What is the best way to get a domain name? Should you choose a hosting package with the domain included, or buy your domain and hosting in separate places? And with all of the options available, how do you choose the best domain name registrar for your business?
A custom domain name makes your business look professional online.
Not only that, but the right domain name also tells search engines and customers alike what to expect when they come to your site.
In this guide, we’ll take a look at what makes a good domain registrar, list the best options available, and share which registrars we would suggest for different types of businesses.
Eight of the best domain name registrar firms out there
Below, we explore the best domain name registrars in the market, what they charge for various types of domains, any extras that come bundled with your domain name purchase, and a quick rundown of what add-ons each firm has available.
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Domain.com, as the name suggests, is one of the world’s largest domain registrars, focused on providing secure domains for affordable prices.
You can also get a variety of paid add-ons, such as Google Workspace (formerly G Suite), during the domain registration process.
If you’re looking for a simple option that allows you to choose exactly what you get, Domain.com is an excellent choice.
Namecheap is another site that started out as a simple domain registrar and grew to offer a variety of web hosting plans and other web services.
Their main business, however, is still helping people register domains at affordable rates. Namecheap doesn’t offer as many highly specialized extensions, but they offer some of the best deals on .com, .net, and .org sites.
- Bundled features: WhoisGuard
- Add-ons: web hosting, G-Suite, SSL certification
3. 1&1 Ionos
1&1 Ionos started in 1988, not long after the birth of the internet itself. They have helped millions of businesses launch their websites across the years, and currently host 12 million domains across Europe and the US.
They do charge a little bit more for their domains than most of the other domain registrars listed here, but every single domain comes bundled with built-in domain locking, a 2GB mailbox, a free SSL wildcard certificate, and the ability to create 10,000 subdomains. 1&1 will also protect you with private registration for most domains (learn more here).
|$1; $15 renewal||$1; $20 renewal||$1; $20 renewal||$35; $50 renewal||–||–||–||$5; $50 renewal|
- Bundled features: private email, SSL certification, 10,000 subdomains, domain locking
- Add-ons: web hosting, website builder, email hosting with up to 25 accounts
Register.com is a good place to find common domain extensions for good prices. If you’re willing to forego private registration, you can get a domain through them for as little as $5/year.
Register.com does offer additional web services, such as web hosting and email hosting, but these do not come highly recommended. If you want to get your website hosting plan and your domain in the same place, you’ll want to consider one of the other options on this list.
|$5; $16 private registration||$5; $16 private registration||$5; $16 private registration||–||–||–||–||$49.99; $60.99 private registration|
- Bundled features: –
- Add-ons: SSL certification, private registration (automatically added to all purchases; eliminate this from your cart if you don’t want it), email hosting, website hosting, advanced SEO tools
OVH doesn’t offer domain registration in North America, but they are one of the most popular domain registration options for European businesses.
If you run an European business and you want to keep your expenses in your local currency—a great way to save time on taxes—OVH is a great option for you. Their website hosting plans, which can easily be added to your purchase during the checkout process, are also quite affordable.
|£6.99; £9.99 renewal||£6.49||£7.59||£18.39||£3.53||–||£6.99; £9.99 renewal||£1.79; £21.39 renewal|
- Bundled features: DNSSEC protection, SSL certification
- Add-ons: web hosting with included email hosting
They also offer WordPress optimized hosting that comes with WordPress pre-installed so you can start building your site right away. And, of course, they offer you a way to register your domain through them.
Pro tip: If you’re planning to build a website on your new domain then instead of buying the domain separately, choose one of Bluehost’s hosting plans right away. During the sign-up, you’ll get to register a domain name free of charge for the first year.
- Bundled features: SSL certification; a free domain name is bundled in with Bluehost’s website hosting plans
- Add-ons: private registration, web hosting, Microsoft Office 365
GoDaddy is perhaps the most famous of the domain registrars thanks to their ubiquitous advertising campaigns.
You can register a domain with a huge number of extensions through GoDaddy, and even get the .com, .net, and .org extensions for your domain bundled together for a lower price.
