In this guide, I’ll talk you through my recommendations for the five very best domain registrars currently around on the Internet today.
Because after picking the right domain name for your blog, choosing where to actually register that domain can be an equally-as-tricky task, especially given the sheer abundance of options out there.
On the one hand, having lots of options to choose from can be a good thing; on the other, it only raises more questions:
How do I know I’m signing up to a reliable domain registrar?
How can I find a company that will make it as easy as possible to link my domain to my blog?
How can I be sure that I’m getting the absolute best value for money from a domain registrar?
Huge list of domain extensions to choose from
Domain name generator
Domain auctions for popular, in-demand domains
After spending the last several years developing a successful portfolio of profitable content websites, I’ve learned the answers to all of these questions and then some. That’s why I’ve put together this comprehensive guide to the best domain registrars to help you pick the one that’s perfect for you, your blog and your budget.
Top 5 Best Domain Registrars of 2022
When you become thorough with the top five domain registrars, you know which one to pick for yourself. This guide is going to help you understand the first step of launching a website, i.e., registration. Let’s read in detail to find out more.
The domain registrar and hosting company have done a remarkable job of getting their name into the public consciousness on the back of extensive and well-received marketing campaigns.
In fact, I’d say that they’ve done so well with this that today, the name GoDaddy is as synonymous with domain names as WordPress is with blogging, or Wix is with the drag-and-drop website builder market.
Still, hype and clever TV commercials are only going to get any company so far, and GoDaddy hasn’t managed to build a 20+ million customer base on good marketing alone.
Instead, they’ve developed their reputation as industry leaders by offering competitive pricing for a broad cross-section of different domain extensions.
I’ll talk more about that in a moment, but first, let me tell you two other things that really make GoDaddy stand out as one of the best domain registration companies around:
First of all, their user interface is an absolute breeze to use.
Even if you’ve never registered a domain name or set up a website before, you’ll have no problem buying a domain name and linking it to your website, customizing your settings, and more.
Secondly, the fact that GoDaddy is a full-service Internet company, you can also get your hosting, email, SSL certificates, and other essentials as part of the same package. It will even save your time and hassle during the set up process.
Combine that with solid customer service and some handy features for parking your domain name if you’re not quite ready to use it, and it’s easy to see why those 20+ million customers continue to use GoDaddy to register a domain name.
- Huge list of domain extensions to choose from
- Domain auctions for popular, in-demand domains
- Domain brokerage service to help you get domains that have already been registered
- Domain name generator
- Domain backorder service to help you get previously-registered domains.
GoDaddy’s pricing is fairly competitive, though to get their best deals, you do need to sign up for a minimum of a two-year period.
At the time of writing, it was possible to get some .com domain names for as little as a penny for the first year, but only on the condition that you also pay for a second year at $18.99, meaning a total of $19 for two years.
If you’re confident that you’re going to stick with blogging for the long-haul, you may find this to be a good deal and not too far off what you’d pay elsewhere over the course of the two years, but if you’re just testing the waters or you’re looking to keep your short-term costs as low as possible, then there’s certainly more affordable first-term offers out there.
I should also point out that GoDaddy is very good at offering premium domain names, i.e., those with valuable keywords that make them a much sought-after domain.
As you’ll see here, I could register the domain buildablog.com today, but it would cost me the better part of $5K just to set up plus the annual $18.99 renewal fee, which means that I’d be better off thinking more carefully about choosing a name for a blog that would result in much more affordable domain name possibilities.
Along with .com, some of GoDaddy’s other pricing plans include:
- .Net – $14.99 first year / $19.99 annual renewal
- .Shop – $1.99 first year / $44.99 annual renewal
- .Org – $9.99 first year / $20.99 annual renewal.
Pros and Cons of GoDaddy
- Includes free lifetime domain name privacy
- Attractive pricing when you combine domain registration with hosting etc.
- Ease of use makes it ideal for newcomers.
- Domain-only renewal rates are expensive compared to other registrars
- Though customer service is good, the live chat option isn’t available 24/7
- Two-year registration for .coms may be off-putting to some bloggers.
How to Get Started With GoDaddy Domain Registration?
1. Head to GoDaddy.com/domains and type your preferred domain in the box labeled “find your perfect domain,” then click “Buy it.”
