It’s time to launch your blog, website or ecommerce store. First though, you’ll need to secure a great domain name that represents your brand. There are a lot of domain name registrars that offer varying price points for domain names. Two of the most popular options currently are Namecheap and Google Domains, so let’s compare these two to see which one is the best domain name registrar.
Both have their pros and cons as well as their unique selling points. Both allow you to register a wide variety of domain extensions like .com, .co, .org and more creative extensions like .tech or .io. Each allows you to have WHOIS protection which keeps your personal contact information private.
What is a domain name registrar?
First off, what exactly is a domain name registrar:
“A domain name registrar is a company that manages the reservation of Internet domain names. A domain name registrar must be accredited by a generic top-level domain registry or a country code top-level domain registry. A registrar operates in accordance with the guidelines of the designated domain name registries.” – Source
In short, ICANN is the non-profit organization that manages the DNS system that powers domain extensions. However, they are not in the business of leasing out domains. For that you have to use a private company, an ICANN certified domain registrar. You don’t own a domain name, you lease it (for however long you like).
What is Namecheap?
Namecheap is primarily a domain registrar based in the United States that also offers affordable web hosting, SSL certificates, email hosting and other services for small businesses since their inception in 2000.
They quickly grew in popularity because they were direct competition against GoDaddy which charges high fees for domains. Namecheap built their reputation on being a low cost domain name registrar, offering monthly deals on different extensions.
As they have grow, Namecheap has expanded into a full suite of helpful tools for the online business owner. They offer everything from domain names, hosting, email hosting, a website builder as well as a marketplace to buy and sell domains.
What is Google Domains?
A newer service from Google launched in 2018, Google Domains is a registrar that’s minimalistic and focuses on thing well, domain name registration as an affordable price. In addition to their great price points for TDL’s, they also offer easy integration with Google Sites and Blogger.
Google Domains is fairly new to the domain registration marketplace. They offer domain registration and integration with both blogger.com (for casual blogs), Google Sites (for personal sites) and Google Workspace (for managing teams).
It should be noted you can use Namecheap for Blogger and Google Sites. It just takes a few more steps as Google Domains, Blogger and Google Sites are all owned by the same company.
Which one is better? Google Domains or Namecheap?
So with that out of the way, let’s compare these two domain name registrars across the areas that matter most for consumers. We will take a look at their price points, extra services, support and various features. Specifically we’re going to cover:
- Website builder options
Namecheap pricing vs Google Domains pricing
Namcheap literally has “cheap” in their name for a reason. They offer some of the lowest prices around for registering domain names. In addition, they often run special and sales on various extensions.
In general, you can register a domain name at Namecheap and lock in a low price for up to 10 years. You also get free WHOIS protection with your purchase and they offer some very compelling rates on alternative domain name extensions like .co, .io and more.
Google Domains by contrast does not offer any sort of low introduction rate and instead opts for flat rate pricing for all domain names. There prices are competitive for top level domain extensions like .com, .net and .org but they do get a bit more expensive for alternative domain extensions.
Google Domains pricing
So we like these low flat rates and low renewal rates. However, if you’re wanting to buy domains in bulk and hold them for a long period of time, then Namecheap is the clear winner.
The winner: Tie.
Want to buy in bulk or buy and hold for the next 5 or 10 years? Namecheap is better due to their low introduction rates. Not sure how long you’ll own the domain for then go with Google Domains. Looking to get an alternative extension, then Namecheap is better.
Website builder options
Most domain name registrars offer some type of easy to use website builder option. A website builder allows for you to start creating a website without needing to install an software on a shared hosting account.
Namecheap website builder
The website builder from Namecheap is good solution for a small business looking to setup a professional, 10-30 page website. You can blog and leverage ecommerce with Namecheap’s website builder but it’s not ideal when compared to blogging with WordPress or using Woo Commerce.
Overall, if all you need is a professional looking, yet easy to use website it’s an ideal option. With an unstructured editor and full control over the meta data and design elements, you can create an effective small business website with ease.
Google Domains website builder
Google Domains does not offer any sort of dedicated website builder, but they do offer easy integration with Blogger and Google Sites. Not a huge selling point however in our opinion as you can use both Blogger and Google Sites with any domain registrar simply by setting a custom domain.
