What are the best domain name registrars? You have a lot of options when it comes to getting a domain name. You can get your domain name through a web host who will then register a domain name on your behalf through an ICANN certified registrar or you can get your domain name direct at a domain name registrar.
What is ICANN?
We have a dedicated guide to ICANN, but in summary they are a non-profit organization that manages the DNS service that allows for a uniquness among IP addresses to exist so computers know where to find what when making a request to a web hosting server.
This cordination allows for a global internet. The actual management of domain names however is not done by ICANN. They contract this service out to private “ICANN certified” companies that allow you to register a domain name through them.
What to look for when using a domain name registrar
If you’re going to be in the online space of creating websites and blogs, you’re going to be registering domain names. You will want a domain name registrar that has an affordable price and provides ease of use. Here are what you should take a look at when looking at a domain name registrar:
Domain registration price
As you can’t own a domain name outright, you can only register a domain name for a year at a time, you want to find a domain name registrar with the lowest prices.
A lot of domain name registrars also offer additional services like hosting, VPN’s and e-commerce. But if you’re strictly looking to register a domain name, go with a registrar that has low renewal prices and low domain name transfer fees just in case you buy a premium domain name from a domainer.
It’s also helpful to take a look at the service a domain name registrar provides. Do you get a domain name at a discount for the first year? What about WHOIS guard? What is their refund policy like? How easy is it to use their website? What happens when your domain name expires? What is their grace period like? How many years have they been in business? Is auto renewal on by default?
The Best ICANN certified domain name registrars
So with that out of the way, here are the Website Creative Pro’s best domain name registrars. We also included various web hosts because it is a way for you to get your domain name for free the first year if you want:
- Google Domains
- Shopify domains
- Pork Bun
- Free domain with hosting
Namecheap – The Best Domain Name Registrar
Namecheap tops the list because they are the best domain name registrar in terms of price. If you want the lowest price possible for domain name registration and domain name transfers at a company that’s been in business for years, then simply go with Namecheap.
While they provide various services like hosting. Their core business is domain name registration. With your domain you also get WHOIS guard for free for life. Other domain name registrars charge a hefty fee for WHOIS guard protection.
- The lowest prices for domain name registration
- Free WHOIS guard to keep your personal information private.
- They don’t provide discounts and up-sells for services.
- They give store credit for refunds.
Lowest prices for domain registration.
Free WHOIS guard.
Google Domains – Domain service by Google
Google Domains is a domain registration service offered by Google. A brand name you know and trust. Google Domains has good prices but not as low as Namecheap. For one low price they incorporate everything together, the domain name registration and WHOIS guard.
- You know and trust Google.
- One low price for domain registration and WHOIS guard (though not as low as Namecheap)
- Good integration with other services like Google Sites and GSuite.
- Price is not as competitive as Namecheap.
Domain.com – Good but not great
Domain.com is a good registrar. They have a fairly low registration price but when compared to Google Domains and Namecheap. However, there is not much of a compelling reason go register your domain names through them if you strictly need domain name registration.
While the actual domain name registration price is slightly more expensive than Namecheap, they charge for WHOIS protection which puts their price much higher than both Google Domains and Namecheap.
- Affordable domain name registration price. Higher than Namecheap but lower than Google Doomains.
- They charge a lot for WHOIS guard, making their final cost quite expensive.
1&1 – Great introductory price
1&1 is an old domain name registrar that has been around for quite some time. In fact a lot of web hosts use 1&1 as the domain name registrar when you purchase a domain name through a web host like Blue Host.
What we like about 1&1 is that they offer a compelling introductory price for your domain name registration but after this into period, their price goes up and is higher than Namecheap.
- Great introductory price.
- Excellent refund policy.
- Annoying up-sells.
- Final cost is much higher than Namecheap.
GoDaddy – The name brand domain name registrar
GoDaddy is to domain names what Blue Host is to web hosting. Not good, not bad. Just a name brand you trust. GoDaddy grew in popularity due to their super bowl commercials and have since re-branded themselves in the past few years to a more professional domain name registrar.
