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The 5 Best Domain Providers for 2022 Compared

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Your domain name is a critical part of your ecommerce business. An online merchant’s domain is essentially their storefront. That’s why it’s so important to choose the right domain name, as well as choosing the best domain providers who help you register, maintain, and protect it. ​​ 

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Much like a brick-and-mortar retailer is interested in taking security measures for their store, an ecommerce business should take precautions to protect their domain. This is where domain name providers come into play.

The best domain name providers

The best domain providers have privacy protection, free domain transfer, and optional add-ons—all at affordable pricing. The best domain name providers are:

  • Shopify
  • GoDaddy
  • Namecheap
  • Bluehost
  • Dynadot

Shopify

Best for new and growing ecommerce websites

Shopify.png

You can buy and register a domain name directly with Shopify, which is especially convenient if you’re interested in selling products online. When you use Shopify domain name providers, your website and everything else in the back end are automatically configured—no manual setup necessary.

These advantages are valuable for new and growing ecommerce sites alike. Setting up a new website involves a lot of decision making and steps when it comes to your tech stack—this can be particularly overwhelming if you don’t consider yourself tech savvy. When you register your domain with Shopify, your tech stack is ready and waiting for you.

Shopify has everything you need to register your domain, as well as all the tools necessary to customize your site and set up email and customer support. Plus, you can add functionality to your site with third-party apps that do everything from marketing to inventory management and just about every other business function you can think of.

Shopify domain provider highlights:

  • Pricing: Purchasing a domain through Shopify ranges as low as $11 to $14 per 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 domains. This means you don’t have to pay for or maintain a third-party solution to secure your site.
  • Domain transfer: It’s a simple process to transfer a domain to or from Shopify. Beyond being eligible to transfer a domain to Shopify, you’ll need to have owned the domain for at least 60 days. To transfer a domain out of Shopify, you’ll have to click through a few pages on your Shopify admin dashboard.
  • Bundled and add-on services: Shopify has everything you need to launch and manage an online store. You can bundle domain registration with web hosting, your website, website design, online shopping functionality, and email. Check out the entire list of features Shopify offers here.

GoDaddy

GoDaddy.png

GoDaddy domain name providers are well known and widely used, but there are several drawbacks. For starters, GoDaddy requires a two-year minimum commitment, a concern for budget-strapped entrepreneurs especially, and its support team has earned a few negative comments from customers.

GoDaddy highlights:

  • Pricing: Pricing for .com domains starts at $18.99 for the first year. GoDaddy won’t tell you the second-year cost or renewal fee until after you’ve registered a domain with it. In general, GoDaddy is one of the most expensive domain providers out there.
  • Privacy options: WHOIS protection is included with your domain.
  • Domain transfer: Transferring is simple and starts at $8.49 for .com domains.
  • Bundled and add-on services: GoDaddy offers options for website security, privacy protection, website builder, website hosting, email, and an online store builder.

Namecheap

Namecheap.png

Namecheap specializes in domain name services, so it has a lot of related features. That being said, its additional options have limited features. So while you can technically design your logo with Namecheap, for example, chances are you could do better elsewhere. Additionally, many customer reviews report difficulty getting in touch with tech support when issues arise.

Namecheap highlights:

  • Pricing: Pricing for .com domains on Namecheap starts at $13.98/year, though it regularly offers discounts. Renewal pricing starts at $12.98 and averages about $4 more the second year than you paid during the first.
  • Privacy options: WhoisGuard from the WHOIS directory is free for all domains registered with Namecheap. Namecheap also has extra security add-ons like SSL certificates, a VPN, two-factor authentication, and PremiumDNS—each available at an additional cost.
  • Domain transfer: Domain transfers for .com sites start at $13.98. Transferring a domain out of Namecheap is relatively easy—you can leave Namecheap anytime, as long as your domain is at least 60 days old and hasn’t been transferred within the past 60 days. Transferring a domain to Namecheap is also easy, as well as fast and affordable. Type the domain you want to transfer in the search bar to see if it’s eligible and then complete the transfer in three steps.
  • Bundled and add-on services: Namecheap packages a deal with domain name registration and web hosting. These packages also include email, security features (SSL, VPN, DNS), WordPress hosting, and a basic website builder. Namecheap also offers tools for logo design, business card makers, and more.

Bluehost

Bluehost.png

Bluehost specializes in its WordPress integration, so if selling online is a priority for you, you may need to look for a different domain name provider. Plus, Bluehost requires a year-long commitment. Many customer reviews also cite issues with Bluehost’s domain transfer services, especially for sites with complex code or customization.

