Whether you’re building an online eCommerce store, a personal blog or a niche website, one thing you will need in order to get started is a domain name.
There is no shortage of websites online called domain name registrars where you can buy a domain name. There are websites that primarily sell domain names and you can also get domain names from web hosting platforms.
Not all domain name registrars operate the same though. While you can have a good experience buying a domain at some registrars, others can be a bit annoying and confusing when it comes to the actual buying experience or customer support.
The pricing of the domain names is something else you have to watch out for. Some domain registrars seem to want to charge two arms and a leg for a domain name. For example, a .com domain name at Squarespace costs $20 while the same .com domain at Dynadot costs $6.99 (regular prices).
Some registrars also run special discount promotions where you can get the domain for as low as 99 cents but catch you off-guard with the renewal price. It pays to check everything before you commit to purchasing a domain name from one platform.
If you’re planning to buy multiple domains or domains on a continuing basis, you should stick to buying from one registrar where you can manage all your domains in one place.
One rule that I live by when buying domain names is to avoid bundling domains and hosting on one platform. So I won’t buy a domain name with web hosting on Bluehost just because I host a website there.
That said, I did my research based on pricing, buying experience, customer support and additional features and came up with 4 of the best domain name registrars I could find online.
These are my picks.
I’ve never had a problem with NameSilo in the five years that I’ve been buying domains there. There are lots of reasons why I think that they’re the best domain name registrar online.
Firstly, you can see immediately what the cost of a domain will be. $8.99 gets you a .com domain name for the first year and renewals are also $8.99.
There are no upsells to interfere with the buying process because they only sell domain names and you can get domain prices down a little by using the free Namesilo discount program or by using a discount coupon. Currently, you can use AMVSMLM1 to get $1 off your order.
To pay for a domain, you can use a host of payment methods such as account funds where you have a balance inside Namesilo funded by one of the other payment methods such as credit card, Paypal, Skrill, Dwolla, Bitcoin, Alipay or wire transfer.
Namesilo also has an affiliate program so that you can refer domain sales. You can choose to cash out your earnings to your Paypal account or keep them in your account as account funds which you can use to purchase domains. This is great because you can buy and renew domains using commissions you’ve earned.
One feature I really love about this registrar is the free Whois privacy. Back in 2013, I didn’t know any registrars that offered free Whois privacy without you having to pay for it at some point so this was a big deal for me.
Some registrars initially offer free Whois privacy upon registration but be mindful of the price you have to pay on renewal. Whois can renew for as much as the cost of a domain name. With Namesilo, it is always free.
Support comes in the form of an extensive knowledge base and FAQ, as well as email, phone and chat support channels. In the five years I’ve been with Namesilo, I haven’t had the need to contact them for support.
One thing about Namesilo is that they aren’t as popular as the other choices on this page but they’re definitely the best choice based on my needs.
Why use Namesilo:
- fair pricing
- cheap domains
- always-free whois privacy
- account security options
- multiple payment methods
- affiliate program
- account funds
- easy transfers
Namecheap comes in a close second if you want to buy a domain name. This site primarily sells domain names but offer other products such as web hosting, ssl certificates and more.
They’re a great registrar because the pricing is around the average – $10.69 per year and this usually comes with 1 year free Whois protection. Sometimes they offer promotions on domain names and you can get a .com for as little as 99 cents for the first year.
Their free WhoisGuard service, which is sometimes free the first year of your domain registration renews at $2.88 per year. You can always purchase WhoisGuard for a domain after it has been registered.
Buying a domain is simple and the checkout process is fast with minimal upsells and support is knowledgeable, friendly and fast.
There is also an extensive support center which consists of a knowledge base, status updates, chat support, and a ticket system.
Dynadot is one I’ve heard about recently and checked them out. They’re similar to NameSilo in terms of pricing but also have hosting products.
This registrar believes in fair and transparent pricing and doesn’t tack on any hidden fees. The regular cost of a domain from Dynadot is the cheapest I’ve seen anywhere at $6.99 for a .com and comes with free privacy and a free one page responsive website. Domains renew at $8.99 per year.
Regular pricing and renewal pricing are shown when you search for a domain and the checkout process is fast with minimal interference.
You can choose to add account credit so you always have a balance inside your Dynadot account to purchase domains. This speeds up the registration or renewal process if you choose to use this option.
Your support options include live chat, help files, a ticketing system as well as a public forum where you can ask questions and receive answers from the Dynadot community.
Just like NameSilo, Hover only sell domains and nothing else.
They believe that “you shouldn’t have to pay to keep your info private” and therefor offers free Whois privacy with domain registrations. This is a major plus, however the domain prices aren’t as attractive as the other registrars on this list.
A .com domain costs $12.99 for the first year and renews at $14.99. Transfers are the same cost as registering a new domain name.
One thing I didn’t like when I tried to check out with a domain was the addition of ICANN fees which bought my $12.99 domain up to $13.17 which although still low isn’t as transparent as the other registrars mentioned here. The checkout process is fast and doesn’t have any upsells or intrusions at all.
Support options for Hover include a knowledge base, community forum, a toll free number during hours of operation, status updates and a chat system.
You’ll notice that I didn’t mention Godaddy on the list and this is because I think there are so many other great domain name registrars who provide a better experience than Godaddy.
You can never be too sure about the price of a domain name on Godaddy. Currently they’re running a promo where the cost of a .com is $11.99 but this is for the first year only and the renewal is $14.99. Another time, you’ll see another price but you will usually have to click through to see the renewal pricing.
In any case, I don’t do business with Godaddy for a number of other reasons.
These are the 4 best domain name registrars online right now in my opinion so if you’re looking to register a domain name, pick one and stick with it for all your domain registrations.