If you intend to create a new website, you will need a name for that website. It is the domain. In the world of Internet and websites, you just cannot come up with any name you wish. If your chosen name already exists, you cannot have that name unless you purchase the name from the person who has already acquired it.
If a duplicate name cannot exist, it simply means that there must be a database of already registered names against which your chosen name is cross-checked.
But who will do that all? Who will check your select name against the database? Who will register your selected name and put it on the register? This is where comes the domain registrars. These are organizations that are responsible for registering domain names and managing them.
All the domain names that you see on the web are registered with some or the other domain registrar. You just cannot get a domain name without registering one through one such registrar.
Now here is the thing – just like hundreds of web hosting providers, there are hundreds of domain registrars. Of course, some companies offer both domain registration services and hosting services. It is just a matter of choice whether:
- You register your domain from the same company from where you purchased hosting.
- Your domain registrar and your hosting provider are different.
There are arguments in favor and against both the situations. I am not going to dive into those arguments here. If you want, I can write another piece for you.
Now, let us go through the list of the most popular domain registrars that are cheap and offer an excellent interface to work with for managing your domains. Later in this article, we can discuss some important questions that you must learn before you head over to a registrar’s website.
Sounds good? Let us begin!
Beast Cheap Domain Registrars
Domain.com is by far one of the most popular and one of the oldest registrars you will come across.
This company will allow registering all top-level domains known as TLDs. You can even register country code top-level domains known as ccTLDs. There domain search feature is simple and allows you to look for your desired domain name.
It will even show you many premium domains. Premium domains are those that are made of common words used by people on a day-to-day basis. For instance, fun.com will most likely be a premium domain because ‘fun’ is a daily use word.
If you have money, you can always go for premium domains, but they are just too expensive.
Anyway, coming back to the point, Domain.com will give you all the necessary tools you need for managing your domains. Whether you want to transfer your domain using a secret code or want to direct your domain to a different nameserver – everything is possible.
Once you register a domain with them, you are entitled to get whois privacy protection. There will be provisions for bulk registration, free whois lookup, email forwarding, and more. They also offer web hosting services. Just in case you want to keep your hosting and domain in the same place, you can check them out.
However, I will never recommend purchasing a hosting from them. There are way better hosting providers.
Their customer service is solid, and you can contact them through emails and live chat.
They are another very popular domain name registrar in this world. I personally register half of all my domains through them. I even use their hosting platform, which is grown to be a really powerful and a reliable one in the hosting space.
Namecheap allows you to register all TLDs and an extensive range of other domain extensions. However, do keep in mind that it will not allow every time of domain extension. For instance, you cannot register .ooo domains from them.
They provide a nice interface for domain management with all necessary tools like domain transfer, bulk domain registration, privacy lock and more.
Even Namecheap will offer you premium domains if you wish to purchase them. If you are looking for a domain name registrar that also gives solid hosting, Namecheap is definitely one of the options you can rely on.
Privacy protection is free with Namecheap. You never have to pay for that service. If you want to transfer your existing domain to them, you can do that too! They even offer premium DNS for additional cost.
#3. Only Domains
This is a name that recently came to my notice. In fact, it is so new that you will not get the mention of this provider frequently. This new organization will allow you to register an awful lot of TLD domains. You can even use their platform to pre-register for yet to be released TLDs.
What I like about Only Domains is the ultra-neat platform with super-easy domain management interface. They give you everything you need to register and manage your domains. Domain transfer is easy. You can even purchase domains in bulk.
Only Domains also offers WordPress hosting. I have never tried it out and so, I cannot vouch for their services. If you want to try them, be their guest!
It is very likely that you have already heard about this provider. They are one of the largest domain registrars on the planet and they even offer hosting services. While their hosting services are not the best in class, you can happily register your domains with GoDaddy.
In case you want to purchase aged domains, or you want to get your hands over popular but already registered domains, you can always visit their auction marketplace where you will find thousands of domains put on sale. Some are about to expire while other are their because their owners just want to sell them.
