It is often said that domain names are like virtual real estate. While the value of a domain name mostly comes from the associated website and business behind it, buying the domain can mark the beginning of your next winning project, or whatever else you intend to do with it.
Fortunately, domain registration fees have remained rather low ever since the early days of the World Wide Web back in the 1990s. In fact, it’s generally cheaper to register a new domain name nowadays, thanks to the stiff competition among registrars.
Besides a reasonable price, other important things to look for in a domain registration company are security features (e.g. account lock and 2-factor authentication), Whois privacy (aka private registration), and good customer service. A reliable DNS service is another thing you may need in case your web host doesn’t provide that.
Whois privacy protection is a crucial feature these days, because without it, all your personal contact details that are associated with the domain would be publicly published in the Whois database, exposing them to spammers, hackers, identity thieves, and other risks.
So, without further ado, the following are five of the best domain registrars where you can get a domain name with Whois privacy at a fairly low price.
Best Domain Registrars (Quick Summary):
|Registrars||Whois Privacy||Registration (.com)||Renewal (.com)|
|Google Domains||Free (full)||$12||$12|
Dynadot has been one of the most reliable domain registrars since they started operating about two decades ago (in 2002, to be precise). It’s not just the prompt support service that is to like about this company, it’s their commitment to keeping registration fees at competitively low levels. They are indeed among the top low-cost registrars for .com and many other TLDs.
Unlike other companies that may try to lure you in with a low first-year price and then they charge you almost double that for renewal, Dynadot has low fees for both initial registration and subsequent renewals. They often have discounts on the initial registration fee for certain TLDs and they are very transparent about this (the renewal price is clearly listed next to the discounted one).
A lot of domainers who own hundreds or thousands of domains favor this registrar because of the potential to save a substantial amount of money, especially on bulk orders. Additionally, free Whois privacy is included for each eligible TLD.
Pros: Dynadot pros include free Whois privacy, prompt live chat support, clean and easy-to-use interface, prepaid credit allowing faster and safer checkouts, account lock feature (requires birthday to unlock), and no upselling or gimmicks.
Cons: Live chat can be busy at times, and changing the birthday may require identity verification.
NameCheap is a well-known name in the domaining field and one of the most recommended registrars in webmaster communities. Their prices for many TLDs are some of the lowest you can find on the market. And if you own more than 50 domains, you can save some money on annual renewals by joining their VIP Rewards Club.
They offer free Whois privacy protection with each domain registration. You can choose between the free basic DNS and the premium DNS services they have, both of which support DNSSEC. The premium DNS option comes with 100% uptime guarantee and DDoS protection, and it only costs $4.88 for the first year (renews at $9.98). This is recommended for business sites that need a secure and reliable DNS service.
Pros: NameCheap pros include low registration fees, regular discounts on new TLDs, free Whois privacy protection, fast and secure Premium DNS (add-on), instant live chat support, and account funds for automatic renewals.
Cons: No phone support.
NameSilo is another neat place to register and manage your domains. This is a relatively small company run by a small team that offers outstanding customer service. They have been in business for many years and they’ve earned a good reputation among domainers.
If you are looking to buy a cheap domain name with free Whois privacy and no gimmicks, you gotta check this one out! They offer decent deals on several TLDs and they also have a discount program for those looking to make a bulk order.
Pros: NameSilo pros include free Whois privacy protection, low registration and renewal fees, discounts on bulk orders, several payment methods, and friendly 24/7 live chat support.
Cons: The dashboard is a bit outdated.
GoDaddy isn’t a particularly cheap domain registrar, but given the solid services they provide, their pricing is quite reasonable. They mainly target small business owners looking for complete website solutions rather than focusing on bulk domain selling like some other registrars.
You get basic Whois protection for free, which hides critical personal details except for the country, state, and organization (if one is provided). If you’d like to remove the location and organization from the public Whois record, you can opt for the full domain protection add-on for an extra $10 per year per domain. This also includes enhanced security and protects against unauthorized changes and transfer attempts.
Pros: GoDaddy pros include that it’s the world’s largest domain registrar offering free basic Whois privacy, affordable premium DNS, and 24/7 live chat and phone support.
Cons: Full Whois privacy is costly, and renewal fees are relatively high.
This one needs no introduction, everyone and their grandma is familiar with Google! Their services are very reliable and you probably already use a few of those. Google became an ICANN-accredited registrar back in 2005, but they only launched Google Domains and started offering registration services to the public in 2015. They now have their fair (and growing) share of the domain market.
It is important to note though that this service isn’t yet available in all countries. They currently only accept customers located in one of the 26 supported countries, which include the USA, UK, Canada, Australia, and others. Google will likely expand the list of supported countries in the future, so if your country isn’t on the list, you may want to check back later.
