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Want to skip the read and get right to my top pick? The best domain registrar for most people is Bluehost (get a free domain with their web hosting).
I’ve had to secure dozens of different domains over the years.
That means I’ve spent endless hours searching and browsing through domain registrars to find the URL that fit my new projects and blogs.
I had horrendous experiences with some domain registrars that made me swear I’d never use the again (and I haven’t).
But not all of them are bad. In fact, other domain registrars have done just what I needed them to: they allowed me to snag a domain I liked at a good price, with very little work and time.
And those are the registrars that I’m sharing with you below. One of them will surely be the right fit for your domain needs.
Read on to get started on your own project so you can lock in a great deal on your domain as soon as possible.
#1 – Bluehost Review— The Best for Getting a Free Domain for Your New Website
Choosing a domain registrar is the most important part of creating a new website. Get it right and go with Bluehost. Here’s why.
For starters, every hosting plan gives you a free domain for your first year. So right off the bat, you’re saving money.
Bluehost’s Basic shared plan is a solid start for any new website with modest needs. Starting at just $2.95 per month, it’s not going to break the bank—and you’re still getting a free domain.
It’s rare to find quality web hosting at such an affordable price. But best of all, it’s super convenient for new websites. Bundling domain registration with web hosting from a single provider really simplifies things and makes it much easier to launch without having to juggle multiple platforms.
Even if you’ve never done this before, taking this path with Bluehost is as easy as it gets. Just select your web hosting plan, and Bluehost will guide you through each step. You can choose your free domain immediately or skip this for now and claim it later.
Just search for your desired name to see if it’s available. Once you’ve found a suitable option, select it, and Bluehost will handle the registration for free.
In addition to simplifying the way you register a free domain and secure web hosting, Bluehost also provides everything else you need to launch your new site with success.
- Free SSL certificates
- Automatic WordPress installation
- Automatic malware scans
- 24/7 hosting support
- Free CDN
- Custom WordPress themes
If you opt for the Choice Plus hosting plan for just $5.45 per month, you’ll get phone support in addition to live chat support and quadruple the SSD storage compared to the Basic plan.
Choice Plus also comes with free domain privacy and protection for one year, which Bluehost normally charges $15 annually for. This is definitely something you’ll want to get, as it keeps your personal information out of publicly searchable databases.
Speaking of cost, Bluehost offers different promotional rates based on the terms of your contract. It’s a lower cost per month if you sign and pay for 12 months in full. But it’s actually cheaper over time if you lock in 36 months.
For example, the Basic plan starts at $2.95 per month with a 12-month contract. But it renews at $11.99 per month when the promotional rate expires.
The same plan starts at $4.95 per month with a 36-month contract, which ends up saving you $178.20 over three years since you’re delaying the renewal.
If you’re planning to stick with Bluehost for the long haul (which I recommend), just go with the 36 months and lock in those savings.
#2 – Domain.com Review — The Best Total Package of Domain Services
Domain.com has been around for a long time, holding on to perhaps the most coveted web address for domain registrars. Over the years, they have grown considerably by offering the best array of domains, extensions, and adjacent services.
Let’s start with the fundamentals.
Domain.com has you covered on both the most recognizable domain extensions as well as new and emergent top-level domains (TLDs). Prices and renewal rates for either are easy to find and, generally, quite affordable.
Seriously, a .com from Domain.com can be registered for $9.99 per year for your initial commitment. Lock it up for up to five years at checkout and rest assured you’re getting predictable renewal price of $15.99 after that term.
Better still, you can use my exclusive offer code for 25% off any purchase (except premium domains) on Domain.com. Just enter NEILPATEL in the discount code box at checkout.
Now, granted, unclaimed .com domains are scarce. If your keywords aren’t available for that $9.99 .com rate, you have two options through Domain.com
First, you could opt to pony up for a premium domain. You can search for one the same way as any other TLD on Domain.com. Or, if this sticker shock is real, you can reach out to Domain.com’s team and they can help you find the right digital real estate at the right price.
