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Do you want to skip the read and get right to my top picks? The best domain registrar for most people is Bluehost (get a free domain with hosting) or Domain.com.
The best domain registrars are affordable, easy to use, and secure.
But with thousands of options to choose from, analysis paralysis takes over. From privacy and security to configuration and DNS management, it’s understandable to feel confused or unsure.
However, there’s good news. I’ve used countless domain registrars over the course of my online career and I’ve narrowed things down to my top five recommendations.
As long as you choose one of these registrars, you’ll be in good hands.
In this article, I cover how to choose the best domain registrar, the different places to get a domain, and the only companies I highly recommend to anyone interested in creating a new website for their business.
Deciding on a domain registrar can feel impossible, especially with so many options to choose from.
Knowing what to look for helps narrow things down.
I’ve been using websites for my businesses for years. Finding an good domain registrar is a task I’m very familiar with.
I don’t always pick the same one, because certain domain registrars are better to use in different situations.
Let’s walk through the criteria I use when considering what makes a good domain registrar and why.
Registration Period and Renewal Rates
Most domain registrars offer promotional pricing for your initial contract term. Some limit your initial contract term to one or two years, while others may give you five to ten years.
So if you’re looking to save money, your best bet is opting for the longest registration period available. This is also a great way to ensure no one else can buy it, since you don’t have to remember to renew it every year.
Domain.com offers a five-year registration period, so I highly recommend it. However, Namecheap offers ten years, so it’s also a great option.
Number of Domains
It’s common for large and small companies alike to buy multiple domain names, including:
Common misspellings of their original name
Various domain extensions
And similar domain names
Why? To make sure no one else can buy a similar name or intentional misspelling to steal their traffic. It also ensures your website is easy to find, even if someone doesn’t know how to spell it or what extension you’re using.
And while it’s a good idea, it’s not necessary, especially if you’re just starting out.
If you’re interested in buying 50+ domains, NameSilo is your best option. However, if you need less than that (or just one), Domain.com is my #1 recommendation.
Furthermore, if you need web hosting as well, Bluehost offers one domain name free for the first year. So, this is an excellent option if you need a single domain name and web hosting for a new website.
Domain names may feel like a “set it and forget it” type of thing. But in reality, they aren’t. They require ongoing management including renewals, security, and accessibility.
Different domain registrars may handle domain management differently, so it’s crucial to understand how things work with the company you choose.
For example, most registrars offer auto renew services, meaning you don’t have to manually renew your domain registration every year.
This is essential for keeping your website accessible, even during your renewal period.
Alternatively, you may need to terminate your domain. So, you need to understand the guidelines for doing so with the domain registrar you choose.
Furthermore, you may have to manually connect your domain or verify different services using DNS management (it’s a lot easier than it sounds). So make sure the domain registrar you choose gives you unlimited access to your DNS records.
Domain name registration involves providing your personal details to the domain registrar. However, doing so means your information is now part of the public record.
This is a privacy service that masks private information, like your email, address, phone number, and more. So, it’s not accessible to scammers, hackers, or anyone looking for your information online.
Some registrars charge for this service, while others offer it for free.
But I highly recommend you use it, unless you’re registering your domain with your company’s address, phone number, etc. This information is already public so it won’t hurt to have it attached to your domain.
Note: Domain.com charges $8.99/year and Bluehost charges $11.88/year for this. But Namecheap, NameSilo, and Google Domains offer privacy for free.
If you want to change domain registrars in the future, you have to do a domain transfer. Some registrars make this free and easy, while others charge for it.
So, make sure you read through your registrar’s transfer policy before making any final decisions. It’s important to choose a company you can count on, even when you’re transferring to a different service.
Otherwise, the transfer can cause unwanted downtime or accessibility issues for your website.
Domain Name Extensions
The most common domain extension is .com, though there are others including .org, .net, .io, .tech, and more. Plus, there are also country specific extensions, too.
If you want a .com, you’re safe choosing any of the registrars on this list.