2. Give GoDaddy a few seconds to see whether your domain is available. If it is, click “get it.”
3. If it isn’t available (or if it’s only available as a ridiculously expensive premium domain), GoDaddy will suggest alternatives that you can use, or you can come up with your own until you find a domain you’re happy with.
When you’re happy with your choice, simply repeat Step 2.
4. Choose how long you want to register that domain name for. Naturally, the longer the registration term, the more expensive your domain is going to cost you in the short-term, but it does guarantee that you don’t have to worry about that domain expiring for some time.
5. Choose whether or not to pay extra for domain protection and click ‘Continue to Cart.’
6. Review your order. At this stage, you can also choose to snap up your blog name with other domain extensions to prevent anyone else from using them.
When you’re good to go, select ‘I’m Ready to Pay.’ From there, simply create an account, enter your payment details, and voila! You’ve successfully registered a domain name with GoDaddy.
As you’ve probably deduced from their name, NameCheap is all about helping you to get a great domain name at a great price.
Though I’ll discuss this later when I come to talk about pricing, this really is the company’s biggest selling point. Both first term and regular renewal rates are impressively affordable, while the addition of free domain transfers is also a nice touch.
To put that into perspective, GoDaddy charges almost $9 to transfer a domain, and you’ll find that other registrars also have transfer fees in place.
Beyond that, one thing I really love about NameCheap is their “Beast Mode” domain generator tool which helps you to find the perfect domain name based on things like keywords, popular extensions, and your budget.
On the downside, though NameCheap does offer additional services like web hosting, they aren’t the best for that. However, if you’re simply looking for the best low-cost domain registrar for those on a budget, they’re certainly tough to beat.
- Free domain privacy
- 50 TLDs to choose from with new ones added regularly
- Handshake domains service
- Bulk domain search
- Domain name auction and marketplace
As I’ve already mentioned, NameCheap’s pricing is by far their biggest selling point, with dot com extensions starting from as little as $5.98 for the first year. Though the renewal rates do cost significantly more, I really like that you get deep discounts if you register your domain for multiple years.
Other domain extension costs include:
- .Net – $9.18 first year / $13.98 annual renewal
- .Shop – $1.78 first year / $36.98 annual renewal
- .Org – $8.98 first year / $14.98 annual renewal.
Pros and Cons of NameCheap
- Free domain transfers
- Intuitive, easy-to-use dashboard
- Low-cost SSL certificates.
- No phone support is available.
- Hosting and other services are better than other providers.
How to Get Started With NameCheap?
- Head to NameCheap.com and enter your domain in the box provided
- Click ‘Search’
- Select your preferred extension and add it to the cart
- Head to checkout when you’ve bought all the domains you want
- Chose the length of your first-term contract (1-10 years)
- Choose whether to opt-in for domain privacy
- Choose whether to upgrade to PremiumDNS
- Review and confirm your order
- Click ‘Pay Now’ and enter your payment details to buy the domain.
Here’s a company that you may already be very familiar with if you read my recent guide to the best WordPress web hosting companies.
Since they first launched in 2003, Bluehost has carved out an enviable reputation in the industry, and while they might certainly be better known as a web hosting provider (it’s literally in their name, after all), they prove that they’ve also got what it takes to compete with the best domain registrars on the market in 2022.
In terms of domains, what really sets this company apart is its user-friendliness and world-class customer support.
The company’s super-fast domain search takes just moments to find what you’re looking for as well as making some very helpful selections if your domain is unavailable or costs a premium price.
After that, the novice-friendly dashboard takes all the hassle and hard work out of connecting your domain to your website and taking care of other domain management essentials.
If you do come into difficulties, Bluehost has you well covered with 24/7 domain support available via both live chat and telephone, the latter being an option that some of Bluehost’s competitors sadly lack.
Altogether with their aforementioned proven track record as a quality website hosting platform, this makes Bluehost one of the best options out there if you’re looking to buy a complete website package including a domain, hosting, and other products like email and SSL certificates.
- Domain locking to prevent unauthorized transfers
- Auto-renewals to prevent expirations
- Domain forwarding
- Domain protection is an optional upgrade.
Bluehost might just be the perfect domain registrar if it wasn’t for their pricing.
The company’s fees are somewhat highly-priced compared to others in this guide.
