The best domain registrars offer a wide variety of options and top-notch security features at an affordable price.

Choosing the right domain registrar for your website can also help you gain a solid presence on the internet, whether you’re thinking of creating a blog or starting a site for your small business.

Read on to learn more about the best domain registrars for your new website.

Our Top Picks for Best Domain Registrar

Best Domain Registrar Reviews

Domain.com – Best Overall

  • Over 20 years in business
  • Reasonable renewal rates
  • Web hosting and professional email available
  • Offers premium domains
  • Free email forwarding and DNS management

  • Domain privacy protection and SSL certificates cost extra
  • No cloud or dedicated hosting

HIGHLIGHTS

Starting Price
$9.99/year
Renewal Price
$15.99/year
WHOIS Privacy
$8.99/year
Registration Period
Up to 5 years
Support
Phone, chat

Why we chose this company: A solid online presence, wide selection of domain extensions and fairly priced renewal rates make Domain.com the best overall domain registrar.

Domain.com is a well-known contender with over 20 years of experience in the industry. While it started out as a dedicated domain registrar, today it’s an all-in-one option that also offers web hosting, a site builder and marketing packages for managing SEO and social media.

Domain.com lets you register a wide list of domain extensions, including several country-specific domains, such as “.mx”, “.uk” and “.us”. It also offers premium domains, which are high-quality, previously owned domains with an already established reputation.

The company’s prices and renewal rates are pretty reasonable when compared to similar providers. For instance, a .com domain starts at $9.99 for the first year and renews at $15.99. However, a rate of roughly $10.80 can be locked at checkout if you register your domain for five years.

Like with other major registrars, Domain.com’s main drawbacks are its upsells. It charges extra for privacy protection and SSL certificates. Nonetheless, it charges much less for those add-on’s than many competitors do. To give you an idea, privacy protection and SSL certificates with GoDaddy cost $9.99 and $63.99 a year, respectively, while Domain.com charges $8.99 and $39.99 a year for the same services.

Porkbun – Best for Low Prices

  • Affordable domain renewal rates
  • Free WHOIS privacy, DNS, SSL, URL forwarding and email forwarding
  • Straightforward domain search tools and minimum upsells
  • Some customers claim onboarding is not user-friendly

HIGHLIGHTS

Starting Price (.com)
$9.13/year
Renewal Price (.com)
$9.13/year
WHOIS Privacy
Free
Registration Period
Up to 10 years
Support
Phone, email, chat

Why we chose this company: Porkbun is the best domain registrar for low prices due to its affordable domain renewal rates and the long list of extras it offers for free.

Porkbun is a small, ICANN-accredited domain registrar that stands out for its competitive prices and streamlined domain search tools. Aside from domains, it also offers web and email hosting.

Porkbun’s initial renewal and transfer rates are openly disclosed on its website without having to look high and low for them. With just a click on the site’s menu, you’re redirected to a list with all the available domain extension options and their respective prices.

A .com domain at Porkbun has a fixed rate of $9.13 a year, while other domain extensions have initial rates that start at $0.88 for the first year. In addition, every Porkbun domain comes with the following free features:

  • WHOIS privacy
  • SSL certificates
  • URL forwarding
  • Email forwarding
  • Site builder trial
  • Web hosting trial

Porkbun also offers an intuitive domain search bar. You can search for domains in bulk, limit your search to specific domain extensions and register up to 100 domains at once. This feature can be useful if you’re looking to register multiple domains.

Porkbun’s interface is simple and easy to use for most purposes. However, the lack of a step-by-step guide during domain setup can be a drawback for inexperienced users. That being said, Porkbun offers customer support over phone, email and live chat. It also has overwhelmingly positive customer reviews which, along with its affordable renewal rates, makes it a worthwhile option to consider.