Second, you could investigate less common extensions for your same keywords. Browse or search among hundreds of extensions, from .tech and .design to .help, .win, .dev, and tons more.
So, if you get a bit creative with extensions, you can still deploy all your keywords as domains–and maybe save a good bit of money, too.
Getting a domain with a .win extension, for example, only runs you $2.99 per year for your initial commitment, then renews at a paltry $4.99 per year after that.
But, it’s crucial to focus on renewal pricing for any domain extension.
Take a .tech domain. It costs you only $4.99 per year for one to five years, but then renews at $44.99 per year. Quite the rate hike, but that’s also Domain.com’s fault. You’ll see the same or close to it from other domain registrars.
If anything, it’s a sign of quality that Domain.com lists initial and renewal pricing so transparently on their site.
One other thing I don’t love about Domain.com is that it lacks a good bulk keyword search for domains. This just means you’re going to spend a bit more time hunting for options than some other registrars that can search for 50 or 100 keywords at a time.
Already have a domain with someone else but want better pricing?
If you are not happy with your current domain registrar, Domain.com will help you transfer quickly. And you’ll only have to pay a renewal price that’s usually equivalent to the low rates for an initial purchase of the same extension.
So, if you transfer a .com to Domain.com, you’ll only pay $9.99.
You also can get step-by-step support from the company’s 24/7 customer service teams during the transfer, so the end result is a smooth domain transfer with zero downtime.
Domain.com includes a lot of features that are great for people who need to transfer domains. You get DNS management tools, email forwarding, URL forwarding, and transfer lock to prevent someone else from hijacking your domain.
I’ve set Domain.com up as the best option for getting a wider suite of domain and domain-adjacent services. Beyond all the ease of locking down a good domain and the help you can get from Domain.com’s pros, there’s even more to love.
First, you can purchase a robust security add-on along with your domain. Not only does it deliver standard WHOIS privacy protection, but you also get malware scanning and blacklist monitoring.
This will keep your site (and visitors) safer and ensure that your web address hasn’t been flagged as spam or worse.
You’ll also get immediate alerts if your domains’ statuses change at all.
You also can get a competitive website builder from Domain.com for cheap.
This tool is both easy to use and functional, with one big benefit right off the bat.
The Domain.com builder will ask you a couple quick questions and then intelligently set layout and image and content formatting for you, giving you a template to start from in a snap.
It comes with a vast library of over 500,000 stock and licensed images to use on your site, too. So you can go from nothing to a full-fledged homepage in less than a lunch break.
Domain.com’s site builder comes in three options.
The entry-level plan for individuals is just $1.99 per month. That allows you to build up to six pages and build your site in minutes.
The next step up, Business, is $6.99 per month. You’re allowed unlimited pages and get site analytics, revision history, and phone support.
There’s only one plan that allows you to sell products. The eCommerce package from Domain.com runs $12.99 per month. Add products to sell, a shopping cart, and checkout pages. Plus, PayPal integrates with it for easy payment processing and you get inventory management and discount codes, as well.
Get in touch with Domain.com today and take advantage of all the tools and resources they have to offer. And don’t forget to use my discount code–NEILPATEL–at checkout for 25% off.
#3 – Namecheap — The Best Domain Names for $1 or Less
Looking for the absolute lowest cost to register your domain? Namecheap is the way to snag your site’s real estate for dirt cheap.
The company offers some of the best prices on popular domain extensions. You’ll find .com domain names for less than $10 per year.
If you are looking for a newer domain extension, the price drops even lower. That’s where the real savings happen.
You can find plenty of domains that start at just 99 cents for the first year and boatloads more that are no more than $6 per year.
If you’re willing to think outside the box, you can get a memorable, short domain for next to nothing. With all the new TLDs available, you may actually find a URL that works better than a .com.