A dot com, for example, will set you back $12.99 per year for the first contract term, after which you’ll be charged $18.99 per month according to the company’s pricing structure.
Elsewhere, other domains cost:
- .Net – $14.99 first year / $18.99 annual renewal
- .Biz – $11.99 first year / $16.99 annual renewal
- .Org – $9.99 first year / $17.99 annual renewal.
I should also point out that Bluehost didn’t seem to offer .shop as a domain option, which is why I used.Biz in this example.
Beyond that, Bluehost continues to ramp up the costs by bundling domain privacy in with their overall domain protection service, which costs between $9.99 and $15.99 per year.
While it’s not unusual for hosts to charge extra for domain protection, the fact that many companies these days do offer to hide your personal details from your domain’s WhoIs entry at no cost to you does make Bluehost a little disappointing in the pricing department.
Pros and Cons of Bluehost
- Top choice for bloggers who want to keep their hosting and domain together
- 24/7 support available via phone and email
- Easy Microsoft 365 integration for email.
- More expensive than other domain registrars
- The domain transfer process is more complicated than with other companies.
How to Get Started With Bluehost?
- Head to Bluehost.com/domains
- Enter your preferred domain in the box provided
- Choose your preferred Top-Level Domain (.com, .org, etc.)
- Click ‘search’
- Confirm the domain names you want
- Choose whether to upgrade with privacy protection
- Choose whether to combine your domain name with web hosting
- Head to checkout and pay for your domain to start using it.
If you like the idea of an all-in-one hosting and domain registrar but didn’t like Bluehost’s prices, you may find Hostinger to be a better, more affordable alternative.
While their domain registration costs aren’t the cheapest on the market, they are less expensive than Bluehost and relatively competitive when compared to the likes of my top pick, GoDaddy.
What stands out to me about this particular registrar, however, is their excellent Domain Checker tool, which is superior to many others out there in terms of the sheer volume of creative domain name ideas it provides you simply by typing in a few choice keywords.
Sure, you’ll be able to get the domain you’re looking for if it’s available, but Hostinger will also provide you with an extensive list of alternative or additional domain extensions (typically cheaper when you buy in bulk), as well as alternative second-level domains.
Finally, one thing I have to give Hostinger credit for is its transparency.
Some registrars (including a couple on this list) make you search through page after page to find the regular renewal rate of your domain buried within the fine print.
Not so with Hostinger, who are upfront from the very beginning about their pricing so that you can get a better idea as to the true long-term cost of your domain right from the beginning.
- Extensive domain checker tool
- WHoIS look-up
- Domain transfers
- Domain privacy and protection
- An extensive list of TLDs to choose from.
As far as actual pricing goes, Hostinger falls somewhere in the middle.
They’re certainly not as cheap as NameCheap, but nor are they as expensive as Bluehost either.
At the time of writing, a dot com cost $9.99 for the first year and then $13.99 thereafter.
Alternatively, you could also choose to get a one-year domain, shared web hosting plan, and free SSL certificate for the first-year term of $4.99 p/m ($8.99 p/m thereafter), which, if you ask me, is a very impressive deal.
If you chose to stick with just domains and you want something other than a dot com, typical prices include:
- .Net – $12.99 first year / $13.99 annual renewal
- .Shop – $27.99 first year / $30.99 annual renewal
- .Org – $9.99 first year / $15.99 annual renewal.
Pros and Cons of Hostinger
- Attractively priced hosting and domain packages
- Limited upselling at checkout compared to other registrars
- Easy to use dashboard.
- Lackluster customer support
- No free domain transfers.
How to Get Started With Hostinger?
- Head to Hostinger.com/domain-checker
- Enter your desired domain name in the box provided and click ‘search.’
- Select all of the TLDs you want to buy and add to cart.
- Go to checkout.
- Choose your contract term (1-3 years).
- Choose whether to opt-in to domain privacy ($5 per year).
- Create an account with Hostinger.
- Enter your payment details and hit ‘pay’ to buy your new domain.
At first glance, there doesn’t appear to be anything especially remarkable about Domain.com.
Their pricing is about on a par with some of the other mid-range registrars I’ve shared with you today, and there isn’t much in the way of bells, whistles, and fancy features.
Look a little closer, however, and you’ll see that this no-frills approach to domain registration is all part of the company’s appeal.