But it is something to take note of that Google Domains and Google Sites go together quite well and that Google Sites is an excellent, free website builder.
Google Domains offers easy integration with Google Sites, however you can also use Google Sites with Namecheap as well. Sitemaker is just as good as Google Sites, but it’s a paid service only through Namecheap where Google Sites is free. So again, it’s a tie as each balance on another out.
Namecheap email vs Google Domains email
Email is an often over looked aspect of a domain name registrar simply because new users don’t see the value in having a private email. But for anyone with a small business or who need collaboration tools, email can become very important.
Namecheap offers some outstanding email hosting packages at some very affordable rates. For less than a $1 a month, you can get an email hosting plan and one mailbox.
Namecheap is an ideal solution if all you need is a professional email for your business. They provide secure protection like 2FA authentication and have sophisticated anti-spam protection as well as the ability to store and sort through emails.
Google Domains email
Google Domains again does not provide email hosting directly but instead offers an easy to setup integration with Google Workspace. Google Workspace is more expensive than email hosting, but it is designed for a small team as you get various tools like email, sheets, drive, calendar, chat and docs as well as the ability to share and edit files.
Pricing for Google Workspace starts at $6 which is reasonable if you need professional level collaborative tool but quite expensive if all you need is email.
Namecheap is better if you need strictly email hosting, Google Domains and the integration with Workspace is better if you need email and management tools bundled together for a small team.
Both offerings are totally different with different use cases in mind so it comes down to what specific service you need.
Namecheap vs Google Domains for hosting
There is nothing to compare here actually as Google currently does not offer any hosting solutions. So if you’re looking to get your domain names and hosting for your small business website or online store then consider Namecheap.
They provide cheap shared hosting, VPS, reseller hosting and full servers for your convenience. With all hosting accounts you get access to their website builder too, but in general you’re better off installing WordPress to create your website.
No surprise, Google does not provide hosting. As such, if you need web hosting then go with Namecheap.
Domain transfers for Namecheap and Google Domains
If you’re wanting to transfer a domain from another registrar like GoDaddy then the process is identical between both registrars. Both allow for you to transfer domains at no additional cost but you are required to pay for an additional year on the domain which is standard practice.
Overall though I find that the process at Namecheap is easier, faster and more intuitive when it comes to initiating transfers but it’s not drastically better.
In short, both domain registrars allow you to transfer domains to them in a quick, cost efficient way. So if you bought your domain from somewhere else and don’t want to pay high renewal fees then consider both Namecheap and Google Domains.
Support for both Namecheap and Google Domains
Support for both these domain name registrars is identical. They provide email and live chat support as well as a wide variety of “guides” you can read up on when you have a specific question.
Both provide chat support in a quick and timely manner 24/7. So if you ever have difficulty with setting up some aspect of your domain name, transfers or simply navigating your account to setup email and so forth both provide the support you need.
Both are full scale, enterprise level business with solid customer support that is always available through chat, email and phone.
Aftermarket for Google Domains and Namecheap
For all the domainers out there, Namecheap is better when it comes to providing a quality aftermarket. With Namecheap they have their own built in marketplace to list domain names you own for sale which can be sold automatically without you needing to do anything.
Namecheap is also better for bulk buying due in part to their low cost introduction price. These two benefits combined simply make Namecheap better for aftermarket selling. By contrast, Google Domains does not have an aftermarket and you’ll have to use a 3rd party website like GoDaddy Auctions or NamePros.com.
Namecheap provides their own internal aftermarket to quickly buy and sell domains, Google Domains does not have an aftermarket to compare to and you’ll have to use a 3rd party solution.
Google Domains vs Namecheap Conclusion
So hopefully by now you have a good understanding as to the differences between Google Domains and Namecheap. Both are excellent domain name registrars but for most new users I suggest going with Namecheap.
Lower introduction rate, dedicated email hosting and web hosting options all make Namecheap a more feature rich, pro level domain name registrar where Google Domains is more ideal for a casual, one off purchase.
A professional domain registrar with great prices, good support and a wide range of helpful services for small business.