Every website needs a domain name. In order to buy a domain, you’ll need to go through a domain registrar.
I’ve purchased hundreds of domains throughout my career. Over the years, I’ve used about every domain registration platform on the market. I’ve had excellent experiences with some, terrible experiences with others, while the rest fell somewhere in between.
Based on my personal experiences and extensive research, I created this guide to show you the best domain registrars right now.
Whether this is your first time buying a domain or your thousandth time, there only are five options that I’d confidently recommend.
The Best Domain Registrar Options to Consider:
When it Makes Sense to Invest Into a Domain Registrar
It makes sense to invest in domain registration as soon as you think of a domain name that you know you want. The name might not be available if you wait too long.
If you’re starting a new business, you’ll want to register that domain name immediately. Even if you’re not quite ready to build your website, you can still secure your domain.
It’s unnecessary to spend thousands of dollars on a domain name that someone already purchased if you don’t have anything invested in that name.
For example, let’s say you have a cool idea for a business name. But you haven’t actually started the business, filed your LLC forms, or done any legwork to get your idea off of the ground. You’ve only thought of the name. So you browse a domain registrar to check its availability, only to find that it’s being sold for $10,000. Just think of a new name.
But if your name is available for the regular price and you know that you’ll eventually start this business, you can go ahead and register it.
#1 – Domain.com Review — The Best Overall Domain Registrar
Domain.com is the best domain registrar on the market today. Whether you’re a first-time buyer or have decades of experience registering domain names, this will be the top option for you to consider.
For just $9.99 per year, you’ll be able to register a .com domain from this provider.
It’s a quick and straightforward process, regardless of your technical knowledge and skill level. One of my favorite parts of using Domain.com is the ability to register your domain for up to five years. So you won’t have to think about renewing it on an annual basis.
You can add privacy and protection for $8.99 per year as well. This hides your name and address from the public, which would normally be visible after you register a domain. I’d definitely recommend adding privacy and protection to your domain purchase unless you’re registering the domain under a business name instead of your own.
The only downside of Domain.com is that you’ll have to pay extra for this. Other domain registrars offer privacy and protection for free.
Like most domain registrars out there, Domain.com will try to pitch you some upsells during the purchase process. You can ignore those. Add-ons like SSL certificates and SiteLock typically come standard with your web hosting plan.
The entire domain registration process from Domain.com takes 60 seconds, at most. This makes it an ideal choice for anyone buying more than one domain name.
You’ll also benefit from 24/7 customer support, which is excellent if you ever run into any problems or need assistance.
#2 – Bluehost Review — The Best Domain Registrar For Bundled Web Hosting
Bluehost is not your typical domain registrar—it’s a web hosting provider. In fact, Bluehost ranks first on our list of the best web hosting services of the year.
If you want to bundle your domain registration with a hosting plan, Bluehost is your best option. The best part about Bluehost? You can get your domain name free for the first year.
Bluehost makes this process as easy as possible for new website owners. When you sign up for a hosting plan, you’ll automatically have the option to register a new domain for free. Hosting services start at $3.95 per month.
If you want to buy a domain from Bluehost without bundling your hosting services, .com domains start at $11.99 per year. Privacy and protection costs an additional $11.88 per year.
I don’t recommend this. If you’re not using Bluehost for web hosting, you’re better off using a traditional domain registrar. For those of you interested in buying domains in bulk, you should look elsewhere as well.
But Bluehost is the perfect option for a new website owner that wants to get web hosting services and domain registration from the same provider.
It’s just easier to manage things this way. Plus, the offer to register your name free for the first year is enticing.
Bluehost is the only provider that I’d recommend bundling domain registration with web hosting. Other registrars have similar offers, but their services fall short in one category or the other.
#3 – Namecheap Review — Best Domain Registrar For Simplicity
Best For Simple Domain Registrations
Trusted by 10+ million domains. Free privacy and protection included. Get a .com domain for just $8.88 per year.
More than two million customers trust Namecheap for domain registration, making it one of the most popular domain registrars on the market today.
As the name implies, Namecheap offers affordable domain names. You can purchase a .com domain for just $8.88 per year. Free privacy and protection is included, even for existing domains transferred to Namecheap.
The entire domain registration process with Namecheap is as simple as it gets.
That’s why more than ten million domains have been registered through this platform.
You can register your domain for up to ten years with Namecheap. That’s double the length of Domain.com’s offer.
I always recommend this option when it’s available so you won’t have to worry about renewing every year. Plus, you’ll get to lock in the lowest rate for the longest period of time. Domain renewals from Namecheap start at $12.98 per month. So be prepared for a price increase when your initial registration is up.
Namecheap has domain registration services for individuals, businesses, and resellers. So no matter what you need to register a domain for, you’ll be able to do it with Namecheap. Once you’ve registered a domain, you’ll be able to manage everything with the simple dashboard and account panel.
Namecheap’s customer support team is second to none. They are knowledgeable, friendly, and available 24/7 to assist with your needs.
#4 – NameSilo Review — Best Domain Registrar For Bulk Buying
NameSilo is another simple and straightforward domain registrar. It’s not quite as popular as Domain.com or Namecheap, but it’s still one of the most reputable, reliable, and trustworthy registrars on the market today.
