If you want to create any website, you need a domain name and web hosting.
Some time ago, I posted a separate article about the best web hosting providers on my blog.
Today, I will answer the question, “Which company is the best domain registrar in 2020?”.
But before we go to the main topic of this article, let’s start with the basics.
What Is A Domain Name And What Is A Domain Registrar?
A domain name is a string of characters that drives visitors to a website.
Without using domain names, people would have to remember IP addresses of various websites and use them to access those sites.
Fortunately, domain names usually constitute a unique part of the websites’ addresses.
And here are a few examples of domain names and the URLs associated with them:
- facebook.com -> https://www.facebook.com
- google.com -> https://www.google.com
- alivebetter.com -> https://www.alivebetter.com/
A domain name registrar is a company that allows you to purchase and register domain names.
Each domain registrar must be accreditated by ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers), a non-profit organization responsible for managing domain names.
How To Choose The Right Domain Registrar?
In order to choose the right domain name registrar for yourself, you should take into consideration the following factors.
Availability Of Various Domain Extensions
Although each domain registrar mentioned here has accreditation from ICANN, not each of them is able to offer you registering a domain name with any extension of your choice.
Some companies are able to register only a few top-level domains such as .com, .co, .biz, .net while others can register only country-specific extensions (such as .de, .es, .jp, .pl) or both these options.
Pricing And Domain Name Registration Period
The first thing you should consider while choosing your domain registrar is the yearly price of your future domain’s registration.
As it comes to the minimum period, it is one year. A maximum one amounts to 10 years.
However, there are some domain name registrars that require their customers to register the domain names for at least two years.
You should also check renewal prices at the company of your choice since they may be higher than the price for the first year of registration.
Transferring domain names to another registrar is not something you would do regularly.
On the other hand, it would be great to have such an opportunity.
Although most registrars offer free and easy domain transfer, some companies charge a fee for this process.
Domain Expiration Policies
Like I mentioned before, each domain name must be registered for a specific time – usually, it’s a year.
After this time, each domain name should be renewed, or it will expire.
As it comes to renewal, it can be done manually or automatically.
Furthermore, some companies offer a grace period after your domain expires, which means that you still will be able to renew it. Without this feature, you would lose your domain name, and someone else could register it almost for free using their own name!
These days, all fees are charged using your credit card, debit card, or PayPal account. If your card expires, and you don’t update your payment details before the auto-renewal, you could have a problem.
Fortunately, there is also one great solution to this problem besides grace period.
Before your domain name expires, you should get at least two email notifications from your domain registrar concerning that coming expiration.
So, in theory, there is some risk, but if you choose really best domain name registrar, there is nothing to worry about.
Although you may not need any add-on services offered by domain registrars, it’s good to know that they are available at all.
As it comes to especially useful add-ons provided by domain registrar companies, there is one crucial thing – whois privacy protection. You should take it no matter it is free or paid.
Some domain registrars also offer their own web hosting services, but I do not recommend you using them. Instead, you can find my recommendations of the best web hosting service provider in this article.
Best Domain Registrars 2020
These days there are many well-known companies registering Internet domains.
So here’s the list of the best domain registrars in 2020.
Namecheap is an American domain name registrar founded in 2000 in Phoenix, AZ.
Now, this company manages significantly over one million domains.
As its name suggests, you can buy a domain on Namecheap really cheap compared to the services of their competitors.
The user interface is quite easy to use.
The registration process is also fast and straightforward.
You can connect the domain to any provider without any problem.
With this company, you can additionally buy web hosting called EasyWP. There is shared hosting, WordPress hosting, reseller hosting, and VPS hosting in their offer.
However, I do not recommend you to buy a domain name and web hosting from the same company.
As long as Namecheap is probably the best domain registrar on the market, I can recommend you two hosting providers you’ll be really happy with – Kinsta and SiteGround. Alternatively, you can check my other recent recommendations in a separate article.
As it comes to Namecheap, there’s just one crucial add-on you should definitely choose – WhoisGuard.
This service is entirely free, and it will protect your personal information (name, email address, phone number, etc.) from being accessed by spammers, marketing firms, and online fraudsters.
SSL certificates, such as PositiveSSL, and premium DNS are not needed.
As it comes to SSL certificates, each good web host has a free Let’s Encrypt certificate in its offer.
Proper configuration of DNS servers is one of the mandatory stages of creating any website.
And if you need further assistance with Namecheap, there are helpful FAQ pages and live chat support at your disposal. 🙂
Domain.com is another domain registrar established in the year 2000.
This service allows you to register all top-level domain name extensions (TLDs) and some country code top-level domains (ccTLDs).
There are a few additional services available – web hosting, website builder, SSL certificates, etc.
Although other bloggers and affiliates praise and recommend this service, I am not especially convinced of it.
The second reason:
When I try to find any non-existing domain with a .pl extension on Namecheap, I get information that this TLD is not supported.
When I try to find the same domain name on domain.com, I get false information that this domain name is not available. 😮
What’s more interesting, the same issue occurs with any other domain name with a TLD, which is not supported by this company.
This type of error suggests that someone else registered that domain name in the past, although no one did. It’s still free…
And the third reason:
Usually, domain registrars offer free whois privacy protection. As it comes to domain.com, the situation is not clear.
It’s very odd, but there is no information on whether their whois privacy service is free or paid. 😮
There are rumors that it costs about $9 a year, but why to hell is the registrar hiding this information from their prospective customers??
OVH is a company established in France just before the end of the 20th century. Currently, it operates in many countries around the world.
Just like the number 1 on my list, OVH also offers very low registration and domain renewal rates – for domains with .com extension, this is a sum of about $10 per year.
