What is the best Domain Registrar in 2021?
Are you searching for the best affordable domain registrar for your website? Then, the most affordable Namecheap domain registrar is the one to consider for long-term registration. You get free forever privacy protection along compared to most domain registrars out there. Domain.com and DreamHost are the best alternatives registrars.
Last updated: 12th October 2021
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What makes the best domain registrar? Reliability, transparency, and trust are the three main things to look for in a domain registrar. Then make sure that there’re no hidden fees.
After reviewing hundreds of domain registrars, I’ve narrowed the list down to the top three domain registrars. This guide will make it easy for you to choose one of the best three services that fit best your needs.
Before we jump into each review, keep in mind that there’re two types of organizations that are legit to register a domain name on your behalf. A domain registrar is the first organization accredited by ICANN. It usually offers the cheapest domain registration service option compared to a reseller. Then a reseller is another type of organization that sells a domain registration on behalf of a domain registrar. Thus, resellers are likely to charge an extra fee for each registration.
How to identify a domain registration reseller? It’s not that straightforward to identifying a reseller as they do not usually advertise themselves as domain resellers. However, you can get away by staying aware of the prices, especially its renewal fees.
Top 3 Best Domain Registrar
+ .com $9.99 /year and Privacy Protection $8.99 /year
+ Reliable & No hidden fees
+ Long term plan up to 5 years
+ Free Domain Transfer
+ Renewal fee $13.99 /year
+ .com $6.98 /year & Privacy forever Free forever.
+ Reliable & Transparent
+ Free Domain Transfer
+ Renewal fee $12.98
+ Up to 10 years Registration
+ .com $7.99 /year & Privacy & Protection Free
+ Reliable & No hidden fees
+ Transfer is $9.99 for .com
+ Renewal fee $15.99
+ Long term plan up to 3 years
Domain.com is the best domain registrar in the industry operating for over 2 decades. These many years of experience make them one of the most reliable and popular domain registrars worldwide. They’ve got a strong everlasting customer relationship providing the best service across the board to continue impressing their customers.
Their transparency in terms of pricing makes them my favorite. There are no hidden fees that will surprise you upon your next renewal. It allows you to lock the best price on a 5-year term and set the automatic renewal. This automatic setup prevents the risk of losing your domain name in case you forget to renew it.
Benefits and Features:
- Price & Reservation Period: Up to 5 years registration | .COM US$9.99 /year & .NET US$12.99 /year
- Transfer Lock Security: Yes
- Email and URL Forwarding: Yes
- DNS Control: Yes
- Accredited by ICANN: Yes
- Domain Transfer: Free Domain transfer
- Renewal Fee: US$13.99 /year
- Customer Support: 24/7/365 Support
All domain name comes with a free SSL encryption for security. However, Privacy Protection with Domain.com comes at an extra cost of $8.99 per year. Though it’s an additional fee, it’s worth the price to get this protection. It will keep your data off public records.
Domain transfer is easy, you only need to unlock the transfer lock from your current registrar. Domain.com will take care of the transfer. Besides, there’s no extra fee, you only pay for the new registration.
Its Domain search engine is super easy to use. It takes less than a minute to register a new domain. The search engine list a set of available TLD extension for you to consider. You can find the most common TLD extensions as well as 25 countries ccTLDs (Country Code Top Level Domains). Along with the TLDs option, the search result offers alternative name suggestions in case the domain name is already been taken.
While walking through the check-out process, domain.com tries to pitch in numerous add-ons like G Suite, Website Builder, Web Hosting, COMODO SSL, and Sitelock. You can opt out of those that you don’t really need.
Overall, Domain.com is best for most people looking for a reliable domain registrar for their website.
Namecheap is managing over ten million domains serving over two million customers worldwide. With so many customers trusting its service, makes them another one of the most reliable domain registrars after domain.com.
As the name implies, Namecheap offers the most affordable domain name registration for only $8.88 per year for a .COM extension. The price is a bit less than its competitor.
They are one of the few domain registrars that let customers reserve a domain name for up to 10 years from the first registration.
