A key part of marketing a new online business is having a domain name that reflects your brand. Great domain names are easily memorable and quick to type. Once you have a new business idea and some thoughts around what the name will be, you’ll need to purchase a domain, register it, and host your website somewhere.
This process can feel complicated and cumbersome, so we put together a quick facts guide on how to choose the best domain registrar for your business.
- Best domain registrar for ecommerce: Shopify
- Best overall domain registrar: BlueHost
- Best for domain names without hosting: Domain.com
11 best domain name registrars
- Google Domains
- Network Solutions
Best for ecommerce businesses
Shopify is the best domain registrar if you’re looking to set up an online store.
If you’ve never set up your own website before—or even if you have—convenience is huge. There are an overwhelming amount of tools and platforms you need if you set up each component of a website, and especially an online store, individually.
You need a domain registrar, a server to host your domain, a website design, and most likely email and customer support functionality. It’s possible to do all of this individually, but speaking from experience, it gets complicated and it’s easy to fall down a rabbit hole pretty quickly.
Shopify allows you to get all of this in one place. When you register your domain with Shopify, it’s connected to your online store immediately, which means you won’t have to worry about third-party connections or complicated technical setup processes.
Prices are a little more expensive than other domain registrars, but renewal fees are reasonable. Shopify is best suited for those looking to set up an online store though, so if you don’t need that functionality it might not be the right choice for you.
- Initial prices and renewal pricing: Prices start at $11–$14/year. Renewal pricing is consistent with your first year purchase price—no surprise renewal fees, ever!
- Privacy options: Shopify includes WHOIS privacy protection on all domain registrations, so you don’t have to add this extra layer of security for an additional yearly cost.
- Domain transfer: Transferring a domain to or from Shopify is an easy process. To transfer a domain to Shopify, you’ll just need to ensure its eligibility and need to have held the domain for at least 60 days. Transferring a domain out of Shopify just involves a few clicks on your Shopify admin page.
- Bundled and add-on services: Shopify offers everything you need to create an online store. That means you can bundle domain registration with web hosting, your website, website design, online shopping functionality, and email. You can see the entire list of features Shopify offers here.
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Best for affordable starting price
Namecheap is an affordable option for domain registration and offers a nice web hosting bundle. Despite touting great customer support on its website, customer reviews say that the service isn’t the best, so keep that in mind.
This is a good option if you’re looking for a fair price and package that includes WHOIS protection and web hosting.
- Initial prices and renewal pricing. Pricing for .com domains on Namecheap starts at $8.88/year. Renewal pricing starts at $12.98 and averages about $4 more the second year than you paid during the first.
- Privacy options: WhoisGuard protects your personal information on the WHOIS directory, and it’s free for all domains registered with Namecheap. Namecheap also offers security features like SSL certificates, a VPN, and PremiumDNS as add ons to your yearly fee.
- Domain transfer: Transferring a domain out of Namecheap is as easy as it gets. It’s a pretty standard process—you can leave Namecheap so long as your domain is more than 60 days old and hasn’t been transferred within 60 days. Transferring a domain to Namecheap is fast (from 30 minutes to six days) and affordable. You just type the domain you want to transfer over in the search bar to see if it’s eligible and then transfer it in three steps.
- Bundled and add-on services: Namecheap offers a package deal with domain registration and web hosting. Add-ons include email, security features (SSL, VPN, DNS), and WordPress hosting.
Best for quick and easy registration
Hover has been around since 2008, and what’s great about it is it’s user friendly and simple. If all you need is to register a domain without all the bells and whistles, this is a great option for you. Hover Connect allows you to connect essential services like Etsy, Facebook, or Shopify.
- Initial prices and renewal pricing: Pricing starts at $12.99/year for .com domains, renewals at $14.99/year.
- Privacy options: WHOIS protection is included with all top-level eligible domains.
- Domain transfer: Domain transfers start at $12.99 for .com domains. It’s easy to transfer a domain to Hover—your domain must be newer than 60 days and can’t have been transferred within the past 60 days. The domain also can’t have any disputes associated with it.