If you’re already an experienced blogger and you just need a quick and simple way to snap up new domains for your latest projects,
Domain.Com’s super-easy process will certainly prove to be an attractive option.
Testing out the platform for the purposes of this guide, I found it took me less than two minutes to go from searching for a domain to paying for it, and that included taking a moment to jot down a note for this post.
Once you’re in, you’ll find a stripped-back, bare-bones control panel which may not hold much aesthetic appeal but means you’ll have no trouble navigating your way around and identifying all the key features so that you can focus on what’s truly important:
Getting a new domain set up and running so that you can start building your blog.
That’s not to say that Domain.com doesn’t offer additional services like hosting and email, but you can get these at a better quality for better prices elsewhere, whereas if all you need is simple, hassle-free domain registration in minutes, this is certainly one to look at.
- No-frills dashboard makes it very easy to use
- Optional upgrades with web hosting and site builder packages
- Sitelock to protect against malware, hackers, and viruses.
As I’ve said already, Domain.com is fairly middle-of-the-road when it comes to its pricing.
A dot com domain will currently set you back $9.99 for the first year and then $15.99 thereafter. That’s not great, and you’ll certainly get better renewal rates elsewhere, but compared to some, it’s not that terrible either.
Other domains cost:
- .Net – $12.99 first year / $15.99 annual renewal
- .Shop – $34.99 first year / $34.99 annual renewal
- .Org – $8.99 first year / $14.99 annual renewal.
Pros and Cons of Domain.com
- Transparent pricing
- Wide variety of TLDs
- Attractive SSL pricing from $3.33 per month
- Although Domain.com is easy to use for experienced bloggers, newcomers may find the lack of onboarding and ongoing support make it too tricky to use.
How to Get Started With Domain.com?
- Head to Domain.com and enter your preferred domain in the search box
- Add your preferred TLD and any additional TLDs to your cart
- Choose whether you want domain protection
- Click ‘Proceed to Bill’
- Enter your payment details and click ‘purchase now’ to successfully buy a domain name for your blog.
What to Look for When Choosing the Best Domain Registrars
When you first dive into the world of domain registration, it may seem that all domain registrars are pretty much the same.
After all, their basic purpose is straightforward:
Give you the tools to buy a domain name and attach it to your blog.
Yet while it may be true that all blog registrars do the same thing, it’s certainly not true that they all operate the same way, offer the same value for money, or even make it equally as easy to actually use your domain.
With that in mind, there are a few key things you’ll want to look out for in order to ensure you’re signing up with the one blog registration company that’s right for you.
1. First Term Costs and Registration Periods
Right out of the gate, one of the most important priorities for any blogger is how much the domain name is going to cost them upfront.
First-term costs for a domain name can come in anywhere from $5 – $20 per year for a regular dot com address and upwards of several thousands of dollars for that premium, in-demand names.
However, it isn’t just the initial outgoing cost you’ll need to look at, but also what your registrar classifies as a “first term.” The bare minimum is one year, though some companies will allow you to have a multi-year first term which means you can lock in a cheaper rate for your domain and avoid having to pay more expensive renewal fees later down the line.
Pay close attention to this, as it isn’t something that is universally standard across the domain registration industry.
In fact, while some companies do allow you to pay the first-term discounted rate over several years, others will charge you the higher rate after your first year, regardless of how many years you sign up for.
2. Renewal Rates
Renewal rates are the worst kept secret in the hosting and domain game.
Faced with such extensive competition, many companies will attempt to lure customers in with heavily discounted rates for your first-term contract, after which they’ll increase the cost, sometimes by two or three times the original amount.
As such, you’ll want to look closely at how much your blog’s domain name is really going to cost you after the honeymoon period is over.
If you can’t find that information anywhere, it may be a sign that your registrar has something to hide in terms of the true cost of their domain names, in which case you may be better off looking elsewhere.
3. Domain Expiration Policies
Since domain names are renewed on an annual basis, there may come a time when you get so busy growing your blog that you forget to renew.
If that happens and your domain expires, there’s every chance that somebody else could come along, snap up that domain and use it for their own website, ultimately undoing much of the hard work you’ve put into your site.
