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“Where should I register a domain name?” Have you ever asked yourself this question when considering buying a domain for a website?
In this article, I will help you choose a domain registrar keeping in mind factors that are very important – things like pricing and user experience. Finally, I will provide a list of 10 domain registrars where you will be able to register your domain name.
A domain name is a name that people can search to find your site. Without a domain name, people will not be able to find or identify your website. For example, to reach Google you would type in ‘google.com’.
Before a domain name can actually be used, it will first need to be registered at a domain registrar. Registering a domain name ensures that it is unique and can only be used by one website
What is a Domain Registrar?
A domain registrar is a company or business that handles the domain names and assigns IP addresses to them.
Many of these businesses offer other services like hosting, website builders, and more. For example, NameCheap provides domain names and also offers hosting, apps, and services like VPNs.
Additionally, these registrars sometimes have a marketplace – a place where you sell domain names. You can potentially buy a name from the registrar and then resell that same name on their marketplace for a premium. NameCheap, NameSilo, and GoDaddy are just a few examples of registrars that have their own domain marketplace.
How to Choose the Right Domain Registrar
So, now you know what a domain registrar is and how it works.
There are few things you will have to consider before purchasing a domain name from a registrar, as not all registrars have the same price and features.
Also, some registrars don’t sell all the extensions you may require. Some registrars can only sell country specific extensions like .cn, .in, etc.
We are now going to cover some key points that you should consider when purchasing a domain name.
Pricing and Registration Period
One of the first things you need to check is the domain name price. There are some registrars whose first-year price is super cheap, but the renewal prices are significantly high.
Usually, one year is the shortest period of time you can register a domain name for. However, some businesses have set a minimum of two years. The longest period you can register a domain name for is ten years.
My recommendation is to register a domain name for one year, after which you can set it to renew automatically so your domain name won’t expire. That’s what I do with all my domain names.
Additionally, it’s important to check if there are any extra fees for domain name transfers, renewals and other services.
Transferring Domain Names
Did you know you can actually move a domain name from one registrar to another one? In most cases, you won’t need to transfer your domain name to another registrar unless you are really unhappy with the service (or possibly the renewal fees).
If you are planning on transferring a domain name to another registrar, you won’t be able to do so for the first 60 days of the registration – this time period is set by ICANN.
Most registrars make the transfer process easy and without any additional costs, however, there might be some that charge and have a more complicated process.
I would suggest you read through the domain name transfer policy of your chosen registrar before buying your domain name.
Domain Expiration Policy
A domain name is registered for a set amount of time (minimum being one year and maximum being ten years) and you can renew it before the expiry date. If you forget to renew your domain name and it expires, it’s no longer yours meaning that anyone will be able to buy and register that domain name.
That is why I always set my domain names to auto-renewal as I don’t want to lose any of them.
Even with having the auto-renewal activated, it’s always a good practice to check the expiry date and keep an eye on your emails – usually, when the expiry date is close the registrar sends an email notification out.
There are some registrars that have a ‘grace period’ which allows you to renew for a short period even after the domain name has expired. This information would usually be in the domain expiration policy of your domain name registrar.
Personally, before buying a domain name from a registrar, I always check the other services they provide. You might not necessarily need them right now, but it’s always good to know what else they can offer.
These extra services might be things like domain parking, domain privacy, hosting, website builders, and more.
Watch Out for These Things When Deciding on a Domain Registrar
Because there are so many companies in the domain name registrar market, some of these companies offer crazy deals that look great but have downsides which you might not see until later.
With that being said; here are few things to watch out for when choosing a domain registrar.
Some registrars auto-select certain features which can end up increasing your final price a lot. It’s important to uncheck unnecessary features so that you don’t have a large bill to pay.
You should pay close attention to check out pages and untick the add-on services which you don’t need. The essential features are the domain name, registration time period, auto-renewal (which should always be on), and WHOIS protection which protects your private information.
Most domain name registrars want to provide the best user experience for their customers and that can be seen through reviews as well as the popularity of the business.
An easy way to find reviews is to google ‘domain registrar review’ and read through as many reviews as possible in order to gain an understanding of what other people’s experience has been with particular registrars.
If a domain registrar has a significant number of negative reviews or areas of concern, I would say it’s best not to go ahead with that registrar as you may encounter the same issues that others have highlighted.
There are some registrars that offer very low prices for the first year. Someone who hasn’t registered a domain before may not realize that the renewal fee will be significantly higher.
Usually, domain registrars make it extremely easy to transfer your domain name to another registrar, but some will have an additional fee and you will need to check this if you plan on transferring a domain name.
10 Domain Registrars
Now you know what to look for when choosing a domain registrar, I will be listing 10 domain registrars that you should consider when buying your first domain.
Porkbun is an American based ICANN accredited domain registrar. They have a presence in China as well. One of their key values is providing the standard features and functions for the lowest price possible. The company is quite fun and quirky as they share their personal side with their customers. For example, all the staff member profiles include one unique fun fact.
