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The 6 components of a domain registration fee

Register Guide
May 1, 2021 by
The 6 components of a domain registration fee


Registration fees may be published under various formats: first period or initial period fee, renewal or subsequent period fee, multi-years registration fee, one-time fee + periodic fee, etc.

In addition, the following components may either be included or excluded in pricelists: ICANN fee, discounts and sales taxes.

Here are the 6 components of a registration fee are, in order to support any price comparison:

  1. One-year period fee

  2. Length

  3. One-time fee

  4. ICANN fee

  5. Discounts

  6. Sales taxes

When comparing domain pricelists, it is recommended not to ignore these 6 components. Splitting prices into these components allow to correctly compare prices.

For instance, the ICANN fee may be integrated in the renewal fees listed by the provider A. While provider B may use a small asterisk to indicate that the ICANN fee must be added to any prices.

1. One-year period fee

This is the most important fee as it is a recurring fee. It is billed periodically. Often on a yearly basis, but additional periodicity may be available.

This fee is often referred on the pricelists as the renewal fee.
Note that the listed renewal fee may already include some other components described below, such as the ICANN fee or a discount.

Prices may also be listed for a longer period than a 1-year period. In such as case, the 1-year period fee must be derived from the listed fee. 

Standard renewal fee versus premium renewal fee

Note that some registries do not apply the same pricing to all their domains. Although most domains are priced with the standard fee, some domains are priced higher, as they are classified more attractive, potentially leading to a higher demand. It follows the law of supply and demand.

These domains are called premium domains, while the others are called standard domains.

Premium domains are for instance domains matching popular dictionary words or very short domains (e.g. 2-letter domains). 

Keep in mind that pricelists only list standard fees. Premium fees are only displayed on a per domain basis, once the system detects that the entered domain is a premium one.

2. Length

It is the registration length in years. Said differently, it is the number of one-year periods

For new registrations, the minimum registration length is often 1 year, but it is 2 years for some extensions. So, listed new registration fees may represent either a 1-year period or a 2-year period.

For renewals, the renewal increment is often 1 year. So, listed renewal fees are usually for a 1-year period, but there are some exceptions.

The available registration lengths depend on each registry. It is a per extension policy rule.

3. One-time fee

This fee is billed only once, usually along with the first registration period.

Nevertheless, such one-time fee can also be billed upon a specific operation, such as when ordering a billable domain data update or when buying a domain on the aftermarket.

This fee is often encapsulated in the listed new registration fee. Consequently, it is not necessarily visible as a separate billing item on any receipt.

The following formula can thus be used to derive the one-time fee from the new registration fee:

one-time fee = new registration fee - renewal fee

Note that there are several types of one-time fee.

  • Setup fee
    This fee is not frequent. It is only applicable to some country-code extensions when registering a new domain.

  • Premium one-time fee:
    This fee must not be confused with the periodic premium renewal fee. As opposed to this fee, the premium one-time fee is only to be paid once when registering a new domain.

  • Early registration fee:
    When a new domain extension is made available on the market, it usually follows a phased approached during its launch.
    The first phase usually only accepts registrations from trademark holders. Subsequent phases accept registrations on a first come first served basis, but an early registration fee is to be paid. This fee usually starts above USD 10,000 and progressively decreases phase by phase.
    As soon as all the launching phases are over, the domain extension is said "Generally Available" and the early registration fee is no longer applicable.

  • Late renewal fee:

    The Late renewal fee is charged by very few registrars, but it is worth mentioning it for completeness. 

    This fee is applicable when the domain is renewed lately in the post-expiration process. It is around USD 10.
    This fee should not be confused with the restore fee, which is charged instead of the late renewal fee, when the renewal occurs even more lately.

  • Domain data update fee:
    Some registries requires to use a billable operation in order to perform some specific updates, such as an owner change.

  • Acquisition fee:
    This fee is applicable when acquiring a domain on the aftermarket. For sale, expiring and catch services listing sources are fully described in this guide.

4. ICANN fee

This fee is set by ICANN, but it is collected by the registrars on behalf of ICANN. More details about ICANN's role are available in this guide.

It is currently set at USD 0.18 per year of registration. It is billed along with any operation extending the registration period.
For instance, the ICANN fee for a 2-year registration is USD 0.36.

This fee is often included in the 1-year period fee. Consequently, it is not necessarily visible on a domain order receipt.

This fee is applicable on a per extensions basis. It is applicable for almost all generic extensions. It is not applicable for any country-code extensions.

5. Discounts

Discounts may dramatically reduce the total amount of an order. It exists several types of discounts and they are all covered in this guide.

6. Sales taxes

Damn! The total amount is increasing.

The applicability of sales taxes often relies on these elements:

  • the provider location

  • the customer location

  • whether the customer is a person or a business

Taxes are often calculated at the end of the ordering process.
In order to avoid delaying their calculation - as much as possible -, it is recommended to first log into your account prior to creating your order. So the system can determine your tax profile as soon as it needs it.

The 6 components of a domain registration fee
DomainPrice May 1, 2021
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