However, if you’re looking for a different extension, you need to search around to find a registrar that offers what you want.
The Different Types of Domain Registrars
There are several different places you can buy a domain name. However, I highly recommend going through a domain registrar or with your web hosting provider.
Domain registrars handle the tech side of assigning IP addresses to domain names and reserving domain names as well.
With that said, you’re in charge of managing and maintaining your domain name after you purchase it from the domain registrar.
Bundled with Web Hosting
If you need web hosting, you can get a free domain name from Bluehost for the first year.
Domain resellers are exactly what they sound like. They resell domain names in partnership with domain registrars, but resellers typically charge extra so they can make money, too. Furthermore, they usually don’t have dedicated support.
This is why I don’t recommend buying through a reseller.
All of the recommendations on this list are domain registrars or web hosting companies.
#1 – Bluehost — Best for Bundling with Web Hosting
Bluehost is my #1 web hosting recommendation. And you also get a free domain name for the first year when you bundle the two together.
So, if you’re starting a brand new website, Bluehost is an excellent choice.
However, if you want to buy more than one domain name, I highly recommend using a domain registrar, like NameSilo, instead. Bluehost domains are more expensive than other options on this list so it only makes sense if you need one domain with web hosting, as well.
All domain registrations come with standard features, including:
Intuitive domain management dashboard
Free SSL certificate
Complete DNS control
24/7 expert support
Self-service knowledge base
After the first year, your .com domain name renews at $12.99 per year. And you have to pay an additional $11.99 per year ($0.99 per month) to mask your private information.
Bluehost also offers a Microsoft 365 upsell, but you can skip this and purchase it separately if you end up needing it later on.
#2 – Domain.com — Best for Long-term Registrations
Domain.com powers more than 1.2 million websites around the world. With a beginner-friendly interface, and the ability to buy as many domain names as you want, it’s my #1 recommendation.
It’s also great for long-term registrations because you can register your domain for up to five years at a time.
This means you don’t have to worry about renewing it every year and you can pay for everything in advance (no annual payments).
Every domain comes with:
Transfer Lock Security – TLS
A free SSL certificate
Email and URL forwarding
Complete DNS control
24/7/365 customer support
An extensive knowledge base
Furthermore, Domain.com is extremely affordable. You can expect to pay $9.99 per year for .com domains for your initial contract period. And they renew at $13.99 per year after that.
If you’re used to the Google interface, Google Domains is comfortable and familiar.
Plus, they also make it a breeze to integrate your domain with other Google tools, like G Suite, Google Analytics, and Google Search Console.
Furthermore, Google Domains is a smart choice if you only need 1 – 10 domain names and appreciate the simplicity of the Google platform. However, if you need more than that, there are cheaper alternatives for buying domain names in bulk (like NameSilo).
With absolutely no upsells, it’s hard to beat the streamlined checkout process.
And every domain name includes:
Free privacy protection (unlike Domain.com and Bluehost)
Email forwarding services
Easy access to add-on services
24/7 customer support
At $12.99 per year, Google Domains is affordable and inline with the other domain registrars on this list. However, you get privacy protection for free as an added value.
Shortlist Google Domains if you are already using their other tools like G Suite and Google Workspace. The price is similar to others, but the integration with other Google products is unbeatable.
At the end of the day, the registrar you choose doesn’t really matter (as long as you go with one of these recommendations). What’s important iis getting the domain name and extension you want at a reasonable price with the protection and security you need.
With that said, Domain.com is great for most users and Bluehost offers a free domain for the first year if you need web hosting services as well.
However, both charge extra for privacy protection.
On the other hand, NameSilo, Google Domains, and Namecheap offer this protection for free.
NameSilo is excellent if you need hundreds of domains. Google Domains makes sense if you’re comfortable with the Google interface (and sharing more info with Google). And Namecheap is the most affordable registrar for .com domains.
So, regardless of what you need, your new domain name is just a few clicks away.
Which domain registrars have you tried in the past? And how was your experience?