The domain management interface of GoDaddy is a robust one. You can perform all tasks like nameserver updates, domain transfer, contact information updates, and everything else related to your domains. GoDaddy manages 77+ million domains! That’s a big number. Very soon they will be hitting the 1 billion mark, which will be a new milestone for the company.
You must be knowing this provider as a web hosting company. Indeed, they are! And in fact, they are one of the best options you will get today. However, they are not restricted to web hosting only. They too, offer domain registration services.
It is not necessary that you purchase your hosting account from them. You can get away by purchasing only a domain name. However, Bluehost does not have a long list of TLDs to offer. The choices will be very limited and if you want to get some unique TLD, that will not be possible.
If you are happy with what they have to offer, you can always go ahead and purchase a domain. Their domain management interface is quite robust, and it will give you all the tools necessary to successfully manage your domains.
#6. Network Solutions
Network Solutions has a whopping 7 million domains under their belt, making them one of the largest domain registrars to exist. Of course, it is nowhere close to GoDaddy, but hey, 7 million is not a small number.
Apart from offering domain registration services, they also offer web hosting solutions and SEO services, business emails and more. Essentially, they are a one-stop solutions you can count on.
As far as domain registration is concerned, they will provide everything you need to manage your domains. You also get things like whois privacy, private domain registration.
Namesilo is among one of the cheapest providers offering free privacy protection with all your purchases. However, do remember that you need to opt it in during checkout. Privacy protection will not be included by default. Their domain registration charges are quite low compared to other popular providers, but renewals will attract more price.
They will give you all the tools you will need for managing your domains. From DNS management area to whois privacy protection to email forwarding – there is everything you will ever need.
101Domain will offer a very large selection of TLDs to purchase. They even offer DNSSEC, DNS, and DDoS protection. You can not only purchase new domains from them, but you can also transfer your domains from another registrar to them.
Domain registration is just one of the many services that they offer. They also have hosting solutions and even offer Google Workspace subscriptions. They also have their own email hosting, and hence, if you need emails, you can purchase directly from them. Their domain management tools are very powerful, allowing easy management of domain nameservers, transfers and so on.
#9. Google Domains
Not mentioning Google Domains in this list will be an injustice. Unlike many other providers, Google Domains will not offer hosting solutions. You can always register your domains with Google Domains and get your hosting from someone else.
In case you want, you can get hosting from Google Cloud Platform, which happens to be a completely different service from their domain registration services. If you purchase domains through Google Domains, you can easily connect your domains to the variety of Google services like Google Workspace, Google Search Console and so on.
Not that you cannot do the same if you have domains registered with other providers, but yes, when you have domains registered through Google, connecting with Google services becomes quite easy.
If you use Google Domains, you will get Google powered DNS, along with other services like domain transfer, free privacy protection, and so on.
However, do remember that if you intend to engage in blackhat SEO or greyhat SEO, purchasing domains from Google might not be a great idea. Google, however, offers various interesting features like one-click DNSSEC, email forwarding, 2-step verification, and so on.
Gandi is slightly expensive for common TLDs like .com, .net, .org, etc. If you are lucky enough, you will get a promo offer running. At the time of this writing, they have promo offers on .org, .club, .eu, .me, .online, .shop, .info and more. You will get 700+ extensions to work with.
They have sleek domain management interface that will allow you to manage your domains from multiple devices and they even throw in two email boxes with each domain you register with them.
Gandi.net is not just about domain registration. They are a full-scale hosting provider as well with support for WordPress and Prestashop hosting. They even have cloud hosting, shared hosting, VPS hosting and even IaaS servers.
Oh yes, that is a real name! Porkbun will allow you to register domains at competitive prices. They also have web hosting solutions, but it is not necessary to purchase hosting from them. What is interesting is that you can available free hosting for your WordPress site with Porkbun. Yes! That is absolutely free self-hosted WordPress solution completely different from WordPress.com. However, to get their free hosting, you must agree to certain conditions like your website will have Porkbun favicon and ‘powered by Porkbun’ footer. Additionally, there will be some ads that you cannot remove.
