Bluehost is one of the most popular web hosts in the world and is still recommended by the team behind WordPress for creating your first website or blog. But should you register your domain name through Bluehost, or are you better off using a domain name registrar like Namecheap?
I’ve created numerous tutorial videos using Bluehost. In this guide, I will break down the pros and cons of using Bluehost as both your web host and domain name registrar, as well as an overview of the total cost of registering a domain name with Bluehost to help you make a purchase decision.
In general, I don’t recommend using Bluehost for domain names (for hosting, they’re fine) and instead suggest you go with Namecheap for your domain names (check out my review of Bluehost for more).
How much does a domain name cost at Bluehost?
Bluehost is upfront on their pricing. They want to be your one source for creating a website, blog or online store through their platform.
Here are the prices of registering a domain name with a .com extension (the most popular extension) at Bluehost:
- You get a free domain name for the first year with purchase of a hosting account, after the first year you need to pay a domain renewal fee which costs $21.99 each year after.
- Otherwise, to register a domain name through Bluehost costs $12.99 for the first year and then $21.99 for each year after.
- WHOIS protection is not free with Bluehost and costs $15.
So the price for a .com domain name at Bluehost after the first year is $21.99+$15 for a total of $36.99 a year. This is in contrast to Namecheap that costs $15.88 a year with free WHOIS protection. WHOIS protection is technically optional, but it keeps your information private so I find it a necessary requirement.
In short, I find Bluehost to simply be very expensive for domain names. It’s acceptable if you intend to register a handful of domains and use Bluehost as your web host, but otherwise I strongly suggest you use Namecheap instead.
Low prices on domain names, low renewal rates, free WHOIS protection and good support.
I use Namecheap for all my domains and use them in my tutorial videos.
To register a domain name at Namecheap also costs an affordable $10.28 with a renewal rate of $15.88.
Best of all, you can lock in the $10.28 price point for up to 10 years in advanced if you decided to register your domain name for 10 years.
With Bluehost, they don’t allow you to register for multiple years at the $12.99 price point so you’re stuck paying year after year at their ever increasing renewal rate.
What are the benefits of registering a domain name through Bluehost?
The first benefit is getting a free domain name for the first year if you purchase a hosting account. This is useful if you need to figure out if your website idea will stick around, and it helps keep startup costs low for the first year overall.
The second benefit is that your domain name will work automatically when creating a website through Bluehost. Bluehost has a “WordPress website builder” on-boarding process, and when creating a website with them, you simply select your domain name registered through Bluehost.
When you register a domain name through Namecheap or another domain registrar like GoDaddy you’ll have a few extra steps to setup your domain name correctly with Bluehost.
Why you should not register your domain name through Bluehost
The first reason is the cost; a total price point of $36.99 per domain name each year is quite expensive for a domain name, particularly when you could pay $15.88 at Namecheap for the same exact domain. While Bluehost does offer a free domain name for the first year, the catch is that you have to pay an expensive renewal rate.
The second reason why you want to avoid using Bluehost for domains is that they don’t offer free WHOIS protection. When you register a domain name, you have to give ICANN information accurate information. This includes your legal name, email address, and phone number. WHOIS protection keeps this information private and not public.
The final reason I don’t recommend Bluehost for domain registration is that you can’t register for multiple years upfront like you can with Namecheap. That means you’re subject to any renewal rate price increase that Bluehost decides to implement.
The benefits of using a domain name registrar
I describe domain name registrars as companies that offer domain names as their primary business. Namecheap is my preferred choice, but they also provide email hosting and web hosting. Another good registrar is Dynadot because they have low prices and Google Domains.
There are a few compelling reasons to use a domain name registrar for your domains instead of a business primarily focused on web hosting.
In most cases, you’ll get a better price point by using a domain name registrar than a web host. As it’s their primary business and they cater to “domainers” who own a portfolio of domains, Namecheap and other domain name registrars must keep their prices low due to competition.
Web hosts like Bluehost take advantage of the lack of knowledge and sophistication of beginners who don’t understand how to shop around for domain name prices.
Keep your services separate
I like to keep my services separate instead of using “all-in-one” tools. The advantage of keeping your services separate is that it’s usually more cost-effective, as I just touched on. Still, it’s also helpful because if any one part of your online business breaks, you can switch that service out with a different option.
In addition, by keeping your services decentralized, you can shop around for the best price for each piece of your online business. I don’t want my email list, web hosting, domains, and courses with one company.
Because I use different services, I can switch to a competitor if I’m not happy with any one service for a specific part of my business.
Easily move to a different web host or website builder
When you have your domain name at a domain name registrar, changing the DNS and pointing your domain name to a new web host or website builder is easy. This is ideal if you ever want to move away from Bluehost to a new web host or use a website builder like Squarespace.
How to setup a domain name at Namecheap with Bluehost
If you do decide to get your domain name at Namecheap, this is how you can easily set it as the domain name for your website, blog or online store at Bluehost. I’m assuming you have already purchased your domain name at Namecheap.
Connect your domain in Bluehost
When creating a new website in your Bluehost account, enter the domain name you have registered at Namecheap under the “connect a domain” option.
Get the DNS records for Bluehost
Next, you need to get your DNS records for Bluehost. You can find this in the “settings” of the website your creating. The nameserver records for Bluehost are ns1.bluehost.com and ns2.bluehost.com.
Set custom nameservers at Namecheap
Finally, navigate to your domain name at Namecheap and click on “manage” domain name. You’ll see “nameservers” and this is where you input the DNS records from Bluehost.
Select “custom DNS” from the drop down and copy and paste in the records. Then click the green checkmark to confirm.
Check to see if your custom domain is working with an SSL
Once you set your custom DNS records, allow 24-48 hours for propagation. It should take about half an hour, however, from my experience, for everything to start working correctly.
When you create a website with Bluehost and set a domain name at Namecheap, it will first create the site on a temporary domain even if you select “connect domain.” This is because it takes time for the DNS records from Namecheap to propagate.
Just be patient; after 30 minutes to 1 hour, your website at Bluehost should come up with your custom domain from Namecheap. Also, make sure that your website has an SSL working. You get a free SSL with Bluehost.
Registering a domain name through Bluehost – Conclusion
While I like Bluehost as a web host, I’m not happy with their domain name price. So if you’re asking, “should I register my domain name through Bluehost” my answer is a solid no. There are minimal benefits to doing so and much more compelling reasons to use a domain name registrar like Namecheap.
My domain name registrar of choice. Low prices for top level domain names, low renewal rates, good support and free WHOIS protection.
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!
Bluehost Review – Unraveling The Pros and Cons of this Host
In this Bluehost review I will cover the pros and cons of this top recommended web host based on my extensive experience and expertise.