I like the example Namecheap gives: instead of helpme.com, you could just go with help.me. It’s shorter, easy to remember, and still preserves the keywords you want to use in the domain.
In fact, there’s a lot about going with Namecheap as your domain registrar that will save you money in the long term.
WHOIS privacy is free forever with your domain. That saves around $15 per year compared to registrars who charge for it.
You also get email forwarding, which lets you set up professional email addresses with your domain name. Receive all your messages in your current inbox or set up another free Gmail to handle it. Your call, it won’t cost anything either way.
Namecheap also includes free DNS management and security tools. From time to time you will need these to update records and keep your site secure. When you do, the tools are right there, for free. Some providers won’t offer this or will make you pay extra.
And if you are unsure about DNS records or how to get your site set up, you can reach out to Namecheap 24/7.
One might think that rock-bottom prices would mean shoddy customer service, but the reverse is true. Most users report that Namecheap is extremely reliable. The relatively few people who report issues speak highly of the customer service reps they talked to.
Another reason I like Namecheap is the huge selection of TLDs and the excellent search tool to help you find the right one.
The search tool has a Beast Mode that lets you search up to 5,000 keywords at once. Plus, Namecheap includes
- Free privacy protection
- Domain name security
- 24/7 live chat support
- Extensive knowledge base
- Full DNS access
- Free PositiveSSL certificate for one year
As I’ve been saying, the prices are about as good as you are likely to find anywhere, especially if you can catch a deal on a domain you want (even with the top domain extensions like .com and .net).
Sure, you can get deals on domains through other registrars, but I recommend Namecheap because renewal pricing stays low.
It’s not like you get a cheap domain and pay down the road once you’ve invested your energy into building your site and brand. A one-year renewal of a .com is $12.98, which is lower than the promotional pricing you’ll find with other vendors
Even if you go for one of the $0.99 TLDs, the renewal price is still good for most of your options. Yes, there are some pricey renewals for certain domains, but plenty of them are $9 or less to renew.
If you are paying way too much for your domain right now, consider transferring to Namecheap. When you switch, Namecheap will carry over unused time from your previous registrar if possible. It’s a nice bonus on top of all the other great savings.
Register for one year, two years, or up to 10 years. It’s just a good deal.
For a limited time, you can even get a .com for under $1 per year. That’s right, you don’t even have to compromise—find a .com through Namecheap today, register it for two years, and get it for just $1.96 at checkout.
#4 – Porkbun Review — The Best Renewal Pricing on the Market
What good is a cherry domain name if you can’t keep it? We’ve all heard the horror stories of losing prime URL real estate on expiration. You spend the time brainstorming ideas, find an available domain, and buy it only to have all your hard work (and domain authority) wiped away after a year.
There are two options for avoiding this—buy a domain for as long as possible upfront or find a registrar with affordable, predictable renewal pricing.
For the latter, I recommend Porkbun.
They offer a killer combination of some of the best first-year price deals on new, trending, and alternative extensions as well as the best renewal rates nearly across the board. They beat the market on renewal pricing for over 200 domain extensions.
Look, it’s going to be ridiculously hard to find an available .com for your keywords at this point in the game. Unless you’ve gone the startup route of naming your company a cheeky misspelling of a real word, .com URLs are rare to find. Even if you do, you’re going to have to pay out the nose for it.
But you don’t need a .com or even a .net to have a memorable, easy-to-type web address. Think about the array of extensions that roll off the tongue and make sense for the purpose of your site, the industry you inhabit, or the type of people you want to visit.
Here are a few examples and the excellent rates you can find on Porkbun for them:
- .shop: $2.04 for the first year, $26.85 renewal
- .store: $2.55 for the first year, $41.69 renewal
- .tech: $2.55 for the first year, $36.54 renewal
- .help: $7.77 for the first year, $21.09 renewal
- .reviews: $8.22 for the first year, $16.97 renewal
That’s just a sampling. And guess what? Each of those promotional first-year prices and renewal rates are the best available for the extension, sometimes by a good few dollars.
