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Best domain name registrar

Every great website needs a snappy, memorable domain name. Coming up with something new is a serious challenge, but once inspiration strikes, you’ll need to register that name with a domain name registrar before you can use it online.

Registration isn’t difficult, but first you must choose from the hundreds of companies competing for your business, and there are several things for you to consider before signing the virtual dotted line.

How to choose the perfect domain registrar

  • Pricing structures can be complicated. A low headline figure could become expensive on renewal, for instance. Prices vary between domain extensions, too, so a registrar that offers great value for a .com domain might give you a poor deal on when it comes to .org.
  • There may be extra costs for tasks like transferring your domain to another registrar, too. Read the small print before you sign up.
  • Look for any bundled or optional extras. A Whois privacy service prevents your address, phone number and email address appearing as public contact details for the domain, something which could otherwise get you a significant amount of spam email and phone calls. We’ve seen this cost as much as $11.20 a year, but several registrars provide it for free.
  • Many domain registrars offer hosting as an extra, but keep in mind that web hosting companies can also register domains. If you have an idea of which web host you’d like to use, check the details of its plans: you may be able to register a domain for free when you buy hosting, and that’s often the cheapest option.
  • Finally, take a look at the support a registrar offers. You may never need any help at all, but if anything critical crops up – maybe an issue which might cause a problem with renewal – it’s important that your provider is on hand to ably assist. 
  • Balancing all these priorities can be tricky, so that’s why we’ve created this list of top domain registrars to help point you in the right direction. 

1. Domain.com

Versatile provider that provides excellent value for money

Free website builder with domain purchase

Best prices restricted to longer subscriptions.

With a name like Domain.com, the EIG-owned brand, means business, focusing primarily on small and medium businesses. It offers most popular top level domains and over 25 country code top level domains and also sells premium domains as a broker.

With nearly two decades of online presence, the company – which is one of the world’s biggest domain name registrars – expanded in web hosting and now ranges a number of products including a website builder, a full design service and web hosting.

Domain.com prices tend to be average but we have managed to blag a 25% discount off almost everything in your cart*. Non-premium TLD (.Club, .Men, .Win etc) start from $2.99 for the first year ($2.24 with our code). In line with the rest of the industry, they rise significantly after the second year).

You need to pay for privacy protection, a reasonable $8.99, plus you can add email, web hosting, SSL certificates and malware protection, none of which is compulsory. You can stick with its basic website builder which is free with every domain: you get a drag and drop website builder, tons of mobile-friendly templates, up to six pages, SEO tools, Paypal integration and even access to stock image library.

Support is more than adequate with 24/7 chat, email and phone support. Domain.com may not have the cheapest prices but it provides with a very balanced offering.

*All renewals after the initial discounted period will be charged at the then current standard list price for the selected period. Coupon is not valid with sunrise registrations, landrush registrations, EAP registrations, pre-registrations, premium registrations, renewals, transfers, custom website design, other coupons, or special pricing.

2. GoDaddy

A big-name provider, but look out for those prices

Loads of hosting add-ons

Telephone support

High prices

Web giant GoDaddy is the world’s biggest domain registrar, currently managing more than 75 million domains for 17 million customers around the globe.

The company is well-known for its low headline prices, and it’s the same story here, for instance,  .co domain is available for $1.99 in year one. On the other hand .com and .org are less impressive (though still apparently cheap) starting at $12.17. Beware, though: these aren’t the bargains they initially seem.

The first catch is that GoDaddy’s starting prices only apply if you pay for two years upfront, and the second year is significantly more expensive (.com rises to $18.17, .uk and .co.uk domains are $12, .org and .mobi are ridiculously high, $21.17 for .org and $26.17 for .mobi – at the moment, first year for .mobi is $7.17, due to an offer). 

The second problem is that there are no bundled extras, so adding something like Whois privacy – a valuable service often included for free with other providers – costs $8 a month for year one, and $10 on renewal.

There’s clearly much better value to be had elsewhere, but GoDaddy may still appeal to web beginners looking for a bundled hosting and domain registration deal. The company has an array of products covering every possible requirement, with telephone support if you need it, and buying your domain and hosting from the same provider will make life a little easier.

Just keep in mind that other providers can also combine hosting and domain registration, and GoDaddy may not provide the best package for you. Check out our various hosting guides for possible alternatives.

3. Hover

Quick, easy, and Whois privacy comes free

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