A domain registrar, also known as domain name (DNS) registrar, provides the general public with – you know it – domain registration. Apart from that, this industry also covers the designation of IP numbers to the said domain names.
Domain names come in handy for users, as websites are usually assigned with IP addresses. Without a domain name, you have to memorize several numbers just to access a certain website.
To prevent this laborious task, DNS registrars are equipped with an updated list of available domains. These registries offer tools that allow for domain searching that can help their clients decide.
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Domain Name Registrars vs. Registries
Domain name registrars differ from registries. The latter govern top-level domains – the ones ending in .com or .net. Registrars, on the other hand, are in charge of commercial sales. They need to be accredited by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).
Think of the DNS registrar as a middleman – it is the one that transacts with you, the registrant (buyer). So when you pay the registrar for the domain name, it must inform and pay the registry as well.
Selecting the Best Domain Registrars
There are many DNS registrars available in the market. But if you want to get the best services possible at the most reasonable price, then you should consider the following factors when choosing a domain registrar:
How much you pay for will depend on your domain name of choice. Of course, top-level domains usually come with expensive price tags. When you browse through different DNS registrars, keep these in mind: the fees usually just cover a year. However, this may vary according to the company so you should need to check with your provider.
Remember, you will need to pay more than once when you get a domain name. You have to keep paying for as long as you are using the site. With that being said, you should take a careful look at the pricing schedule. The one-year payment may seem cheap, but it may cost you more in the long run.
Additionally, you should read into the details of your contract. You may be offered a low introductory price, which can inflate the following year. Make sure to factor your subsequent payments before you choose a domain registrar.
With that being said, while you might be attracted to a DNS registrar with the cheapest price, it’s not always the best choice. Do check the reviews as more often than not, cheap companies come with limited services or poor customer support.
2. Registrar Reputation
As with any product or service you buy, you should be wary of the provider’s reputation. Even if you don’t get to interact much with a DNS registrar, you need to look for a company that is known for its impeccable services, good customer service, among many others.
In this modern day and age, it’s much easier to research as all you just need to do is go online. Here are some things you need to consider when you do your research:
- The DNS registrar’s legitimacy
- The registration and renewal process
- Ability to provide good customer service
By considering these factors, you can save yourself from the worries of transferring from one domain registrar to another.
3. Domain Transfers
You have the freedom to move your domain name from one registrar to another. However, you will need to wait for 60 days before you can do so.
With that being said, you need to pick a DNS registrar that has a good domain transfer fee. After all, some companies will happily do it for free, while some may ask you to pay a small fee for such.
4. Extra Services
While DNS registrars specialize in domain name registration, some companies offer complementary services as well. If you want to eliminate the hassle of acquiring related services from another provider, then you should look for a domain registrar that offers the following add-ons:
a. Domain Name Privacy
This will help you prevent spam and other pesky infiltrators, as this allows you to keep your personal information private.
As mentioned, some DNS registrars will only lease you the domain name for a year. In case you forget renewing your contract, you stand to lose your website – especially so if the company does not have a grace period. Unless you want to lose your website, you should go for a provider that offers auto-renewal services. That way, you can keep your domain name registration updated.
c. Multi-Year Purchase Option
If renewing your contract proves to be a laborious task for you, then you should go for a domain registrar that offers a multi-year purchase option. That way you get to ‘own’ your domain for a good length of time.
d. E-mail Set-Up
While Gmail and Yahoo! Mail are all good, you would still want to have an e-mail address under your domain name. You can make this process easier by choosing a DNS registrar that allows domain e-mail set-up for you and other users.
The name speaks for itself. Domain.com is a DNS registrar that allows you to take your stellar idea into a whole another level.
Domain.com offers a domain name search that allows you to choose from top-level domains – as well as country code domains.
With Domain.com, you can take hold of the following features:
- This DNS registrar helps you secure your website with its Let’s Encrypt Free SSL.
