Welcome to my guide on the best places to buy domain names in 2021.
In this all-new guide, you’ll learn:
- Common mistakes to avoid when choosing a domain name registrar
- Things to look out for when choosing a domain name registrar
- My personal review having worked with all 6 of the best places to buy domain names mentioned in this guide
So, if you are wanting to get your domain name registered but don’t know who to go with, this guide is for you.
Let’s get started.
What is a Domain Name Registrar?
A domain name registrar is a company that allows you to legally register website domain names. For example, you could purchase www.yourname.com from a domain registrar and set up your website on it.
A domain name extension is the part after the last dot in the URL e.g .com, .net, .org. Costs for domain names vary depending on the type of domain name extension. Additionally, the period of time you decide to register a domain name will affect the price.
Aside from handling the registration process, domain name registrars can offer a variety of other services. For example, you can choose to install an SSL certificate so your domain name becomes HTTP-secure (HTTPS). A domain name registrar is not an email or website hosting company. However, many domain name registrars offer email and website hosting as add-on services.
Common mistakes to avoid when choosing a domain name registrar
Although registering a domain name seems simple, it’s easy to make mistakes that may leave you paying a lot more than what you bargained for.
Many domain name registrars try to aggressively undercut each other on registration prices. Some registrars go as far as offering domain name registration at a loss to their business. They do this so they can make their profit by charging you extra for services that other registrars include as standard. Here’s a list of the most common ploys I’ve come across
- Charging you significantly more to renew the domain after the first year of registration
- Charging you a premium if you choose to move your domain over to a different register. Usually, this is done to ‘lock’ you into the registrar so they can get you on the first point
- Charging you to edit/access your domain name server (DNS). If you want to host your website with another company, you’ll need to edit your DNS to do so, which incurs a charge. Or, if you want to set up a business email address with Google or Microsoft, you’ll need to edit your DNS. Some registrars make you pay to upgrade to their ‘premium’ DNS for you to edit it
- Not supporting free SSL certificates. If you want your website to be HTTP-secure, you’ll need to encrypt your domain with an SSL certificate. This is an important security procedure that every domain owner should do. Let’s Encrypt SSL is the world’s most popular free SSL with over 265 million installations. Some domain registrars choose not to support Let’s Encrypt so they can charge you for their own SSL certificates
- Making you pay to make your domain registration details private. When you register a domain, your personally identifiable information can be made public. You can opt out of having your personal information made public at the point of registration. Some registrars will charge you extra if you choose to make your personal information private
Things to look out for when choosing a Domain Name Registrar
As you can see from above, there’s a number of tactics domain name registrars use to get you to pay more than just your domain registration fee. With that said, here’s what to look out for when choosing a domain name registrar:
- Decide how long you plan on owning the domain. Then, check the company’s renewal fees and calculate the total cost of ownership over the timeframe you plan on owning the domain for
- Try to avoid registrars that charge a premium if you decide to transfer your domain name away from them. Also, avoid registrars that lock you into their services for longer than 90 days after you registrar your domain. You can usually find this information in the terms of service
- Avoid registrars that charge you extra to edit your DNS, install SSL certificates & make your registration details private
Next, I’ll review some of the best places to buy domain names against the criteria I have outlined above.
Best Places To Buy Domain Names
Domain.com was established in 2000 and is the most well-known domain name registrar. You can register any top-level domain extensions (TLDs), as well as dozens of country code top-level domains (ccTLDs).
Domain.com offers a fast domain search tool you can use to help with your domain name research. You can also search for premium domains.
The company also offers the following useful features:
- Bulk domain name registration
- WHOIS privacy protection
- DNS transfer
- Domain name forwarding
The company also offers add-on email and website hosting.
You can reach their customer service team via email or live chat if you have any questions. You can also access their extensive knowledge base and find helpful guides.
- Supports free Let’s Encrypt SSL vcertificates
- It lets you forward email addresses under your domain to other email addresses
- It offers a quick domain search tool
- Privacy protection is not free
- Prices can increase on renewal for popular domain extensions like .com
.com domains start from $8.99 per year without privacy protection. You can see the domain name registration and renewal prices for all supported domain names here.
Bluehost, one of the most reputable hosting companies in the world is an official WordPress partner. They also offer domain registration as part of their web hosting services.
