I’m going to break down what the best domain registrar is with regard to prices, services and added features. From free WHOIS privacy protection, to offering a free domain name, to email hosting and web hosting services. Domain registrars offer a wide variety of services beyond simple domain registration. You have a lot of options so what is the best domain registrar? Let’s get to it.
Namecheap provides low prices, low renewal rates, great promotional deals and various other website services.
Dynadot has low prices and low renewal rates for domains. They also have bulk buying options, an aftermarket and a free 1 page website.
#3 Google Domains
While not as cheap as Dynadot or Namecheap, Google Domains is a brand you’ll know and trust.
Hostinger offers cheap domains and cheap website hosting among domain registrars.
What to look for in a domain registrar?
The best domain registrar should offer all the services you need for domain registration, domain transfers, premium domains, domain privacy, web hosting services and a quality email hosting option. When looking to purchase a domain, here are some things I look for in a domain registrar:
Domain registration price
You can’t buy a domain name, you can only register a domain name for a year at a time. So with this in mind you want to find a domain registrar with the lowest prices for domains, low renewal rates, free WHOIS protection, low domain transfer fees and good support.
Domain registrar customer service
It’s also helpful to take a look at the service a domain name registrar provides. Do you get a domain name at a discount for the first year? What about WHOIS guard? What is their refund policy like? How easy is it to use their website?
What happens when your domain name expires? What is their grace period like? How many years have they been in business? Is auto renewal on by default? These small details are important to know when deciding to manage your domain portfolio with a company.
The best domain name registrars overall
So here are our top domain registrars we suggest bloggers, online merchants or anyone wanting to create a website check out. They all provide varying price points and unique selling points.
- Google Domains
- Shopify domains
- Pork Bun
- Unstoppable Domains
Namecheap – The best overall domain registrar
Namecheap tops the list because they are the best domain name registrar in terms of price and service. If you want the lowest price possible for domain name registration, 24/7 support and domain name transfers at a company that’s been in business for years, then simply go with Namecheap.
I ‘ve used a wide variety of domain registrars and I always come back to Namecheap as the domain purchase process is straight forward, I can turn on and off renewals and I’m given a grace period if I forget to renew a domain.
On top of that they provide various web hosting services , a website builder and professional email hosting for small businesses. Their core business has always been, and will always be domain name registration though so you can feel confident using them to hold your domain portfolio.
With your domain you also get WHOIS guard for free for life, while other domain name registrars like to charge a hefty fee for WHOIS guard protection. The only con I’ve seen is that most domain registrars give you a refund on your purchase where Namecheap gives you store credit.
- Low prices and good support for domain name registration.
- Free WHOIS guard to keep your personal information private.
- Affordable shared hosting.
- They give store credit for refunds.
My domain name registrar of choice. Low prices for top level domain names, low renewal rates, good support and free WHOIS protection.
Dynadot – Free 1 page website with your domain
Dynadot is very competitive on price when compared to Namecheap. They both charge the same amount roughlty for most domain extensions, but somtimes Dynadot runs special discounts where you can get a .com for less than Namecheap.
On top of this they also provide a one page website builder with your purchase. That means you can register a domain and create a one page splash website with your purchase. In order to add additional pages you’ll need to upgrade to a paid plan, but using the free plan you can create a modern 1-page website.
This is ideal in particular for domainers who are looking to sell their domains to prospective buyers. Last, they allow bulk buying and have a dedicated marketplace to buy and sell domains names. You also get free WHOIS protection with your purchase as well.
- Low cost.
- Free WHOIS.
- 1 page website builder for your domain.
- Good auction and marketplace to buy and sell domain names.
- You’re given “Dynadollars” for refunds on any service.
- They don’t provide web hosting, but do offer a website builder.
- Their email hosting while cheap, is very dated.
Low prices on top level domain names, low renewal rates, the ability to bulk buy and a one page website with any domain.
Google Domains – Name brand, domain only service
Google Domains is a domain registration service offered by Google (obviously). A brand name you know and trust. Google Domains has good prices on a wide variety of domain extensions but not as low as Namecheap or Dynadot in general.
Where Google Domains really shine is their ease of use with integrating with other Google services like the blogger platform, Google Sites or Google Workspace. While you can use other domain registrars with these services, they are much easier to launch and implement if your domain is at Google Domains.
Last, they offer a very easy to navigate interface. Google Domains is only focused on domain names instead of also offering hosting, email or a website builder. As such they are quite beginner friendly to use.
- Domain name registration from a well known brand.
- One low price for domain registration and WHOIS guard (though not as low as Namecheap)
- Good integration with other services like Google Sites and GSuite.
- Price is not as competitive as Namecheap.