Pros: Google Domains pros include free Whois privacy protection, free cloud DNS, reasonable prices, and reliable service by Google.
Cons: Not open to all countries, and some new TLDs are not available.
Looking For Web Hosting, Too?
One of the pro tips many experienced webmasters would share with you is to keep your domains and web hosting services in different places. There are a couple of reasons why you’d want to do that; the first is that the best domain registrars aren’t particularly good with web hosting services.
The second reason is that you will likely change your web hosting provider down the road for one reason or another. It’s much easier and more secure to keep all of your domains at one trusted registrar, and whenever you need to change the hosting company for a certain domain, you’ll just have to update its nameserver/DNS settings rather than transfer it along with your site.
If you still haven’t decided on a web host to use, the following are two of the best companies to check out:
ScalaHosting has been one of the most reputable web hosting providers for many years now. They are primarily known for their scalable VPS hosting, which is more suitable for larger sites, but they also have shared hosting plans at reasonable prices. In addition to the solid infrastructure and technology they use, they have a very responsive and helpful support team that is always available for instant live chat help.
KnownHost is another great choice for beginners looking to host a WordPress site. They offer regular shared hosting as well as managed WordPress hosting at an affordable price. Both options come with LiteSpeed web server, which enables you to take advantage of the LS Cache to speed up your WP site. You also get advanced security features and DDoS protection for free. And above all, they have a knowledgeable US-based support team.
What to Look For When You Buy a Domain Name
There are several factors that should be considered when picking a domain name to buy. Whether you’re going to register a brand new domain name or purchase an existing one, keep the following criteria in mind.
Brandability: A brandable name is short, catchy, and easy to remember. It looks more professional than a cheesy keyword-rich name and can help your site stand out from the crowd.
Length: There isn’t a specific ideal length for a domain name, but in general, the shorter the better. Try to pick a name that is no longer than two words or 12 characters.
Misspellings: Some misspellings may look cool but it’s not a good idea to use these in your domain name since they can make it more confusing and harder to remember.
Extension: The .com is by far the most recognized domain extension (or TLD), so it should naturally be your first (but not only) option. In case you can’t find any suitable .com domain, consider using one of the new generic TLDs, such as .site, .store, .online, .blog, and many others.
Trademark Issues: Before you make the final decision to purchase any domain name, make sure to conduct a comprehensive trademark search to avoid any possible conflict with an existing trademark.
Domain History: It’s likely that the domain name you intend to acquire had been used by someone else in the past. Some tools, such as archive.org, allow you to examine the domain’s content history. It’s better to avoid domains that have a history of spammy or otherwise questionable content.
Backlink Profile: Also check the domain’s backlink profile using one or more of the numerous SEO tools out there. A domain that has many backlinks from low-quality and/or spam web pages can make it harder for your website to rank in search engines.
How to Buy a Domain From Someone Else Safely?
A lot of individuals and businesses buy and sell domains for a profit, which is known as domaining. If you are considering a domain name that is offered for sale by someone else, follow these five important steps for a safe deal.
Step 1: Confirm the Domain’s Ownership – If the sale transaction is being done through a third-party marketplace, it is likely that they’ve already verified that the seller actually owns the domain name in question. However, if you are dealing directly with the seller, ask them for proof of ownership. One way to do that is by communicating with them through the email address listed in the Whois record under the registrant’s contact details.
Step 2: Do Your Due Diligence – Whether the domain has an established website, a parked page, or isn’t currently used, you should always research its past. Domains that were once used for spam or any other type of controversial content may be blacklisted and/or penalized by search engines. The same applies to domains that have many spammy backlinks.
Step 3: Beware of Trademark Infringement – A domain name that infringes on a trademark or trade name used by someone else is basically worthless. It can open the door for a lot of unnecessary legal trouble, and at the end of the day, you will almost always lose the domain to the rightful owner of the trademark. The smart thing to do is to avoid any names that fully or partially conflict with trademarks or commercial names used by others.
Step 4: Get a Professional Appraisal – If you are a beginner who has no idea how much you should pay for a specific domain name, you might want to seek advice from others. You can usually get free appraisals from other experienced users on domain/webmaster forums, or alternatively, you can consider paying for a professional manual domain appraisal service.
Step 5: Use an Escrow Service – Finally, when you are certain you’ve found a winning domain name and you’re ready to move forward and conclude the transaction, you should consider doing so through a trusted third-party escrow service.
Some buyers take the risk of dealing directly with the seller if it’s a relatively small amount of money, but for anything more than a few hundred dollars, it’s strongly advised to be on the safe side by using the protection of a professional escrow service.
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