Google Domains – Best For Ease of Use

  • Straightforward pricing with no renewal increase
  • Free privacy protection and DNS security
  • Business email available
  • Somewhat limited number of domain extensions
  • Doesn’t offer web hosting and SSL certificate
  • No bulk domain purchasing

HIGHLIGHTS

Starting Price (.com)
$12/year
Renewal Price (.com)
$12/year
WHOIS Privacy
Free
Registration Period
Up to 10 years
Support
Chat, email

Why we chose this company: We chose Google Domains as the best domain registrar for ease of use because it offers a simple and straightforward user interface.

If you’re looking for a domain registrar that’s all about simplicity and transparent pricing, Google Domains might be the one for you.

Unlike most registrars, Google Domains doesn’t overwhelm users with sales banners and upsells. Its pricing is straightforward: you pay the same entry-level rate — always. This means that your rate does not increase on renewal.

Rates are also considerably low, with popular domain extensions, such as .com, .info, .net, .org and .xyz, costing $12 a year. This is cheap compared to major competitors’ renewal rates. For instance, Domain.com initially charges $9.99 for a .com domain and then renews it at $15.99 a year.

With Google Domains, all domain names have free privacy protection, which means your contact information won’t be openly available on the WHOIS directory. Another good thing about Google Domains is that it’s simple to use and integrates well with other Google tools, making it easy to manage your domain from your Google account.

Google Domains doesn’t offer SSL certificates, however. If you want to encrypt the data that goes through your website, you have to get a certificate through a web host or a Certificate Authority such as Let’s Encrypt or Comodo.

Hostinger – Best Domain and Hosting Bundle

  • Competitive low prices
  • Free domain, SSL and email with premium web hosting plans
  • Data servers in four continents
  • No phone support
  • No dedicated web hosting

HIGHLIGHTS

Starting Price (.com)
$4.99/year
Renewal Price (.com)
$13.99/year
WHOIS Privacy
$5/year
Registration Period
Up to 3 years
Support
Chat, email

Why we chose this company: Hostinger is the best domain and hosting bundle because of its low-cost web hosting services, which include free domain registration.

Hostinger is a web-hosting company that offers reliable performance and affordable plans with plenty of useful features. Its hosting services include shared, cloud, VPS, cPanel and WordPress hosting. In addition, it provides domain registration and email hosting.

Hostinger has three shared hosting plan options: Single, Premium and Business, which range from $9.99 to $16.99 per month. However, the company offers promos throughout the year, letting you lock in rates from as little as $1.99 to $4.99 per month.

Renewal rates vary depending on the registration period. The longer you commit to a hosting plan the more affordable your renewal rate will be. For instance, the Single plan with a four-year commitment renews at $3.99, whereas the one-year plan renews at $5.99 per month.

All hosting plans include free SSL for encrypting website data, DNS protection and a free website migration. Additionally, the Premium and Business plan include a free domain for a year, email accounts, unlimited data transfers and enough processing power to handle up to 100,000 monthly visits. Premium and Business plans also let you host up to 100 websites, whereas the Single plan hosts one website only.

Hostinger charges extra for private registration or WHOIS privacy protection. However, a $5 yearly fee is fairly low when compared to hosting providers that charge up to $20 for this service. Another drawback is that Hostinger doesn’t offer customer support over the phone, meaning that inquiries and issues must be resolved via chat or email.

GoDaddy – Best Introductory Rates

  • Lots of domain extensions and hosting add-ons
  • Domain investing available
  • 24/7 customer support over phone and chat
  • Higher domain renewal prices
  • Expensive SSL security

HIGHLIGHTS

Starting Price (.com)
$0.01/ 1 year
Renewal Price (.com)
$19.99/year
WHOIS Privacy
Free
Registration Period
Up to 10 years
Support
Phone, text message, chat

Why we chose this company: GoDaddy features some of the steepest introductory discounts on the market, offering domain registers for as low as $0.01 for the first year.

GoDaddy is a widely known all-in-one domain registrar. It offers domain name registration, web hosting, email, e-commerce design, WordPress integration and domain broker services.

GoDaddy has over 500 domain extensions available and up to 100 different subdomains. Its domain search bar is easy to use and lets you search up to 2,000 domains at the same time. You can also use it to upload CSV or XLS files or paste a list of keywords to buy domains in bulk.

