Best Domain Registrars of 2017

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!

CompanyRankingRatingPrice Description
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 »
Dreamhost2nd9.6 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.com3rd8.8 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 »
InMotion Hosting4th8.5 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 »
Hover5th8.5 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 Solutions6th9.1 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&17th8.4 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 »
GoDaddy8th8.5 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 »
Also, here are some important things we looked at for our rankings.

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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