How to Choose The Right Domain Registrar
Not all domain registrars have the license to sell all domain name extensions. For example, some domain registrars can only sell domain names with country-specific extensions (like .io, .in, or .ly).
Each domain registrar may offer different services along with the domain name registration. Some registrar may offer cheap domains as their promotional offer while others may give free add-ons to attract customers.
When choosing the best domain name registrar, we look at the following four criteria:
1. Pricing and Registration Period
The first thing you want to check is the domain name prices. For example, some domain registrars may offer low prices upfront for the first year registration, but their renewal prices can be different and significantly higher.
You can register a domain name for a minimum period of 1 year. However, some companies may require a higher registration period like 2 years minimum. You can register a domain name for up to 10 years at a time.
If you are buying a new web address, then we recommend registering your domain name for 1 year. You can turn on automatic renewal, so your domain does not expire.
You also need to check for any additional fees for domain transfers, renewal, and other charges.
2. Domain Transfers
Domain names can be moved from one domain registrar to another. Normally, you wouldn’t need to transfer your domain name right away, but if you’re unhappy with your domain registrar, then this option should be easily available.
The first thing you need to keep in mind is that you cannot transfer a domain name during the first 60 days of the registration. This initial period is decided by ICANN. After that, you are allowed to move it to any other registrar that you want.
Most domain registrars make it easy to transfer domain names without any extra fee. However, some may try to make it complicated or charge an extra fee to remove domain lock.
Make sure that you review the domain transfer policy before you buy a domain name from a registrar.
3. Domain Expiration Policies
Domain names are registered for a specific duration. You can renew your domain registration before its expiration date. However, if you forgot to renew your domain name, then it expires and anyone can register it.
For businesses, this means someone can take over their domain name. To make sure that this doesn’t happen, you can set up auto-renewals for your domain name.
Even if you use the automatic renewal feature, it is a good idea to check your domain registrars expiration policy. Some domain registrars offer a grace period even after the expiration. This grace period allows you to renew your expired domain name.
We have heard dozens of horror stories of business owners losing their domain name because their credit card expired, and their registrar did not have a grace period. This is one of the many reasons why it’s extremely important to choose the right domain name registrar.
4. Add-on Services
You may also want to review what other services are offered by your domain registrar. While you may not need these services right now, it is good to know that they have them.
These add-on services may include domain privacy, domain parking, extended expiration protection, and more. Some domain registrars may even sell WordPress hosting service, email hosting service, website builders, email marketing services, and more.
Top 3 Things to Watch Out for When Choosing a Domain Name Registrar
Due to the competition in the domain registration business, you will come across companies with some very attractive offers. While these offers may look good, there may be some downsides that you may not notice right away.
Following are a few things to watch out for when choosing a domain name registrar.
1. Add-on Pricing
Some domain name registrars can automatically pre-check add-on services when you purchase a domain name. If you don’t uncheck those options, then this would increase your bill significantly. Typically a .com domain name should not cost you more than $14.99 / year. If it does, then it should raise a red flag.
You must pay attention to the checkout page and uncheck any add-on services or upsells that you don’t need like WHOIS Guard. On top of that, it’s always a good idea to double-check the total amount you are charged in your credit card statements.
2. Bad User Experience
Most domain registrars try to make their website easy to use, so they can keep you as a customer. However, some domain registrars do the exact opposite.
This would make it difficult for you to change your domain name settings like nameservers. You will need to do that if you wanted to transfer domain to a new host, or a new domain registrar.
The easiest way to look for this is by searching for domain registrar’s online reviews. Keep in mind, that very few happy customers leave online reviews, so it’s important to read the reviews thoroughly.
3. Hidden Fees
You may also need to look for the hidden costs and fees when choosing a domain registrar.
Some domain registrars may have special offers for cheaper domains for first-time registrations. Most beginners don’t realize it, but the renewal cost of the domain are often quite different and even higher.
All good domain registrars make it easy to transfer your domain name to a different company. However, some will put an additional fee.
That being said, let’s take a look at some of the best domain name registrars, and how they compare against each other.