The 10 Best Domain Name Registrars

by David Utke | Last Updated: November 7, 2021

A domain name registrar is an ICANN certified business that allows you to lease (or register) a domain name through them. If you want to create a website, blog or online store you first have to get a domain name as it will be your web address. You have a few options to choose from when it comes to getting a domain name.

First you can use a traditional domain name registrar who’s primary business is managing domains. Second you could instead register a domain name through a web host or a website builder. Typically these alternatives will be more expensive in terms of renewal costs and WHOIS protection than a domain registrar.

What does ICANN certified mean?

ICANN is a non-profit organization that manages the DNS service that allows for a uniqueness 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.

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 for domains, low renewal rates, free WHOIS protection, low domain transfer fees and good support.

Domain registrar customer service

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? These small details are important to know when deciding to manage your domain portfolio with a company.

The best domain name registrars

So here are our top domain registrars we suggest bloggers, online merchants or anyone wanting to create a website check out. They all provide varying price points and unique selling points.

  1. Namecheap
  2. Dynadot
  3. Google Domains
  4. GoDaddy
  5. Domain.com
  6. 1&1
  7. Hover
  8. Shopify domains
  9. Pork Bun
  10. Unstoppable Domains*

Namecheap – The best overall domain registrar

Namecheap tops the list because they are the best domain name registrar in terms of price and service. If you want the lowest price possible for domain name registration, 24/7 support 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, a website builder and professional email for small businesses, their core business has always been domain name registration. With your domain you also get WHOIS guard for free for life, while other domain name registrars like to charge a hefty fee for WHOIS guard protection.

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Namecheap

The best domain name registrar. Low prices, low renewal rates and free WHOS protection.

namecheap logo

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 for less than Namecheap.

On top of this they also provide a one page website builder with your purchase. That means you can register a domain and create a one page splash website with your purchase. To add additional pages you’ll need to upgrade to a paid plan, but using the free plan you can create a modern 1-page website.

This is ideal in particular for domainers who are looking to sell their domains to prospective buyers. Last, they allow bulk buying and have a dedicated marketplace to buy and sell domains names. You also get free WHOIS protection with your purchase as well.

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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.

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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 can 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.

To this day GoDaddy is still synonymous with domain name registration and has name brand recognition that servers them well. However, their price points for domains compared to the competition make them a less than ideal choice.

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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.

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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 intro period, their price goes up and is higher than what you will be paying at Namecheap.

However, unlike Namecheap they give you a refund instead of crediting your account. Overall, 1&1 is a unique domain name registrar that does not stand out in any particular way.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Unstoppable Domains – The blockchain domain names

Unstoppable Domains allows users to register blockchain based domain names as an NFT. These domain names are not part of the DNS system and Unstoppable Domains is not ICANN certified. Instead, when you get a domain name with a .wallet or .crypto address your domain is tied to the Ethereum blockchain.

Why would anyone want this? Well for starters you can setup a blockchain domain name to be your payment gateway. So it makes it easy for anyone to send you payment in the form of crypto currency. At some point there may be decentralized webhosting tied to a blockchain too.

While impractical for most people, it’s a new development you should be aware of if you want to stay on top of domain name developments.

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Unstoppable Domains

Get your NFT, blockchain based domain name today.

unstoppable domains logo

Free Domains with Hosting

Last we simply want to mention that you can get a free domain name at various web hosts and website builders. Free is not free. While it may be free for the first year, the renewal rate will always be much higher and you will typically not get WHOIS protection for free.

So even though Bluehost, Wix, Host Gator, Hostinger all offer free domains, long term it’s still the best, most affordable choice to go with Namecheap.

Best Domain Name Registrar Conclusion

The best domain name registrar for bloggers, content creators and online store owners is Namecheap.com. They offer the right combination of low domain prices, low renewal rates and free WHOIS protection in addition to better support than other registrars.

David Utke is a professional blogger, web designer and a highly rated user experience consultant. He translates technical skills in an easy to understand way for beginners with his educational tutorials based on real-world experience. Join over 30,000 monthly readers and 16k YouTube subscribers.