I won’t say that is an ideal solution, but if you are low on funds, you can start with that and later when your website grows, you can upgrade to a paid plan.
They also have a marketplace where you can purchase domains offered by third parties. It is something similar to what GoDaddy has to offer.
Registration prices with Porkbun are guite reasonable and almost close to the industry norms. So, you won’t see a big difference.
They only offer domain registration and email hosting. So, if you are looking for an all-in-one solution with hosting services too, Hover is not the right solution. What is interesting is that the company offers something called Hover Connect that helps with site hosting and building within a matter of minutes. They will throw in a free whois privacy protection with each domain you register with them.
The pricing structure is slightly on the higher end but the maximum difference you will notice is up to $2 per domain when compared against major providers like Domain.com, Namecheap.com and so on.
Overall, Hover offers a great experience with fast checkouts and easy domain management tools.
Okay, the name says it all. Stablehost is not just a domain registrar. They have different types of hosting services as well. You can always get a full package for your website, or you can decide to get only your domains from them. They are also on the higher price spectrum when compared to some of the top domain providers, but the prices they offer are pretty much industry standard.
What is interesting is that they will allow you to register using over a 1000 TLDs. This means that your choices will not be restricted to just a few extensions. For instance, you can register domains with extensions like .nyc, .bio, .xyz, and so one. They will also provide free whois privacy, DNS editor and email hosting. Overall, their domain management area is clean and intuitive.
It is worth mentioning that they have a very high rating on TrustPilot. So, you can definitely count on them.
HostGator is a famous name in the shared hosting space. They are known for their low-cost hosting solutions. However, they are not limited to that only. They also offer domain registration service and offer a long list of TLDs to work with.
The domain management tools are easy to use and yes, they have domain privacy feature available. Though HostGator offers one of the cheapest hosting plans you can come across, they aren’t particularly cheap when it comes to registering domains.
However, if decide to get an annual hosting package through HostGator, you will be entitled for a free domain for a full year. After that you need to renew your domain at the regular prices.
Their domain management area is clean and intuitive with all the necessary features that you will ever need for managing your domain efficiently.
IONOS is another domain registrar and hosting provider that you should not ignore. They offer sub $1 prices for their domains when you purchase it for the first time. You can even get hosting for as little as $1 a month as an introductory prices.
While domain registration is quite easy with them, you might find their management area one hell of a confusing design. That is one of the reasons why I do not usually recommend IONOS to people.
That is my personal choice though! There are 4 million domains under their management, making them one of the largest domain registrars in the world.
DreamHost is another dedicated domain registrar with hosting services available. You can register domains without the need for purchasing a hosting account from them. They will throw in free privacy protection with the domains you purchase.
They offer everything from a nice DNS management area to domain registration and domain transfers. Renewals, transfers, and registration costs differ depending on the domain extension you want. However, they are quite cheap. There is a shortcoming that you should be aware of. The number of TLDs they offer is quite less. There is only 400+ TLDs to select from.
Okay, now that you know about the top and cheap domain providers in the market, it is about time that you learn a few important things.
Stay with us and dig in!
Domain Name FAQ
A domain name registrar is a business that facilitates the purchase and registration of domain names on your behalf. A non-profit organization called ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) oversees the management of domain names, and all domain name registrars must be accredited by ICANN to operate.
Everyone can utilize the internet because of domain names, which make it simple for them to do so. If you don't have a domain name, you'll have to input lengthy strings of digits known as IP addresses in order to access websites.
Domain names alleviate this issue by enabling websites to select addresses that are simple to remember, such as wpbeginner.com or google.com, among other things.
In order to make domain names more publicly accessible, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) enables businesses to apply for accreditation. Once granted, they become domain registrars.
As a result, these businesses compete with one another to sell domain name licenses. The more the competition, the lower the prices and the easier it gets to grab domain names. You don't have to depend on a single provider. You can compare and choose from different providers. This removes monopoly and hence, eliminates the chances of high domain prices.
Known as the registry, all domain name entries are kept in a single, centralized database. In order for a domain name to be identified, it must first be entered into that registry along with all of the pertinent information about it.
