Once you pick a domain to buy, the next step is to decide a good domain registrar to register desired name(s). Like everywhere are good and bad registrars in domain market too. You must be careful while choosing a registrar to hold your domains or else you will face enormous problem later on. Many newbie and intermediate domainers make the mistake of going after discounted cheap domains without knowing a bit about domain registrars. A bad domain registrar can create enormous hurdle in your domaining business.
Elements of a Good Domain Registrar
“What defines a good domain registrar?” You could ask.
Ideally, a good domain registrar has following five elements:
- It charges less price for registering a domain with or without a coupon. If you are new customer you should be ideally looking for heavily discounted coupon. Remember that the discount price is usually valid for one year. After that you will be charged regular price. If you plan to hold a domain for long term choose a registrar that has a descent registration and renewal fees.
- Renewal cost of a domain should not be more than US $15 per year. Renewal cost is going to be huge burden if you have a large portfolio. Few of registrars offer discount on renewal and such discount is usually valid if renewed a bit early or for bulk renewals.
- User interface should be very simple. You should easily find your domains, namerservers, WHOIS, and push/transfer options not more than in three mouse clicks.
- Pushing and transferring domains is easy and fast. This is very important for domainers because your domain might sell at any time and your buyer may want you push/transfer the domains immediately. Unfortunately, many registrars make it harder for you to push/transfer domains. You should therefore go for a registrar that allows easy push and transfer.
- Customers are given top priority. Sometimes you will experience technical problems with your registrars. This could be due to your own ignorance or because of technical glitch on the part of registrar. In such a circumstance, customer service should be one call away to help solve your issue.
The Top 5 Best Domain Registrars
On the basis above elements, produced below are the five top registrars in the domain industry. They are best. Let’s start anti-clock wise.
Hover.com is a subsidiary of the famous Tucows Inc. The registrar is a very popular in North America and giving a stiff competition to market leader Godaddy. What attract so many buyers to this registrar is its cleanly designed simple control panel and the top notch customer service. Their customer service is handled manually but professionally. They will work relentlessly till your issue is resolved.
The registrar also comes with attractive promotion offers from time to time. If you are willing to transfer your existing domains to Hover.com, they will handle it through their Valet service. You don’t have to lift a finger except ordering for transfer and providing some basic information.
Renewal rate is good but registration and transfer cost is little higher when compared to other best registrars.
Enom.com is the second largest registrar and has a market share of around 10%. It has the largest network of domain resellers. Registration, renewal and transfer fees are around $10. It is one of the cheapest registrars. Their security feature is awesome. If you enable the security features it is almost impossible to compromise your account.
The downside is that their user control panel is a bit complex and not easy to navigate. Once you push the domain, it is not possible to reverse the same. There is also 7 days cooling off period once a domain is pushed to you account. This means that you have to wait at least 7 days to be able to push the domain to another account. The problem with Enom is mostly technical.
Many might not know that Namecheap.com had been a reseller company of Enom.com until recently. They have surpassed their parent company in term of popularity. It is not wrong to say that, it is because of Namecheap Enom.com could become second largest registrar in the industry.
Domains at Namecheap are cheap. Like Godaddy they provide plenty of coupons to new registrants at a cheaper price. The most attractive feature of Namecheap.com is free Whois guard they provide with every domain registration. Low pricing and simple dashboard is main reason why many prefer Namecheap over many other domain registrars. Their control panel is very simple and is very easy to perform push/transfer domains.
I am sure many will object seeing Godaddy at no. 2. Hold on! Let me give my reason why it is at no. 2. Firstly, it is not for nothing that Godaddy alone corners around 31% of market share. The registrar is must trustworthy domain registrar and that is the reason many top bloggers and website owners prefer it. If you have highly valuable domains, it is most safe in Godaddy platform than any other places.
Security feature in Godaddy is excellent and you can even reverse a push if done in mistake. They have a great customer service. Support staffs are ready to assist you at any time you need. They run an auction place, where you can list your domains right from your control panel. Of course, you have to pay a small annual fee.
There are many negatives as well. Godaddy heavily promotes its products from the time you register a domain. You will be getting annoying promotional offers frequently in your email. Their regular renewal cost at US $14.99 is really high. Renewal coupons are limited. Their control panel is a bit complex and you have to click several times to get your desired action.
From domaining perspective Go daddy is still the best. They offer substantial discounts for bulk registration and renewal. More than anything rest assured that your domains are in safe hand. Believe me or not, many buyers won’t buy your domains if they are not registered at Goaddy. This is true especially for low priced domains.
Name.com is the most underrated domain registrar in the industry. It has excellent features. Pushing/transferring a domain is a child’s play and there is no restriction of time. You can reach for anything you want on dashboard with mere two clicks. Their WHOIS search is simply the best in the industry.
Right in the dashboard of Name.com you can see the list of deleted and expiring domains and can register right there, if available. Registration, renewal and transfer cost is one of the cheapest in the market. Their customer support is legendary of sort. Every process is explained in steps in their FAQ. You won’t feel the need to call their customer support at all. By chance if you need assistance from the customer support they will promptly extend their professional support. There is no backdoor or heavy promotion to trap gullible customers into buying .
There are no serious flaws about Name.com. Just for sake of criticism, I would like to highlight one minor issue. When you scroll down the menu at the top disappears and it can creates confusion among new customers. The menu reappears only when one scrolls up again.
All the domain registrars have some strength and weakness. The ranking has been done from a domaining perspective. Evaluate your own need andchoose a suitable registrar. For instance, if you are looking to sell in Godaddy auctions, it is better to register at Godaddy. Similarly, if you have many domains in your portfolio and want to cut down the renewal fee, Enom.com would be your best option. Name.com can be your top choice if you want a hassle free management of your portfolio in minimal time and cost.
The Next Best 5
One of the new entrants and underrated registrars but has features better than many well known registrars. Cheap prices, simple interface, free WHOIS privacy and protection, and free access to API and DNS management are provided by Namesilo. Their renewal fee is same as the domain registration fees. The only flip side is that they don’t have special discount policy for bulk domain registration and renewal. Nonetheless they have potential to climb higher.
Dynadot is a favorite registrar of many well established domainers because of their out of box features. Once you are on the site, you will love their interface. They have competitive pricing and discount policy. They have some out-of-box features like allowing free grace period deletion, free parking and allowing full control over whois and nameservers to the registrants etc.. Best available coupons are automatically applied at the time of checkout. You can even categorize your domains and place in folders. The flip part is their customer service, which is not 24 hours.
Gandi.com is arguably the most upright domain registrar on the web. Though their price is a bit higher, they are second to none in other aspects. They don’t try to up sell or sell something you don’t want. They resolve customers’ issues faster through their excellent customer service. They support free speech and donate a percentage of their proceeds to an organizations fighting for free speech. The only negative is high registration cost
Resellerclub is a very popular registrar in India. Its registrants are spread all over the world. It is subsidiary of the famous domain research and marketing firm called Directi. It constantly looks to improve quality by adopting cutting edge technology and enhancing users’ experience. Resellerclub is the domain registrar to watch. They have good customer support also but there is scope for further improvement.
One of the largest domain registrars on the web is Register.com. It is owned by Web.com. This company is known for no nonsense approach to their business. They value users’ privacy. They observe a strong anti-spam policy. Users are expected to abide strictly by their ToS. The pricing structure, however, is a little expensive. Their interface is also not upto the mark.
All the domain registrars above have some virtue and defects. Exercise your own judgment after taking into consideration of your requirements.