- DNS management. As long as you have the domain name registration, you have unprecedented control over your DNS.
- Transfer lock. Rest assured that your domain won’t suffer from a hijack or unauthorized transfer.
- E-mail forwarding. You can forward your e-mail from your domain name to your other e-mail addresses.
Domain.com offers popular premium domains, such as the ones that end with .com or .net. With a premium domain, your company will benefit from better branding. It is also a smart business investment that provides you top-level search engine rankings.
Domain.com also facilitates domain transfers, which you can do so automatically. With this domain registrar, you can transfer your domain name from one provider to another.
It comes with URL forwarding, so the traffic from your previous domain is redirected to your new one. What’s great about its transfer services is that it requires no downtime for your website.
Domain.com prices range from $3.99 to $390.99 per year, with renewal prices costing anywhere from $4.99 to $390.99.
- Impressive uptime. A domain.com website is highly reliable. Tests show that it did not bug down during the 14-day experiment.
- Commendable customer service. Whether you call the trunk line or start a chat, you can expect domain.com CSRs to respond in 2 to 3 minutes.
- Devoid of Windows-based services.
- Does not offer dedicated, VPS, cloud, or reseller server packages.
GoDaddy is a DNS registrar that comes with several domain services. One is a domain name search, which comes with the following features:
- Domain name generator
Still clueless as to what to name your website? Well, GoDaddy can help you out with this. With its domain name generator, you can get great suggestions simply by entering a word or phrase.
- New domain extensions
GoDaddy, which is the world’s biggest registrar, comes with numerous domains that are tailor-made for your website idea/s.
- Domain broker service
If the domain that you want is already taken, you need not fret as GoDaddy offers a domain broker service. As such, it can negotiate with the website owner on your behalf. GoDaddy can ensure your anonymity throughout the process, so you don’t have to worry about security issues and whatnot.
- Bulk registration
With GoDaddy, you can register as much as 500 domain names. This feature also comes with domain set-up, domain forwarding to any website, 100 customizable subdomains, and 100 professional e-mail aliases.
GoDaddy services cost as cheap as 99 cents per domain.
- Cheap services. Apart from its low-priced DNS registrar services, GoDaddy also offers discounts and coupons every so often.
- Solid reputation. Out of the many domain registrars out there, GoDaddy is one that stands out the most. It has several years of service, as well as thousands of satisfied customers.
- No live chat support. You have to call the GoDaddy trunk line if you have queries, concerns, etc.
- Restoration fees. You need to pay as much as $300 to restore your website – so you should be careful in every little thing that you do!
Hostgator pegs itself to be your ultimate destination for domain registration. Here, you have the choice of either registering or transferring your domain.
First-year rates go as cheap as 95 cents, while higher-end domains cost about $15. Renewal prices, on the other hand, will cost you about $15 to $45 a year.
For these prices, Hostgator offers the following services to its clients:
- Effortless management. Hostgator has a user-friendly domain control panel where you can manage all the essential things about your website.
- Domain locking. With Hostgator, you have complete control of your domain – making it less prone to hijacks or unauthorized transfers.
- Domain renewal. Hostgator offers a by-default auto-renewal process. This will prevent you from losing your domain due to lapses and what not.
- Domain privacy protection. By paying a small fee, you can protect your personal information so that it is not accessible through the WHOIS website.
- 9% server uptime guarantee.
- The website, domain, and script transfers are free of charge.
- Free Let’s Encrypt SSL certificate.
- Expensive fees. The first-year fees are cheap but the renewal costs are astronomical. You also need to pay $25 if you need to restore from their back-ups.
- Poor customer service. You may need to wait for 30 minutes before you can speak with a CSR.
Bluehost promises to deliver the best web hosting service on the planet. It also serves as a DNS registrar, offering a variety of domain names to its consumers.
The cheapest is .website at $1.99 a year, while .com and .net are at $11.99 and $12.99 a year, respectively.