Heck, take a look at their renewal pricing on .com extensions against some of the big names:
You can expect similar renewal savings on any extension you buy from Porkbun.
Plus, their great pricing doesn’t limit them from offering extras and options you’d expect from a good domain registrar. Every domain purchase comes with free WHOIS privacy, URL forwarding, and an SSL certificate.
You can even eschew the rock-bottom first-year pricing in favor of locking down a URL for up to a decade. Even then, you’re still getting some of the best rates in the biz. For example, a .shop extension can be secured for ten years for just $228.93. That’s even better than their renewal pricing rate, which itself beats many of Porkbun’s competitors.
So, if you’re not afraid of going with a non-.com extension, Porkbun offers you an unbeatable combination of domain options to choose from, fantastic initial pricing, and some of the best renewal rates you’ll find.
Find your site’s best home on the web through Porkbun today.
#5 – Network Solutions Review — The Best for Long-Term Domain Registration
Network Solutions offers the full range of services a company needs to establish and maintain a professional presence online. That doesn’t separate the company from other domain registrars like Namecheap and Domain.com, but I’ll tell you what does.
You can register your domain for a century with Network Solutions. I’m not kidding. If you want, the company will let you sign up for 100 years.
Let your great-grandkids worry about the renewal.
I understand that option is not for everyone, but Network Solutions also offers 20-year registrations. This is twice as long as you can get with other vendors.
Every day, hundreds if not thousands of domains fail to get renewed. For companies with a brand or identity tied to their domain, this is a nightmare. Best case scenario, they are able to buy their domain out of redemption, which can be like $200 or more.
But if their registration is expired for long enough, they might lose their domain altogether. This is bad news, especially if they have sunk a ton of time and energy into building their site and online presence.
So if you are looking for a long-term domain registration to avoid these type of headaches and hassles altogether, Network Solutions offers you peace of mind like no one else.
One potential downside to Network Solutions is that there is not much more than your domain included. Whereas other vendors throw in domain forwarding, SSL certificates, and such, Network Solutions does not.
Every feature and capability you could ever want is available, you just have to purchase them a la carte.
But these sorts of features are less important if you are focused on locking down a domain for as long as possible. And this is where Network Solutions really shines.
It’s $15 per year for the 20-year registration of a .com domain. Sure, that price is maybe a little higher than some of the introductory prices you will find elsewhere. But it’s extremely affordable compared to other renewal prices, which may jump as high as $20, depending on the domain.
With a 100-year registration, the savings are even greater. Lock in the best price of $9.99/year for a century. You get entry level pricing basically forever.
For those looking for long-term domain registration, there are plenty of good options, but nothing compared to Network Solutions. Get started with them today and use coupon code NEILPATEL to get 25% off.
#6 – NameSilo Review — The Best for Buying Domains by the Dozen
NameSilo is my top pick for people who need a lot of domains at once.
Along with Namecheap, NameSilo has some of the best prices on domain names out there. This is obviously important if you are buying domains in bulk.
If you order more than 50 domains, NameSilo will cut the price. If you order more than 100, the price drops even further. Need 500? 1,000? 2,500? The price keeps going lower at every tier.
The bulk pricing discounts through NameSilo can give the edge to resellers or provide a huge discount to buyers who need a whole bunch of domains to secure their online presence.
Since WHOIS privacy is free forever with every purchase, you’re also saving $10-15 per year per site compared to a domain registrar who charges for it. With dozens or hundreds of sites, this adds up quickly.
NameSilo has a massive selection of TLDs. You’re never going to run out of options.
The incredibly rich search tools make it easy to find similar domains with different TLDs. Or you can search based on batches of keywords (up to 5,000), which can yield results of available domains you might not have thought about otherwise.
The bulk domain search is useful, too. You can simply check off the domains you want, filtering your search by TLD or extension category.
Another nice perk is that you can earn money off parked domains. This is not always the case, but with NameSilo, you get to keep all the ad revenue.