Quick overview of its features:
- Domain Price .COM US$6.98 /year & .NET
US$12.98[Special offer: US$10.98]
- Up to 10 years Reservation Period.
- Free Forever Privacy Protection
- Extensive Knowledge base
- Full DNS Control
- 24/7 Live Chat Support
- Accredited by ICANN
- No extra charges for domain transfer
Searching for a domain name through their website is easy. They’ve got a simple reliable search tool where you type in the name and hit search. The search result list over 400+ TLDs including your domain name for you to choose from. If you are looking for a custom TLD, it can also be requested through their website. However, custom TLDs take time to be available.
Unlike Domain.com, Namecheap offers free-forever Privacy Protection in exchange for a small fee of $3.88 per year for the SSL Certificate.
An SSL Certificate is a must-have feature. It protects user’s information from phishing scams and attacks. If you decide to go for Namecheap make sure you include SSL in your plan.
In case you want to transfer your domain, it’s free. You only pay for the registration and you have it.
Namecheap is what you need to save some money in the long term. A .COM domain extension cost around $6.98 per year at a renewal fee of up to $12.98. You can even lock the price for a period of 10 years and set the auto-renewal option so you never lose your domain name.
Overall, Namecheap is the cheapest domain registrar with many years of experience.
DreamHost is typically known as one of the most reliable month-to-month web hosting plans. Their web hosting plans offer 1-year free domain name registration for beginners with a low budget.
If you are only after a domain name, their first-year registration is ridiculously cheap. You can even lock that low price and forget it on a 3-year plan with the auto-renewal setting.
DreamHost Features & Benefits:
- Web Hosting Shared Starter plan + Free Domain registration US$ 2.59 /month
- Unlimited Traffic
- Free SSL Certificate
- 1 Website
- Live Chat Support
- Accredited by ICANN
When it comes to TLDs, DreamHost offers a full list of options to pick from.
In general, DreamHost’s main business is web hosting. So, it is expected not to find the domain search tool directly from their landing page. However, if you access “Domains” option from the main menu, everything is straightforward. From there you can pick the domain extension that you like to begin the search.
The price of a domain name with the .COM extension starts at $6.99 per year at a renewal fee of $15.99. Cheaper than Namecheap and Domain.com for the first year. If you opt for the 3-year plan, it will cost you only $38.97. Privacy Protection is their default-free option so you don’t have to worry about extra charges. You can set the auto-renewal and forget about renewing each year.
In case you ever need any assistance, they’ve got an awesome 24/7 customer support team.
Overall, their bundle basic package month-to-month web hosting with a free domain name is ideal for beginners with a low budget.
Sign up with DreamHost Web Hosting plan to enjoy a Free 1-year Domain Name!
A domain registrar is a company that handles the registration of domain names and the assignment of IP addresses to each domain name. Technically, a domain name is bind to an IP address. Instead of memorizing some numeric IP addresses, the domain name makes it easier.
Now, don’t mix a domain registrar with a domain registry. They are 2 separate entities.
A domain registry is an organization that manages TLDs (top-level domains) like (.com, .net, .org) will get to that part as we walk along. The domain registry is managed by the IANA (Internet Assigned Numbers Authority) a department of the ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) which is a global organization that takes care of processes and databases to support the internet.
When registering a domain name, ICANN gives permission to the domain registrar to store all your information in a centralized database called the registry.
Here’s the hierarchy to make it easier.
The direct answer to this is you can’t own a domain name. A domain name works the same way as leasing a property for a period of time. Registrars offer customers the opportunity to lease those names for a limited amount of time.
Though you can reserve a domain name for a maximum of ten years, the registrar usually lets users keep renewing their reservation for an indefinite time.
In reality, you’ll never own the domain.
Upon the registration of a domain name with a domain registrar, you must fill in the WHOIS information for that domain. The WHOIS information will contain your personal detail like names, email addresses, home addresses, and phone numbers.
To protect this information from public eyes, you have the option to select private registration also called “Privacy & Protection”. Privacy & Protection usually comes at an extra cost. If you opt to get the Privacy & Protection which I highly recommend, the registrar will then provide its own information in the WHOIS listing instead of yours. In other words, the registrar will act as a proxy for the registrant.
