Best Domain Registrars of 2018

Choosing a domain registrar is an important choice that should be relatively straight-forward. This is the start of your website’s journey and affects up-time and costs. Other important factors to take into account are support, reliability, and flexibility of plans. Unfortunately, in an industry rife with up-selling and unnecessarily complicated terms, many people end up settling for the “standard” options which are more often than not, not the best. The truth is, from a domain registrar, what you need is a fairly priced domain, with easy DNS & configuration settings, impeccable up-time and support when you need it. We have graded registrars in these and other relevant areas and brought you the cream-of-the crop. Good luck!

CompanyRankingRatingPriceDescription
Namecheap1st9.8 out of 10Varies

Namecheap Review

One of the best domain name registrars today for its affordable domain extensions, tons of unique TLDs and personal domains, plus a free DNS offer.Full Namecheap Review »

Dreamhost

2nd9.6 out of 10Varies

Dreamhost Review

A great domain name registrar for those looking for free domain privacy and domain management features to go along with their top level domain.Full Dreamhost Review »

Name.com

3rd8.8 out of 10Varies

Name.com Review

A simple, easy-to-use domain registrar that offers affordable, straightforward pricing, along with a host of unique top-level domains.Full Name.com Review »
NETIM4th8.7 out of 10Varies

NETIM Review

Though more expensive than some domain registrars, NETIM provides vast extension options and a range of free features.Full NETIM Review »

InMotion Hosting

5th8.5 out of 10$5.99 Per Month

InMotion Hosting Review

Fairly affordable web hosting services topped off with great uptime, easy domain transfers and awesome customer service.Full InMotion Hosting Review »

Hover

6th8.5 out of 10Varies

Hover Review

An easy-to-use domain name registrar that provides hundreds of unique domain extensions, along with free WHOIS / domain privacy services.Full Hover Review »

Network Solutions

7th9.1 out of 10$9.99 One Time

Network Solutions Review

While you can get advanced customization in an affordable plan, you can only register a single domain name even for higher-tiered prices.Full Network Solutions Review »

1&1

8th8.4 out of 10Varies

1&1 Review

A compelling domain name registrar that offers a slew of affordably priced domains, free private registration, easy domain transfers, and more.Full 1&1 Review »
GoDaddy9th8.5 out of 10Varies

GoDaddy Review

GoDaddy is where you can find tons of unique extensions, engage in domain auctions, and more. It is hampered by aggressive upselling, though.Full GoDaddy Review »

Yahoo Web Hosting

10th7.3 out of 10$5.99 Per Month

Yahoo Web Hosting Review

A simple web hosting service that is perfect for beginners, thanks to its easy to digest tools, great mobile conversion tool, and more.Full Yahoo Web Hosting Review »

eNOM

11th8.4 out of 10$4.48 Per Month

eNOM Review

A fairly reliable hosting service with lots of tutorials and domain registration, so your website's name is officially yours.Full eNOM Review »

IX Web Hosting

12th8.5 out of 10$7.95 Per Month

IX Web Hosting Review

Unlimited disk space, bandwidth and hosted domains across all plans, plus 24/7 support, make this a good choice -- if service wasn't hit or miss.Full IX Web Hosting Review »

Domain.com

13th8.4 out of 10Varies

Domain.com Review

A decent domain name registrar that offers affordable pricing, along with a host of free services -- from URL forwarding to DNS management and more.Full Domain.com Review »
Also, here are some important things we looked at for our rankings.

Domain Extension Variety

Although TLDs or top level domains are the most popular domains, you may be in need of other extensions, too. While having TLDs in the domain registrars’ list is a standard, having other domain extensions under their roof will give you more choices, especially if your website falls under a certain industry, or if you want it to be location-specific to a country. Since prices depend on the demand of the domain extensions, you can purchase less popular domains for less the price. You can always change and level up when you have the budget.

