Are you looking for the best domain name registrars to buy a domain for your new site?
Choosing the right domain registrar is very important because you’ll have to rely on them not just for domain registration but also management and security of your domain. You also want to choose a registrar that’s transparent with pricing and renewals.
In this guide, we’ll show you how to choose the best domain registrar and recommend the best domain name registrars.
Want to skip ahead to our list? Just use this table of contents:
What is a Domain Name Registrar?
A domain name registrar is a company with the authority to register domain names. They are accredited by ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers), a non-profit organization responsible for managing domain names.
Domain name registrars are primarily responsible for making domain names widely available to the public. They let you to buy any domain names you want. Plus, they provide you with different services and tools to manage your domain name settings.
After you register a domain name, the domain registrar sends all your domain name records to a centralized database called a registry. After the registry stores your domain information, your domain name is recognized on the web. The registries are managed by IANA (Internet Assigned Numbers Authority), a department within ICANN.
Domain names make internet navigation easier by assigning unique and easy-to-remember alphanumeric names to websites.
Originally, a web address was an IP address that would identify your particular computer on the internet. An IP address is a series of numbers that typically looks like 188.8.131.52.
Before the invention of Domain Name System (DNS) in 1983, people had to type these long strings of numbers (i.e. IP addresses) to visit websites. Domain names solved this problem by allowing websites to choose easily remembered addresses like nameboy.com or google.com.
How to Choose the Right Domain Name Registrar
Domain name registrars are much like car dealers who sell cars and offer support services but they aren’t the manufacturers of the cars they sell.
Domain registrars sell domain names, but the actual owners and managers of the domain names are the registries. The registrars simply facilitate domain sales and help you with support services.
Therefore, they always compete with each other to sell more domain licenses. Some registrars offer various promotional plans, low pricing, free addons, and easy setup options to attract more customers.
When choosing the best domain name registrar, we recommend you consider the following:
Pricing and Registration Period
Domain pricing is the first thing you’ll need to check when choosing a domain registrar. Some companies may offer lower prices for the first year of registration, but their renewal charges can be significantly higher. Similarly, some companies charge a high cost for domain transfers.
With most domain registrars, you can register a domain name for a minimum period of 1 year. However, some companies may require you to register it for at least 2 years. At most, you can reserve a domain name for up to 10 years at a time.
When you’re just starting out with your website, it’s best to register a domain name for 1 year and turn on the auto-renewal. This’ll prevent your domain from expiring while you’re away.
Domain names are transferable from one company to another. If you aren’t happy with the services offered by your current registrar, you can transfer your domain to a new registrar; however, some companies can make the transfer process unnecessarily complicated. Some can even charge you lots of transfer fees.
That’s why you should carefully check their domain transfer policies before registering your domain with them.
One thing you should keep in mind is that you cannot transfer a domain from one registrar to another within 60 days of initial registration as per ICANN rules.
Add-ons (Additional Services)
A domain name is basic but not complete; you’ll need multiple other things to build and run a full-fledged website. That’s why most domain registrars offer addons and domain-related additional services. So, it’s wise to check out what addons they’re offering.
The most common addons are for domain privacy, an SSL certificate, extended expiration protection, and domain parking. Some companies also offer WordPress hosting and email hosting services to make it easy for users to get everything they need in one spot.
Domain Expiration Policies
When you register a domain, you’re renting the license for a specific duration. You can’t buy or own a domain name forever. This means you can lose your domain if you don’t renew its registration on time. The domain will expire and someone else can buy it. Hence, it’s important to review domain renewal policies well.
First of all, make sure your registrar has an automatic renewal feature. However, this cannot help if your credit card has expired and you weren’t aware.
Another important thing to check is the grace period for the renewal of your expired domain. If by chance, your credit card was expired and the auto-renewal didn’t work, your domain could expire while you’re away. But, if your registrar has a grace period, you can renew your domain registration even after its expiration date.
On top of everything, the user experience is the most important thing for you as a customer/ user. If your domain registrar offers everything like good pricing, transfer options, and addon services but gives a bad user experience, there’s no point going with that company.
For example, if their website isn’t easy to use and you can’t find your domain name settings, it’ll kill a lot of your time and make you less productive. Similarly, if they don’t respond to your support requests on time, it’s not a good choice.
So, make sure you research their support services well and check out user reviews online. If there are mostly negative reviews, it’s good to take them off your list of registrar companies.
Having said all that, let’s check out the 7 best domain name registrars.
Bluehost is a leading web hosting and domain name company. Their main focus is selling web hosting; however, they have an exclusive offer for those who’re looking to buy both web hosting and a domain name. Now, you can get a free domain and free SSL certificate with the purchase of any hosting plan.
Bluehost is officially recommended by WordPress.org for WordPress hosting. It has a 1-click WordPress install, eCommerce support, and easy configuration options for WordPress users. You can buy a WordPress hosting plan for just $2.75 per month and get a free domain name and SSL certificate along with the hosting.
With each Bluehost domain, you can enjoy easy domain management features such as changing DNS records. You can enable auto-renewal for your domain and protect your site from expiring. It also has a domain lock feature to prevent unauthorized domain transfers.
Bluehost customer support can be trusted. You can check their frequently asked questions (FAQs) for answers to common queries. For any emergency, contact their instant live chat support or phone support.
See our full review: Bluehost Review: Domain, Hosting, & PricingGet started with Bluehost
Domain.com is yet another reliable domain name registrar. It features a simple and quick domain search system to help you find a great domain name for your site. It has a user-friendly domain management system which makes it easy to edit, change, and manage your domain options.