GoDaddy offers cheap introductory rates, which makes it a good option for short-term projects. For instance, you can find popular domain extensions, such as .com, .shop, .xyz, .store, for under $1 for the first year. However, some domains may require a two-year commitment.

Another perk is that all GoDaddy domains come with free privacy protection, meaning your personal information is kept anonymous in the public WHOIS directory.

Despite its very low initial rates, GoDaddy’s renewal rates are above average compared to most competitors. For instance, a GoDaddy .com domain renews at $19.99 per month. Domain.com and Porkbun, on the other hand, charge $15.99 and $9.13, respectively.

Another downside is that SSL security costs extra — and it isn’t a cheap add-on either. SSL certificates start at $63.99 and go up to $179.99 a year with a two-year term commitment. This can be a steep price for many users, although the higher level of security makes it worth considering.

NameSilo – Best for Buying Domains in Bulk

  • Free WHOIS privacy and email forwarding service
  • Free one-year coverage for transferred domains
  • Offers discounts when you register 50 domains or more at once
  • SSL certificate cost extra, starting at $9.59 a year
  • No phone support

HIGHLIGHTS

Starting Price (.com)
$9.95/year
Renewal Price (.com)
$9.95/year
WHOIS Privacy
Free
Registration Period
Up to 10 years
Support
Chat

Why we chose this company: NameSilo offers discounts for every 50 domains you buy at a time, which makes it the best domain registrar for buying domains in bulk.

If you’re into buying and reselling domain names or simply need to buy multiple domains at once, NameSilo is a great option to consider.

NameSilo offers over 400 domain extensions options for finding the best domain name. As with most registrars, it also offers web and email hosting, a website builder and WordPress integration. Where it really stands out is in its discounts for buying domains in bulk and its marketplace for buying and reselling domain names.

NameSilo has an advanced search tool that lets you filter your search by extension category, such as by most popular, business or real estate, or by top-level domains. You can look up to 500 domains at a time and even upload a domain list using a spreadsheet in .txt or .csv format.

NameSilo’s offers more affordable renewal rates than both Domain.com and GoDaddy. The company’s discounts increase for every 50 domains you buy. In addition, every NameSilo domain comes with:

  • WHOIS privacy
  • Email forwarding
  • Domain lock
  • Domain defender protection
  • Custom WHOIS records
  • DNS management

All registrants have access to NameSilos’ Marketplace, where they can invest in domains that haven’t been renewed or are listed by sellers. There you can buy domains, place bids in auctions or negotiate with sellers. You can also sell your own domains.

NameSilo has two main drawbacks: SSL certificates cost an additional $9.59 a year and it doesn’t offer phone support.

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Other companies we considered

Namecheap

  • Excellent bulk domain name search tool
  • Free WHOIS privacy, DNS and email forwarding
  • Good pricing compared to bigger competitors
  • SSL costs extra after first year
  • No phone support year

Network Solutions

  • Over 25 years of expertise
  • Can register a domain for 20 and 100 years
  • Offers web hosting and site builder services
  • Domain renewal rates and add-ons are more expensive than most competitors
  • SSL certificates cost extra

Hover

  • Free WHOIS domain privacy
  • Discounts on renewal fees when you own 10 domains or more
  • Customer support over phone and live chat
  • No SSL certificate
  • Doesn’t offer web hosting
  • Email forwarding costs extra

HostGator

  • Reputable web host provider with nearly 20 years in business
  • Free domain name and SSL certificate with hosting plans
  • 45-day money-back guarantee
  • 24/7 customer support over phone, chat and social media
  • Relatively high renewal rates
  • WHOIS privacy costs extra — $14.95 per year

Bluehost

  • Free domain name, SSL and content delivery network (CDN) with hosting plans
  • Free WordPress website migration
  • Endorsed by WordPress
  • High renewal rates
  • No uptime guarantees
  • No cloud hosting

DreamHost

  • Free privacy protection and subdomains
  • Free domain name and SSL with hosting plans
  • 97-day money-back guarantee
  • Limited customer support
  • Renewal rates aren’t openly available as with other hosting provider sites

Domain Registrar Guide

In this guide you’ll find information on what domain registrars are, how they work and the different types of domains they offer. It also covers key factors to consider when deciding which is the best domain registrar for your site.

