Do you need an ISP to host the website right away too? If so the easiest way, IMO, is to select an ISP and do the domain registration through them. I have some sites through Auradev.com. Cost effective and dependable. I've also used npsis.com
Yes, the easiest way is to purchase a hosting account which includes your domain registration.
Several places will throw in your domain name registration, usually around $12 a year, for free with a hosting account paid by the year.
In addition, if your not ready for the hosting account yet, all these places Don and I are referring to will register and then 'park' your domain name. Where it will wait for you until your ready to use it.
There are independent registrars too - like inexpensivedomains.com
Please don't get your domain thru godaddy.com .. The CEO is a 'big-game' safari hunter who takes pride in killing all the great beasts of the earth (Giraffe, Bull Elephants, and big cats).. It's revolting.. Thanks.
Jami McBride wrote: And Godaddy is a big company which can be hard to work with... I recommend you stay away from all the biggies!
This is why I didn't recommend my host, which started out great in 2000, but has since been bought out 3 times and is now owned by one of the nasty biggies - Arrggg!
Yes, anytime you work with such a racket, you don't get the personalised service you most times desire. It's a real pain in the ass more than half the time.
I don't have my site up at the moment, but when I was paying monthly, I was hosting through these guys (not big game hunters, just big nerds ,haha....) They're a fairly compact little operation. I've talked to just about all their staff 1 time or another. Very helpful. http://www.eleven2.com/
Great plan and EXCELLENT service. They're available 24/7..
We picked up ours through Google Apps (now Google Sites). They include free web hosting (with some restrictions) and other services like email accounts along with the domain registration. We currently only pay about $10 per year for the site. www.ErnieAndErica.info
The design is all template-based which makes it easy to start up, but limits your options to customize code. There are more sophisticated options out there if you want to integrate a blog, online store, data-collection, etc.
We are planning to put up an online store for the first time this year, ask me again if you want to hear how it went and whether we ended up changing hosts.
If you describe in more detail what you plan to do with your dot com, you will probably get more specific advice about which services have worked well for people with similar needs.