Along with domain names, Domain.com offers a website builder platform, professional emails from Gmail, web hosting, WordPress hosting, and various domain security features.
A new domain at Domain.com usually costs $9.99 per year. Domain privacy protection costs $8.99 per year for each domain name. You can buy SSL certificates at the starting price of $35.99 per year.
Domain.com has a rich knowledge base with plenty of articles on common support questions. If you need technical support, you can directly call them, chat, or send an email.
See our full review » Domain.com: Is it Any Good? (Features, Cons, & Cost)Get started with Domain.com
With over 7 million domains, Network Solutions is one of the biggest domain registrars in the world. They’re a large, reliable company that also offers web hosting, free business email address, and more. They even offer a website builder so you can quickly create a simple modern website for your business.
Not only that, but they have an award-winning customer service team available by online ticket or phone, 24/7.
See our full review » Network Solutions Review: Features, Plans & PricingGet started with Network Solutions
GoDaddy is the world’s largest domain name registrar and manages over 77 million domain names for 18 million users worldwide. It offers a wide collection of popular top level domains (TLDs) like .com, .net, and .org as well as location-specific domains like .ca, .uk, .us, etc. Plus, you can combine TLDs with location extensions like .co.uk for a business in the United Kingdom.
Domain pricing is highly competitive at GoDaddy. The regular price for a domain name is $14.99 per year but you can register a new domain for much less since they provide a discount of 20% or more on new domain registrations. They also run promos on various occasions when you can get a domain name for as low as $0.99, so keep an eye out for sales.
GoDaddy has an additional domain privacy option for $9.99 per year, per domain. You can add this to your domain account if you want to hide your personal information including you name, email, and phone number in the public WHOIS directory.
It has a user-friendly interface and easy tools to let you manage your domain settings. The support service is trustworthy. You can read FAQs, live chat, or call the team 24/7.
Added to this, GoDaddy has advanced domain options such as builk domain search tool, domain brokers, and domain apprasial tools.
See our full review » GoDaddy Review: Are the Domain & Web Hosting Plans Good?. You may also want to read our comparison: Bluehost vs GoDaddy.Get started with GoDaddy
NameCheap is one of the top domain name registrars on the market. There’re over 10 million domains under NameCheap’s management at the present. NameCheap offers a wide range of new domain names as well as premium domains at very reasonable prices.
A new domain name at NameCheap usually costs $8.88 per year. You can buy shared hosting for $2.88 per month, positive SSL for $1.99 per year, and EasyWP starter tool for $1.00 per month along with your new domain to start your new site. With each new domain you purchase, NameCheap provides free private email services.
If you’re looking to create a basic online presence, Namecheap is really affordable.
NameCheap has powerful tools ready for your domain’s security. It has WhoisGuard privacy protection, SSL certificates, and PremiumDNS features to protect your domain’s privacy, health, and uptime.
The NameCheap Support team is a group of knowledgeable professionals who’re ready to help you any time of the day. You can read their knowledgebase for solutions to common questions. For technical support, you can use their live chat or submit a ticket.
See our full review » Namecheap Domain and Hosting Review: Is It Any Good?Get started with Namecheap
HostGator is a renowned and popular web hosting and domain name registration company. It offers a wide selection of domain names so you can find the perfect domain name for your site. The HostGator domain finder allows you to search any name you want and shows you all the available results.
Transferring domains to HostGator is easy and also adds great features for free. For every domain transferred to HostGator, they’ll provide domain locking, domain renewal, and an easy management panel for free.
A regular .com domain at HostGator costs $12.95 per year and additional domain privacy protection costs $14.95 per year. If your domain expires for any reason, they have a small grace period to save your expired domain.
For support, you can contact the support team via live chat or post questions in the support forum. Also, there’re plenty of video tutorials to help you.
See our full review » HostGator Review: Is It Better Than Other Hosts?Get started with HostGator
DreamHost is a reliable WordPress hosting company that also provides cheap domain names. It’s one of the officially recommended WordPress hosting providers. You can get WordPress hosting at $2.59 per month at DreamHost.
A regular .com domain name costs $8.95 per year at DreamHost. Each new domain name will include free DreamHost WHOIS privacy protection, so you’ll save a good amount of money. Transferring domains is also very easy with DreamHost.
If you need any support while using DreamHost, you can contact them via live chat or email. You can also post your questions in the support forums.Get started with Dreamhost
Google Domains is a popular domain registrar. You can easily connect your domain to other Google products like GSuite, GMail, Google Search Console, and Google Analytics.
They support over 300 domain extensions (TLDs). This means you’ll be able to find a domain name you want along with a TLD that’s good for SEO.
The downside is that Google doesn’t have any web hosting services. You’ll need to get hosting from another provider like Bluehost and then point your domain to another server.
See our full review » Google Domains Review: Pros, Cons, & Pricing
What’s the Best Domain Registrar for You?
Our top picks of the best domain registrars out there are:
Among this list, Bluehost stands out as #1. They have everything you need at affordable rates. What’s more is that they uphold high industry standards to make sure you get the best service and experience.
They focus on ease of use making everything including domain purchase, DNS management, nameserver changes, setting up subdomains and email accounts as easy as it can be.
We hope this article helped you to find the best domain registrar for your new website.
You may also want to see our guides:
- 7 Reasons You Need A Custom Email Address With Your Domain
- Should You Trademark Your Domain Name? (Beginner’s Guide)
- How to Check a Domain’s History Before Buying it (Steps + Tips)
These posts will make your domain registration much easier.