After you’ve moved past the conceptual phase and you’re ready to transform your website idea into a reality, step number one is to register your site’s domain name through an ICANN accredited registrar. There are hundreds of different registrars out there all vying for your business and each one offers a different set of services and perks, so finding a package that suits your needs can sometimes be a time-consuming endeavor.
Going with the cheapest service isn’t always the best option — sometimes more expensive options come with extras and ‘freebies’ that make make building your website less of a hassle. Keeping that in mind, we put together this list of the best domain name registrars that offer not only low prices, but great customer service, product variety, and site design as well.
Updated on 12-9-2013 by Emily Schiola: This list has been updated to include additional services.
If their name didn’t already give it away, you probably gathered that this site offers simple domain name registration services for relatively low prices — but that’s not the only reason they made the list. They’ve also gained a reputation for providing excellent customer service, and they offer a wide range of different package deals to suit just about every user. You can check out their pricing schedule here and scroll through some of their free features here.
Name is a dead-simple domain registration site that boasts a few features that most others don’t have. When you search for a domain name of any kind, it goes beyond simply telling you if it’s available or not and will actually let you know if a domain is (or will be) up for auction. They also offer this thing called the domain grabber, which is essentially a service where you pay Name.com to snatch up a taken domain that you really want as soon as it becomes available. You can check out their prices here.
Gandi’s motto is ‘no bullshit‘, and it shows in just about every aspect of their service. Their site is clean and easy to navigate, and their customer service doesn’t beat around the bush when you call in. When you register a domain, you get a bunch of freebies too — three free BaseKit pages, one free DotClear 2.0 blog, free private domain registration, a free 1-year SSL certificate, and a personal email. It’s definitely not the cheapest service listed here, but all of the free perks might be worth it for the right user. Check their price schedule here, and read more about their free services here.
1&1 is definitely a front-runner when it comes to low prices, but they’ve also got tons of added value bonuses that come with registration. Buy a one-year registration and you’ll get a five-page domain parking package, an email account with 2GB of storage, and free private domain registration to shield your personal info from prying eyes. They also offer free domain transfers if you’re looking to switch over from another registrar. You can check out their pricing plans here.
IWMN takes a super minimalist approach when it comes to their domain name registrar services. The company made a point to cut down on clutter and make registering a domain as painless as possible. Upon arrival at the site, you’ll find a mostly white page with very few buttons and links — but they’re the important ones. IWMN also makes it easy to add various web services to your domain at the point of registration. Pricing plans are available here.
Next Page: Five more of the best domain name registrars
Hover is another clean and simple registration site that we like for it’s top-notch domain management tools. In addition to a great control panel, each domain you buy comes with unlimited domain forwarding and free private domain registration to keep your personal info hidden. Email accounts are available for an additional fee. Check their pricing schedule here to learn more.
Perhaps the most well-known registrar in the business, GoDaddy is both loved and hated. On the one hand, people love it for it’s relatively cheap package deals and abundant promotional codes that can be used to get deep discounts. On the other hand, some users criticize the service for its aggressive advertising and upselling practices. Regardless, we like them for their fast customer service and wide variety of domain registration/web hosting bundles.
Though it is mainly geared toward entrepreneurs and small business owners, DreamHost has reasonable rates and offers cloud storage and computer services for everyone. This site makes it particularly easy to transfer domain names from other companies and has gotten positive feedback from customers. Of all the registrars on this list, it probably offers the easiest process for registering.
This company is from the UK and only offers .uk registration, but they can be used by American customers to look more pretentious. They are said to have some of the best customer service around and their prices are fairly cheap. Their website is a little confusing to navigate, which is a bummer, but they have a cute monster as a mascot so that’s something.
This site boasts two big things: cheap prices and high security. Not as well known as the others on this list, NameSilo offers a flat rate with no extra privacy or security costs. NameSilo claims some of the best privacy and security features around, despite offering these benefits for free.
What do you think of our list of the best domain name registrars? Did we miss something? Let us know in the comments below.
This article was originally published on Jan. 27, 2013.