What Is The Best Domain Registrar For Your Business? [Tips And Top Domain Registrars 2024]

It’s no secret that a well-functioning website is crucial to running a successful business. As online commerce becomes more competitive, a website forms the first point of contact between a business and potential customers. Therefore, your chosen domain—and the domain registrar you choose to go with—is critical to your business’s overall visibility.

In this blog, we’re going to cover what businesses should consider to select the best domain registrar for their needs, in addition to listing the top ten domain registrars in the industry for your consideration. Let’s dive in!

TL;DR

  • A well-functioning website is crucial for business success, making the choice of domain registrar vital for visibility.
  • A domain registrar manages domain registration and maintenance, offering services like web hosting, email, and security features.
  • To choose a reliable registrar, you should consider factors such as reliability, customer support, domain management tools, pricing, and additional services.

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What is a domain registrar?

A domain registrar is a company responsible for facilitating the registration, management, and privacy of domain names. Domain registrars also offer add-on services such as web hosting, email services, and advanced security features. To ensure that your domain is reliable and functioning correctly, you must select a reputable domain registrar.

Criteria for Choosing a Domain Registrar

Reliability and uptime

Your domain forms the basis of your brand identity, online store, and marketing channels. So, it needs to remain online and available to you and your customers at all hours of the day. “Uptime” is a measure of reliability that determines how often a system has been accessible to users. Look for independent monitoring and reports on domain registrars that show a strong track record of high uptime, as well as how and when planned outages for maintenance are scheduled. It’s a good idea to view their Service-Level Agreements (SLAs) to check whether a certain level of uptime is guaranteed, which is a strong indicator of reliability.

Customer support

You’ll want access to rapid support whenever your business has a technical issue or needs help with managing your domain. Having a choice of support channels such as live chat support, email, and a landline phone number is a good sign of a responsive provider. At the same time, you don’t want to be reliant on reaching out to a support representative every time you have a basic query. Look for a domain registration provider who has a comprehensive knowledge base, webinars, and easily accessible FAQs to ensure 24/7 support whenever you need it.

Domain management tools

Once a domain is registered, it should be easy for business owners to manage their domain without needing extensive technical know-how. Check if your registrar offers an intuitive dashboard for key tasks like DNS management, domain privacy settings, and bulk domain renewal, as well as making it straightforward to view renewal prices, dates, and add-on services.

Domain pricing and hidden costs

Compare the pricing structures of different domain name registrars to understand how different fees are paid and what additional costs might surprise you. For example, there might be a low price for registration in the first year to hook you in. However, the domain renewal fee may be considerably higher, especially if an auto-renewal is in place. Also consider that what one provider includes as a standard service may come as an add-on with another, so it’s important to assess what features are included with each plan to understand cost.

Domain transfer policies

Not every domain registrar offers the ability to transfer a domain name to a new domain provider. Although you might not have plans to transfer domains right now, it may become desirable or necessary to sell a domain or swap to a better-value domain and hosting package. Before committing, understand a potential registrar’s policies regarding domain transfers and how long the process takes. Some registrars may make it difficult or expensive to transfer your domain to another provider, or use a domain lock period after registration.

Additional registrar services

Most registrars will offer additional services as well as allow you to register and buy domains. These may include web hosting services, email forwarding and hosting, SSL certificates, and website builders. Being able to purchase all of these services from one provider can help simplify billing and expenses, but may not be the most cost-effective approach or offer the best quality service. Some providers may offer free SSL certificates or other add-ons with domain name registration for a period of time, allowing you to test it out before committing.

Top 10 Best Domain Name Registrars

1. GoDaddy

One of the most popular domain registrars and hosting providers, GoDaddy was founded in 1997 and offers a comprehensive set of domain services, including domain extensions, site-building tools, and digital marketing solutions.

Because GoDaddy offers an all-in-one solution, it’s a good fit for businesses that don’t want to subscribe to multiple service providers, or small businesses who are setting everything up from scratch.

GoDaddy plans start at $4.99 per month for the first three years, up to $17.99 per month for additional features like increased storage and professional emails.

GoDaddy is well-known for its free domain names for the first term. However, a common point of criticism is that GoDaddy is not transparent about renewal prices, which are much higher than other providers.

Pros

  • Free domain name registration
  • Strong web hosting tools
  • 24/7 live chat and phone support

Cons

  • No free domain transfer
  • Expensive renewal fees

2. Namecheap

Namecheap is a domain registrar and web hosting company founded in 2000. It has a good reputation for providing affordable domain registration services, web hosting solutions, and other online services. Namecheap is known within the industry for its active involvement in internet advocacy and support for internet neutrality and privacy for users.

