Looking for the best domain registrars? These are the companies that handle registering and taking care of domain names for websites worldwide.
Picking the right domain name registrar is super important. There are tricky things to watch out for. In this guide, we’re going to help you pick the best domain registrar by comparing their pros and cons.
Summary: Want our expert pick without reading everything? Our research suggests that if you’re just buying a domain name, go with NameCheap. If you’re building a website, InMotion Hosting is great because they throw in a free domain name.
What Does a Domain Name Registrar Do?
A domain name registrar is like a shop where you can buy and register your website’s address. They are all checked and approved by a group called ICANN, which makes sure everything is fair.
Imagine if you had to remember a bunch of numbers to find websites. That would be hard! But domain names fix that. They let websites have easy-to-remember names like YourDomainer.com or google.com.
To understand more, you can read our guide about what a domain name is and how it works.
ICANN lets companies become registrars, and they compete to sell you the right to use a domain name. This way, when you buy one, you get better stuff and tools.
What Does a Domain Registrar Actually Do?
Every piece of information about domain names is kept in a central database known as a registry. In order for a domain name to work properly, it has to be included in this database along with all its relevant details.
ICANN grants domain name registrars the authority to modify the information of your domain name in the database. These registrars also offer user-friendly tools to help you make these changes using your web browser.
With that being noted, let’s delve into the process of selecting the most suitable domain registrar for your website address.
Selecting the Ideal Domain Registrar
It’s important to note that not every domain registrar is authorized to sell all types of domain name extensions. To illustrate, certain registrars are only permitted to offer domain names with country-specific extensions (such as .io, .in, or .ly).
Additionally, each domain registrar might provide distinct services in conjunction with domain name registration. Some registrars could present budget-friendly domain options as part of their promotional deals, while others might entice customers with complimentary add-ons.
In our quest to identify the finest domain name registrar, we evaluated the following four criteria:
1. Price and Registration Duration
The initial step is to assess the cost of domain names. For instance, certain domain registrars might offer low introductory prices for the first year of registration, but their subsequent renewal charges could differ and be notably higher.
You have the option to register a domain name for as short as 1 year. However, some companies might mandate a longer minimum registration period, such as 2 years. It’s also possible to register a domain name for up to 10 years at a stretch.
In the case of acquiring a new web address, it’s advisable to opt for a 1-year domain name registration. To ensure your domain doesn’t expire, you can activate automatic renewal.
Additionally, it’s essential to examine any potential extra charges associated with domain transfers, renewals, and other possible fees.
2. Moving Your Domain to Another Place
You can transfer your domain names from one domain registrar to another. Generally, there’s no immediate need to perform a domain transfer, unless you’re dissatisfied with your current domain registrar. However, if you want to switch, this choice should be straightforward.
An important thing to remember is that you can’t transfer a domain name within the first 60 days of registration. This initial time frame is determined by ICANN. After this period, you have the freedom to move your domain to any other registrar of your choice.
Most domain registrars offer simple domain transfer processes without any extra charges. Yet, a few might make it complicated or even ask for an additional fee to lift domain locks.
3. Don’t Forget About Expiry
Domain names are registered for a set time period. You can extend your domain’s registration before it reaches its expiration date. But if you forget to renew, your domain name becomes available, and anyone can claim it.
For businesses, this could mean someone else taking over their domain name. To prevent this, you can set up automatic renewals for your domain.
Even if you have auto-renewal in place, it’s smart to understand your domain registrar’s rules for expiration. Some registrars offer a grace period after the expiration date. During this time, you can still renew your expired domain.
In contrast, not-so-good domain registration services might quickly auction off your expired domain to the highest bidder.
We’ve come across many stories of business owners losing their domain names because their credit card expired and their registrar didn’t offer a grace period. This highlights why it’s crucial to choose a reliable domain name registrar.
4. Extra Services to Consider
Take a look at the extra services your domain registrar offers. Even if you don’t need them now, it’s good to know they’re available.
These extras could include domain privacy, parking your domain, extended protection from expiration, and more.
Some registrars might also provide services like WordPress hosting, email hosting, website building tools, email marketing services, and more.
Top 3 Factors to Keep in Mind When Choosing a Domain Registrar
In the world of domain registration, there’s a lot of competition and attractive offers. But don’t be fooled by appearances; there could be hidden downsides you don’t see at first glance.