Bluehost highlights:

  • Pricing: Domains start at $12.99/year for a .com URL. Bluehost requires a year-long contractual commitment. Plans automatically renew—at $18.99/year for .com domains—so be sure to cancel if you want to move to a different domain name provider. Security is an additional $15/year.
  • Privacy options: Bluehost’s Domain Privacy + Protection protects your personal information and identity, providing a generic Bluehost contact for the WHOIS directory. It also sends alerts if your website undergoes any changes or falls victim to malware.
  • Domain transfer: The process to transfer your domain to Bluehost is relatively simple. However, many customer reviews report issues with this process.
  • Bundled and add-on services: Bluehost specializes in WordPress and has additional features and tools to help build and manage your site. You can also integrate WooCommerce and email, as well as enlist Bluehost’s marketing services—each at an additional cost.

Dynadot

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Dynadot is another domain name provider that provides complementary services, including web hosting, domain transfer, and basic website building. It also has existing domain names and websites up for auction if you don’t want to start from scratch. Dynadot’s website builder is extremely limiting, and it also lacks support for international domains.

Dynadot highlights:

  • Pricing: Dynadot lists prices for both registration and renewal for every TLD it offers. Prices are relatively affordable, with .com websites starting at $7.99 for the first year and $9.99/year for renewal.
  • Privacy options: WHOIS protection two-factor authentication is included with your Dynadot domain. Dynadot requires additional account verification before you can make changes to your admin settings. You also have the option to activate SMS verification.
  • Domain transfer: Domain transfers are fairly simple and are priced at $9.99 for .com URLs.
  • Bundled and add-on services: Dynadot offers a free (though limited) website builder, a grace period to delete your domain and account, web hosting, SSL security, and email. ​​

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How to choose a domain name provider

Pricing

Budget is one of the most important considerations for cash-strapped businesses, and it’s very much a factor for choosing your domain name  provider. When looking at pricing, remember to count more than just the cost to register for the first year. You’ll also need to understand renewal costs—many charge more for renewal than registration—and whether there’s an extra fee for security and privacy features.

If you’re transferring a domain, verify the domain name service’s pricing for domain transfers. Some offer it free while others tack on a charge. You might also expand your site eventually, adding subdomains or creating international websites, so look at costs for all the TLDs instead of focusing just on .com pricing.

Privacy

Security and privacy features are essential to securing your website, protecting your identity, and reducing incoming spam emails. When it comes to these features, look for domain name providers that provide the following:

  • WHOIS lookup: Anyone can look up who owns a domain, but the WHOIS database puts your domain name service’s information in place of your personal information.
  • Two-factor authentication: This feature prevents hackers from accessing your account, requiring an additional level of verification for login.
  • SSL certificate: Create encrypted connections to prevent malware, hackers, and other threats to your site.

As mentioned above, verify whether these features are included in your package or come with an additional fee. 

Domain transfer

If you already own a domain and want to switch domain name providers, you can transfer it to your new provider. If this is the case for you, look for a domain name provider that makes this process easy and affordable. You’ll also want to think about how long the process takes. With Shopify, for example, domain transfers need only about 20 days—compared to as many as 60 days for some other domain name providers.

If you’re not transferring a domain to your website, look at the costs for transferring out of the domain name provider. Your business will evolve over time, and you may eventually need to switch domain name providers. If it’s difficult to get out of a contract and expensive or cumbersome to transfer, you may want to look at other options.

Additional domain services

Domain name services are a very narrow scope of provider services, but many of these providers offer additional features and tools as well. Look for email, web security, marketing, web hosting, as well as website builders.

Launch your domain with Shopify

Choosing the right domain name service is an important but not very exciting task for your online business. Be sure to register your domain with a service that’s reliable and affordable and that provides the tools you need to run a successful business. It’s simple and secure to register your domain name and launch your ecommerce business with Shopify.

How do Domains and DNS work?

A domain name system (DNS) is a technology that matches an IP address to a domain name (TLD). The IP address is the back-end destination for a website, while the website URL is what a person enters into their browser in order to get to that destination.

Think of DNS as a yellow pages for your website. Instead of matching your street address to your business, the DNS matches your domain name to your IP address (your digital street address).

So when someone inputs a URL, like shopify.com, the DNS then takes that URL and translates it into an IP address, which is a series of numbers that serves as a unique identifier for the website. You might also refer to domain name services as domain registrars.

You use a DNS because it’s much easier to remember an address like shopify.com rather than a string of numbers like 192.0.2.1.

Now that you have an understand how domains their respective DNS systems work, let's get you started on how to find the best domain provider.


Domain name provider FAQ

What is the best domain provider?

The best domain provider is Shopify. Shopify offers everything you need to build and customize an ecommerce website, as well as features for email, customer support, inventory management, analytics reporting, and more.

What is a DNS?

A domain name system, or DNS, is the service that matches human-friendly domain names with computer-friendly IP addresses. Other services may include cloud storage, content delivery networks, web hosting, email hosting, and more.
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