You can’t avoid the need to register a domain name and it’s typically the first thing you need to do when creating a website. It might sound easy enough. All you have to do is search for domain registrars sites and you’ll be on way.
Here’s the thing, there are over 3,000 accredited domain name registrars available (with many more unaccredited) and simply choosing the first that comes up is probably not a good idea.
If you’re wondering, “what’s the difference between them and is one selling you anything the other can’t?” Glad you asked because we’re going to answer those questions while giving a list of the best domain name registrars in 2018 to get your domain name.
How to pick the best domain name registrar – Buyer’s Guide
With the sheer amount of domain registrars available, there’s bound to be a number of similarities when it comes to the features and products that they offer. However, a good domain registrar company will share certain qualities that make them better than others while still able to fulfill your requirements — the ability to do what you want with the domain name and launching your website.
A few general things that you need to keep in mind before settling on a domain name company are ICANN accredited, prices and renewals, customer support, ability to transfer, and additional services.
ICANN is short for Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers. They are an organization that monitors the domain name industry and regulate domain registrar companies in general.
It’s recommended that you always go with a company that ICANN accredited as they are generally safer and has been approved by the main regulatory institution. (It should be noted that a company does not require an ICANN accreditation to sell domain names.)
Prices and renewals
When it pricing and contract renewals for your desired domain name, it’s a good idea to shop around first with multiple registrars before settling on one.
You might not realize this but pricing for the same domain name can be different with different registrars. In some cases, the price differences can be huge. For example, a .design domain might cost $29.99 with GoDaddy but only $6.88 with Namecheap.
The other thing you need to be aware of is the renewal pricing and process. Certain companies can apply restrictions and fees in their contract for transferring to another registrar.
Good customer support is a must for a good domain registrar company. Make sure that they are easy to contact and that they have a good track record for customer service.
Having a company that reacts quickly when your site goes or provide quick solutions when there’s an issue can be a lifesaver. Also, you might want to read up on their policies and practices on compliance issues and whether you can contact their compliance department, if necessary.
You might decide down the line that you want to transfer your service to another registrar. If you do, then it’s always a good idea to check a registrar company’s transfer policy for details.
As we’ve mentioned earlier, some companies will put restrictions or fees for transferring a domain name to another registrar. Generally, you’re not allowed to transfer a domain name for the first 60 days after registration, but it could be longer for some companies.
Always check your contract and read up on the transfer policies so that you don’t end up paying a huge fee for transferring your domain name.
Additional services – support auto payment
There a lot of domain registrars sites today that acts as a full-service shop. Some will offer additional services such as website builders or web hosting for small business, SSL certificate, email services, and even SEO tools.
Other features such as auto payment will be helpful for keeping up with your domain name renewals. Those that are full-service domain registrars will be ideal for business owners who want an all web-related service solution in one place.
Top 5 Best Domain Registrars in 2018
Knowing the qualities of a good domain registrar should narrow down the number of domain registrars that you should go for. But of course, if you still need help in finding the best domain registrar in 2018, we’ve compiled the top 5 that you should definitely check out.
Often listed high within the registrars ranking list, Namecheap if one of the bigger names in the industry, and for good reasons. The company was founded in 2000 and was named the most popular domain name registrar in 2012.
Today, Namecheap is a leading ICANN-accredited domain name registrar, serving nearly 2 million customers and managing more than 9 million domains.
They combine a solid trifecta of affordable domain pricing, great customer support, and have a huge selection of top-level-domains (.com, .net, .uk, etc.) that you can choose from.
Features and pricing
When it comes to pricing, Namecheap is hard to beat with some domain names going as low as $0.50 for the first year. Their pricing for year after year renewals can range anywhere between over a dollar for less-common top-level-domains (TLD) to around $9 for more favorable options.
They also offer additional features such as WHOIS privacy protection (with WhoisGuard) for $3 a year, guaranteed uptime with their PremiumDNS system at $5 per year, and the option for SSL certificates which starts at $9 per year. Plus when you sign up with NameCheap, they give you a year of WHOIS privacy protection and a two-month private email for free.
One thing you need to be aware of is that Namecheap only offers online support via its ticket and live chat system. Their chat support system is responsive and customers have praised both its system and support staff. However, if you ever want to call someone for an immediate help, you won’t be able to do so.
GoDaddy is a domain registrar company that most people will know as they’ve been around for quite some time. The company was founded by Bob Parsons in 1997 and having more than 17 million users worldwide.
As both a domain registrar and a hosting company, they offer a number of services that you can opt for without having to turn elsewhere. As the biggest domain name registrar in the world, they often provide services that support larger sites, eCommerce sites, and much more.