- Bundled and add-on services: Hover offers a discount for buying bulk domains. You can also purchase email functionality.
4. Google Domains
Best for simple domain registration
Google Domains is no frills—it’s even simpler than Hover. The pricing is affordable, and it costs less than both Shopify and Hover for .com domains.
The best part about using Google Domains as your registrar is the ease of putting out paid ads. If you’re planning to use the Google Ad platform to market your products, Google Domains makes it very easy to set up. Google also offers built-in email forwarding and 24/7 customer support.
- Initial prices and renewal pricing: New domains start at $9/year. All plans include privacy protection, 24/7 customer support, email forwarding, Google two-step verification, Google Cloud DNS, and domain and subdomain forwarding.
- Privacy options: WHOIS protection included.
- Domain transfer. It’s easy to transfer a domain to Google, but the cost depends on the domain you’re looking to transfer.
- Bundled and add-on services: You can add on Google Ads, email, and website design to your purchase.
Best for domain names without hosting
But privacy protection costs extra and pricing is better elsewhere. Domain.com is a good choice for reliable web hosting, so it’s good for those looking to host their site the same place they register it.
- Initial prices and renewal pricing: Pricing for .com domains start at $9.99/year with a one-year minimum. Domain renewals for .com domains start at $13.99/year.
- Privacy options: Domain privacy is considered an add-on, and you can bundle it with your domain registration for $8.99/year.
- Domain transfer: Domain transfers are easy at Domain.com, but the caveat here is that the company doesn’t list pricing on its website. You’ll have to input the domain you want to transfer before seeing how much it’ll cost. If you do decide to go with Domain.com, be sure to take a look at the other services listed to make sure you’re getting the transfer at a fair price.
- Bundled and add-on services: You can also purchase web hosting (starting at $3.75/month), WHOIS privacy protection, web design and marketing services, a website builder, business email, and website security like SSL.
Best for premium domain extensions
With its transparent and reasonable pricing and simple website design, Dynadot is an all around good option for web hosting. But what sets it apart is the amount of top level domains (TLDs) it offers. TLDs are the tail end of your domain, like .com, .co, .shop, etc. Dynadot offers hundreds of TLDs, so there’s a good chance they’ll have exactly what you need.
- Initial prices and renewal pricing: Dynadot has extremely transparent pricing—its website lists prices for both registration and renewal for every single TLD it offers. Prices are affordable too: .com websites start at $7.99 for registration and $8.99 for renewals.
- Privacy options: WHOIS protection is included with your domain.Two-factor authentication is included with all accounts.
- Domain transfer: Domain transfers are simple and start at $8.99 for .com URLs.
- Bundled and add-on services: Dynadot offers a free website builder, a grace period for deletion (if you change your mind about your domain), web hosting, SSL security, and email hosting.
Best for custom privacy options
GoDaddy is the most well-known domain registrar in the world, but that doesn’t make it the best option. GoDaddy is the most expensive of all of the domain registrars, with high renewal fees and privacy as an add-on. If you want to go with a big, well-known domain registrar, GoDaddy is the best choice, but based on the pricing structure alone, it’s not our first choice.
- Initial prices and renewal pricing. Pricing for .com domains starts at $11.99 for the first year. Renewal cost is not listed on the website and can only be found in your account once you have a domain registered with GoDaddy. From personal experience, GoDaddy renewals are the most expensive out of all of these registrars.
- Privacy options: WHOIS protection is not included with your domain. GoDaddy offers three levels of domain protection, all of which include WHOIS privacy. Pricing depends on your domain.
- Domain transfer: Transferring is easy and starts at $7.99 for .com domains.
- Bundled and add-on services: Website security, privacy protection, website builder, website hosting, email, and an online store builder.
Best for starting your first website
Bluehost is one of the best web hosting services and domain registrars for beginner website builders. If you buy a hosting plan, Bluehost will give you a free domain for your first year with it. It also sports an intuitive site builder and 24/7 domain support.
- Initial prices and renewal pricing: To purchase a .com domain it costs $12.99/year, which includes a 30-day money-back guarantee and free SSL certification (full list of domain pricing). Also, if you decide to host with Bluehost, you pay $2.95/month and get a free domain for the first year.