What is a domain registrar?

A domain registrar is a company that lets you register and manage a domain name — that is, the address used to access a website. Choosing a domain registrar is the first step in creating a new website, since this is where you can “buy” a name for your site.

Having said that, technically, domain names can’t be bought: you can just lease them for a pre-established period of time. If you don’t renew your domain before it expires, it eventually returns to the registry and becomes available for other people to use.

Domain registrar vs. web hosting

Most domain registrars offer additional services, such as web hosting and site builders, which is why they are often mistaken with web host providers, as they provide similar services.

However, strictly speaking, a domain registrar is simply responsible for registering domain names; a web host, on the other hand,publishes your website and stores its data. (Note that some of the best web hosting companies do offer free domain name registration for the first year of service.)

While buying all these services from a single company can be a convenient and cost-effective option, buying a domain from a dedicated registrar has its benefits. These include:

  • Wider selection of domain extensions
  • Flexibility to transfer from one registrar (or web hosting service) to another, separately
  • Option to buy domains in bulk
  • Ease of managing various domain names at once
  • Access to specialized tools for each service

How does a domain registrar work?

Domain registrars should be accredited by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). Most, if not all, registrars let you search for available domain names on their websites and choose the type of domain you want.

The process is quite simple and similar to buying other kinds of products online. Once you choose and pay for your domain name, the registrar sends your information to a master database, known as a registry, where all domain names and information are stored. The registry will also share your information in a public database, called WHOIS.

The WHOIS is a publicly available internet directory that is regulated by ICANN and contains contact information for all domain name registrants. Stakeholders or anyone interested in knowing who the domain owner is can request the information via a WHOIS lookup.

Types of domains

A top-level domain (TLD), also known as domain extension, is the last segment of a domain name. There are over 400 different top-level domains, and we’re all familiar with some of the most popular ones, such as “.com”, “.org” and “.net”.

TLDs can help users know a website’s purpose, geographical area and other valuable information. For instance, domains ending in .edu let users know they’re visiting an educational site, while addresses ending in .gov indicate the site is owned by a U.S. government agency.

Understanding the different types of domain names can help you choose the perfect one for your website. Domain extensions are typically classified into three types:

  • Generic top-level domains: these are the most popular, which is why they’re called generic domains. They include .com, .net, .org, .blog, .info
  • Sponsored top-level domains: these are domains supervised by specific organizations, such as government agencies or businesses. Sponsored TLDs can only be acquired if your organization complies with ICANN particular requirements for these types of sites. These include .edu, .gov, .mil, .jobs, .travel.
  • Country code top-level domains: these are extensions for specific countries. Country code TLDs are a good option for companies that offer services in multiple locations around the world. They include .us, .uk, .es, .ca.

A .com domain might be your first choice because it’s widely known and easier for users to remember. However, do keep an open mind — it’s possible that the name you want is already taken or that a more specific name may help users better understand what your website is about.

Here’s a list of some common domain extensions you can use:

.com .co
.blog .app
.biz .tech
.net .io
.xyz .org
.shop .store
.info .site
.me .club
.online .inc

How to choose a domain registrar

Choosing a domain registrar may seem like an easy task, but there are a few factors you should consider before making a decision.

Verify ICANN accreditation

Domain registrars — including web hosts that offer domain registration — should be registered with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). Before signing up for a service, make sure to check the domain registrar you want is accredited.

Compare domain pricing and renewal rates

Be wary of promotional rates when choosing a domain registrar. Although many registrars offer low introductory prices when you first register a domain, renewal prices will often be far steeper.

For example, a registrar may offer a $0.99 introductory rate for the first year, but then charge between $10 and $20 on renewal.

