Comparing 16 of the most popular registrars, the 5 best values for domain name registration are:
- Namecheap: $8.88/year (includes domain name privacy and 1 email account)
- Dreamhost: $9.99/year (includes domain name privacy and 1 email account)
- OVH: £9.99/year (UK only, includes domain name privacy and 1 email account)
- Ionos (1&1): $10.33/year (includes domain name privacy, email account is $1/user/month)
- Name.com: $8.99/year ($3.99/year domain name privacy, email account is $20/user/year)
With all the different domain name registrars available, it can be difficult to figure out which one is the best value for your money. Many of the established names in this space are expensive compared to newer registrars. Since domain names are a yearly registration cost, the difference between $8.88 and $37.99 doesn’t seem too extreme but if you own the domain name for 10 years, or have multiple domain names, the cost savings can really add up! Looking at the domain name registrars compared below, for 2 domain names over a 10-year period, you could save $582.20.
I’ve compared 16 of the most popular registrars and calculated the 5 best deals for you below, including the base domain registration along with costs for domain name privacy and email, since most folks are interested in these valuable add-ons.
So what is a domain name?
If you’re on this page, you probably are already familiar with domain names but let’s have a quick recap. A domain name is the URL that you enter into an internet browser, the address of the website. The files that make up the website (ie HTML code, images, styles etc) are all stored on a web server which is the hosting. You can think of the hosting as the home of the website, where it lives, and the domain name as the street address. You need both for a public-facing website. If you’re only interested in your own branded email, you won’t need the hosting but you’ll still need the domain name and an email account associated with it.
Is the domain name included with hosting?
If you need hosting anyways, several hosting companies include free domain name registration with their hosting services, like Bluehost, Hostgator, iPage, GoDaddy, and more. So if you need hosting and only one domain name, I’d suggest you research hosting first before reading any further. You can’t do better than free!
5 Best Value Domain Name Registrars
Based on our criteria, these registrars are the best bang for your buck, averaged over 3 years.
Other Domain Name Registrars
Here’s the rest of the registrars we compared. For Register.com and Network Solutions, they aren’t very transparent about their pricing. It took a little more digging to find their renewal prices.
My Decision Making Criteria
Focusing only on price, I broke down the base costs and the additional costs for email and WHO-IS privacy over a 3-year period. Since many of the registrars offer a special for the first year, I averaged out the cost across 3 years to incorporate the renewal costs. Most people hate spam, preferring to keep their name and contact information private when they register their domain name, so I also looked at the cost for WHO-IS domain name privacy (many include this at no additional cost!). I also looked at the cost to add an email account associated with the domain name.
And yes, I’m just covering the pricing for “.com” domain name extensions. There’s a ton of other domain name extensions that you could choose and some of them can be more or less cost, but most consumers assume a “.com” extension so that’s what I focus on. Also, it’s a good measuring stick.
Registering Domain Names in Bulk
If you have a lot of domain names that you need to register, many registrars offer a bulk domain name discount. They usually have a yearly fee and then lower pricing. At our company, since we work with a lot of different clients, we use GoDaddy’s Discount Domain Club. The annual subscription is $120/year but the domain names are heavily discounted. With the 200+ domain names that we maintain through GoDaddy, and factoring in the yearly subscription cost, we’re paying $8.74 per domain name per year.
Watch out for scammers
Many of our clients have gotten letters in the mail that look like a domain name renewal invoice. In actuality though it’s an overpriced scam that, if you fill out and send in payment, these scam companies will actually take over your domain name registration, switching from your registrar to them. Not only are their “services” more expensive, they will sometimes take your domain name hostage. That’s why it’s important to either register the domain name yourself through one of the reputable top 5 that I’ve mentioned here.
The Next Step
Hopefully this article helped you make a decision for registering your domain name. There’s no reason to pay more than you have to, and if you also need domain name privacy or email, there’s a couple of really good options in this guide.
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