Choosing the best domain registrar for your website is a bit more complicated than just looking for the lowest price. While cost is a major factor, many registrars that offer low prices do not include privacy protection in the base rate—leaving your personal contact information publicly available in the global ICANN registry for anyone to access. In order to protect yourself, you need to factor in this service when selecting a registrar.
Some registrars wear multiple hats, allowing you to register a domain, host and design your website in an all-in-one package. Be sure to take your unique situation into consideration when selecting a service, and remember that introductory rates generally do not carry over when it’s time to renew. We looked at the best domain registrars available to help you pick the best for your business.
The Best 10 Domain Name Registrars of 2023
- NameCheap: Best Overall Domain Name Registrar
- Domain.com: Best for Projects
- Google Domains: Best Simle Domain Registrar
- DreamHost: Best for Web Hosting Bundles
- Hover: Best for Multiple Domain Registrations
- GoDaddy: Best One-Stop-Shop Option
- Bluehost: Best for Beginners
- HostGator: Best for Popular Domain Name Extensions
- Network Solutions: Best Long-Running Registrar
- BuyDomains: Best for Premium Domains
What Is A Domain Registrar?
A domain registrar is a service that “sells” domain names. When you register a domain name, you don’t really own it, rather you rent or lease it, which is why you have to renew your domain name every year or term. There are some add-on services you should know about before you choose a domain registrar.
Why WHOIS Privacy Is Important
Without going too in-depth to what ICANN and WHOIS are, suffice to say it’s the nonprofit corporation that is responsible for keeping the internet secure and the naming structure of websites as it is. It requires anyone who registers a domain to provide accurate identifiable contact information, including name, address, email and phone number. Not everyone is comfortable with that information being public.
Domain registrars have found a way to keep your info safe and still provide ICANN with the info they need. These domain privacy features replace your information with the registrar’s info, at least publicly. Anyone can look up who registered a domain name, so having domain privacy can reduce spam for you, and keep you safe.
What’s the Difference Between Domain Extensions?
Arguably, the most popular domain extension is .com, but other TLDs include .net, .org, .edu and .gov. There are literally hundreds more from which you can choose, and the less popular extensions are usually less expensive, with a few exceptions. The popularity of .io and .co has skyrocketed recently, so they’re pricier.
Some extensions are restricted and you can’t purchase them unless you meet certain requirements. Restricted extensions include .edu and .gov. Overall, all extensions work the same. The .com extension is preferable because it’s easy to remember.
Tips for Choosing a Domain Name
Because .com is so popular, you may have difficulty finding your business name available as a .com. You can try one of the more obscure extensions, such as .info, .store, .shop or any other of the hundreds available. If you’re set on getting a .com, though, consider using modifications on your business name.
Let’s assume “ghostlycastle.com” is not available, and then try these changes:
Add articles, such as “a” “the” or “an” (aghostlycastle.com, theghostlycastle.com)
Try adding another word to your domain (ghostlycastleexperience.com, myghostlycastle.com)
Possibly include a hyphen (ghostly-castle.com, the-ghostly-castle.com)
Disclaimer: It’s worth noting that many of the domain registrars we include in our list of the best domain name registrars are subsidiaries of Endurance International Group (EIG), including Bluehost, HostGator, Domain.com and BuyDomains. The fact that they’re all under one umbrella should not affect the service you receive for domain registration, but it’s good to know.