Purchasing a domain name at Bluehost entitles you to the following features:
- Easy management
To buy a domain name, all you just need to do is use Bluehost’s lookup services. After choosing the best domain name for your company, you can use the interface – a user-friendly control panel – to manage your site easily. You can even change your DNS files of different domains.
- Automatic Renewal
Are you afraid to lose your expired domain just because the renewal completely slipped out your mind? You need not worry about this as Bluehost offers an automatic renewal option. Better still, you can revert to manual renewal anytime you want.
- Domain Lock
You can protect your domain from unauthorized transfers with the help of Bluehost’s Domain Lock. You can unlock it as needed. Even so, you still need not worry as this registrar will keep your domain name ready for use – whenever you are.
- Excellent uptime. You don’t have to fret about your Bluehost-purchased domain bugging down.
- 30-day money-back guarantee.
- Free Let’s Encrypt SSL certificate.
- High renewal rates. Don’t be fooled by the cheap first-year rate, as the renewal fees can be insanely expensive.
- Costly website migration. You need to pay $150 to migrate 5 websites from Bluehost.
Any stellar website idea starts with a domain name. At Dreamhost, you could look up your preferred domain – before somebody else tries to grab it.
It offers as much as 400+ top-level domains, with prices that range from 99 cents to about $13.95.
With DreamHost, you are entitled to the following services:
- Free private registration.Once you have purchased your domain via DreamHost, you can avail of free and auto-renewable WHOIS domain privacy.
- Easy domain management. DreamHost comes with a panel that allows you to manage your domains, set up domain forwarding, modify DNS records, among many others.
- Easy domain transfers. Given the many free services of DreamHost, you may want to transfer your domain to it. Fortunately so, it enables domain migration with minimal fuss.
- Free subdomains.You can get an unlimited number of subdomains with DreamHost’s hosting services.
- Affordable price. DreamHost offers one of the cheapest prices in the market.
- No upsells. Compared to other domain registrars, DreamHost will not annoy you with add-ons, upgrades, and whatnot.
- 97-day money-back guarantee. If you are not happy with DreamHost after more than 3 months of use, you can have your money refunded – no questions asked.
- The Control panel is text-based so it’s not that intuitive.
- Long wait times for live chat support.
Google – the world’s favorite search engine – is a domain name registrar as well. With Google Domains, you have the opportunity to secure simple yet powerful domain names.
Google Domains is very easy to use. First, you need to find a name that suits your enterprise. Second, you can build your website with intuitive tools that require no coding knowledge whatsoever. Third, you can go ahead and make a custom e-mail address for your domain. Lastly, you can make use of Google Ads – so you attract customers that are looking for businesses such as yours.
Apart from being user-friendly, Google Domains also comes with these advanced features:
- Speedy multi-domain registration
- Domain sharing
- Automatic domain verification when you integrate with Google App Engine, Search Console, or Cloud Run
- DNS export, which you can get in YAML or BIND formats
- Free cloud DNS to meet your website’s traffic capacity
- Free privacy protection so your info is not revealed in WHOIS or RDAP
- One-click DNSSEC for protection against DNS spoofing and cache poison attacks
- Integration with GSuite, Blogger, and other related products
- Easy access to WIX, Squarespace, Shopify, or Weebly
Google domains cost about $12 a year.
- No hidden fees that may surprise you.
- Easy to use interface.
- It allows you to create about 100 sub-domains.
- Google Domains cost a wee bit more compared to other domain name registrars.
- A limited number of top-level domains at just 297 (compared to the 400+ selection of other DNS registrars).
Network Solutions prides itself to be the world’s first domain provider. With its domain name search and registration service, you are given a wide array of options – .club, .uk, .nyc, .solutions, to name a few.
It also sells premium domains, which include .com, .net, .org, and .biz. These are given at an established price, so you don’t need to worry about haggling and negotiating for the domain you have always wanted.