Hostinger – cheap hosting and domain registration
Hostinger is one of the most affordable web hosting providers around and offer great low prices on domain names and their various other web hosting services. They also offer a free domain name with purchase of any 12 month web hosting plan.
Domain names currently renew at at $13.99 a year which is not the cheapest around, but still a fair price. This combined with their cheap web hosting, email hosting and website builder make Hostinger one of my top choices if you’re looking for an affordable web host with a competitive domain registration offer.
- Fair prices on domain name registration.
- Very competitive prices on web hosting services.
- Their renewal rate for domains is higher than competitors.
Low prices on domain names and hosting. A good choice if you’re looking for a budget web host that offers domain registration.
Bluehost – The #1 recommended web host from WordPress
Bluehost is and has been the #1 recommended web host for anyone looking to get started creating a self hosted website. They make it incredibly easy to get setup fast and have an intuitive, easy to understand on boarding process when you purchase a hosting account and a domain name.
On top of that they also offer a free domain name making them one of the best domain registrars for beginners. The only issue I’ve experienced with Bluehost is that they don’t provide free WHOIS protection and their renewal rates are quite high compared to other options available to you.
But if you’re looking to get a domain name and hosting for a WordPress website, I highly suggest looking at Bluehost. They are the #1 recommended web host for WordPress for a reason. Just be aware that with regards to domain registration they are not the most competitive.
- The #1 recommended web host for WordPress sites.
- Great for beginners looking to get their first domain and website.
- Free domain name for the first year.
- Domain renewal is more expensive than other options.
- No free WHOIS protection.
A good, beginner friendly web host that is recommended by the team behind WordPress. You can get a free domain name for the first year as well.
GoDaddy – The name brand domain name registrar
GoDaddy is to domain names what Blue Host is to web hosting. Not good, not bad. Just a name brand you can trust. GoDaddy grew in popularity due to their super bowl commercials and have since re-branded themselves in the past few years to a more professional domain name registrar.
GoDaddy provides a suite of useful tools for websites from hosting, web design to domain name registration. As a domain name registrar they provide full 5 day refund on any purchase but are not that competitive on price.
To this day GoDaddy is still synonymous with domain name registration and has name brand recognition that servers them well. However, their price points for domains compared to the competition make them a less than ideal choice. They also do not offer free WHOIS protection and instead use that service others provide for free as an upsell.
Last for online business owners is their affiliate marketing and white label programs. GoDaddy’s white label service is simply outstanding, you can sell all of GoDaddy’s services at a markup and you keep the customer. In short you can build your own domain name and hosting business. Their affiliate program however pays much lower rates that competitors.
- A suite of tools to help you create a website.
- GoDaddy is a name brand in the domain industry.
- Integrated, high traffic marketplace to buy and sell domain names.
- An outstanding white label program.
- Their domain registration prices are too expensive.
- Their affiliate program pays lower than competitors.
Domain.com – Mid range prices with additional web services
Domain.com is a good registrar with an excellent domain name. They have a fairly low registration prices and renewal rates and offer a suite of services like web hosting, email hosting as well as a website builder. However, there is not much of a compelling reason go register your domain names through them if you strictly need domain name registration.
While the actual domain name registration price is slightly more expensive than Namecheap, they charge for WHOIS protection which puts their price much higher than both Google Domains and Namecheap.
- Affordable domain name registration price. Higher than Namecheap but lower than Google Domains.
- They provide a nice selection of additional services like a website builder, webhosting, and email hosting.
- They charge extra for WHOIS protection
1&1 – Great introductory price
1&1 is an old domain name registrar that has been around for quite some time. In fact a lot of web hosts use 1&1 as the domain name registrar when you purchase a domain name through a web host like Blue Host.
What I like about 1&1 is that they offer a compelling introductory price for your domain name registration but after this intro period, their price goes up and is higher than what you will be paying at Namecheap.
In addition, they offer a whole host of other services to help you get started online. From dedicated WordPress hosting, email hosting or your basic shared hosting, you can find it a 1&1 by IONOS. One are where they do stand out is their focus on ecommerce hosting for both Magento powered stores as well as WordPress and WooCommerce.
However, unlike Namecheap they give you a refund instead of crediting your account. Overall, 1&1 is a unique domain name registrar that does not stand out in any particular way.
- Great introductory price.
- Excellent refund policy.
- Annoying up-sells.
- Final cost is much higher than Namecheap.
Hover – The domain registrar from Tucows
Tucows is a conglomerate of various web services. In 2008 they had a few different domain name registrars but they decided to combine everything into one brand, that new brand being Hover.com.
Hover is a good domain name registrar. Their website is easy to use, they don’t have any confusing or annoying up-sells and they offer good prices. Not as cheap as Namecheap for .com, .net or .org domain extensions, but much cheaper than GoDaddy or Domains.com.