GoDaddy also offers a variety of website hosting plans, including WordPress optimized plans.
|$11.99; $17.99 renewal||$13.99||$9.99||$44.99; $59.99 renewal||$7.99||$14.99||$12.99||$9.99; $44.99 renewal|
- Bundled features: –
- Add-ons: private registration, privacy protection, SEO tools, email hosting, website hosting
Google has its hands in just about every type of internet business imaginable, and they manage to do all of them well. Their domain registration service called Domains.Google launched in 2015, and while it isn’t very well known, it is one of the best options around.
Every domain comes with free privacy protection. Google does not, however, offer web hosting packages, so you’ll have to look somewhere else for your hosting plan.
- Bundled features: privacy protection
- Add-ons: –
What to look for in a domain registrar
If you haven’t decided on a catchy name yet, check our list of the best domain name generators. But if you did, then there are several things you need to consider when choosing the best domain name registrar for your business:
- Pricing is an important factor to consider in any business purchase, but this is even more important to look at when you’re choosing a domain registrar. Every domain extension (.com, .ca, .org, etc.) has a different cost with each domain registrar. This means that a registrar might offer great prices for .com domains, but terrible prices for .org domains. Many registrars also charge additional fees for security and privacy features. If you choose to buy your hosting package and your domain in the same place, you also need to consider typical website hosting costs. You can find out more about these costs by taking a look at our guide to the best WordPress hosting plans.
- Renewal prices
- The price of the initial domain registration is often less than its subsequent renewals. You should double check what those differences are before choosing a domain registrar. Sometimes you will find that the advertised promo price is far from what you’ll have to pay later on after the initial registration period is up.
- Domain transfers
- With any luck, you won’t need to use this option, but if you do become dissatisfied with your domain registrar, you want to be able to easily transfer your domain to a different one. Of course, you might also be here because you want to leave your current domain registrar; in this instance, the ability to do an easy domain transfer is even more important. You should also avoid domain registrars that charge additional fees for domain transfers. Most reputable registrars allow this, but it’s worth reading the domain transfer policy before you invest.
- Expiration policy
- All domain purchases come with an expiration date. If your domain is allowed to expire, somebody else will be able to buy it, locking your business out. You might then be forced to buy your domain back at a higher price, or worse, lose access to your domain permanently. Most domain registrars automatically set your domain to auto-renew so you can avoid this problem, but it’s worth taking a look at what happens if your domain does expire. The best domain registrars will offer a grace period, locking your domain to your account for a specified number of days. This can save you a lot of worries if there are ever issues processing your domain renewal.
- Extra services
- Many of the best domain registrars also offer a variety of other services. These range from simple things like domain privacy and parking to things like web hosting, email hosting, and email marketing services. Some of these services may be bundled in with your domain registration, while others will be add ons. There are a few things you should consider here. Do you actually want any extra add ons? If so, what add ons are you interested in? How important is the quality of these services to you? All of these factors will help you choose the best domain name registrar for your needs. We also shared some useful tips on how to buy a domain that is taken in one of our previous article.
How to choose the best domain name registrar for your business
Each firm here has made the list because they offer good prices and reliable service. However, there are some major differences between them. To choose the best domain name registrar for your business, you need to consider what your priorities are:
- If your main concern is affordability, you’ll want to go with either Register.com or Namecheap.
- If you’re looking for a domain registrar with bundled security features, your best bet is either Domain.com or 1&1 Ionos.
- To get quality website hosting alongside your domain, consider Bluehost.
- If you’re in Europe and you want to stick with a European company, choose OVH.
Still not sure what the best domain name registrar is for you? Take a look at the table below for a quick side-by-side comparison:
|1&1 Ionos||$1; $15 renewal||$1; $20 renewal||$1; $20 renewal||$35; $50 renewal||–||–||–||$5; $50 renewal|
|Register.com||$5; $16 private registration||$5; $16 private registration||$5; $16 private registration||–||–||–||–||$49.99; $60.99 private registration|
|OVH||£6.99; £9.99 renewal||£6.49||£7.59||£18.39||£3.53||–||£6.99; £9.99 renewal||£1.79; £21.39 renewal|
|GoDaddy||$11.99; $17.99 renewal||$13.99||$9.99||$44.99; $59.99 renewal||$7.99||$14.99||$12.99||$9.99; $44.99 renewal|
Do you have more questions about how to choose the best domain name registrar?