Features and pricing
For pricing, it generally costs $14.99 per year to register a domain name, however, they do often run promotions where you can register your domain name for as low as $0.99.
Other features that they provide are WHOIS privacy for $7.99 per year, SSL certificate from $55.99 per year, web hosting for $4.99 per month, and even access to website builder tools which is free for the first month and $14.99 per month onwards.
As for customer support, GoDaddy has a stellar phone support, which is great if you’re the type that prefers talking to people instead of writing an email. They also have chat and email support but are serviceable at best.
Hover focuses purely on being a domain registrar site. Compared to others on this list, when you load up Hover, it’s clear what their strengths and focus are.
They are also upfront when it comes to pricing. Domain names can cost about $5 per year and they also include the cost of renewals and transfers on the same page itself. If you’re buying more than 10 domains, they offer discounts for purchasing it all at once.
Features and pricing
Hover offers a number of options for top-level-domains (TLDs), ranging from popular TLDs such as .com to more trendy ones such as .io. Since they don’t offer any hosting options, they try to make it easy for users to set it up with other hosting companies.
For those who are privacy conscious, Hover provides an additional benefit that most registrars doesn’t, which is to include a WHOIS privacy protection for all of its packages for free. They believe that you “shouldn’t have to opt-in to protect identity”, which shows that they take privacy a little more seriously than others.
In addition to that, Hover also offers other features such as the ability to forward emails to your domain name at $5 per year and creating a domain inbox for $20 per year. When it comes to customer support, you can contact them via phone call, email, or live chat, but it’s not available 24-hours a day.
Known as the oldest domain registrars in the industry, Gandi has cultivated a strong pedigree for providing simple and clear domain registrations for almost 20 years. They operate under the “No BS” motto, which means that their sales pitch is clear and uncluttered, and you won’t have to worry about sold on extra things that you don’t need.
In terms of domain extensions, Gandi is comparable with GoDaddy by offering more than 700 options to its users. Anything from .abogado to .zine is up for grabs at Gandi. They also have a list of top-level-domains options that gets updated regularly, along with articles that discuss new TLDs that will become available soon.
Features and pricing
Prices for domain names at Gandi are quite affordable with some costing as low as $0.50 per year for less popular domain extensions. More common options such as .com, however, will set you back at about $15.50 per year. What’s great about Gandi is that, regardless of what you opt for, their prices are clear and you can search based on preferences such as the cost of renewals and transfers.
All of the domain purchased through Gandi will come with a WHOIS privacy protection for free, which is great if you want to keep your information private. You also will receive two email boxes with up to 1,000 aliases included for free.
Other additional features that you can opt for include LiveDNS to manage your domain name server, and the option for SSL certificates which are also free.
One thing that Gandi does lack is the limited amount of customer service support, in that you can only reach them via email. While they do respond quickly, if you want to call them or talk to them via live-chat, you’re out of luck.
A well-known domain registrar, Domain.com has been featured on a number of podcast ads or you might have seen their YouTube sponsorship ads. With over 2.4 million domain names registered, Domain.com currently has a market share of around 0.7%
Features and pricing
As s ICANN-accredited company, Domain.com offers a wide of variety of TLDs, ranging from the popular and common ones (.com, .net, etc.) to country-specific TLDs around the globe to even interesting new generic TLDs (.io, .tv. etc.)
Pricing on Domain.com is quite standard with classic TLDs such as .com costing as much as $9.99 for the first year. Other TLDs such as .org go as high $14.99 for the first year.
In terms of additional services, Domain.com quite a wide variety, which is great if you’re looking for an all-in-one website solution. Some of the features they offer include SSL certificates for $31.99 per year, G Suite by Google Cloud at $4.17 per month, WordPress hosting from $3.75 per month and even VPS hosting from $29.70 per month.
Best Place to Buy Domain Name
Having the right domain name could be the key to success.
That’s why it’s important to you choose the best domain registrar that suits your needs. Ideally, you would only have to make this decision once and go back to your preferred registrar whenever you need a new domain name.
Now you know the features and differences between the best domain registrars, you can make the clear decision which one is best for you,
All of the domain registrars that we’ve presented in this list are the best, so to speak, and they’re more than capable of handling any of your needs through your website’s lifespan while providing you with your desired domain. Choosing which one works best for you will depend on the details.
You can get help from a domain name generator if you need ideas on getting domain names.
Depending on whether you need additional services, such as hosting, adding SSL security, and so forth, one company might better suit your need by offering these services compared to others while some might be more affordable. We recommend you take a good look at the companies on the list and find the one that fit your needs.