Keep in mind that prices also vary depending on the type of domain extension you choose. Very popular domain extensions like .com, .net and .org, are generally more affordable than specialized extensions like .shop or .inc.

Lastly, make sure to check for additional fees, such as domain transfer fees, redemption fees and ICANN fees.

Check their available registration periods

Domain names can be registered for up to 10 years, with most registrars requiring initial registration terms of one to two years.

If you’re buying a domain name for a long-term project, consider getting the longest registration term available. This may save you money, since most registrars let you lock in the initial rate for the desired term.

Do note, however, that you need to pay the registration total upfront. If you choose a registration period of 10 years for a domain name that costs $6.99 per year, you’ll pay $69.90 when you check out.

Make sure they have the domain extensions you need

The best domain registrars offer a wide selection of domain extensions. They also offer access to dedicated search tools to help you find the right domain name.

For instance, registrars like Namecheap let you search up to 5,000 domains or keywords at once. Others let you register domains in bulk or give you different name and extension suggestions if the domain name you want is unavailable.

Check their domain transfer policies

Review the domain transfer policy before you buy a domain name. Although most registrars make it easy to transfer names between one another, this process can vary.

Look for registrars with a hassle-free transferring process and that don’t charge extra fees for unlocking your domain.

Keep in mind that new domains can’t be transferred during the first 60 days after registration.

Look for privacy protection

When you register a domain, you must provide your personal information, including your name, email, phone number and address. The ICANN requires that this information is kept in a public WHOIS directory.

Domain owners who want to keep their personal information private can choose WHOIS privacy protection. With this service, registrars keep your information secret, and instead list their own information in the WHOIS directory. This could prevent hackers and scammers from accessing your private information.

Some registrars charge a yearly fee for this service, which can range from $5 to $15. However, there are registrars, such as Google Domains, Namecheap and Porkbun, that offer free WHOIS privacy.

Check their security features

Most registrars offer a free domain lock to prevent hijacking or unauthorized domain transfers to another registrar. This security feature can typically be activated by toggling on the domain’s block option in your account settings.

Registrars also offer Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificates, which encrypt all information transmitted to and from your website. Sites with an SSL certificate have URLs that start with the prefix “https” and show a padlock icon in the search bar. SSL encryption lets browsers and users know your page is secure and trustworthy.

SSL certificates are recommended for most websites, but it’s especially important if your website asks users for credit card information, login credentials or personal information.

Most domain registrars charge a fee for adding SSL certificates, ranging from $20 to $300 a year. However, some registrars, like Porkbun, offer free SSL certificates.

(To learn more about cybersecurity, check out our articles on how to protect yourself online and identity theft protection.)

Ensure it has DNS management tools

Your registrar should have intuitive domain management tools, including easy access to domain lock, two-factor authentication and Domain Name System (DNS) management.

The DNS is like a contact list, only that, instead of linking names with phone numbers, it matches domain names with IP addresses. The DNS lets web browsers connect to the right website when you type a URL into the search bar.

DNS management tools let you monitor DNS records and ensure they’re pointing to the correct domain name. Some also let you add a secondary DNS and check for errors. These tools can be useful if you are managing more than one domain name at a time.

Consider their add-on services

Most domain registrars provide additional services that can be bundled with your registration. Some of these services include:

  • Web hosting
  • Website builder
  • Online store builder
  • WordPress hosting
  • Professional email address
  • Email forwarding
  • Marketing tools

In some instances, bundling these services may help you save money — but that’s not always the case. Shop around and compare prices before making a decision. Some web host providers, such as Hostinger and Bluehost, offer free domain names for a year when you subscribe to a hosting plan.

Do note that keeping these services separate gives you the flexibility of changing web hosting providers or registrars separately. In addition, dedicated web hosting often provides more reliable performance and advanced tools to administer your site.

Check out their customer support options

Most registrars offer domain support over phone, live chat or email. If this is your first website, make sure to look for registrars that offer phone support so you can have trained staff help you set up your account.

