Regardless of the type of website you have, you’re going to need a domain name. Big, small, personal, or blog, a domain name will ensure that your website visitors can actually access and view your site. Domain names can be purchased through something called a domain registrar. You can also transfer existing domain names from one registrar to another (similar to web hosting migration).
As with most companies selling similar products to each other, there’s quite a lot of competition. Choosing the best domain registrar might seem like a daunting task. That’s why I’ve spent the time to research the best domain registrars of 2019.
We’ll take a look at each domain registrar individually. Some may be better than others dependent on budget, your own needs, your website, etc. Domain registrars also offer additional features and extras like domain privacy, so we’ll take a look at that too.
What Is A Domain Registrar
Domain registrars are companies where you can purchase a domain name. Domain name registrars are accredited by ICANN, so if you have any doubt about your chosen domain registrar, you can check with them. As I’ve mentioned above, a domain name allows you to see a website on the internet.
Domain names should be easy to remember and represent what your website is about. For example, we are ukwebhostreview.com – we are a web host review company based in the U.K. and produce content on other relevant material.
When you purchase a domain name you’ll have to enter in your personal information. This information is then stored on a central database known as registry. Domain registrars require permission from ICANN to sell domains.
Choosing The Best Domain Registrar
There are a multitude of domain name registrars available. Some will be able to sell all TLDs available whereas other may only be able to sell country-specific domain extensions. This is fine if this is what you’re looking for, but it’s best to be aware of what each one offers.
As you’ll see with the best domain registrars outlined below, each registrar offers something different. Domain registrars tend to offer other services like free add-ons, additional services, web hosting etc.
I’ve personally spent a lot of time researching this area. I’ve compiled a list of criteria that’s essential when considering the best domain registrar to choose. Keep your eyes peeled for the following:
- Pricing & Renewal: When you register a domain name you’ll need to pay for it (in most cases). Many domain registrars offer a very low price for the first year, hiking up their renewal prices. If you only want to register a domain for a short period of time, you may as well take advantage of these introductory offers. However, be aware that some domain registrars require you to sign up to a minimum period.
- Domain Transfers: It’s entirely possible to move a domain name from one registrar to another. However, you won’t be able to do this for the first 60 days after you’ve registered your domain. Many domain registrars don’t charge for domain transfers, but you’ll need to check this before registering
- Add-ons & Extras: If you’re looking for additional services, most domain registrars offer this. You may not feel like you need these services but it’s worth considering for the future. Add-ons include domain privacy, email hosting, domain parking etc. As I’ll say time and time again, domain privacy is well worth it.
1 | BlueHost (Best Domain Name Registrar of 2019)
Established in 2003
Owned by Endurance International Group
BlueHost are one of the largest hosting companies out there. They’re my personal #2 choice in web hosting as well as domain names. Not many people realise that they are a WordPress official hosting partner, so if you’re thinking of starting a blog or website, it’s worth checking them out.
If you are looking for web hosting, ukwebhostreview readers are being offered hosting from just £2.25 per month. This includes a free domain name, SSL certificate and unlimited storage and bandwidth. Compiling your web hosting and domain name in one place often makes things easier and more manageable.
For customers just wanting a domain name, most domain registrations cost around £10 per year. BlueHost have a 24/7 customer support system as well as live chat for any issues you may encounter.
2 | Domain.com
Established in 2000
Owned by Endurance International Group
Domain.com specialises in domain names and web hosting. They’ve been around for a long time so are a trusted brand as a domain registrar. You can register a top level domain (TLD) with them as well as country code domains.
When you land on domain.com you can easily use their search tool to find your domain name. If you have a domain name in mind, simply enter it into the search box to see the results. Their tool will show you whether a domain name is available or not, as well as suggested ideas and featured domains.