- At $9.99 per year, Network Solutions also offers private registration. With this, your info is hidden from the public WHOIS database.
- You can also transfer your domain to Network Solutions for $9.99 annually (comes with a free one-year extension). You can enter as many as 200 domain names for transfer.
- Apart from the other fees stated above, Network Solutions bills $35 a year for domain registration services.
- Brand reputation. As the world’s first DNS registrar, Network Solutions has been in service since 1979.
- Good customer service options, including phone, e-mail, and chat.
- Expensive prices. Renewals cost as much as $37.99 a year.
- Annoying upsells.
Namecheap’s name says it all. This registrar promises to provide you with reasonably-priced domain names. It offers specialized packages for individuals – as well as big businesses.
For individual owners, all you need to do is choose your domain name, and check if it’s available. If it is, then you can lease it right away.
Apart from effortless domain searching, Namecheap also provides the following services:
- Free basic DNS and DNSSEC
- Free personal data privacy
- Free e-mail address for 2 months
- Domain switchover that includes automatic URL and e-mail forwarding
- 24/7 customer support
Namecheap also has the Beast Mode option, which comes with unique domain hacks. Here, you can come up with innovative ways to create your domain name. This comes with a wide category selection, as well as the best domain name alternatives (if the one you want is no longer available).
Beast Mode also comes with a collaboration mode, so you can share your searched domain names with business partners or employees. As it is an all-in-one tool, you don’t have to visit another page should you wish to buy a domain name.
- Namecheap prices cost as low as $1 – while some could go as high as $2,098.
- Renewals, on the other hand, can cost you about $8.88 to as much as $2,198.
- True to its name, Namecheap domains are shockingly affordable.
- Free domain name and migration. If you have a website under another registrar, Namecheap will be more than happy to migrate it for you for $0.
- Security features such as SSL Certificate, IP blocker tool, Leech Protect, and Hotlink Protection.
- Sub-par uptime. Compared to other domain registrars, Namecheap’s uptime is only 99.87%.
- Limited money-back guarantee. Namecheap only offers a 14-day money-back guarantee, in contrast to other DNS registrars that offer it at 30 days.
Hover focuses on helping its clients search for the best domain name for their businesses. It also provides them with the tools necessary for managing domains and e-mails, among many other aspects.
The Hover domain registrar comes with the following features:
- Pro-Level Tools
Even if you are a neophyte in the world of domains, you can accomplish stuff like a pro with the help of Hover’s domain management and e-mail tools.
- Privacy and Security
Every domain name you purchase comes with WHOIS privacy. Hover also comes with two-factor authentication to keep your domains safe and secure.
- Hover Connect
It’s as easy as choosing the service you want for your website. With Hover connect, you can do so in just a few mouse clicks.
At Hover, you can transfer your domains for a small fee. Since it comes with a hassle-free renewal service, you can automatically renew your domain registration on time.
- Hover domains cost as cheap as $4.99 to as much as $32.99.
- Renewal fees, on the other hand, range from $14.99 to $39.99.
- User-friendly interface. It is simple, stunning, and very easy to use.
- Offers as much as 460 top-level domains.
- Live support available on weekdays – and weekends as well.
- No complimentary products offered (web hosting or builders).
- Pricier services compared to other domain registrars.
Shopify is not just about e-commerce, as it provides domain registration services for as low as $11. First, you need to get started with a domain search. It comes with a simple set up that allows you to search from 50 customized extensions.
If you still don’t have an idea of what domain to use, you can refer to Shopify’s domain name generator. Just enter the word or phrase that you want to include in your domain name and voila – you get results in just one click.
Getting a domain from Shopify is also very easy as setup and configuration are fully automated. All you just need to do is buy and manage your domain name. Once you have this in the bag, you can move to manage sub-domains. You can even forward e-mail, remove or renew domain names as you deem fit.
Shopify provides domain registration services for as low as $11.
- Free 14-day trial. You can take your Shopify domain for a spin to see if you like the registrar’s services or not.
