Domain registration guide updated: April 2020
If you’re thinking of registering a domain name, there’s a good chance that you’re overwhelmed with the options. The truth is, it’s hard to know where the best place to register a domain name is, especially if it’s your first time—things like price, reputation, and support all come to mind.
Even though there are a lot of domain name registrars, there are only a few that we can actually recommend. On this page, you’ll find the 3 best domain registrars on the planted, ranked according to category. These are registrars we use ourselves and can recommend with 100% confidence!
A quick heads up before we get started—if you buy a domain name with one of the links of this page, we may get a tiny bit of compensation. This does not change our recommendations in at all, we just wanted to be up front about it 🙂
The Best Place to Buy a Domain Name:
The Best Domain Name Registrar for Noobs
The Absolute Cheapest Domain Name Registrar
Honorable Mention for Pricing and Support
This is the list of the best place to buy domain names—hands down! Now, let’s explore why…
Our Choice for the Best Place to Buy a Domain Name Goes To: Namecheap
We absolutely love Namecheap. They’ve got great support, low prices, and a no-nonsense interface. It’s really hard to beat them on any level. Here’s why…
They’re Easy to Use & Don’t Upsell You on All Sorts of Junk
If you’ve ever owned a domain name at GoDaddy, you know how bad upselling can be. You literally can’t login to any screen or manage anything without getting popup after popup trying to sell you some extra services and nonsense that you don’t need.
That’s where Namecheap is different—they just don’t do this at all like most registrars. It’s very possible that this costs a little bit from their bottom line, but it makes the user experience MUCH better. It’s easy to login and manage your domain names without being bombarded by internal ads. And on top of that, their interface is very easy to use to manage domain names. This is awesome because you don’t have to spend time struggling to take care of simple things like pointing your domain name at a web server, changing DNS settings, adjusting auto-renewal, etc.
They Keep Their Prices Low All the Time
Some domain name registrars (*cough* GoDaddy) like to lure you in with a cheap initial price only to raise the rates through the roof. For example, GoDaddy always has $0.99 cent specials for new domains, but then they charge for privacy (which Namecheap now offers for free), and they hike up the rates at renewal time. That $0.99 domain at GoDaddy could end up costing you $10+ the first year and over $40+ the second year at renewal…it’s just crazy how unfair that it.
Namecheap doesn’t do that…at all. The price you pay at registration is the price you pay the entire time—they don’t hike up the rates, and best of all—domain privacy is free!
They Don’t Play Games With Transfers
If for some reason you want to transfer a domain name away from Namecheap (for instance, if you sold a domain name), they don’t play games with transfers. Some registrars (*cough* Network Solutions) have all sorts of tricks and hooks in their interface to try and discourage you from initiating a transfer. It’s really silly, but it’s the truth, and super annoying when it happens. Namecheap is really straightforward and makes transfers easy as pie.
The Best Place for Noobs to Buy a Domain Name: Bluehost
If you’re a noob (newbie, new-to-something, etc.) to domain names, your best option is Bluehost, for sure. And there are a few reasons for this…
First of all, if you’re buying a domain name it’s probably because you want a website attached to that domain name, right? Since Bluehost sells hosting, it’s very easy to connect your domain name to their hosting and get your website live in minutes. Yes, other registrars offer this service, but their hosting isn’t even in the same league as Bluehost’s, so having the domain name and top quality hosting in one spot makes everything easy.
On top of that, Bluehost has awesome support. 24/7/365 U.S. telephone support—something that many other hosts don’t have. Yes, registrars like GoDaddy have phone support for all domains, but NOT for hosting…which means that you’ll have to deal with chat or open a ticket. Bluehost has all three options, and their telephone support is great for those times when you just want (or need) to talk to a real person to explain things quickly and get your problem solved. Bottom line—if you’re new to the world of hosting and domains, you can’t beat Bluehost.