Here are some important things to consider when selecting a domain name registrar.
1. Additional Costs to Be Aware Of
Be cautious when buying a domain name; some registrars might automatically include extra services that increase your bill.
Normally, a .com domain name shouldn’t cost more than $14.99 per year. If it does, consider that a warning sign. I suggest to check for updated prices from YourDomainer
When you’re at the checkout page, make sure to uncheck any extra services or upsells like WHOIS Guard, site builders, or security features that you don’t really need. Also, it’s a good idea to double-check the total amount you’re charged on your credit card statement.
2. User-Friendly Experience Matters
Most domain registrars strive to make their websites easy to use, but some do the opposite.
This can lead to issues when you want to change settings for your domain name, such as nameservers. If you plan to transfer your domain to a new host or registrar, this can be a problem.
You can find out about this by reading online reviews of domain registrars. Keep in mind that happy customers might not always leave reviews, so read thoroughly.
3. Watch Out for Hidden Charges
When choosing a domain registrar, be sure to look out for hidden fees and costs.
Some registrars might offer lower prices for first-time registrations, but many beginners aren’t aware that renewal fees can be much higher.
Reputable domain registrars make transferring your domain name to another company easy and have clear pricing policies. However, some might add extra fees.
With that covered, let’s delve into some of the top domain name registrars and see how they stack up against each other.
Best Domain Registrars to Buy a Domain Name
Selecting the best domain registrar prevents potential issues down the line. It safeguards your brand identity and simplifies transferring your website to a new host or service.
Taking into account the factors we covered earlier, here are the leading domain registrars to consider for purchasing your domain name.
Established in the year 2000, Domain.com stands as one of the most renowned domain name registrars globally. They provide the ability to register a wide range of top-level domain name extensions (TLDs) as well as many country code top-level domains (ccTLDs).
The platform offers a speedy domain search tool, facilitating your domain name exploration. It also highlights premium domain options in the search results.
With Domain.com, you gain access to an array of domain management tools, typical of a leading domain registrar. These include features like private registration, whois privacy protection, bulk registration, simplified transfers, convenient DNS management, email accounts, email forwarding, and more. Should you require it, they even offer web hosting services.
In case you have inquiries, their customer support team is readily available via phone, live chat, and email. Moreover, they have comprehensive knowledge base with helpful guides.
For those solely seeking domain registration without web hosting, Domain.com comes highly recommended. However, if you’re looking to start a blog or create a website, option #2 might suit you better due to the availability of a free domain name.
Hostinger emerges as a rapidly expanding domain registrar and web hosting provider tailored for small businesses. Their offerings include a complimentary domain name when you opt for any of their web hosting plans.
Hostinger empowers you to swiftly establish your website through either WordPress or their user-friendly website builder, requiring just a few clicks.
Our proficient team meticulously reviewed Hostinger and discovered that they provide some of the speediest WordPress hosting services along with exceptional support.
3/ Network Solutions
Network Solutions stands as one of the largest domain registrars globally, boasting a remarkable 7 million registered domains. Their offer wide range of domain extensions, such as .com, .net, .org, .biz, .info, and an array of niche TLDs.
Given its status as a major domain registrar, Network Solutions extends beyond domain services to encompass web hosting, a user-friendly website builder, robust website security tools, business email addresses, online marketing solutions, SEO services, and even IT support.
For small businesses, Network Solutions can serve as an all-in-one solution for establishing a robust online presence.
Begin by utilizing their domain name search tool to promptly explore available domain options. Additionally, premium domains are presented in the search results.
Their platform encompasses an array of domain features, including DNS management, private registration, and WHOIS privacy, among others.
Furthermore, acquiring a free domain from Network Solutions is possible when you opt for their WordPress hosting plans or other website and eCommerce hosting packages.
With a history dating back years, GoDaddy ranks among the oldest and most well-known domain registration companies. Their impressive portfolio includes the management of over 84 million domain names for more than 20 million customers.
GoDaddy offers an extensive selection of popular domain extensions, ensuring you find the perfect fit. What’s more, their prices are competitive, and you might even score a significant discount during the initial year of domain registration.
For those in professional fields, GoDaddy presents the Premium Domain Club membership, a valuable option for discounted domain pricing. This becomes particularly advantageous if you’re dealing with a substantial number of domain names.
