The Best Domain Registrar

The Best Domain Registrar

Free Domain Privacy Namecheap provides a WhoisGuard subscription for free forever. Note: Privacy is also free with Hover, Google Domains, NameSilo, and Gandi. If you want managed WordPress hosting, we recommend using a top web host, focused on hosting and only hosting. What to Know When Buying a Domain Name Keep your domain separate from your web hosting provider. A domain registrar should be just that: a domain registrar. Hosting your domain with a registrar and your website on a web host gives you a lot more flexibility and control should you ever decide to switch web hosting providers. Just know those offers usually only last for the first year, and web hosts will almost always have a higher domain renewal fee than a good domain registrar. Most domain registrars include it for free; those who don’t usually charge about $12/year. Recap: The Best Domain Registrar You should buy your domain name from a registrar (not a web host) and you should not buy anything else from your domain registrar. There are a number of registrar-only options including Google Domains, Gandi, Hover, and NameSilo — but we recommend Namecheap.

How to Buy a Domain Name
10 Trending 2019 Website Color Schemes
All About Website Page Speed: Issues, Resources, Metrics, and How to Improve

Quicksprout is reader-supported. That means we use affiliate links. When you click, we sometimes earn a commission. Learn more.

The best domain registrars make it quick to search and buy a great domain name, then easy to configure it and manage it over time. They will also have excellent customer service (both live support and a robust knowledge center) and a spotless reputation — you don’t want your domain registrar to be going out of business.

There are thousands of accredited domain registrars. The best one is Namecheap. We prefer it over other top registrars NameSilo, Google Domains, Gandi, and Hover. Namecheap has great prices and is really easy to use. It’s the registrar we go to, and the one we recommend to our family and friends who are building their websites.

Our Top 5 Picks

We wholeheartedly do not recommend 1&1 or GoDaddy. And although you may be tempted to bundle domain registry with your web host, we suggest keeping them separate. These are two different competencies, and it’s best to use expert providers for each.

How the Best Domain Registrars Compare

Our Favorite: Namecheap

Namecheap’s checkout process is simple, with very limited upsells. Once you’ve purchased your domain, the dashboard is clearly laid out. We’ve found Namecheap’s knowledge base to be thorough, helpful, and even charmingly human — often there’s a simple “That’s it!” at the end of an article that actually makes us smile. Great documentation is key: buying and setting up a domain isn’t part of most people’s expertise. If you need more support, Namecheap have 24/7 live chat help and a 2-hour ticket response time.

Namecheap upsells during domain registration
The Namecheap purchase flow is simple and straightforward


Namecheap’s $0.18 Fee

That $0.18 ICANN fee is a mandatory charge from the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, for each domain registration, renewal, or transfer. It’s negligible, although noticeable, especially considering other registrars, including NameSilo, absorb the fee.

Free Domain Privacy

Namecheap provides a WhoisGuard subscription for free forever. You definitely want WhoisGuard. It’s a privacy protection that prevents your personal contact information from being displayed in the publicly accessible Whois database. (If you don’t have protection, you get spam. So much spam. We skilled WhoisGuard once years ago and are still getting spam phone calls…) As long as your domain is with Namecheap, you’ll never pay for WhoisGuard. GoDaddy, on the other hand, charges $10/year and most web hosts that offer domain registration charge $12/year. Note: Privacy is also free with Hover, Google Domains, NameSilo, and Gandi.

Namecheap final checkout scree with free WhoisGuard
With Namecheap, WhoisGuard protection is free forever.

Skip the Upsells

    • Stellar Shared Hosting ($2.88/month) – Skip it
      You shouldn’t get your hosting from your domain registrar. They’re two very different competencies and we don’t know of any one company that nails them both. (If you’re after hosting, we’ve written a review of the best web hosts. TLDR: Our top pick for beginners is InMotion Hosting; for everyone else it’s SiteGround.)
    • Private Email (two months free, then $9.88–$49.99/year) – Skip it
      If you want a business email, it’s always free to forward emails from Namecheap. If you’d like cloud storage for that email, or to send emails from your domain name, we recommend not buying it from your registrar. Our universal recommendation is G Suite ($5/user/month), which includes Gmail, Drive, Docs, Sheets, Calendar, and Hangouts.
    • Professional Gmail ($5/user/month) – Probably skip it
      This is the going price for G Suite, so you can buy it here now, or add it later, but we think it’s simpler to keep you billing for G Suite directly with Google. That way, if you ever leave Namecheap, you won’t have to get them to transfer you G Suite account back to Google.
    • PositiveSSL ($1.99/year) – Skip it
      You’ll need an SSL certificate if you plan to accept payments or collect other sensitive information on your website, but not this one. The PositiveSSL Namecheap is upselling here is just a Domain Verification. We recommend getting your SSL from your web host.
  • EasyWP ($1/month) – Skip it
    You’re here to buy your domain name and only your domain name. If you want managed WordPress hosting, we recommend using a top web host, focused on hosting and only hosting. SiteGround and Dreamhost both have some good managed WordPress built into their shared hosting plans.

Other Top Domain Registrars to Consider

At first glance NameSilo is laughable, especially compared to its competition. Its aesthetic seems to be late 90s Power Point — although a new site is thankfully in beta testing. (We suspect this is in large part due to NameSilo being acquired in early 2018 by software company Brision Innovations.)

What we appreciate about NameSilo: it’s a domain registrar and that’s it. It’s really cheap (even cheaper than Namecheap), throws in domain privacy for free (though you’ll need to opt-in by selecting it in your cart), and offers a full-blown discount program for bulk domain purchases. There are virtually no upsells and you can start configuring your domain in checkout — linking it to a third-party service (like a website builder) and entering custom NameServers. Customer support is also comparable, with a rich knowledge base and 24/7 live chat. If you don’t mind some (hopefully temporarily) outdated interfaces, NameSilo is a great option.

The NameSilo website is dated and belies its strength as a top domain registrar
Outdated aesthetics are a real trust-breaker with NameSilo. But a new site is on its way!
NameSilo checkout screen when purchasing a domain name
You can start configuring your domain name during NameSilo’s checkout flow. Don’t forget to opt-in to WHOIS privacy.

We like the familiar and simple Google-style interface: there are literally no…