Additional Features

Aside from domain name registration, lots of domain registrars throw in other features into the package, to entice customers to use their service. Added tools and features usually include domain hosting, DNS management, domain and WHOIS privacy, domain transfers, and even website builders. A domain registrar that has most, if not all of your needs, is definitely a more valuable and convenient choice, compared to signing up and purchasing another service for these functions.

Customer Support

Given that your domain is essentially the foundation of your website’s identity, there should be immediate assistance when you encounter any problems. Aside from self-help materials via FAQs and articles, their support team should not only be present in case of issues, but competent in handling them as well. Having a dedicated team present 24/7 is not enough, although it can be a life saver in times of emergencies. What’s more important is a support team that can provide useful and relevant solutions and will tackle the problem head on for faster resolution.

Pricing

Last but not the least comes the subscription prices for domain name registration. As you may have noticed above, prices vary for every domain registrar; plus, some use a subscription pricing model, while others offer a one-time purchase deal. The best option depends on your preference- if you think the service has all of your needs, then paying one-time could be a better choice. On the other hand, if you prefer lower costs, then subscribing to a monthly service may be a better fit, although you incur more costs in the long run. It’ll be easier to switch to another service though, so it really depends on you.

Why Picking a Domain Registrar Matters

In the beginning, there were was only one place you could register your domain names. Network Solutions had in effect a monopoly on the registrar system. No one could register a .com, .net or .org unless Network Solutions signed off on it. It wasn’t until 1998 that after a series of pressuring lawsuits that it became possible for competition in this landscape.

This matters to you because you now have the ability to exercise that choice. You can choose which domain company you want to register with. This system is called the “shared registration system.” Now there are hundreds of companies to choose from. You have big names like GoDaddy, eNOM, Tucows, and Network Solution. Why not take the time to look over these companies and learn a little something about their history before buying.

Yes, there isn’t a lot to domain registration. It is a pretty straightforward task. You go to a website, pick your perfect name and drop a little bit of cash. And that’s the end, or is it?

Five Things You Didn’t Know About Domain Registrars

  1. You have Choices Now

If you were a company trying to register their domain during the first dotcom bubble, you had one company you could go to. Network Solutions. Back then it wouldn’t be $9.00 for a domain name either.

  1. Domain Transfers

Domain transfers occur when you have a domain already registered and you want to move that domain to a new company. The new company will be in charge of managing the domain from that point forward. But as easy as it might sound, it’s anything but easy. There’s a process which almost feels like its straight out of a mob movie. There are potential roadblocks and scams waiting behind every transfer.

One of the best bits of advice that I could give would be that you should never wait to transfer domains. Don’t wait until your subscription is almost up. Get ahead of it! You’re domain is the window to your company. Protect it.

  1. Drop Catching

Drop catching is the process of waiting for a domain to expire then re-registering it. Now this can have innocent motives and it can have devious ones as well. Domain names are registered by the year. You can register for multiple years up to decades. However, sometimes your domain name will be registered yearly. Sometimes you run into problems with an expired credit card or maybe you forget about it and assume it’s taken care of.

This is where drop catching comes in. If you do forget about the domain and forget to re-register it, you can lose it.

  1. Registrar Competition

Until the late 90s, there was no competition when it came to domain registrars. All registration was through the Network Solutions Company. They controlled prices and created the rules surrounding domain names.

  1. Scams! Be aware!

Transfer fees. Remember these two words because they might save you a lot of pain and anguish with your credit card company. There are a couple registrars out there who are in the business of this shadiest of practices. Essentially, buried in the fine print of your terms of service, there are a couple of sentences that say, if you change domain registrars there is a transfer fee. Now this is against the policies set forth by ICANN but the practice is done anyways.

If you run into this problem, you can reverse the charges with your credit card company. But it is the  opinion of this writer that you should take quick look at your terms of service. If you find something like this buried in your contract, you should skip that company and move on to a more reputable establishment.

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