Namecheap offers very competitive pricing on name registration that also includes security features like SSL certificates and two-factor authentication, making it an attractive option for small businesses.

The cost of available domains with .com from Namecheap start at $5.98 per year, while web hosting plans cover a spectrum of options, from cheap shared hosting to WordPress hosting. This provides plenty of room for businesses that are experiencing fast growth.

Pros

  • Affordable Top-Level Domain (TLD) extensions
  • Free WHOIS privacy protection with domain registration
  • Intuitive interface for domain management

Cons

  • Lack of phone support
  • Expensive premium domains
  • Less advanced functionalities for website building and hosting.

3. Bluehost

Bluehost is one of the best-known web hosting providers in the industry, powering over two million websites nationwide. Bluehost is also well-known for its partnership with WordPress, one of the most well-used content management systems globally. This makes it an excellent choice for WordPress users.

Its simple, easy-to-understand set-up is one reason why Bluehost is popular with small businesses, as well as its reliable uptime and free domain registration with all plans.

However, as it is predominantly a hosting provider rather than a registrar, Bluehost has more limited domain management systems than other providers. Advanced tools such as business email accounts are only available on more expensive plans, which might not be cost-effective for small businesses.

Pros

  • All plans come with resource protection
  • Automatic backups on high-tier plans
  • 24/7 live chat support

Cons

  • No free site migrations
  • No uptime guarantee

4. HostGator

HostGator is a popular web hosting platform that also offers some domain registration and management services. All web hosting plans from HostGator come with a free domain name for the first year, making it a strong bundled option for small businesses.

Although not a specialist domain registrar, HostGator offers users a choice of a variety of domain extensions and includes a free SSL certificate with web hosting plans. It also offers free domain transfers, which is a vital feature for businesses that want the flexibility to switch providers in the future.

HostGator’s web hosting plans start at an affordable $3.75 per month for 36 months for their introductory plan, while .com domains bought separately cost $12.95 per and $19.99 upon renewal.

Pros

  • Unlimited storage on all plans
  • 24/7 live chat and email support
  • 30 days Money-Back Guarantee Period

Cons

  • Additional fees for website building and advanced security features
  • 99.9% uptime rate, which is lower than competitors including BlueHost

5. 1&1 IONOS

IONOS is a well-known website-building tool that offers cloud-based infrastructure for both small and large eCommerce businesses. The company was established as 1&1 in 1988 and changed its name to IONOS in 2020.

One of the strengths of IONOS is its intuitive website-building tool called MyWebsite, which makes it straightforward for businesses to customize a range of templates to build their ideal website. IONOS offers a free domain for the first year with all of its hosting plans, making it one of the best web hosting options for affordability. However, tools such as subdomain management and DNS management are more limited.

Pros

  • Some of the cheapest intro offers on the market
  • Unlimited storage on its Business and Expert plans
  • Drag-and-drop website building

Cons

  • Lacks advanced tools
  • No WordPress migration tool

6. Network Solutions

Network Solutions is a subsidiary of Web.com and one of the better-known registrars alongside GoDaddy, offering a range of web hosting, SEO, and domain management tools. Businesses can access a variety of domain name extensions via Network Solutions, including .com, .net, and .org domains.

However, Network Solutions scores low for its less-than-user-friendly interface and confusing pricing tactics, which many users label as misleading. Network Solutions doesn’t show prices in the domain search tool until a user heads to the checkout, making it difficult to understand how much you are paying.

Businesses should also note that Network Solution’s services are at the higher end of pricing, especially when compared to cheap domain registrars and hosting providers like Namecheap. Registration for .com domains costs $25 per year, significantly more than competitors. However, a unique feature is that Network Solution does offer the ability to register domains for extremely long periods, such as 10 and 20 years.

Pros

  • Long registration periods
  • Offers a variety of add-on services

Cons

  • Deceptive pricing tactics
  • Privacy tools aren’t included in any plans
  • Pushy upsells and add-ons during the check-out process

7. Dynadot

Dynadot is an ICANN-accredited domain name registrar that offers domain registration and management, in addition to email hosting and website building.

A unique feature of Dynadot is that it allows businesses to sell domains they already own, in addition to buying and registering new ones. This offers users more choice and flexibility, especially if there is a specific domain they are looking to get.

While Dynadot offers some of the lowest prices for .com domains starting at $10.99 per year upfront and a fixed price for renewal, users must pay extra for an SSL certificate, which comes for free with many other providers. Their paid email hosting plan offers a limited 1GB of storage for $20 per month, which is not particularly cost-effective for businesses.