GoDaddy provides a suite of useful tools for websites from hosting, web design to domain name registration. As a domain name registrar they provide full 5 day refund on any purchase but are not that competitive on price.
- A suite of tools to help you create a website.
- A name brand you can trust.
- The bets marketplace to buy and sell domain names.
- Their domain registration prices are too expensive.
Hover – The domain registrar from Tucows
Tucows is a conglomerate of various web services. In 2008 they had a few different domain name registrars they decided to combine into one brand. That new brand was Hover.com.
Hover is a good domain name registrar. Their website is easy to use, they don’t have any confusing or annoying up-sells and they offer good prices. Not as cheap as Namecheap for .com, .net or .org domain extensions, but much cheaper than GoDaddy or Domains.com.
They also offer good discounts on less popular domain extensions like .tech or .online.
- Good price and discounts on less popular extensions.
- No up-sells and easy to use.
- Namecheap has better prices so no compelling reason to go with them over Namecheap.
Shopify Domains – The easy solution for Shopify stores
Shopfy is a the industry leader in the e-commerce space. They are to e-commerce what WordPress is to blogging and niche websites.
When creating a store with Shopify your initial domain is a sub domain of Shopify. Most store owners want to have their own custom domain name. Your options are to use a domain name registrar or to use Shopify domains.
You can save money using a domain name registrar, but Shopify domains is the more convenient solution. See “should I buy my domain through Shopify” for more.
- The easy solution for Shopify store owners.
- This service is only for Shopify.
Dynadot – Free 1 page website with your domain
Dynadot is very competitive on price when compared to Namecheap. They both charge the same amount but somtimes Dynadot runs special discounts where you can get a .com domain name for cheap.
On top of this they also provide a website builder with your purchase. You can get a free 1 page website with your domain purchase. This is helpful if you intend on being a domainer and wish to sell domain names.
- Low cost.
- Free WHOIS.
- 1 page website builder for your domain.
- Good auction and marketplace to buy and sell domain names.
- You’re given “Dynadollars” for refunds on any service.
Pork Bun – The hipster domain name registrar
Pork Bun is an American based domain name registration and web hosting company that offers the lowest prices on domain name registration. As a newer company, they are not well known. Their prices however for domain name registration are some of the most affordable around.
- Affordable domain name registration prices.
- WHOIS protection for free.
- They are a newer business and don’t have the track record of Namecheap or GoDaddy.
Free Domains with Hosting
There are quite a few web hosts that offer a free domain name if you sign-up for a hosting account with them. Here are our top 3 web hosts offering a free domain:
- Blue Host
- Host Gator
Blue Host – Free domain, renewal at $17.99 a year.
Blue Host is the #1 recommended web host by WordPress. They provide good shared hosting and offer a free domain name for the first year with the purchase of any hosting plan.
The domain name is free for the first year, but after the renewal rate is $17.99. They provide WHOIS protection. I don’t like that they hide this information on their website.
Host Gator – Free domain, renewal at $17.99 a year
Host Gator is another good shared web host that provides low cost hosting. Get a massive discount on any hosting plan using code GATORPRO.
Host Gator offers a free domain name with the purchase of any hosting account. The domain renews at $17.99 per year and they provide WHOIS protection. They are honest and clear about this which I appreciate.
Hostinger – Free domain, renewal at $8.99 a year
Again, Hostiner coming in for the win by providing tremendous value at a great price. If you purchase a premium or business hosting plan you can get a domain name free for the first year. After the first year, the renewal rate is just $8.99 a year. They don’t provide WHOIS protection for free however.
Best Domain Name Registrar Conclusion
There are hundreds of domain name registrars but these are some of the best on the market now. Overall I would go with Namecheap if I was strictly looking to register domain names or Hostinger is I was also looking for a low cost hosting provider.
Lowest prices for domain registration.
Free WHOIS guard.