You have decided to start your own website and you already know which domain you want to register. Now you need to decide which domain registrar you will use for registering your domain. This article will tell you how to choose the best domain registrar in 2019.
What Is A Domain Name Registrar
A domain name registrar is a company that has been accredited by ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers). Even though each ICANN-accredited registrar has to fulfill various requirements before it get can the accreditation, not all registrars offer the same quality of service. Some registrars allow registering various TLDs (top-level domains) like .com, .org, .net while other allow registering just .com or ccTLD (Country Code Top Level Domain) like .cz for the Czech Republic or .uk for the United Kingdom. Of course, the decisive factor for many will be the pricing, but as you will learn in this article, pricing is not all you should take into account when choosing a domain registrar.
If you are interested in learning how to choose the best domain, you can read this article: How To Choose A Domain Name (Ultimate Guide 2019)
How To Choose The Best Domain Registrar
Now let’s get to the list of 5 things which you should consider when choosing your domain registrar. The list below is not ordered based on the importance as that would be quite subjective. What is them most important to me does not necessarily have to be the most important to you.
1. Live Chat Support
Registering a domain and connecting it to your hosting (if your domain registrar and hosting provider is different) is pretty straightforward and so most of the time you will not need to reach out to the registrar's support. However, if you ever run into any difficulties, you need to have support which you can count on. There is nothing worse than having an issue with your website and not having professional and easily accessible customer support which would help you out.
I have reached out to customer support multiple times over the years and on many different domain registrars. I will tell you later in this article which registrars have great live chat support.
As a rule of thumb, never register a domain at a registrar which doesn’t have online chat support. Online chats are standard now and most of the domain registrars have them, but there are still some which have only support over phone or e-mails. If you have a pressing issue which needs to be solved as soon as possible, e-mails and phones are just not the way to go. Not to mention that phoning can be quite pricey if your domain is registered at a foreign registrar which does not have toll-free customer phone support.
Pricing of domains can be quite tricky and confusing as almost all domain registrars offer various special discounts and offers. You should be careful about the pricing since you will be paying continuously for keeping the domain – it’s not a one-time payment. Registering a domain from a domain registrar is like leasing it for a certain number of years. You only have the rights to use your domain until the lease period ends. If you don’t renew your domain after the lease period ends, you will lose it. I suppose that you want to build a website that lasts so you should always look at the price which you will pay after the first discounted year.
3. Additional Services
When you are starting your new website, you are thinking solely about getting the best deal for registering a domain. But if your serious about building a successful business (which you are), then you have to think ahead as you will need more than just a domain. You will also need at least SSL certificate and business email address so it’s better to make sure that your registrar provides these additional services. Especially if you want to register your domain and buy your hosting from the same provider.
4. Domain Transfers
When you register a domain at a particular registrar, it doesn’t mean that you have to stick with it. For various reasons, you may want to transfer your domain to a different registrar. For instance, you may want to change your registrar because of the rising prices (when you transfer your domain, you pay the new registrar) or maybe you bought hosting from a different provider than your domain name and now you want to transfer the website to the same provider so that you have domain and hosting in one place.
You will always be able to transfer your domain to a different registrar. The question is, how much it will cost you as all registrars charge a fee for domain transfers. If you stick with the big companies, you don’t have to worry that it will cost a lot. Expect to pay between $7-$15 for a domain transfer of the most popular TLDs (.com, org). For the less common TLDs, expect to pay a bit more. If you want to register your domain at some lesser-known registrar, be sure to check how much they charge for transfers.
5. User Interface
If you have never registered any domain before, it’s good to go with a registrar that has a user-friendly dashboard. Once you are in the dashboard, you should immediately know from where to edit domain settings, transfer domains, etc. Over the years, I have had a chance to try 6 different registrars and you would be surprised how many times I had difficulty finding what I needed. Some registrars have just horrible interface.
You may be asking how can you learn which registrar has a good user interface and which doesn’t. Logically, you get the access to the dashboard once you register your domain so you can’t really test it out first. If you decide to go with the big companies like Bluehost, GoDaddy, NameCheap or Hostgator, you don’t have to worry about it as they all invested a lot of money into their user interface. However, if you decide to go with some smaller registrar, be sure to do at least some google searches to find some images and references.
Best Domain Registrars
My two favorite domain registrars are Bluehost and GoDaddy. You will not go wrong, choosing either one of them. Both companies have a good reputation and they meet all the above-mentioned criteria for choosing a domain registrar. They have great support, good pricing and all the additional services you could ever need. It is also easy to transfer domains from them and their user interface is very easy to navigate.
Bluehost has awesome live chat support. Every time I contacted them, their support was very nice and helpful and I also never waited long for someone to get connected.
Advantage of getting a domain on Bluehost is that you can get your domain for free if you also sign up for their hosting account. Since I like Bluehost hosting and have a great experience with it as well, I sign up for their hosting and get a free domain which is great.
I also like their sleek dashboard which makes it easy to find everything you need.
Free domain if bought with hosting
Domain price: $11.99 per year
Renewal price: $15.99 per year
GoDaddy has also very good live chat support, but you often have to wait in line for some time before getting connected. From my experience, it’s usually around 10-30 minutes which is not that bad.
GoDaddy has many promotional codes which can be found all over the internet. You can get a domain name very inexpensively with their promo codes. However, remember that the promo price applies only for the first year. After the first year, you will pay their full price which is a bit higher.
GoDaddy interface is also very nice and you will not get lost finding anything.
Domain price: $12.99 per year
Renewal price: $18.99 per year
Choosing a good registrar is just as important as choosing a great domain name. If you decide to go with the bigger companies, you can’t go wrong. If you decide to go with some smaller and less established registrars, I would recommend doing some research first. You may save a few bucks on domain registration, but you have no guarantee that the registrars will have all you need.