TLD stands for “top-level domain”. As an easy explanation, “myinfinitysource.com” is the domain name where the “.com” is the TLD. As we were going through this guide, a domain name is linked to an IP address which is a unique series of numbers that allows a computer to access stored website data. Rather than memorizing those numbers, the domain name comes in handy.
Along with the website address, there are those letters at the end which are known as its top-level domain (TLD). These TLDs help to identify the domain name associated with it, such as the location it was created in, its purpose, or the organization.
For example, .fr for France, .biz for businesses and .com for commercial websites.
The most popular TLD is .com. But there’re many others available like .info, .org, .inc, this list is endless.
Finding a domain registrar is easy with a quick search on Google, but you’ll end up with a never-ending list. Unfortunately, not all registrars have the license to sell any domain name extensions (like .it, .de, .fr). Something that you want to keep an eye on.
Registrars may also offer different services along with the domain name registration such as Web hosting plan or VPN services, etc. You can also find some that offer cheap domains while other offers free domain name for the first year to attract customers.
- Price and Reservation period
- Domain Transfer
- SSL Certificate
- Privacy Protection
- Customer Support
1) Price and Reservation
Most Domain registrar offers the first year of registration at a low price to attract customers. However, this is not usually in your favor when renewing the subscription. The renewal fees are usually high.
A reliable domain registrar lets its customers lock the best price on a long-term commitment. For example, you can reserve the price of $8.88 on a 10-year plan with Namecheap. That’s a guarantee to keep the same price for ten years.
Some Domain registrar allows up to 5-year plan whereas others offer up to 3 years.
If ever you buy a domain at a very low introductory price, the best option is to transfer the domain to another registrar like domain.com or Namecheap to avoid an inflated renewal fee.
2) Domain Transfer & Fee
It’s possible to transfer a domain name from one domain registrar to another. This option is available in case you aren’t so happy with your current domain registrar.
When signing up with a domain registrar, make sure that Domain transfer is available.
Some domain registrar offers free transfers while others may apply some additional charges to discourage customers from transferring their domains.
3) Security – SSL Certificate
A security breach is a legal issue and any customer data breach may result in substantial legal repercussions for the company. An SSL certificate protects user information from phishing scams & attacks.
Make sure you have an SSL certificate included in any plan you are getting today.
4) Privacy Protection
When registering a domain name, you must provide your personal details there’s no way around this. The domain registrar will take your details and store them in the registry on your behalf which will be part of the public record.
With privacy protection, it masks your information, like email, address, and phone numbers from public records. WHOIS will only display the data of your domain registrar instead of yours.
Most domain registrar offers the WHOIS Privacy option for you to select when registering the domain name. If they don’t, you better off finding another registrar. While some domain registrar offers this service at no cost, others may also charge you an extra fee.
5) Customer Support
You may never need customer support from a domain registrar, but it becomes very helpful in the event of issues with your renewal. You want to get it resolved in no time to avoid losing your domain name.
- Email: Having an email account following your domain name looks professional. (<name>@yourdomainname.com). Some domain registrars offer free email accounts whereas others only provide email forwarding.
- Domain Lock: Most domain registrars offer this feature also called “Transfer Lock”. This feature simply prevents anyone from transferring your domain. Watch out for this one.
- DNS management tools: DNS (Domain name system) records are stored in databases called nameservers. This is used to tell the web browsers where to find your websites. You may need to update the DNS records from time to time.
- Two-Factor Authentication: For security purposes, I recommend getting this feature. This gives an extra layer of protection to your account. As the name implies, it’s a double authentication to make sure that someone can’t hack your account with a stolen username/password. The second factor of authentication could be a text message sent to one of your trusted devices.
At the end of the day, what’s important is getting the domain name and extension you want at a reasonable price that includes protection and security. As long as you follow these recommendations, you are in good hands.
On the other hand, DreamHost is excellent for beginners offering a free domain name for the first year and free Privacy Protection with a Web Hosting plan.