If you have a lot of domains, this is a big deal. With other providers, you might only get a cut of what your parked domain earns. Or, you might get nothing. NameSilo doesn’t get in your way.
Every domain you register through NameSilo comes with:
- Free privacy protection for life
- DNS management tools
- Email and domain forwarding
- Domain defender protection
- Domain lock
- Domain portfolio management
- 24/7 customer support
These features are really important at scale. With email forwarding and portfolio management, it’s a lot easier to keep track of all your domains.
Let’s talk about those low prices on domains:
As you can see, the price starts low, stays low (the red with strikethrough is renewal), and gets cheaper the more you get. I couldn’t fit the entire chart in a nice screenshot, but the bulk pricing for .com drops all the way to $7.29 for 5,000+ domains.
At such volume, that’s a serious discount.
One of the few things you don’t get with NameSilo are SSL certificates. Those cost extra, and the price is fairly high. I wouldn’t worry about that too much as it’s fairly easy to get a free SSL certificate.
A final benefit I have to mention is that NameSilo will add a year onto your coverage if you transfer your domain. Instead of losing out on the time you already paid for with your old registrar (which is usually the case), you get to keep it.
It’s just another way that NameSilo helps you save money.
Choose NameSilo for the massive selection of TLD’s, the fantastic search tools, great prices, and discounts for bulk purchases.
Get the best deal on the most domains with NameSilo today.
#7 – Google Domains Review — The Best Free Security and Privacy Features
Google Domains is as powerful and easy to use as you would expect from one of the world’s most recognizable companies.
The prices for domains are very competitive, starting at $9/year, but it’s everything that comes with that low price that sets Google apart.
You get privacy protection for free, for all your domains, forever. Instead of putting contact information for your or your company on the WHOIS database (where it will no doubt be spammed relentlessly), Google Domains will let you keep that information masked.
You also get a comprehensive selection of tools for DNS management, and you can enable DNSSEC (Domain Name System Security Extensions) with a single click. DNSSEC protects your domain from spoofing, cache poison attacks, and other common threats.
Google 2-Step Verification is also included with every purchase, which adds an additional layer of protection to your accounts. Even if an attacker got a hold of your password, they’d still be locked out of your account unless they got a hold of your mobile device or security key.
None of these features would be worth much if they were too hard to enable or maintain. Google Domains makes it as simple as possible.
If you have experience with Chrome, Gmail, or any Google product you’re going to be fine.
The interface and navigation scheme will be very familiar. It’s really easy to find your way around, even if domain management is not your forte.
Even if you don’t use Google products on the regular, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the minimal learning curve. Plus, the online knowledge base is extensive and organized really well.
Google Domains has a good selection of TLDs, more than 300 in fact. Virtually any popular TLD is available and quite a few of the newer ones as well.
Unsurprisingly, Google makes it really easy to search for the domain you want. What can I say—Google knows search. You can quickly discover which popular TLDs are available for your desired keywords, as well as a host of less common TLDs.
Including the privacy and security features I’ve listed, Google Domains includes:
- Free privacy protection (unlike Domain.com)
- Native integration with Google services
- Domain management sharing
- Cloud DNS
- DNS exporting
- 24/7 customer support
- Email forwarding
You can get a business email from Google if you want, but you don’t have to because of email forwarding. So, if you don’t need the collaborative tools included with G Suite or Workspace, just use a personal Gmail account with email forwarding.
Google Domains will give you up to 100 aliases for free, so you can receive email at plenty of different professional looking email addresses.
As I said, you can definitely find good deals through Google Domains:
These are great prices, plus you can register for up to 10 years through Google. There are no hidden charges and all of the great features I just listed come standard with your registration fee.
There are no bulk pricing options, so it’s not for people who want to purchase a lot of domains. But for the small business owner who wants to keep their information private, this is a really cost-effective solution.