Managing DNS server settings is also not too complicated in this case.
Important: Although OVH is operating worldwide, its American website is not offering to register domain names.
Google Domains is a domain name registration system created by Google in June 2014.
With this service, you can get a free domain privacy protection and free business email provided by G Suite (typically, it costs about 10 USD per month).
At Google Domains, you won’t find a good-quality knowledge center, but there is customer support available through live chat, email, and phone.
NameSilo is one of those domain registrars which allow you to do something more than just buy domains.
There are also a few hosting plans with a website builder, free domain privacy protection, and SSL certificates.
As long as you can register a domain name and get free whois privacy, you’ll get an SSL certificate from your web hosting company.
NameSilo’s customer support is quite good, and it’s based on a live chat.
Gandi.net also belongs to the best domain registrars in the world.
This company was established in 1999, and it offers a few extra services such as WordPress hosting and free domain privacy except for domain registration.
What’s interesting, this registrar is not offering such add-on services as web hosting or website builders.
In the case of this company, prices of domain names are moderate.
Fortunately, there is a free domain privacy protection.
Customer support is available by email and a live chat.
Name.com is an American registrar founded in 2003.
The company also offers SSL certificates, a website builder, and WordPress hosting.
Live chat support and phone support are available, but they are limited to US daytime only.
As it comes to pricing, you can register a domain name and pay $8.99 for the first year, but renewal prices are higher. Each next year costs $12.99.
Unfortunately, free domain privacy protection is not available here since it costs $4.99 a year.
Register.com belongs to the group of the oldest domain registrars since it was established in 1994.
This company provides a few extra services, such as web hosting and SSL certificates.
Unfortunately, free domain privacy protection is also not available with this company, and it costs quite a lot – $11/year.
As it comes to customer support, there’s phone support, email support, and a live chat.
SiteGround is the company that I had used for over two years since the creation of my blog.
My Polish domain name (alivebetter.pl) was registered at SiteGround, and both my blogs were hosted on their GoGeek account.
As it comes to my Polish domain name, there are two reasons why I moved it away:
1. SiteGround charges quite a lot of money for the renewal of any domain. The annual cost of .pl domain name renewal at SiteGround is EUR 16.95 + VAT. At OVH, the renewal cost of the same domain name is about 10-15 USD per year.
2. From the technical point of view, it was practically impossible to keep the domain registered at SiteGround and use any other hosting provider.
As it comes to my blogs, they’ve been both hosted at SiteGround since April 2020.
GoDaddy is one of the largest and most known hosting and domain registration companies in the world.
The great advantage of this platform is the availability of domains with various extensions.
The error shown above is written in Polish, but I will translate it to English for everyone.
“Transfer a Domain
Transfer your domain name to GoDaddy.”
Below is the field with my domain name, and there’s also a sentence written in red font.
“Domains with this extension cannot be transferred.”
(There are also two buttons: Continue and Cancel.)
Unfortunately, this is NOT true.
Comparison Of The Cost Of Domain Registration And Its Renewal At Exemplary Registrars
Below are screenshots showing the costs of maintaining a domain with .com extension. The difference in prices is not so huge, but the more domain names you have, the more critical it becomes.
Namecheap – 10.98 USD per year.
SiteGround – 15.95 USD yearly.
GoDaddy – 11.99 USD for the first year and 14.99 USD for each subsequent year.
As you can see, Namecheap belongs to the cheapest and the best domain registrars.
As you may have noticed before, it is also worth to register a domain name at OVH.
When it comes to .pl domain registration, OVH is the best choice for me. SiteGround and GoDaddy charge much more for maintaining domain names. Namecheap, however, does not allow registration of domain names with some well-known extensions.
How To Check The Information About Any Registered Domain Name
Each internet domain must be registered for a specific company name or person. As a result, there are sites on the network that allow you to check that information for any domain name. One of the best tools of this type is whois.domaintools.com.
There you can check when the domain was registered for the first time, the date of potential expiration, who is the owner of the domain, and which company registered that domain.
However, if someone would like to hide their personal data (name, surname, address of residence or business address, email address, telephone number, etc.), there is such an option. Namecheap offers it at no extra charge. This feature is called WhoisGuard.
If you want to find the best domain name registrar for your needs, you should go with Namecheap or OVH, depending on your domain’s extension. If it’s available with Namecheap, then go with it. If it’s not, then you’ll have to choose OVH.
From my point of view and my own experience, they are the two best domain name registrars in the world.
If you have more domains to buy than just one, it’ll be even easier for you to do domain management within the same dashboard in only one domain registrar.
I do not recommend you to register a domain with your web host since it can be a quite troublesome and costly solution.
Some domain name registrars can offer you an SSL certificate (usually, it’s a paid one), but there’s no need to purchase it since today, all web hosts can offer you entirely free Let’s Encrypt certificate.
As it comes to website builder, there’s also no need to use the one from your domain registrar.
If you have a WordPress-based site, you can use one of the website builder plugins from this list. They are very popular and easy to use.
As it comes to web hosting, there are a few great web host companies. You should use one of them no matter whether you have a B2B (business to business) or B2C (business to consumer) website.
Domain privacy protection is crucial if you want to hide your contact information in the public Whois database.
Although there are a few support channels available in almost every company from this list, you probably won’t need customer service from your domain registrar at all.
And the last tip in this article – remember to use automatic renewal for each of your domain names in order not to lose them accidentally in the future. 🙂
Rafał Alitojć is a graduate of two universities (PWSZ in Zamość and PJATK in Warsaw).
Besides, he is the founder & owner of AliveBetter blog, where you will find some cool information about blogging, SEO, marketing, and the techniques of making money online on your blog.