Some of the services that Porkbun offers are domain names, web hosting, email hosting, and different site builders. Check out our full review here.
The pricing for the popular domain extension .com is $4.15 for the first year and the renewal fee is $8.56. All their pricing, for domain names as well as other services, are listed clearly on their site.
NameCheap is one of the most popular domain registrars out there. They manage over 10 million domain names worldwide. They have great customer support and the site is extremely easy to use. The whole user interface is very simple and they have intentionally made the process of buying domain names very straightforward. When you register a domain name with them, you are given free WHOIS guard and a 2-month free email.
Some other services they offer include web hosting, site builders, and some apps for security. All the prices for these additional services are clearly listed and the site, in general, is well presented.
The prices for the popular domain extension .com are $8.88 for the first year and the renewal fee is $12.88. Other domain name extensions are also available with prices listed.
GoDaddy is a really popular domain registrar. They manage over 78 million domain names worldwide. They state that their objective is to help entrepreneurs around the world with the tools they need to grow online. I personally have some domain names registered with GoDaddy.
The services they provide are domain names, web hosting, and lots of domain name related tools. Their lowest hosting package is £2.99 per month and it comes with the essential features and functions to start your first website.
The price for the .com domain extension with GoDaddy is £0.99 for the first year and the renewal fee is £16.14.
NameSilo pride themselves on being one of the 15 domain registrars in the world to have over 3 million active domain names. They also pride themselves on having the lowest everyday domain prices. They make buying and managing domain names as smooth a process as possible.
Other than domain names, they provide hosting, site builders, and more.
The pricing for the .com domain extension at NameSilo is $8.99 for the first year and the renewal fee is exactly the same. For hosting, their lowest plan is $2.99 per month and comes with 20 GB storage, 1 website, and more. This package is more than enough for your first website.
Domain was founded in 1998 and its goal is to help individuals, as well as small and medium-sized businesses around the world to get online faster. They pride themselves on being able to communicate and listen well to their customers. They give reliable advice and aim to help you move forward and reach your business goals.
Some of the services Domain offers are affordable domain names, web hosting, and email and online marketing services. These are just some of the additional services that you might like to check out.
The price for the .com domain extension is $9.99 for the first year and the renewal fee is $13.99. They have a full page on all the domain extensions they offer as well as the registration fee and the renewal fee.
DynaDot is an ICANN accredited domain registrar based out of California. They were founded in 2002 and their main aim is to make registering domains and building websites easy and affordable.
Other services they provide are various website hosting options such as email hosting, SSL for your website, and more.
The price for the popular .com extension is $6.99 for the first year with a renewal fee of $8.99. The pricing for the other domain names is all clearly listed on the site.
BlueHost is one of the most popular web hosting companies. It was founded in 2003 by Matt Heaton and Danny Ashworth. Their goal is to empower people to fully harness the internet. They also provide domain names, so you have the option to get your domain name and hosting from one place. They support over 2 million websites globally.
The main service they offer is web hosting – the lowest package is £2.38 per month which is more than enough for your first website. The domain extension .com will cost $11.99 for the first year with a renewal cost of $17.99.
HostGator is recognized as a web hosting provider, however, like BlueHost, they also provide domain names. HostGator was founded in 2002 by university student Brent Oxley. One of the first decisions he had to make was whether to register the site as hostgator.com or gatorhost.com
The services that HostGator provides are web hosting (which they are best known for), domain names, and also website builders which simplify the process of creating a website.
The price for the .com domain extension is $12.95 for the first year and the renewal fee is $17.99. The lowest hosting package that HostGator offers is $5.95 per month.
Shopify is a website that is used for e-commerce sites. It powers over 1 million websites/businesses globally. If you want to start an e-commerce site then Shopify is the way to go. They have all the essential tools for you to have a successful e-commerce site and there is a lot of customization available.
The main service they provide is a website builder designed with e-commerce in mind. The cheapest package is $29 per month. They also provide domain names. The cost for a .com domain name from Shopify is $14 for the first year and the renewal fee is $17. So you can purchase their website builder and domain name if you wish to start an e-commerce website.
SiteGround is better known for providing web hosting but they also provide domain names and other services. They having been delivering these services since 2004 and are known to be very experienced and reliable (I have this website hosted with them!). Some of SiteGround’s key values are: do everything with care, work with purpose, and challenge yourself.
Some of the services that SiteGround offers are: web hosting, domain names, SSL certificates, and Site Builders, to name a few. Their lowest web hosting package is £5.99 per month – a package that includes all the essentials you need for starting your first website. The SiteGround user experience is also great and it’s easy to navigate through the website.
For domain names, the .com domain extension will cost you $12.95 and the renewal fee is $15.95. So you can purchase your web hosting and domain name from the same place if you’d like to.
After reading this article, you should understand what a domain registrar is, important factors to consider when purchasing a domain name from a registrar, as well as having a list of 10 registrars to refer to when looking to buy a domain name.
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