It’s for this reason that it’s often a good idea to opt-in to auto-renewals if you’re planning on keeping your domain for several years. That way, you don’t have to worry about checking when a domain is about to expire and manually paying for the renewal as the process is done for you, providing you’ve got the money to pay for it.
The best domain registrars even go one further by keeping your domain locked for a certain length of time after it expires, giving you a grace period in case you still want your domain but haven’t gotten round to paying for the renewal.
A word to the wise, however, if you do decide that you no longer want your domain, be sure to turn off auto-renewal so that you won’t end up paying for something you no longer need.
4. Easy Set-Up Process
On the whole, linking your new domain name to your website isn’t the most difficult task in the world, but it can still be a challenge for beginners.
That’s why ease of use was one of the primary factors I looked for when making my top five choices.
If you do decide to buy a domain name from one company and host it with another, you’ll need to spend time reconfiguring name servers and ensuring that your domain is pointing to your externally-hosted web package.
I’ll be honest, I’ve been doing this for years now, and it’s still the one part of the process that I find a bit of a pain in the neck, so any company that makes this as easy as possible earns plenty of points in my book.
5. Domain Processes and Fees
If you’re moving your domain name away from another registrar, or you later decide that you want to transfer your domain to another company, then you’ll want to consider how your preferred registrar handles that.
Some companies will do this free of charge, whereas others charge somewhere in the region of $10 – $20 for the privilege.
What’s more, some will make this as easy as possible for you, while others may give you a headache as you navigate the transfer process.
Naturally, free and easy is a better option than costly and complicated any day of the week.
6. Customer Support
Domain names may not be the most complicated things in the world, but there may still be times when things don’t quite go according to plan or when you simply can’t figure something out, especially if you’re a beginner.
This is why it’s so good to have quality customer service on hand when you need it most.
Any good hosting company will at least offer live chat as an option, though the best ones also allow you to contact them via telephone.
If you’re in a different country from your hosting provider, you’ll also want to pay attention to their availability, with 24/7 access to customer support always the best option.
7. WhoIe Privacy Options
When you register a domain name, certain personal information about you as a domain registrant is included in the WhoIs registry.
If you don’t want your personal information readily available on the Internet, most hosting companies offer a service called Domain Privacy which allows you to register their details with WhoIs rather than your own.
Some will do this for free (the best option), while others will charge an annual service for it.
Regardless, this is one thing that I’d highly recommend as you’d be surprised at the number of companies who scour WhoIs for contact details of domain name owners and use them for marketing purposes.
Frequently Asked Questions About Choosing a Domain Registrar
How long can you register a domain name for?
The minimum period you can register a domain name for is one year, while the maximum is 10 years. However, most bloggers and website owners tend to renew for two-three years at a time.
Which domain service is best?
Namecheap is the best domain service in terms of low cost, Bluehost is the best in terms of beginner-friendly usability, but GoDaddy is the best overall registrar thanks to their competitive pricing, ease-of-use, and wealth of features.
How can I own my domain name forever?
Sadly, you can’t. The best you can do is registrar your domain for the maximum 10 year period, guaranteeing you exclusive ownership for a decade. After that, you’ll need to renew it in order to keep it.
What is the Best Domain Registrar of 2022? My Final Verdict
If you read through my reviews above, you’ll notice that there’s a lot of good to be said for each company, meaning that anyone could reasonably stake a claim as being 2022’s all-round best domain registrar.
Still, I get it.
That doesn’t exactly help you when it comes to picking just one service to register your new web address with.
With that in mind, then, allow me to sum up by offering a few final recommendations based on what matters most to you.
If your top priority is keeping your costs as low as possible, then there’s no doubt that NameCheap’s excellent first term and renewal rate prices make it the one for you.
If you’re new to starting a website and value user-friendliness, or if you simply want the convenience of keeping your hosting and domain name in the same place, then look no further than either Bluehost or Hostinger, both of which significantly simplifies the process of using your domain.
On the other hand, if you’re an experienced user who knows what they’re doing and wants to get it done quickly with no fuss, opt for Domain.com.
Finally, if you want a domain registrar which combines all of the above (decent pricing, ease of use, and optional web hosting packages) with great customer service, then I’ve got to recommend GoDaddy as the best domain registrar of them all.
Huge list of domain extensions to choose from
Domain auctions for popular, in-demand domains
Domain name generator