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You’ve got your business up and running and now are looking to secure your online real estate with a corresponding domain name, but you don’t want to pay a fortune for it. Who offers the cheapest domain registration?
With so many domain registrars out there, how do you know which one to choose? We review all the best domain name registrars, but maybe you are only interested in finding the lowest price.
So, here we’re going to focus solely on price.
Note: we left out registrars we would never recommend, and ones that do not offer email hosting, since we consider that to be a core component of domain hosting.
- What Is A Domain Name?
- What Is A Domain Registrar?
- How To Find A Reliable Registrar
- Cheapest Domain Registrars
- Don’t Go On Price Alone
- More Domain Name Resources
A domain name is your website’s address and gives all internet servers around the world one unique place to find your website. The Domain Name System (DNS) develops names based on set rules and procedures.
Domain registration companies all have access to sell you the same URLs; they just feature different services at different prices.
Need some clarification on what you should be looking at when it comes to domain name registrars? Watch this short video clip for a clear explanation.
First, the most important function of a registrar is to allow easy and effective administration and management of your domain name. Functionality or features to look for in a domain name registrar include:
- An established reputation – given the ease of becoming a registrar, there are many fly-by-night outfits out there that will take your money and run
- No hidden fees – such as a fee for transferring a domain out to another registrar
- Comprehensive administration – for nameserver, mail, who-is records, etc.
- Reasonably priced registration fees
- Accredited by a governing body – such as ICANN (The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers), a non-profit organization
- Easy transfer of domain name in and out of the registrar
- Domain name forwarding
- Manual and auto-renewal – many registrars will try everything they can to auto-renew by default, which may result in you renewing a bunch of domain names every year that you don’t want to renew
- Private Whois registration – conceals your whois data (i.e., your name, address, phone, etc.) from prying eyes
- Email accounts – some registrars will host your domain’s email for you
- Customer support – it’s crucial that your domain registrar has good customer support, whether via phone, email or live chat
Caution Against Hosting With Your Registrar
We leave hosting out of this discussion because we don’t recommend you host with your registrar. Why? Because they are two very different specialty areas and it is hard to be great at both — it’s like eating at a restaurant that sells both Chinese and Thai food and expecting both to be authentic.
We based our rankings on price alone. Furthermore, we used the 3-year price for our rankings. Why? If you’re establishing a domain name for your website, you certainly don’t want to rely on the first year’s pricing alone. You’ll need your site’s domain to stay and prosper.
You may well find less expensive options, but odds are you may have difficulty managing your domain names.
|1st: Porkbun||2nd: IONOS By 1&1||3rd: Namecheap||4th: Dotster||5th: GoDaddy||6th: Host Gator||7th: Moniker|
|Price for .com (1st Year)||$8.56||$1.00||$8.88||$9.99||$.99||$12.95||$8.39|
|Renewal Rate (Per Year)||$8.56||$15.00||$12.98||$12.99||$17.99||$17.99||Unlisted|
|Price for 3 Years||$25.68||$31.00||$34.84||$35.97||$36.97||$48.93||Unlisted|
|Whois Private Registration (Per Year)||Included||Included||Included||$8.99||$14.99||$14.95||Included|
|Email Hosting (Per Year)||$24||$24.00||$34.84||$59.88||$47.88/user||Unlisted||Unlisted|
|Customer Service||Phone, Email, FAQ||Phone, FAQ, Forums||Email, Chat||Phone, Email, Chat||Phone, FAQ, Email, Chat||Phone, Chat, Tutorials, Forums||Phone, FAQ, Email|
Porkbun is a lesser-known domain registrar, but it gives bigger-name registration companies a run for their money. It offers the cheapest pricing, an excellent registration and transfer process, handy domain tools and more. On top of that, Porkbun’s customer service gets outstanding reviews.
While IONOS By 1&1 has a great introductory rate of $1 for the first year, the renewal rate of $15/year makes this more expensive than Porkbun if held for more than 2 years. But IONOS By 1&1 still beats out a lot of the competition with their affordable pricing and solid reputation.
Namecheap has a very competitive renewal rate and an established business history. If you’re looking for easy and affordable domain management without unnecessary frills, Namecheap is a good company to go with. It’s easy to transfer your domains in and out as well. Namecheap is also our winner for the best overall domain registrar.
Although Dotster has a renewal rate comparable to Namecheap, there are other fees you may want to consider. Dotster charges an annual fee for Whois privacy protection (which is included free for the top 3 in this article). Dotster’s email hosting is also expensive compared to many other registrars.
GoDaddy comes with a big name and is best known for their web hosting solutions. It’s easy to get started with GoDaddy, except checking out can be a bit confusing for some. Customers say they constantly try to upsell, and their customer support could use some improvement since they have long wait times.
HostGator is a big corporation with many awards under its belt. They’ve been around for a long time and offer many features. In the last couple of years, however, HostGator has suffered from BBB reports about a pattern of complaints concerning deceptive business practices and rude and unhelpful customer support reps.
Moniker offers an extremely competitive first-year domain registration price that includes private Whois registration. But after scouring its website and other sources, we couldn’t find a renewal price. If you’ve renewed with Moniker, let us know!
Remember, this article is just a ranking of the top registrars by price. Check out our article on the best domain registrars to discover our top choices. Your domain name is a crucial part of your business investment, so we don’t recommend going for the cheapest solution.
That being said, some big-name, high-priced registrars don’t make the cut. For example, register.com, which charges a $38 renewal rate, or Network Solutions, which comes in at a hefty $35 per year, aren’t included in our top picks.
Want to learn more about domains and websites? Check out these five pitfalls to avoid when buying a domain and our comprehensive guide to building a website. And be sure to read our web hosting provider reviews to find the best hosting solution for your site’s needs.
Are you willing to pay more for your domain registration to avoid potential headaches down the road?
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