- Best for domain newbies. You need not be an expert to get your domain up and going. Shopify domains offer a fully automated setup procedure.
Does not offer local domain endings such as .de or .es.
If you are looking for a domain name that costs around $8.99, then Name.com is the perfect service provider for you. It offers a search bar where you can look up new, premium, even expiring domains.
Once you find (and purchase) the domain that you want, you can enjoy the following services for free:
- DNS management
- Two-step security verification
- URL and e-mail forwarding
- Social media forwarding
Transferring your domains to Name.com is also very easy. It also comes with many free perks, such as domain renewal, SSL certificate, and WHOIS privacy.
- Name.com registration fees range from $4.99 to as much as $1,999.
- Renewal fees will cost you about $5.99 to as much as $2,999.
- A wide array of top-level domains at 521.
- Offers complimentary services such as website building and hosting.
- It comes with a bulk search functionality so you can look up multiple domains with just one click.
- Overwhelming search process, especially for newbies. You get to be bombarded with numerous domain options right off the bat.
- High renewal prices.
12. IONOS by 1&1
IONOS is a DNS registrar that offers domains that are ‘as original as your ideas’.
Availing of its services entitles you to the following features:
- Easy set-up process that allows you to connect your domain, host, and social media in just one click
- 10,000 subdomains
- Robust security courtesy of the SSL Wildcard Certificate
- Domain lock that guarantees your domain would not be transferred without authorization
- Professional e-mail address with 2GB of mailbox space
- Customer service and support available 24/7
In the offshoot event that you want to transfer your domain to IONOS, you could do so in three easy steps. After requesting the code, entering your domain, and confirming the transfer, you can enjoy IONOS services right away. With that being said, this domain transfer service is available for free.
- IONOS offers domain registrations for as low as $1 a year.
- Renewal prices cost around $15 to $600 a year.
- Cheap domain registration and hosting services.
- 9% uptime.
- Each client is provided with a dedicated customer service representative.
- The Control panel is unintuitive and not that user-friendly.
- Comes with some hidden fees.
Frequently Asked Questions
Unfortunately, you can’t own a domain site. Domain registries own these domains, and the registrars can only lease it to you. Technically speaking, you have the right to use the domain for a decade. If you want to keep using it, then you need to renew your reservation. You can do so indefinitely so that you could use the domain name for the decades to come.
There are many domain names available, with the most popular being .com and .net.
Because of their popularity, they are usually more expensive than these other domains:
Country specific: .ca, .de, .es, .in
Yes, if you opt for a private registration. As long as your registrar can guarantee the security of your data, you can be assured of user privacy.
In this case, you don’t need to fill up the WHOIS domain information, which will require your name, e-mail, residential address, and contact number. The registrar can do this on your behalf as a proxy. It will only give a registrant-affiliated e-mail address and nothing more.
Because of the private nature of this registration, this service will cost you more. However, there are domain registrars that offer this for free.
No. When you register a domain, it means it has been added to your account. However, it’s not ready to be published online yet. For this, you are going to need a hosting service. Once you have linked your domain with this, you need to wait for 72 hours before your website goes online.
Yes. If you are no longer happy with the services of your DNS registrar, you can switch to another company. However, you need to wait for 60 days. This policy, which was instituted by ICANN, was made to reduce domain hijacking.
Once the 2-month period is over, you can transfer your domain name to a new registrar. What you need to do is unlock your name with your old registrar. By doing so, you disable the privacy protection governed by WHOIS. At the same time, it gives you the domain authority that you need from your previous registrar.
Domain name registrars are ‘middlemen’ that allow buyers (registrants) to lease their domain name of choice.
Should you decide to purchase one from a DNS registrar, you should consider the following when picking a service provider: price, reputation, domain transfers, and add-on services.
With the many domain registrars available in the market, you should carefully weigh their pros and cons. This will help you select the best service provider – at a price you can afford.