If you are new to buying a domain name, choosing a domain registrar can feel like an overwhelming task. There are so many options out there, so which one is right for you? Today we are going to look at 7 popular domain registrars!

GoDaddy

GoDaddy is perhaps the world’s most popular domain name company. I like to refer to them as the “Walmart for domains.” Everyone knows them, and if you are buying a domain for the first time, you likely are thinking of or have chosen to go with them.

In my experience, GoDaddy has to be one of the worst options on this list. Their prices are expensive ($17.99 per year for a .com domain), they have pushy and deceptive upselling tactics (they charge $9.99 per year for WHOIS protection), and their website login system is poorly thought out (see video for more info). They also force auto-renew to be turned on by default, and when you go to disable it, they act as though you are “canceling” your domain name.

GoDaddy does have some pretty awesome customer service, but I can’t support a company who tries to trick their customers into buying stuff they don’t want or need, and for that reason I would advise staying away from GoDaddy at all costs. You can get way better service for a much cheaper cost elsewhere.

Dynadot

Dynadot pros and cons

Dynadot is arguably one of my favorite options on this list. While I don’t personally use them for my domains (more on that later), I am blown away by their pricing and level of service. Dynadot charges just $8.99 per year for a .com domain with free WHOIS protection.

Dynadot has very friendly customer service, and they’ve been available just about any time I needed them (although they do not have 24/7 support).

They have a clean and simple website with a decent panel and a very powerful mobile app. They offer other services such as web hosting and email hosting, but their checkout experience does not feature any pushy upselling, and it’s a very enjoyable experience.

If you are looking for the best overall value, I would recommend Dynadot for the best balance of price, functionality, and customer service!

Porkbun

Porkbun pros and cons

Porkbun is the registrar for you if price is your number one priority! Let’s face it, some of us care only about price and how to get something as cheap as possible, even if it means sacrificing quality in other areas.

Fortunately with Porkbun, the sacrifice is relatively slim. They don’t have a flashy panel, they don’t have a mobile app, and they don’t have 24/7 customer service (or long hours), but they do have the cheapest prices on the block and a no-frills experience.

They charge $8.56 per year for a .com domain with free WHOIS protection, and their panel, though I feel it is a bit cluttered and busy, does everything you need it to.

They offer two-factor authentication and every setting you would need for your account and your domain names, so if you know what you’re doing and aren’t afraid to poke around in the panel for a minute to find things, you will have a great experience with Porkbun.

If you are looking for the cheapest place to buy domains, I would recommend Porkbun for their no-frills experience and reliable service.

Hover

Hover is the most puzzling option on this list. I keep hearing about them, mainly from podcast ads and other influencers, but I can’t quite figure out what the big hype is over them.

Their prices are alright ($12.99 per year for a .com domain), but they don’t really offer an “exciting” experience. The panel is pretty basic and there is no app.

There’s nothing wrong with Hover, and if it tickles your fancie, by all means go for it. I just don’t understand what their competitive advantage is and found myself completely disinterested after trying them out.

Namecheap

Namecheap pros and cons

Namecheap is where I personally register all of my domain names, and for a good reason: they offer a kick-butt experience. Their panel is the best I’ve ever used! Everything is laid out well and it is easy to use.

They also have a mobile app with an intuitive and powerful interface. You can purchase or renew domains with Apple Pay, and even change the domain’s nameservers or registrant information right from the app.

Namecheap also offers 24/7 live chat support, though sometimes they are a bit slow to respond to messages.

Namecheap is definitely not the cheapest option on this list, charging $13.16 per year for a .com domain (with free WHOIS protection), but I personally am willing to pay the higher prices for the amazing service and experience they offer!

I also use Namecheap’s Private Email Hosting plan which offers custom email hosting ([email protected]) for just $10 per year. I recommend Namecheap’s web hosting to all of my website clients as well, so I look at them as a “one stop shop” for all of your web needs.

If you are looking for my personal recommendation on the best place to buy a domain name, check out Namecheap!

Google Domains

In my last domain registrar comparison, I got quite a few requests to take a look at Google Domains. I have not had experience with them in the past, but I figured it was worth checking out.

Google charges $12 per year for a .com domain with free WHOIS protection. I had a great experience at Google Domains! Their panel is relatively simple, and they offer 24/7 live chat and phone support. I love that Google gives you the option of either phone support or live chat support. Most any registrar offers one or the other, but not both. I am personally a live chat guy, but I know some users prefer a phone call. Giving users both options and giving it to them 24/7 is amazing!

Other than that, my experience with Google Domains was relatively bland. They are a solid registrar with everything you need, but I wouldn’t necessarily choose them over Dynadot or Namecheap.

If you feel comfortable letting Google manage your domain names, there’s no problem with choosing them. I just don’t see the hype and Google isn’t for me.

Domain.com

Domain.com is another new-comer to this list. Unfortunately, I have to advise staying away from domain.com at all cost.

Similar to GoDaddy, they are expensive and push you to buy things you don’t want. They charge $9.99 per year for a .com domain, which seems more than reasonable until you realize that they charge $8.99 per year for WHOIS protection.

Domain.com uses something called a dark pattern on their website to manipulate users into clicking certain things. This is a pushy and arguably unethical upselling tactic. For example, when removing WHOIS protection (which is added automatically) prior to checkout, you are presented with this screen which will push you to click the button to keep WHOIS protection and charge you for it if you aren’t careful.

Due to their high pricing and deceptive checkout design, I would not recommend using Domain.com for anything.

Which domain name company is right for you?

I’d love to know which domain registrar you picked and why! Leave a comment below, and let’s get the discussion rolling.

2 comments

  1. Comment by Victor

    Victor Reply September 26, 2019 at 10:15 AM

    I really like your clear and logical analysis, and simple explanations. I am creating my first website, and I was wondering what your opinion was regarding having your web host also register your domain name. I had read that if you ever want to change hosts, it can be a pain the rear if your domain name is also registered with the same site. Also, for added security reasons; kind of like “don’t put all your eggs in one basket” thinking. Would be very interested in your thoughts on this. Thanks!

    • Comment by Christian Taylor

      Christian Taylor Reply September 30, 2019 at 2:58 PM

      Hi Victor,

      I definitely side with the opinion that it’s best to have your domain name registered with a company who is primarily a domain registrar. This would be any of the companies featured in this comparison, as their specialty is in domain names. While most companies on this list also offer web hosting, their main business is selling domains. If you register your domain with a web host (such as HostGator, Bluehost, or website platform like Squarespace or Wix), it is going to be a bit of a pain if you switch hosts/platforms. They are legally required to allow you to transfer it to another company, but they aren’t legally required to make that transfer process easy and simple! Most web hosts like to entice you to register your domain with them by offering you the first year of the domain free when you buy a year of web hosting with them, but I’ve always refused that offer and purchased my domain at Namecheap and pointed the nameservers to the host. I like the flexibility and peace of mind it gives me.

      Hope that makes sense!

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