Navigating GoDaddy’s interface proves seamless and empowering, with user-friendly domain management tools at your disposal. From domain transfers and name server changes to contact information updates and bulk domain renewals, the platform caters to all your needs.
Beyond domains, GoDaddy extends an array of other web services, encompassing hosting, website building, email marketing, and more.
Meet Namecheap, another leading domain registrar that stands out. They provide a robust domain search tool, aiding you in discovering the ideal domain name. Moreover, if your desired name isn’t available, the tool suggests alternatives.
Namecheap also presents additional domain services like domain privacy and premium DNS. While their domain management area is organized, it’s not as straightforward as GoDaddy’s latest interface.
A noteworthy aspect of Namecheap is their inclusion of free WHOIS privacy with all domain purchases, safeguarding your personal information.
While we initially used Namecheap, we eventually migrated our primary domains to other providers due to difficulties accessing their domain management panel.
What Is the Best Domain Registrar?
In the domain registration market, there are numerous other options like Hover, Google Domains, Tucows, 1&1 Ionos, Shopify, eNom, Name.com, Namesilo, Porkbun, and others. We haven’t listed them here because they generally provide similar services. Our aim is to simplify the process for users, preventing them from feeling overwhelmed by too many choices.
In our view, for both small and large businesses, NameCheap stands out as the best domain registrar. They offer competitive pricing and a wide range of features.
If you’re interested in creating a website, InMotion and Hostinger offer a complimentary domain name when you sign up for their web hosting services. These hosting providers are considered among the best worldwide and provide step-by-step guidance for setting up various types of websites, including real estate, small businesses, and online stores.
Best Domain Registrars: Frequently Asked Questions
With our assistance in selecting the ideal domain registrar, we’ve encountered numerous inquiries. Here, we provide responses to the most commonly asked questions about domain name registrars.
Is It Important to Choose the Right Domain Registrar?
Absolutely, the choice of your domain registrar matters because they aren’t all the same. Different registrars can offer various domain name extensions, features, and prices. What’s even more critical is selecting a registrar known for good customer support and a dependable network system.
For many business owners, registrars manage the Domain Name System (DNS), which directs visitors to your website. If your chosen registrar faces network problems, your website might not be reachable even if your web hosting is functional.
Additionally, it’s crucial to opt for a registrar with a solid reputation and helpful support for any unexpected situations.
What’s the Most Affordable Domain Registrar?
Can I Purchase a Domain Name Forever?
No, unfortunately, you can’t buy a domain name and keep it forever. Domain registration needs renewal every year. But here’s a trick: you can pre-pay for up to 10 years, ensuring you have the domain for a decade.
As long as you keep up with the yearly renewal fee, the domain remains yours permanently, and nobody can take it away.
On a different note, Unstoppable Domains introduces NFT domains for crypto wallets. These can be bought permanently. Though currently not supported on all browsers, as blockchain technology evolves, there’s potential for businesses to own domains indefinitely, even with popular registrars.
Why Are Domain Renewals More Expensive?
Domain renewals can be pricier because many domain registrars give big discounts for the first year of registration, and then the renewal happens at the regular rate.
To get the most value, it’s smart to pay upfront for 2-3 years during the initial registration to lock in the discount.
Who’s the Most Secure Domain Registrar?
All domain registrars follow ICANN rules, making them generally safe. But you can take extra steps to safeguard your domain from theft.
Use Domain Lock to stop unauthorized transfers. Also, look for registrars offering two-factor authentication and solid security.
Can Your Domain Name Be Stolen?
Absolutely, domain name theft or hijacking is a common issue. Losing your domain could be disastrous, especially for small businesses. To prevent this, it’s vital to choose a reputable domain registrar.
Hackers steal domain names by getting into your domain registrar account. To protect yourself, use a strong password and enable 2-factor authentication. Using an identity theft protection service can also help detect domain theft.
Using Multiple Domain Registrars
Yes, you can use multiple domain registrars if you want. We use various registrars like Domain.com, GoDaddy, NameCheap, and more. This is useful for buying and selling domains, making transfers within the same registrar easier.
Remember that transferring domains to a different registrar can take around 7 days.
Understanding Premium Domains
Premium domains are often owned by existing businesses or entrepreneurs. They set the price for their premium domains. Some domains are held by the registry and only released at premium prices. In such cases, the prices are determined by the registry’s sales team.