The Rock Bottom Cheapest Domain Name Registrar – NameSilo
When it comes to domain names, it doesn’t get any cheaper than NameSilo. And they aren’t just cheap—they’re super reliable and a good, solid domain name registrar. They offer free privacy, and they don’t attempt to upsell you on junk. Their .COM domains can be had for as cheap as $6.99 per year, which is super low.
NameSilo is a no-nonsense type of registrar, that offers you a great value without any mess or fuss, and we constantly use them—you really can’t go wrong there!
Honorable Mention for Price and Quality: Hover
Hover is a domain name registrar that is based in Canada, but also serves the world. They are cheap, have free privacy, a no-nonsense interface, and have good initial and renewal prices. They don’t jack rates and are just a good all-around alternative to the other registrars as an valid honorable mention.
FAQ About Domain Names & Registrars
Below are some common questions (and answers) about domain names and registrars…
How much does a domain name cost?
This depends where you go to register it and what extension. Obviously, we recommend Namecheap as the best domain name registrar, but generally speaking, a domain name can be as cheap as free (when bundled with hosting or other services) or as much as hundreds or dollars. .COM domains typically range from $0.99 to $40 depending on the registrar, with an average of $10 per year.
Who is the cheapest domain name registrar?
In our experience, Namesilo is the cheapest domain name registrar that we would actually recommend using. You may be able to find a price that’s a tiny bit cheaper occasionally, but the customer service and reliability is absolutely terrible at some of the low-end registrars. If you’re looking for the lowest price no matter what, we’d go with Namesiloor Namecheap.
How do I come up with domain name ideas?
This is a great question, and one of the first things that people think about when they get the idea to register a domain name. Luckily, we have a whole page dedicated to how to come up with a blog name, so check it out!
What separates the components of a domain name?
A period (.) separated the components of a domain name. The domain name extension is .COM, .NET, .ORG for example, and follows a period. A subdomain is what comes before a period in some situations, like subdomain.example.com, etc.
Where is the best place to buy a domain name?
Namecheap. Hands down, no exceptions!
What is a domain name server?
A domain name server (DNS) is a server that resolves an IP address to a domain name. There are different type of DNS, such as registrar DNS and root DNS. Each DNS has a different function, but essentially works to assign IP addresses to human-readable domain names, so that when you type “example.com” in your web browser, it knows which web server to connect you with.
What was the first ever registered domain name?
The first ever registered domain name was symbolics.com, which was registered on March 15, 1985.
How do I register a domain name for free?
The best and most legitimate way to register a domain name for free is to purchase a web hosting package that includes a free domain name for the first year. For this, we’d recommend Bluehost.
How do I find out who owns a domain name?
All records of domain ownership are handled by a system called WHOIS, which all domain registrars participate in. To look up the owner of a domain name, visit whois.icann.org, and follow the instructions.
The only catch here is that domain owners can pay extra (or sometimes it’s free) to have their registration information obscured, meaning that it may not be possible to see who owns a domain name in that case. Sometimes, spammers have also been known to put fake registrant information in order to further obscure the true owner of a domain name. So, the best step is checking the WHOIS system, but there’s no guarantee you’ll be able to find out. If the WHOIS information is private, you can try emailing the forwarding address of the privacy company (which should go to the owner) and asking who owns the domain name. Other than that, unless you have a legal reason to find out, it can be difficult if you’re just simply curious who owns a domain name.
How do I buy a domain name from someone?
The best course of action in this situation is to contact the owner via contact information on their website and begin a conversation about purchasing the domain name. If a website isn’t currently hosted on the domain (e.g. the page is parked), you can look up the WHOIS data and send the owner and email inquiring about purchasing the website.
Last but not least: why isn’t GoDaddy on this list?
Honestly, they are too expensive (they charge an insane amount for domain privacy. They also upsell people like crazy on products like their hosting, which generally isn’t very good in our opinion. They’re a household name, but there are sooo many better options (like the ones listed on this page). Just because everyone knows them doesn’t mean they’re good!