Bluehost offers website hosting customers a free domain, a free SSL certificate and a discount on web hosting. This is a good deal for someone that wants to register a domain and create a website on it.
You can get started for as low as $2.75 per month and receive a new domain name at no cost.
Although Bluehost isn’t in my top three WordPress hosts, they offer good value with this deal. Their interface is easy to use for beginners with WordPress pre-installed. They also offer excellent chat support.
Bluehost Domains Pros:
- Free domain name with all the hosting plans
- Free Let’s Encrypt SSL certificates
- Does not cost extra to edit your DNS records
Bluehost Domains Cons:
- Domain privacy is not included meaning you’ll need to pay extra for it
.com domain registration starts at $12.99. You can view all domain name registration and renewal fees for Bluehost here.
Network Solutions has over 7 million domains under their registrar. There are many domain extensions that you can register, including the most popular.com,.net,.org,.biz,.info and all other niche TLDs.
In addition to domain name registration, Network Solutions offers:
- Website hosting, builders and security tools
- Business email addresses
- Online marketing, SEO & IT support
They can act as your one-stop shop for all things online.
You can get a free domain if you buy their WordPress hosting plan or any other website/eCommerce hosting package.
Network Solutions pros:
- Bulk domain name registration allows you to register all your domain name extensions at once
Network Solutions cons:
- Slow signup process that forces you through multiple upsell steps prior to checkout
- No free SSL support or domain privacy protection
- Expensive when compared to other registers
- High renewal rates
.com domains start at $25 for the first year without hosting or privacy protection. They do not publish all of their domain name prices, so you’ll need to go through the checkout process to get a price.
Namecheap is another popular domain registrar. Their domain search tool is powerful and can help you find the perfect domain name. It also suggests domain names that might be available.
What sets Namecheap apart is the free privacy WHOIS service for all domain names.
- Domain privacy protection is free forever with new domain purchases
- 24/7 live chat with experts & 2-hour ticket response time
- Renewals cost more than registration fees
- SSL is free for the first year then you have to pay for the renewal
- You need to pay for their ‘Premium DNS’ to edit your DNS records
.com domains start at $8.88 for the first year. For all domain extension pricing and renewal fees, go here.
NameSilo provides domain name registration services, domain transfer, domain bidding, and more. You can perform both a single and bulk domain search using the search tool.
Domain privacy is also available for a huge discount on domain registrations and bulk transfers.
All domains include:
- DNS management tools
- No cost domain privacy
- Registry lock
- Domain defender protection
- Portfolio management
NameSilo comes with a marketplace that lists all domains that have been listed by customers or other non-renewed domains. You can either buy your desired domains through auction or pay the buyer directly.
You can also transfer existing domain names to NameSilo in just three steps. Verify your domain name and enter your EEP authorization number in the transfer form. Finally, add the domain to your cart. Within 5 to 7 business days, the domain will be transferred.
- Free WHOIS domain privacy with every purchase
- Domain renewal rates are the same as the registration rate for most domains
- Does not provide free SSL certificates
- Additional fees apply if you choose to transfer your domain out of NameSilo
.com domains start at $9.95 for the first year. You can view NameSlio’s full pricing list here.
GoDaddy is the oldest and most well-known domain registration company. Over 18 million customers have registered more than 77,000,000 domain names through GoDaddy.
They offer a large variety of popular domain extensions. Also, they have very competitive prices and may even give you a substantial discount for the first year.
GoDaddy offers a range of web services, including website building, email marketing and hosting.
- Free 1-year extension on many domain transfers
- You can sell your domains through GoDaddy Auctions and Afternic
- It provides tools like the GoDaddy Appraisal tool to help you determine your domain’s worth
- Get up to 31% off when you register or transfer six or more .com domains simultaneously
- Does not support free SSL certificates meaning you’ll need to purchase one
- Domain privacy and protection is not included and is an additional fee
- Renewal fees are high when compared to registration fees
.com domains start at $11.99 for the first year. For more information on domain name prices, go here.
So there you have it. That’s my top 6 best places to buy domain names. Now I want to hear from you: which domain name registrar do you swear by?
Will you register your next domain with a company from my list?
Or, are you already using one of the companies? If so, how are you finding their service?
Are there any domain name registrars that you would recommend?
Let me know how you rate them by leaving a comment below.