You get well-built tools that don’t take a ton of technical skill to use. Connect your site with confidence to other Google and third-party services, like your email, online store, or business databases.
Improve security, take advantage of Google’s best-in-class IT infrastructure, and save money doing it. Start using Google Domains today.
What I Looked at to Find the Best Domain Registrar
I have tons of experience buying domains, and I typically use different domain registrars. That’s because certain domain registrars are better to use in different situations.
In short, there are basically three ways to get a domain name:
- Using a domain registrar
- Getting a domain name bundled with web hosting
- Buying a domain name through a reseller
Domain registrars assign IP addresses to domains, reserve domains, and handle everything else on the technical side of domain registration.
Domain.com and Namecheap are two of the most popular registrars on the market. They both make it super easy to find and buy domains.
But to get your site live on the web, you need to have web hosting in addition to a domain name.
Some of the best web hosting providers, like Bluehost, bundle domain names with hosting plans.
If you’re happy with your web host, I recommend using a domain registrar. But if you don’t have hosting or you’re unhappy with your current hosting provider, go with Bluehost.
I do not recommend buying a domain name from a reseller.
As the name implies, they resell domain names in partnership with domain registrars. Most resellers don’t offer dedicated support, and they charge extra so they can turn a profit.
With the exception of Bluehost, every recommendation on my list is a domain registrar. So how do you decide which option is right for you?
You can use the same criteria that I do as you’re comparing different options.
Note: You won’t be able to transfer a domain for 60 days after the purchase. That’s why it’s so important to find the right one now.
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 10 years.
So if you’re looking to save money, your best bet is opting for the longest registration period available. Max out the discount for as long as possible.
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.
Of the domain registrars that I’ve reviewed in this post, Namecheap, NameSilo, and Google Domains will each allow you to purchase a domain for the full 10-year term at checkout. Domain.com maxes out at five years. There aren’t any tricky rebate policies with any of them, though, which is why I like these registrars the best.
With Bluehost, you get a free domain for the first year when you sign up for hosting and the renewal rate is usually only a few dollars more.
For Bluehost and the domain registrars, both the promotional and renewal prices will vary according to the top level domain (TLD) you choose.
The price can vary a lot depending on the TLD (.com, .org, .net, etc.). Another name for TLD is domain extension, so you might see that term, too. They are the same thing.
Let’s talk a little bit more about these TLDs and how to choose a registrar that will make your hunt for the perfect domain as easy (and as affordable) as possible.
Domain Extensions and Search Tools
I really like it when a domain registrar makes it easy for you to take advantage of all the different domain extensions available. Basically, you are looking at two things:
- How many different TLDs do they offer?
- How easy is it to search for domain names?
Every domain registrar on my list offers the familiar TLDs like .com, but some offer a larger selection of alternative TLDs. There are hundreds of new TLDs, like .online, .blog, and even .ninja.
This is great for people starting new sites because, as you can imagine, most of the desirable domain names are already taken for the .com extension.
A great place to check for a bargain deal on one of the newer TLDs is Namecheap. They run promotional pricing for domains as low as $0.99/year:
That’s a steal right there.
With new TLDs, you want to pick something that’s going to age well and makes sense with your business. Just keep searching until you find one that works.
Be aware that not all domain registrars offer the same selection of TLDs. As a random example, NameSilo offers both .theater and .theatre, whereas Google doesn’t have the British spelling.
If the name you want isn’t available, registrars will offer suggestions for slightly different names or alternative TLDs that are available. This can help you find something much quicker than having to search each name individually.
Namecheap and NameSilo let you search up to 5,000 keywords at once. This is incredibly helpful when you are trying to brainstorm an effective domain name.
Here are some strategies you can use if your domain name is unavailable. If you are having trouble, I recommend Namecheap and NameSilo, as they offer the best search tools and largest variety of TLDs.
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.
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.
All of the domain registrars I’ve picked have guided transfer processes designed to make the transition as smooth as possible.
