Your domain name is undoubtedly one of the most important elements of your entire online presence. Not only does it act as the link between your audience and site, it also plays a crucial role in your branding and marketing efforts. And while you might put a lot of effort into brainstorming the best name to use for it, finding the best domain registrar to purchase it from, however, might prove to be slightly more challenging.
Not only are these platforms riddled with jargon and acronyms you’re most likely not familiar with, their offerings also appear incredibly similar on the surface. To help you succeed in this search, we’ve put together a curated list of the best domain registrar options to buy from in 2023, as well as a series of tips on how to find the perfect match for your unique needs.
Best domain registrars
Best for: Bundling with free web hosting and SSL certificate
If you’re in need of a free web hosting platform in addition to a domain name, then choosing Wix is a no-brainer. On top of a long list of templates and features for building a professional online presence, you’ll get access to powerful domain management tools such as privacy protection (WHOIS protection), easy transfer, subdomains and a business email address. Furthermore, creating a Wix website will also provide you with 24/7 security monitoring, HTTPS and SSL protection.
The platform’s robust domain search tool helps you choose a domain name based on the availability of your name idea within hundreds of domain extensions. Any of these options can be registered as a free domain name for the first year with the purchase of a premium plan for your website. The pricing for each domain without a free voucher appears next to each option, varying depending on the type of domain extension, local currency, and local tax laws. Afterwards, you can extend your domain subscription for up to 3 years, with significant discounts applied for each additional year.
Integrated WHOIS protection
24/7 customer support
Free domain name for a year with premium plan
Best for: Straightforward use, long-term registration
Domain.com is the best domain registrar choice for those looking to register a domain name for several years and who don’t require web hosting. The beginner-friendly platform offers the most popular top-level domain extensions as well as numerous country code top-level domains, all of which can be purchased for up to five years.
This registrar provides a wide array of domain management tools, including bulk registration, transfers, live chat support and DNS management, among other additional services. Pricing for a .com extension starts at $9.99/year, but you’ll need to pay an additional $8.99/year if you want to add WHOIS protection. The registration process is noticeably fast, taking just a couple of minutes overall.
Fast, beginner-friendly registering process
Multi-year domain name purchase
Complete DNS control
Best for: Cheap domain name registration
As you might have guessed by its name, Namecheap stands out as one of the best domain registrar choices in terms of domain name cost. The platform provides a streamlined process that allows searching for individual domains or batches of up to 50. Furthermore, you’ll be able to see the WHOIS record of unavailable domains and make a bid for them through the site via DomainAgents.
In spite of this lower pricing, with .com domains starting at just $8.88/year, Namecheap’s service holds strong against other domain registrars. All registrations include WHOIS protection, a user-friendly management system and an account panel. Additionally, the platform offers a handful of upsells such as G Suite integration, customizable email and web hosting.
Low-cost domain name registration
Free WHOIS privacy
Live chat support
Best for: Pairing with web hosting
As one of the leading web hosting platforms, Bluehost offers domain registrar services in order to allow website owners to manage all their site’s elements within a single platform. This makes it an especially attractive choice for new site managers, as well as those who are not planning to buy additional domains over time.
This domain registrar offers hundreds of domain extensions, with pricing for .com domains starting at $12.99/year, andWHOIS privacy protection costing an additional $11.88/year. All domains can be registered for free in the first year when registering for one of Bluehosts’ web hosting plans. The platform includes access to a complete DNS control panel, domain locking, auto-renewal options and 24/7 customer support.
High-value hosting pairing deal
Intuitive domain management platform
05. Google Domains
Best for: Integration with Google services
Google Domains’ interface is simple and beginner-friendly, providing a streamlined registration process without upsells or hidden fees. Needless to say, this is the best place to buy a domain name if Google integrations are a priority for you. By purchasing your domain on this platform, you’ll get WHOIS privacy protection, email forwarding, 2-step verification and more.
While Google Domains offers the most TLDs (top-level domains), some popular choices such as .mobi and .tv are missing from their catalog. The pricing for .com domains is $12/year, which remains the same on renewal, and you can purchase several of them at once. Unfortunately, you can only buy a domain name from this platform if your billing address is set in one of the Google Domains’ supported countries, which currently lists only 19 names.
Email forwarding services
WHOIS privacy protection included
Best for: Extensive variety of domain name extensions
On top of being one of the best domain registrars available in the market, GoDaddy might just be the most renowned, too. Particularly popular among business owners, this platform is primarily known for the wide variety of domain name extensions they offer, including country code extensions and their highly competitive pricing.
GoDaddy offers significant discounts on first-year domain name registrations and allows customers to purchase a domain for up to ten years. This makes it a very attractive option for those looking for long-term registrations. Pricing for a .com domain starts at $11.99/year, with an additional $9.99 charged for domain privacy and protection. Less-popular domain extensions, such as .online or .shop, can cost as little as $0.99 in the first year but increase up to $44.99/year upon renewal.
Low starting prices
Wide variety of domain extensions
Easily integrated with suite of website add-ons
Best for: Old-school domain extensions
Primarily known for its web hosting services, HostGator also offers a substantial selection of domain extensions and management tools as part of its one-stop shop for website owners. This includes a powerful DNS management dashboard, web hosting bundles and optional WHOIS privacy protection for an additional fee.
Unlike other domain registrars on this list, HostGator focuses on 15 of the most traditional TLDs, such as .org .com and .net. With this in mind, you’ll need to search elsewhere if you’re looking for more out-of-the-box domain extensions. In terms of pricing, the registrar offers significant discounts when pairing a new domain with a web hosting plan: a .com domain starts at $12.95/year without hosting and costs as little as $2.99/year with a web hosting plan.
One-stop shop for website owners
24/7 live chat and phone support
How to choose a domain registrar
As you come to understand what is a domain name and the nuances of choosing the perfect one for your site, you'll find yourself in front of an endless list of options to purchase. When it comes to choosing the best domain registrar, you need to understand the main differences that set them apart. Even though they might all seem the same at first, a closer look shows that not all domain registrars offer similar extensions, management tools or privacy features.
Now that we looked at the best domain registrar options of 2023 and their offerings, let's take a look at the main features you should keep an eye on:
Privacy: Some platforms include WHOIS privacy protection (meaning your private contact information is not publicly available) in their offering, while others require an additional purchase for this feature.
Add-ons: Check what additional products and services the domain registrar offers and pay attention to whether they’re trying to upsell you without your knowledge.
Bundling options: Purchasing a web hosting plan and a domain name from the same vendor will allow you to manage everything within a single platform, and likely result in a significantly lower cost.
Pricing: Each domain name registrar offers different prices depending on several factors, such as type of extension and registration duration.
Hidden fees: Many domain registrars offer aggressive pricing for first-time registrations that result in a much more expensive option upon renewal.
Customer support: For your peace of mind, aim for a platform that offers live customer support 24/7.