- Privacy options: WHOIS protection is not included in your plan.
- Domain transfer: Transfers are easy, but cost $12.99.
- Bundled and add-on services: Domain Privacy + Protection, website builder, website hosting, 24/7 domain support, domain lock, auto-renewal for domains.
Best for affordable and easy shared hosting
DreamHost is more fit for corporate customers who want top-notice cloud hosting. DreamHost's web hosting offers unlimited data transfers per month, strong security features, and many domain management tools. Plus, offers a fair shared hosting money-back guarantee.
- Initial prices and renewal pricing: .com domains start at $7.99 for the first year. Subsequent years you are charged the regular rate of $17.99/year. That includes free SSL certification, free domain privacy, and free subdomains. Here’s a full list of Dreamhost’s domain pricing.
- Privacy options: Free WHOIS privacy included with domain purchase.
- Domain transfer: Transfers for .coms are $9.99.
- Bundled and add-on services: Professional email account add on, website builder, website hosting, optional domain locking, free custom nameservers, free DNS management, free domain forwarding, 24/7 support.
10. Network Solutions
Best for long-term domain ownership
Network Solutions is a unique service because it gives you the option to lock down your domain for up to 100 years.
If you’re a small business owner, that can give you a lot of peace of mind. One note: However long you choose to lock down your website (be it 20 or 90 years), you do have to pay for those years upfront, and Network Solutions does not offer prorated refunds.
- Initial prices and renewal pricing: Starts at $9.99/year.
- Privacy options: WHOIS privacy is not included in your domain purchase.
- Domain transfer: For $9.99, plus a free one-year extension.
- Bundled and add-on services: Domain management, website builder, accept online payments, web hosting, email, SEO marketing tools, SSL certifications, trusted site seal, small business cyber security.
Best for unique domain extension deals
Porkbun has over 500 different domain name extensions to choose from. You can get all the popular domain extensions like .com and .org. Plus, unique ones such as .sbs domain for the low price of $1.10. The interface is easy to navigate, and you can buy and renew domains in one convenient place.
- Initial prices and renewal pricing: Registration and renewal of a .com is $9.13. Porkbun offers a comprehensive list of all TDL prices.
- Privacy options: WHOIS privacy is included with the purchase of most TLDs. Browse the list of unsupported TLDs.
- Domain transfer: Costs $9.13 for a .com.
- Bundled and add-on services: Web hosting, email hosting, website builder, marketplace, static hosting, link, WordPress hosting, cPanel.
How a domain registrar works
A domain name is a unique web address that allows people to easily find your site online. As you go through the process of choosing your domain name, you’ll also need to pick a place to register it. That’s where domain registrars come in. A domain registrar is the entity through which you purchase and set up your domain; it also assigns your URL to a unique IP address.
How to choose a domain registrar
You’ll want to vet the different domain registrars before you make a final decision. Here’s what to look for:
Initial prices and renewal pricing
Most domain registrars require you to pay one year at a time, or you can choose to pay for multiple years to get a discount. The price for your first year of registration is often lower than the rate for subsequent years. So, while a low year one rate might catch your eye, you’ll want to make sure that the subsequent renewal prices are both affordable and in line with those of other registrars.
When you register a domain, it’s associated with personal details like your names, address, and email. That information is recorded by WHOIS and managed by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). Essentially, this means that anyone can look up who owns a domain and how to contact them by mail, phone, or email. Many domain owners choose to protect this personal information. You’ll want to make sure that any domain registrar you choose offers the option to hide that personal information if you don’t want it to be shared on the web.
A domain transfer is when you move a domain from one registrar to another. This is a handy option if you find a lower renewal price elsewhere or decide down the line to go with another option. Check to see how much flexibility you’ll have if you choose to transfer your domain in the future.
Bundled and add-on services
Some domain registrars offer all-in-one packages that include website hosting, an email address, alternate top level domains (like .store, .biz, or .co), etc. These packages are often more affordable and make it easier to get your website up and running. Take a look at what bundles or add-ons a registrar offers so you can get a better deal or manage everything in one place.