They also offer good discounts on less popular domain extensions like .tech or .online. What I like about Hover is their narrow focus on domains and email. They actually have one of the most compelling email hosting packages around for small business owners who work with freelancers.
- Good price and discounts on less popular extensions.
- No up-sells and easy to use.
- Great, affordable email hosting packages.
- Free WHOIS protection
- They don’t provide web hosting or a website builder.
- Their prices are not competitive for domain name registration.
Shopify Domains – The easy solution for Shopify stores
Shopfy is a the industry leader in the ecommerce space as they provide one of the most robust, easy to use online store website builders. With a wide variety of templates and addons, you can make a simple online store for drop shipping or an enterprise level online store.
When creating a store with Shopify for the first time your initial domain will be a sub-domain of Shopify like example.shopify.com. This is fine to get started, but long term you’ll want a custom domain which is why Shopify Domains exist. To allow online entrepreneurs to link a domain name to their store with ease.
I answered a common question, “should I buy my domain through Shopify” because Shopify Domains are cheap, but you can get a better deal at Namecheap. However the integration is incredibly simple if you’re using Shopify and Shopify Domains.
- The easy solution for Shopify store owners.
- Free WHOIS protection.
- Integration with the Shopify platform.
- Designed for use with Shopify only.
- If you decide to not use Shopify you’ll have to pay to transfer your domain name to a domain registrar.
- Prices for domains are not competitive.
Pork Bun – The hipster domain name registrar
Pork Bun is an American based domain name registration and web hosting company that offers the lowest prices on domain name registration. As a newer company, they are not well known. Their prices however for domain name registration are some of the most affordable around.
With Porkbun like a lot of other registrars you can also purchase email hosting and web hosting. Overall I’m quite impressed with Porkbun. They have very low prices for domain name registration and low renewal rates. If you’re looking for a Namecheap alternative and are fine with going with a newer registrar, then checkout Porkbun.
- Affordable domain name registration prices and low renewal rates.
- WHOIS protection for free.
- A nice selection of additional services like hosting and email.
- They are a newer business and don’t have the track record of Namecheap or GoDaddy.
Unstoppable Domains – The Blockchain NFT option
An emerging registrar, here you can get blockchain based domains with a .crypto, .wallet, .coin .bitcoin etc extensions for a one time fee with no renewal rates. The catch? This registrar is more ideal for creators looking to setup payment and donations using digital assets rather than building out a website.
With Unstoppable Domains you simple register your address and then claim and connect it to your wallet address for various crypto currencies. That way, people can send you any type of crypto without you needing to give multiple wallet addresses. Checkout my Unstoppable Domains review for more.
- One time fee, no renewal rates like registering a .com extension.
- Incredibly useful for setting up crypto payment and donations.
- May prove useful in the future.
- A bit techy to setup for a beginner.
- Supports most major wallets but not all.
- Not ideal if you want to create a website, blog or online store.
Get your blockchain based, NFT domain name today. Can be used as a payment gateway for digital assets.
Instead of giving some long wallet address, now people can send Bitcoin to you at a more logical extension like example.bitcoin.
How to Get a Free Domain Name
A lot of web hosts and website builders will entice you to sign up by offering a domain name for free. In truth, nothing is free and the domain name is only free for the first year if you purchase a long term plan.
After the first year you’ll typically be paying a higher renewal rate than you would be paying at a domain name registrar like Namecheap, Dynadot or Porkbun. So the free domain name is a good offer if you’re not sure creating a website, blog or online store is going to be something you’ll stick to for a long time.
However, for most online business owners you’re better off registering your domain name at a domain name registrar. It’s more cost effective, provides you more flexibility and you’ll typically get free WHOIS protection.
Why Providing WHOIS Protection Is Important
ICANN, the non-profit than manages the DNS system, requires any domain registrant to provide their full contact information, such as name, address, phone number and email. This can have the consequence of your information being available to spammers.
If you’re concerned about your privacy online, domain registrars have developed a way to protect it. Through their innovative domain privacy features, they replace the personal information associated with your domain name in public search directories like ICANN with that of their own.
The best domain name registrars just provide this feature for free because customers demand it. It’s typically an added service however when you register a domain at a web host when purchasing web hosting.
Best Domain Registrar Conclusion
The best domain registrar is dependent on your individual needs. Ultimately, cost, hosting services, access to extras and security like WHOIS protection are all factors that should be taken into consideration when looking for the domain registrar.
My personal choice is Namecheap for all my domains, but there are a lot of great options available. Anyways, I hope you found this breakdown helpful.
David UtkeDavid Utke is a professional blogger, YouTuber and a highly rated user experience consultant. He and his team create helpful tutorials, software reviews, videos and more based on real-world experience. Join over 30,000 monthly readers and 27k+ YouTube subscribers!
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