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has granted authorization to a domain name registrar to make such changes to your domain name's information in the registry on your behalf.
A domain name registrar also offers simple tools for making such adjustments via your web browser. You will not need any specialized tools. Any modern browser including Chrome, Firefox, Edge, Opera, Safari, etc. will allow you to access those tools.
Not all domain registrars are authorized to offer all of the domain name extensions available. Examples include domain registrars who can only sell domain names with country-specific extensions such as .fr, .it, .in, .us, .uk and so on.
In addition to domain name registration, each domain registrar may provide a variety of other services. Some registrars may provide low-cost domains as a promotional deal, while others may offer free add-ons to entice consumers to sign up with them.
When you go out there to purchase domains, look for the following things:
There are registrars who will offer promotional codes to provide discounts on domain purchases, pulling their prices below the market average. However, they may charge for addons like privacy protection.
Then again, there are registrars who will not give discounts, but throw in free privacy protection and other addons to make up for the regular prices they will charge.
The minimum duration for which you must buy a domain is 1 year. Most of the registrars will allow doing so. However, there may be registrars who will require you to register the domain for 2 years or more at once so that you can enjoy the discounted prices.
Of course, there are registrars who will allow you to register a domain for 10 years straight with a single payment. What works for you will depend on your budget and goals.
Renewal and transfer charges
If you are getting a discount during the initial purchase, you will most likely end up paying higher for the renewal. That is quite normal. So, watch that! Do not expect that the low introductory or newbie price will be retained for the life of the domain. That is not happening.
Also, if you want to transfer your domain from one registrar to another, you must pay a transfer and a renewal charger even if you have already renewed the domain with your existing registrar. So, if you have intentions of switching registrars, make sure that you are requesting such a transfer at least 60 days before the renewal date and that you never renew the domain with your old registrar.
Domains expire after a certain time. They will stay as long as you are paying for renewal. When you stop renewal, the domains will expire, making them available for others to purchase.
So, auto renewal is a good idea if you intend to keep using your domains for a long term. However, to talk to your prospective registrar and learn whether they have a grace period or not.
There may be instances where your credit card or debit card expired, and auto renewal fails. In that case, you will have a grace period to arrange for a different payment option. There are stories where registrars never gave a grace period and people lost their domains simply because their credit cards did not work during the renewal time.
There are three things you need to watch out for when purchasing a domain name. They are:
Add-on prices: Many domain providers will offer addons. You can choose to purchase them, or you may not take those services. Unfortunately, there are registrars that will include those add-ons in your cart by default. Many people will not realize and just go through with the purchase. Do not do that. Check your cart properly before you checkout.
For example, if you are purchasing a .com domain, you should not be paying any more than $14.99. That is the highest price you can get. If the price is more than that, you should immediately check the cart and uncheck all addons that are adding to the cost.
Hidden prices: Be careful. Some domain providers have a habit of using dicey advertisement. They will advertise as if you will get a low price forever. That’s not happening. Renewal prices will be high. Also, some will say that they will give privacy protection, but do not clearly mention that it will be charged. They will add the charge during checkout. So, ensure that there are not pesky hidden charges.
Clean interface: Well, it is not really possible to get a glimpse of the management interface until you purchase a domain. That is the reason why you should first approach their customer service as ask for a screenshot of the DNS management interface, or at least point you to a knowledge base article where you can take a sneak peek into their user interface.
A bad user interface will be a headache and I am telling from my experience. I used BigRock as my domain registrar for quite some time. But their domain management interface is so horrible that I often ended up cursing myself for having chosen them. Do not go for BigRock! They are horrible.
The cleanest and most intuitive interface that I have ever encountered is from Only Domains. It is a pleasure working on their interface. That is the reason why I am currently using them as my default registrar.
A domain name is an important and inseparable part of your online business. Choose it wisely. But never forget that you also need a very reliable domain registrar that is absolutely fabulous with its customer service and offers fascinating features at low cost. I will highly recommend using any of the top three providers on the list. All of them are absolutely brilliant with clean interfaces and very competitive pricing! You won’t regret your decision.