Namecheap, for example, has a process that you can follow that results in zero downtime. On top of that, you get to carry over any remaining time from your previous registration to Namecheap.
That’s not typical. Usually you just lose whatever time you had remaining from your old registrar.
NameSilo is another good option for domain transfers, as they will add a full year to your expiration date when you transfer.
When you register your domain, you’re mandated to provide your personal details, such as email ID, address, and phone number. This makes your info a part of public record—but not if you have WHOIS privacy, a privacy service that masks private information from the public record, making it inaccessible to the general public.
Some domain registrars charge for this service (Bluehost charges $15/year for domain privacy and protection); others like Google Domains, NameSilo, and Namecheap offer it for free.
Regardless of your choice, ensure you’re also always using WHOIS privacy. If you’re registering your domain with your company’s details, you can skip it as that information is already public.
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
- Semantically 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 a multiple domain strategy is great for growing your business, it’s rarely necessary if you’re just starting out.
If you’re interested in buying 50+ domains, NameSilo is your best option. You get competitive pricing on domains and free WHOIS privacy forever (which saves money on every site).
You can also wield NameSilo’s powerful bulk domain search, which lets you find and buy as many domains as you need:
Another nice aspect of NameSilo is that you earn 100% of the profits from parked domains. These are sites you own that are directed to your main site and, usually, they have advertising that brings in a little revenue.
Normally, hosts or registrars take some of the advertising earnings from parked domains. NameSilo doesn’t.
Namecheap also offers a bulk domain search and good prices, so it might be another good option for people who need a lot of domain names.
If you just need one site, 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 require ongoing management including renewals, security, and accessibility.
The good news is that there is not a ton of work that goes into domain management, especially if you only have one site. If you have a bunch of domains under your control, the management features become a lot more important.
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. It’s important to get the auto renewal set up properly, because if your domain expires, it might cost you a lot to get it back.
With Domain.com, your website will be replaced by a parked domain and the email will stop working if you do not renew on time. From there, you’ll have 30 days to renew your domain for the normal price.
If you don’t renew during that time, someone else can snatch up your domain. And even if no one purchases it, you will still have to purchase the domain out of redemption, which costs around $100 on Domain.com.
I know that sounds bad, but it’s about half as much as buying your name out of redemption on Namecheap.
So you want to stay on top of domain management. In addition to autorenewals, some of the key management features to look out for include:
- Email: Having email accounts @yourdomainname.com looks professional and serves as the place where you receive information about your domain. Some registrars a few free email accounts, whereas others only provide email forwarding.
- Two-Factor Authentication (2FA): This is an extra layer of protection that makes sure someone can’t hack your account with a stolen username/password. The second factor of authentication could be a text message sent to a trusted device that only you own.
- Domain lock: Sometimes called “Transfer lock,” this feature prevents anyone from transferring your domain.
- DNS management tools: Domain name system (DNS) records are stored in databases called nameservers and tell web browsers where to find websites. You may have to update DNS records from time to time. It’s not difficult, so long as your domain registrar provides easy DNS tools.
Namecheap provides a free email account for the first two months and a DNS management tool that’s free forever. You can use Namecheap’s free DNS even if you use a different domain registrar.
Domain.com, NameSilo, and Google Domains offer free email forwarding, so you can keep using your current accounts to manage your new domain. All three of these registrars also offer free DNS management tools.
At the end of the day, the registrar you choose doesn’t really matter, so long as you go with one of my recommendations:
- Bluehost – Best for getting a free domain for your new website
- Domain.com – Best total package of domain services
- Namecheap – Best domain names for $1 or less
- Porkbun – Best renewal pricing on the market
- Network Solutions – Best for long-term registrations
- NameSilo – Best for buying domains by the dozen
- Google Domains – Best free security and privacy features
What’s important is getting the domain name and extension you want at a reasonable price with the protection and security you need.
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.
But, there may not be a registrar that beats Porkbun on TLD variety and both promo and renewal pricing.
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?
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