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How to Find a Reliable Domain Name Registrar

Domain nameA good registrar will have the following characteristics:

  • An established reputation
  • No hidden fees (such as a fee for transferring a domain out to another registrar)
  • Comprehensive administration capabilities (for nameserver, mail, who-is, etc. settings)
  • Reasonably priced registration fees
  • Accredited by a governing body (such as ICANN)

Registrars we Recommend

Examples of registrars that meet these criteria, for specified domain extensions:
Primary extensions (.com, .net., .org, .info)

  • Namecheap – excellent registrar, slightly higher priced than Fabulous, offering excellent admin and support as well with no hidden fees. Namecheap offers more extensions than Fabulous.
  • Godaddy – one of the more popular domain name registrars out there. They run a solid domain registration service with a comprehensive user interface, competitive pricing schedules, and a wide array of available domain extensions. Note that we do not recommend them for their hosting services.
  • Dotster – offers one-on-one customer care and doesn’t try to upsell you.
  • Fabulous – An excellent domain registrar that focuses on high volume clients. Fabulous offers comprehensive domain registration, management, and research capabilities and backs it up with superior customer support. Note: Fabulous offers only .com, .net, .org., .info, and at the time they are only accepting applicants via invitation.

European extensions (.co.uk, .de, .fr, .it, etc.)

  • EuroDNS – EuroDNS offers affordable pricing, intuitive admin interface, and backs it up with reliable support. Use the search box below to search for a domain name via our integrated EuroDNS interface right now.
  • INWX.de – one of the absolute best – most functionality, including no-fee transfers, are automated, which is rare for European registrars.  Prices are also by far the best for most extensions.  Only drawback is that the site is German only.
  • United Domains – Prices and administration are not quite as good as EuroDNS, but these folks run a tight ship.  One thing to watch out for is that domains renew automatically and you need to cancel in advance via fax (not unusual for European registrars).

Finding a Reliable Registrar

One way to research whether a registrar you’re considering using is reliable or not is to conduct a “[registrar name] sucks” vs. “[registrar name] rocks” type of search in Google.  Replace “sucks” and “rocks” with various synonyms and antonyms to find users’ reviews of the registrar.  If neither result returns much, or if the number of results for the search “[registrar name]” is minimal, stay away.

Web Hosting Reports
Visit Webhosting.info and generate a webhosting report.  You want to use a registrar who has a large number of domain registrations, and make sure the quantity of those registrations is not decreasing. If the number of registrations is decreasing, this is a sign that the registrar is a very small, and potentially risky registrar. Read on for details on registrars to avoid.

Registrars to Avoid

Avoid registrars that promise rock-bottom prices.  Anything below $5.00/ year is suspect, unless it’s a one-year promotion.  While they may honor the lower price, in all likelihood you will either a) have difficulty administering the domain, b) have difficulty canceling it (you will end up with overdue invoices from the domain’s registry office) or c) not be able to transfer it out without going through hassles and paying fees.

Avoid registrars with crappy looking sites, poor grammar, misspellings, etc.  A reputable registrar will have the capital to invest in quality web design.

Want an example of a poor, downright fraudulent registrar?  Look no further than EuroDomains.com.  One of the worst registrar experiences we’ve ever had has been with them. Needless to say, since the writing of this article they have gone out of business. So, fortunately, you won’t have to worry about getting ensnared by them.

[9.13.12 Ed: you’ll notice that EuroDomains.com went out of business. Their website is now merely a parking page.]

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About Alex Schenker
Alex bring a series of in-depth articles on search marketing and content management systems as well as troubleshooting tips to We Rock Your Web's collection. He is an avid tennis player, nature enthusiast, and hiker, and enjoys spending time with his wife, friends, and dogs, Bella and Lily.
  • Michael

    I am looking for a good/reputable registrar for the .id domain. whois.pandi.id has some registrars listed to complete the reg. but I don’t know which one to trust. TIA –Michael

  • Ali

    You mast also consider RegisterFly among the worst registrars in the history of domains.

  • Anonymous

    Best domain registrars in my book, hands down, are Fabulous.com and Namecheap.com. Before I gained access to Fabulous (which is invitation only) I used Namecheap – the first domain registrar that didn’t make it a complete pain in the butt to transfer domains out. They have good pricing, and don’t fall pray to scams and overpriced bs like NS (Network Solutions) does, nor do they cram up your dashboard/ user interface with advertisements for all their other services like GoDaddy does.

  • Anonymous

    If I were in your shoes I would suggest starting your domain registration search process at a smaller reputable domain name registrar to keep your options more flexible.

  • Anonymous

    Do you know whether the company located at Room612, A Block, No.97 Green Ace Building, Fengpu Boulevard Road, Fengxian District, Shanghai is reliable? Thanks for your comments.


    Jacob Steendam

    Managing Director

    Inhol BV/PTL

    The Netherlands

    • We Rock Your Web

      Hi Jacob,

      Is that a domain registration company? Please provide the name and we’d be happy to do some research for you.

  • Anonymous

    Hello! I’m having problems finding a reliable domain registrar that offers good whois privacy! I’ve looked at Fabulous.com and on webhosting.info the report shows that the registrations are decreasing? So what’s going on there? Dotster.com is also decreasing…

    • We Rock Your Web

      Fabulous.com offers free whois privacy, but you need to have a large domain portfolio to be accepted as the site is currently invitation only.

      Dotster also offers whois privacy for $6.99/ year. Both of these registrars are high quality. Domain registrations are decreasing simply because we’re in a recession and because there was somewhat of a domain registration “bubble” the past couple years.

  • Anonymous

    I was wondering which cheap web hosting provider is the best? Ixwebhosting or GoDaddy.

    • We Rock Your Web

      If I were you I would search for a smaller webhost that has more time and resources to devote to their clients. Large powerhouses tend to have very dodgy customer service. We highly recommend Network Redux.