As one of the world’s fastest-growing registrars, NameSilo has more than three million active domains registered through its platform.
Registering a .com domain with NameSilo starts at $8.99 per month. But NameSilo stands out from the competition by offering discounts for bulk purchases. Here’s a look at some of their prices based on the registrations in your order and the active domains in your account:
Another benefit of using NameSilo is that you’ll get privacy and protection for free with all registrations. NameSilo includes domain defender protection, DNS management, email forwarding, and custom WHOIS records for free as well.
NameSilo has a cool price comparison tool on its website that helps you see where they stack up against the competition. Simply select the number of domains you want to buy and the length of your registration. The tool will automatically display those prices.
For bulk orders, NameSilo will almost always come out on top.
All .com domain renewals cost $8.99 with NameSilo, regardless of how many active domains you have in your account. So you can expect your renewals to go up slightly when your first registration promotion expires. With that said, $8.99 is still less than some registrars charge for an initial registration. So it’s still a great deal.
#5 – Gandi Review — The Best Domain Registrar Interface
Gandi has been in the domain registration business for 20+ years. Today, they manage over 2.5 million domains.
They employ a “no BS” philosophy and company culture, which is a unique pitch. It’s not often that you see curse words plastered over on a domain registrar’s website. They even have a complete landing page dedicated to their golden rule.
Aside from its marketing creativity and decades of experience, Gandi stands out from other domain registrars because it has a beautiful interface.
From buying to renewing and transferring, the experience using Gandi.net as a domain registrar is seamless. With that said, Gandi is a bit more expensive than some of the other domain registrars on our list.
Registering a .com will cost you $15.50 per year. It does come with free privacy and protection, but so does Namecheap and NameSilo. It’s tough for me to justify the extra cost here.
The bright side of paying extra for your .com domain registration is that the prices won’t spike upon renewal.
Gandi does make it easy for you to bundle multiple extensions. You can get a discount on .us, .org, and .net extensions if you register all three today. But this offer is only good for the initial registration; the price renews at the regular rate.
In addition to free privacy and protection, all Gandi domain registrations come with two mailboxes, unlimited aliases and forwarding, and a free SSL certificate.
Methodology For Choosing The Best Domain Registrar
With different domain registrars having such similar features, how can you determine the best option for you?
There are certain factors that you need to look for when you’re shopping around for the best domain registrar. I’ll explain these elements in greater detail below, so you can weigh the options according to your personal needs.
This is our methodology for finding the best domain registrar:
There are lots of options when it comes to domain registration. For the most part, there are three different types of service providers that let you register a domain—domain registrars, web hosts, and website builders.
Most domain registrars will offer hosting services and website builders. Some website builders offer domain registration, and the majority of web hosts offer domain registration as well.
In most cases, you should not bundle these services together. The only exception is with Bluehost.
While Bluehost’s primary function is a web hosting service, it’s a great option if you want to register your domain and get web hosting from the same provider simultaneously. You’ll even get your first year of domain registration for free.
If you’re not using Bluehost, ignore product bundles. Just get your domain registration directly from a domain registrar, and keep everything else separate.
Most of us use price to compare different products or services. It’s a natural way to make an assessment.
But when it comes to domain registration, you shouldn’t make a big deal over minor price differences. The majority of domain registrars will be in the same price range. If one is a dollar or two cheaper than another, that shouldn’t be your deciding factor. Quality and service will be more important than the cost.
The domain registrars on our list all fall around that $10 per year range. Gandi is a bit more expensive, and Namecheap is the cheapest for a single domain.
Keep in mind; some domain registrars spike the price of your domain renewal after your initial contract expires. The increase is marginal, but it’s still something to look out for.
The number of domains you need to purchase should have an impact on the registrar you choose. If you’re just looking for one domain, or need to buy a handful, Domain.com will be your best option.
But if you’re buying domains in dozens or hundreds, NameSilo will be a much better option.
I wouldn’t use Bluehost if you need multiple domains. Remember, that’s a better choice if you just need a domain for one website to bundle with your hosting services.
Features and Benefits
Domain privacy and protection will be one of the most important features to look for when you’re choosing a domain registrar. Without this, your personal information (name, phone number, email address, mailing address) will be listed on the WHOIS public database.
Some domain registrars will throw this in for free when you register a domain. Others you’ll have to pay extra for. But you definitely don’t want to skip on this, unless you’re registering under a company name (that information is already public).
For those of you interested in transferring your domain, you’ll want to take a look at domain transfer services and prices when you’re evaluating options.
The number of years you can register for when you first buy a domain is important too. This can range from one to five or even ten years, depending on the registrar. Longer is always better; that way you won’t have to worry about renewing every year. If your registrar doesn’t have a long-term option, just make sure you turn on automatic renewals so your site won’t go down.
Lots of domain registrars try to upsell you with security features. Aside from privacy and protection, you can ignore these. You can get everything else from your web host.
Registering a domain name can be intimidating if you’ve never been the process before. But finding the right domain registrar will make your life much easier.
Use this guide to find the best domain registrar for your needs. From beginners to experienced buyers alike, the list above has something for everyone.