What’s one of the first (and sometimes more difficult) parts of building a website? Yes, the domain name. Sometimes it’s easy – if you already have a business name or if you go with your first and last name. But sometimes it takes a lot of thought, given the search engines, brand recognition, and how much you might end up spending. While thinking about the best domain name can be tricky, we’re here to help you choose the best domain registrar.
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You’ve seen these domain registrars all over the world – from the popular Go Daddy ads to the Name Cheap ads online. Registrars provide search tools to find available domain names and extensions. Then they sell the domains to you.
Some registrars even offer extensions like hosting, website building, and email addresses. But are all domain name registrars making the same? Let’s find out.
● What is a domain registrar?
● Offers that make a good domain registrar
● Avoid a domain registrar that has the following characteristics
● Best Domain Registrar Options (Most Reputable)
The offers that make a good domain registrar
Not all domain name registrars offer the same quality of service. In fact, you will come across some that are nowhere near everything you would want to pay. For example, some domain registrars do not have the number of Top-Level Domains (TLDs) they can sell. A TLD is the domain extension like .com, .net, or ca. It’s good to have a registrar that continually publishes new top-level domains and strives to provide as many as possible.
That said, it’s also important to remember that some domain name registrars focus on niche domains, such as country-specific options like .de or .in.
In short, it may seem that all domain name registrars are alike. However, with a little research, you’ll find that a lot of them have lower prices, better security, and a lot more.
Here are some things to consider.
As with most things in life, consumers tend to start shopping by comparing prices. While we don’t always agree that this is the best method, it is the way it is done. Support can be important even with a domain registrar, but it’s a little different than a hosting plan with Kinta. In most cases, after purchasing your domain, you will probably only need to interact with the registrar once or twice a year. Many will not need support at all.
Free WHOIS Protection
All domains can be searched using a tool called the WHOIS Lookup. ICANN requires that all domain name contact information be displayed for the public to see. This includes most of the details you used to register your domain name:
● Last name
● Phone number
● Email Address
None of your sensitive information is displayed, but some organizations or individuals do not like this information to be accessible to everyone. In fact, the only advantage is that someone is trying to reach you (but that’s what a contact form is for!).
Due to ICANN, some sort of contact information needs to be logged into your domain name. Therefore, some of the best registrars exchange your personal information with their company contact details. So it would display Name Cheap as a registrar under your WHOIS lookup. And the registrant’s contact will display something like WhoisGuard Protected instead of the actual name.
However, since the GDPR went into effect, the question of what impact this might have on the amount of information presented in WHOIS has not yet been resolved.
Our preferred domain registrars offer this WHOIS privacy protection for free. If not, you usually have to pay an annual fee or leave your contact details in place.
Several options for registration durations
You cannot register a domain name for only one or two months. The legal minimum is one year. Therefore, you should expect to pay for a whole year when looking for a domain registrar.
However, some registrars require that you register for more than one year. If you come across a registrar like this, consider looking elsewhere.
The best situation is to have multiple options for registration times.
We like to see a registrar that offers commitments for one or two years, or even longer. This way you can decide how long you want to have the domain for, and potentially receive a discount for a multi-year registration.
Register your domain name for years at a discount
The maximum period for which you can register a domain is 10 years. After ten years, it must be renewed.
In general, we recommend that you sign up for one year unless there is a significant discount for anything beyond. Also, domain registration length being an SEO ranking factor is a myth!
Automated renewals and reminders
Since you are registering a domain for one or more years, it stands to reason that at some point you will need to renew your registration.
Fortunately, the best domain registrar options offer automated renewal services as long as you place a credit card on your file. We also like registrars that give you a grace period after the domain expires.
Now after a few years, you can have new credit cards, so you also want to make sure that the registrar will send out reminders that a domain is about to expire.
Important: If you do not renew a domain name, it is ultimately made available to the public for purchase (some registrars have intermediate wait times). Someone else can then buy the domain and keep it or try to sell it back to you for a large sum of money. This is not uncommon, so make sure your credit card is up to date and that you turn on automatic renewals.
A wide variety of top-level domains (or whatever niche domains you need)
Without going into detail, the top-level domain is considered the highest level in the hierarchy of your global domain name.
It would be anything like .com or .org or .net.
When I search for the best domain registrar, it usually offers hundreds of top-level domain options.
Take Name Cheap, for example. A quick domain search reveals dozens of top-level domains for the same domain search, plus alternatives if you can’t find what you’re looking for.
After a search, I see .club, .design, .store, .info, and more.
Most buyers will do well with this selection. But, it is also important to find specialist registrars if you are interested in more unique areas, for example for countries or for certain organizations. For example, Ion is a popular TLD among startups and tech companies, but not all registrars support domains. Ion.
If you want to see all possible top-level domains, check out the updated Internet
Additional products and services (possibility of free domains)
While you currently only need a domain name, it’s good to know that some of the best domain name registration companies offer other products and services as well.
Plus, they can sell packages for multiple services at once or even give you a domain name for free if you sign up for something like hosting.
It all depends on the registrar, but some of the additional options may include:
● Wholesale domain searches discounts
● Domain confidentiality
● Website builders
● Tools for online shops
● Site Templates
● Regular or managed site hosting
● Dedicated servers
● SSL certificates
● Website security and backups
● SEO services
● Email marketing
● Work email addresses and inboxes (some have big discounts on G Suite licenses!)
However, it is always a good idea to check with your hosting provider first before purchasing additional options. For example, at Kinta, we offer free SSL certificates. And they’re much easier to install if you do it from our MyKinsta dashboard than if you buy one from a domain registrar.
Avoid a domain registrar that has the following characteristics
There are thousands of domain registrars that you could find by doing your Google searches. The ICANN Accredited Registrar List lists the recognized domain name vendors around the world.
However, just because a domain registrar is accredited doesn’t mean that it provides quality services, user interfaces, or customer support.
It is therefore essential to complete your own research and understand the elements that should turn you away from certain domain sellers.
Like many low-cost web hosts, you might find that some domain name registrars are trying to attract customers with extremely cheap promotional prices. However, the annual rates increase after the promotional period. Many people don’t realize this, so it’s best to find a registrar with a set price for each year. It’s okay to register for a domain for several years to get a discount. Rather, it is the hidden costs that concern us.
You may also come across registrars that charge you a fee to go to another registrar. The best domain name registrars almost always avoid this. Do a Google search before purchasing a domain name from a specific company to see what costs you might incur in the future.
Poor customer support
The majority of reputable domain name registrars are large companies with a lot of employees. This means they should offer everything from chat support to a direct phone line. It’s also nice to see a vast knowledge base for you to complete your own research.
Look for companies with 24/7 customer service, and even try out technical support by asking a few pre-sale questions about fees or transfer processes.
You can look up customer reviews online, but just keep in mind that most of the reviews for these big companies are only made by unhappy customers. It is better to read the reviews for more details rather than just looking at the middle ratings.
Knowing a little about the domain name registrar market can really help save you and your business money. Take Name cheap, for example. It’s a lot cheaper than most of the options on this list and the user interface is great. Google Domains and Cloud flare both offer fixed and transparent prices so you don’t get trapped in hidden fees or future price increases.
It’s hard to recommend just one domain registrar, but we suggest that you start with the interface that works best for you. It can be difficult to manage a shopify domain names settings if the website just seems outdated or too complicated for you. Also, think about the price and how that price might change in the future. And don’t forget to turn on two-factor authentication. If you have any questions about the best domain name registrars, let us know in the comments below. Do you prefer one over the other?