canadian quests: buying a .CA domain name.

We’ll take you step by step through the process on how to buy a domain and provide a few helpful tips along the way that’ll keep things flowing smoothly (like a well-tapped maple tree).

Step one: come up with a name and search for an available .CA domain.

Do you have a cool, unique name for your domain in mind? If you haven’t given it much thought at this stage—don’t stress too much. We’ve got a domain naming guide that can help!  In general, though, your domain name should be short, memorable and represent your website’s purpose, your business, or even your own name if the idea is to create a personal branding or portfolio-style website.

Do a quick search to see if your desired .CA is available.

If your domain name isn’t available, you can do one of three things:

  • Pick one of the alternate, suggested names that comes up.
  • Re-think your domain name (or try a slight variation on the name) and search again.
  • Look into buying a domain that is taken.

Step two: choose the best domain registrar.

Okay, let’s say your .CA domain is available—huzzah!

Now you’ll be presented with several options for the registrar you’d like to register your domain with. Registrars, by the way, are the companies that sell domain names. You’ll find that they often bundle in other services, like web hosting and website building tools, with your domain registration.

Shop around and dig into the details.  

Of course, each registrar has their own pricing and perks—so be sure to pick the best registrar that meets your needs (and budget). For instance, you might want to add in services like email hosting, so shop around and find out what each registrar offers.

Depending on the time of year, you might even be able to score a special bundle or promo pricing!

Also—be sure to check out customer reviews and testimonials, or even ask around for recommendations. Some registrars might come with glowing reviews and positive experiences aplenty while others might…not. That said, if you don’t end up with the registrar of your dreams, it’s totally possible to transfer your .CA domain to another registrar.

To get your search started, browse our full list of .CA certified registrars.

Step three: register and buy your domain name.

Once you’ve picked your registrar, you’ll go through their platform to complete your registration. Keep in mind that every registrar will have a slightly different process to follow.

Registering your .CA should go something like this: 

  • You’ll have the opportunity to scoop up your domain name along with any other common variations of your name—like “” and “”. Or—if your business name or product is commonly misspelled (like “calender” instead of “calendar”), you can register a few alternate domain names and simply forward them to your main website. Keep in mind—.CA domain names are inexpensive to register ($10 – $15 CAD per year), and this can be a cheap, effective way to protect your brand identity from would-be competitors.
  • Once you’re done selecting your domains, you will be asked to provide accurate contact information to both CIRA and your registrar. This is used to keep you updated with important information about your domain name.
    • If you’re registering your domain as an individual, you’ll need to provide your legal first and last name.
    • If registering as a “non-individual” or company, you’ll need to provide your first and last name, your company’s full, official name and the type of business registration—i.e., LLC or INC.
  • You’ll also need to meet certain Canadian Presence Requirements. This helps ensure that, yes, you truly do live and do business in Canada. You will be asked to specify your Canadian status from a list of options—i.e., Canadian citizen or corporation.
  • Choose a domain registration term. The default is one year but—fun fact—you can register your .CA for up to 10 years at a time, if you fancy a longer-term commitment. Most registrars also offer “auto-renewal” as a fool-proof way to ensure your domain stays active.
  • You’ll be prompted to read the .CA Registrant Agreement. Once that’s done, click “I have read and agree” and then move on to completing your domain purchase!

Step four: secure your domain.

With great .CA domain power, comes great internet security responsibility! Seriously, though—you will want to make sure all the important things associated with your domain—like email addresses, websites and more—are properly protected. Check out our ultimate domain cybersecurity list for a full breakdown!

Step five: bask in the glory of your new .CA domain.

The Canadian internet is now your oyster, and we’re MORE than happy to help you on the next steps of your journey. But it’s up to you where that journey starts!

For instance, you might want to look into building a gorgeous, high-performing website from scratch, or strategies for growing and marketing your .CA business. From all of us here at CIRA HQ, happy .CA’ing!

About the author
Kira Taylor

Kira is the Marketing & Channel Specialist at CIRA. She focuses on content, digital marketing and channel strategies to help Canadian business owners make the right domain choice for their business website so they can find success online.