Pros

  • Affordable renewal fees
  • Suggestion tool makes it easy to find suitable domains
  • User-friendly domain management tools

Cons

  • No 24/7 or phone support
  • No web hosting plans available

8. Google Domains

As such a well-known company, it’s hardly surprising that Google Domains is a popular service for domain registration.

Google is a logical choice for companies who are reliant on G Suite tools like Google Ads or Google Workspace. It’s also easy to set up a business email using Workspace. Unfortunately, Google doesn’t offer web hosting alongside domain registration, so you’ll have to find these services through another provider.

As well as being easy to use, Google Domains has the added advantage of not increasing prices upon renewal. Since Google charges only $12 per year for a .com registration, this makes it an incredibly affordable option for small businesses.

In June 2023, Squarespace announced its intent to purchase domain registrations and accounts from Google, meaning existing domains purchased from Google Domains will be migrated to and managed by Squarespace.

Pros

  • Domain name privacy included with every domain registration
  • Google 2-Step Verification tool for security
  • Lack of upsells or advertising

Cons

  • Expensive email hosting
  • Limited add-on services

9. Hover

Established in 2008, Hover is one of the younger domain registrars on the market. Hover focuses on providing a simple, intuitive platform for domain registration and management, which makes it a good option for beginners who are looking for their first domain.

One of the biggest benefits of Hover is that the platform makes it easy to connect new domains to an appropriate web hosting provider, though it doesn’t offer hosting plans itself. Their ‘Connect’ tool makes it easy to link to hosting providers seamlessly, without any serious technical expertise required.

A .com domain on Hover costs $14.99 for the first year. Although the renewal rate is slightly higher at $16.99, this is far more reasonable than some providers. Hover also includes domain name privacy with new domain registrations, making it a fairly affordable option.

Pros

  • Big library of how-to guides
  • Phone support available between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. EST
  • High-volume discounts for bulk domain purchases

Cons

  • Limited add-on features
  • No SSL certificates

10. DreamHost

DreamHost is a web hosting and domain registrar company founded in 1996 that hosts more than 1.5 million websites worldwide. In addition to domain registration, DreamHost offers a variety of web hosting plans and website-building tools for the WordPress system.

One of the biggest benefits of DreamHost is its focus on open-source software and web hosting, which offers users a lot of flexibility over their hosting environment. They support a wide range of programming languages and content management systems, including free migration for WordPress websites. For those registering domains, DreamHost offers a choice of over 400 TLD types, which is great for businesses who are looking for a more unusual domain.

Domain pricing at Dreamhost starts at $8.99 for .com domains and includes free private registration (meaning that IP addresses and contact information are hidden). Renewal fees are $19.99 per year, which is cheaper than many of its competitors. Paid add-ons include custom web design, marketing tools, web development, and website management.

Pros

  • A large number of plans that cater to different business sizes
  • Free SSL certificates, domain, and WHOIS Privacy protection with all hosting plans
  • Strong knowledge base via DreamHost Academy

Cons

  • Slow site loading speeds
  • Not well-suited for non-WordPress sites

Final words

Selecting a domain registrar is about far more than the top-level domain extension your business is looking for. Your choice of registrar affects not only your domain registration experience, but also website reliability, privacy protection, and your ability to transfer domains. Moreover, your provider also dictates what additional services are available to your business, such as web hosting and email management.

Furthermore, finding the best domain registrar is not a set-and-forget strategy. Businesses should be continuously evaluating their domain provider as they grow to ensure they always have access to competitive pricing and the best security measures on the market.

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FAQs about the best domain registrars 

Q: What is a domain registrar?

A domain registrar is a company that allows you to register a domain name, which is the address of your website on the internet. Domain registrars are accredited by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), which is the organization responsible for overseeing the global domain name system (DNS).

Q: What types of businesses need a domain registrar?

Any business or individual wanting to establish an online presence, such as having a website or custom email address, needs a domain registrar so you can register your domain name. 

Q: What are the top factors to consider when selecting a domain registrar?

When choosing a domain registrar, there are a few key factors to consider:

  • Price – Domain registrars charge different prices for domain names. Be sure to compare prices from multiple registrars before you choose one.
  • Features – Some domain registrars offer additional features, such as domain privacy, email forwarding, and website building tools. Consider which features are important to you and choose a registrar that offers them.
  • Customer support – It’s important to choose a domain registrar with good customer support. In case you have any problems with your domain name, you want to be able to get help quickly and easily.

Q: How much do domain registrars cost?

Costs vary; some domains are as cheap as $1/year, while premium names can cost thousands. Typically, generic domains are $10-$30/year.

Q: What are the top domain registrars in the market?

Top domain registrars include GoDaddy, Namecheap, Bluehost, Google Domains, and Dreamhost.