Additionally, some registrars may offer priority support for an additional fee.

How to choose a domain name

Your domain name will form an impression on users, which is why picking the right one is so important. Here are some tips to help you choose a domain name.

  • Keep it short, memorable and marketable. Your domain name should be short, unique and easy to pronounce. If users can remember your domain, chances are they’ll share it and return to your site more often. If possible, keep your domain name under 14 characters.
  • Choose a credible domain extension. The most common domain name extension is .com, along with .net and .org. Try and stick to a .com domain. It’s the one that most users automatically type in when searching for a website. If a .com domain is not available, consider other popular domain extensions such as .blog, .shop, .inc, .xyz, .online. Just make sure your selection matches your website and brand.
  • Don’t make it too specific. Domain names that are too specific may limit you if you eventually decide to expand your site’s services. For instance, a domain name like iphonecovers.com may sound like a smart choice for an online store that sells iPhone covers, but will be limiting if you eventually decide to start selling other items.
  • Avoid non-letter characters. Domain names with double letters, hyphens and other non-letter characters, such as numbers, symbols and punctuation marks, are prone to be mistyped and misremembered. When users don’t remember your site name correctly, they’re likely to end up on another site or with an error message, which may result in lost traffic.
  • Research your domain name history. Verify whether the domain name you want is also available in social media. You can also do a trademark search to see if your domain name has been trademarked. Tools like the Wayback Machine also let you check if your domain name has ever been used.
  • Use a domain name generator. If you’re short on name ideas, consider using a domain name generator. Sites like Domain Wheel and Nameboy help you find new domain names simply by typing a few keywords. Some of the best domain name registrars also offer this service.

Domain Registrar FAQ

A domain name is a site’s address or the URL you type in the address bar when you want to visit a page. Domain names make it easier to find pages online because they’re memorable. Otherwise, users would have to type a unique numerical label known as an IP address, which can be difficult to remember.

How to buy a domain name.

You can buy a domain name directly from a standalone domain registrar or a web hosting provider. Both registrars and web hosts let you check if the desired domain name is available and how much it would cost to purchase it. You can typically choose from various types of domains such as .com, .org or .blog.

DNS stands for Domain Name System or Domain Name Servers. DNS translates domain names into IP addresses leading browsers to the right website. Basically, the DNS is like a directory that contains IP addresses and their corresponding domain names. It’s the protocol that allows you to use a domain name — say, Google.com — instead of the list of numbers that is an IP address.

How much does a domain name cost?

The price of a domain name varies depending on the registrar and domain extension you choose. Domain names with popular domain extensions, such as .com, .net and .org, typically cost $10 to $20 a year. However, domain names with more specific extensions, such as .store, .shop, .inc and .auto, can cost anywhere from $30 to over $2,000 a year.

What happens when a domain name expires?

Most registrars notify customers before their domain expires or automatically renew their registration. However, if the domain isn’t set for auto-renewal or you fail to renew it before the expiration date, your domain will stop functioning and could eventually be auctioned off.

There’s typically a grace period during which you can buy the domain back without incurring in additional fees, with most registrars offering 30 days. If you don’t renew during the grace period, your domain will then be up for auction.

If there are no bidders, you may still be able to buy the domain by paying the renewal fee and a redemption fee before the domain is returned to the original registry.

How We Evaluated the Best Domain Registrars

We evaluated over 20 different domain registrars, including web host providers that offer domain registration. We based our final decision on the following criteria:

  • Pricing: We compared each registrar’s offering with their introductory prices and domain renewal fees and chose those that offered the best value.
  • Domain extensions: We looked for registrars with a wide selection of domain extensions and user-friendly domain search tools.
  • Privacy and security: We favored domain registrars that offered paid (or free) WHOIS privacy, SSL certificates, DNS management tools and other free security features, such as domain lock and two-factor authentication.
  • Customer support: It’s important to have someone to help you when in doubt, which is why we favored registrars with phone and live chat support.

Summary of Money’s Best Domain Registrar

By AKDSEO