I mentioned earlier that most domain registrars will offer handy extras as well as the ability to purchase domain names. Domain.com has a choice of features including:
- Domain privacy ($8.99 per year)
- Bulk registration
- DNS management
If you’re struggling with anything, they have customer support via live chat, or you can email them. If you’re not looking for web hosting, domain.com offers great value domain names and I highly recommend them.
3 | GoDaddy
Established in 1997
Owned by GoDaddy Group Inc
GoDaddy is one of the longest standing domain registrars. With almost 80 million domain names that they manage, their customer base has reached near 20 million users. They offer domain registration as well as web hosting and other web services such as web development, website builder, etc.
As far as web hosts go, GoDaddy offer extremely competitive prices for domain registration. If you’re happy to keep your domain name for at least 2 years, GoDaddy sell .co.uk TLDs for just 99p per year. The domain search tool is very simple to use; just type in you desired domain name and they will tell you whether it’s available or not (as well as some suggested domain names).
If you’re looking for decent domain management tools, GoDaddy can provide you with this. Whether you’re looking to transfer your domain or amend the settings, their tools are really easy to use. Not only that, they offer 24/7 support as well as live chat should you encounter any issues.
4 | HostGator
Established in 2002
Owned by Endurance International Group (EIG)
Similar to GoDaddy, HostGator have been around for some time and have made a name for themselves. They offer domain registration as well as web hosting. Their domain names come with a wide range of TLDs as well as domain registration and simple domain management tools that are user-friendly.
When you’re ready to search for your desired domain name, their domain search tool makes things very easy. Enter your domain name and see if it’s available. If not, there’s plenty of options as well as suggestions to gain some inspiration. If you want to transfer a domain, the process is beginner-friendly and there’s plenty of documentation to help you on your way.
HostGator, unfortunately, doesn’t include a free domain name when you sign up to web hosting. But, their domain names are competitively priced, averaging around £7-£10 for a .com TLD. Domain privacy will set you back $1.25/mo (Billed Annually @ $14.95). I do recommend purchasing domain privacy with any domain name that you register.
5 | Name.com
Established in 2003
Owned by Right side Group
Name.com have been steadily gaining traction and introducing new customers since 2003. Similar to many domain registrars, they also provide web hosting services, SSL certificates, website builder, email hosting services, and more. They have a wide range of TLDs on offer as well as some helpful domain features.
If it’s web hosting you’re after, all of Name.com’s shared hosting plans include a free domain name. Prices start from $4.99 per month and also include a free SSL certificate. This should be enough to set you up with your first website if that’s what you’re looking for. If you’ve never used a domain registrar before, Name.com have live chat support as well as phone support and a knowledge base.
Their domain name search tool is simple and quick to use. Once you’ve entered your domain name into the search box, it will tell you if your domain is available. However, I have noticed that if a domain is already taken (but the owner is open to selling it), the domain will display as available but at a premium price (one of these I found at $34,000)!
6 | NameCheap
Established in 2000
Owned by NameCheap
NameCheap is a top domain name registrar. They’ve been in the industry for 19 years, offering domain registration, domain transfers, SSL certificates, and web hosting. Their web hosting spans across shared hosting, WordPress hosting, reseller hosting, VPS hosting, and even email hosting.
NameCheap’s domain add-on services match those in the market. They are one of the few domain registrars that include domain privacy with all of their domain names, free of charge. This is definitely something which sets them apart from their competitors. Their domain search tools is easy to use, offering suggestions for when your domain isn’t available.
If you’re struggling with anything or not sure how to transfer your domain, their live chat service is really good. I’ve personally used their phone support and I have to admit they were really helpful. They knew their stuff and they were really friendly. If you don’t want to seek customer support directly, their knowledge base has plenty of information and guides.
7 | 1&1 (IONOS)
Established in 1988
Owned by United Internet
1&1 (IONOS) are probably one of the oldest domain registrars out there. They offer incredibly affordable domain names, starting from 99p per year. If you need to contact 1&1, U.K. customers will find this much easier than most of their competitors. Customer support is available via live chat, telephone, email and even social media.
Some of the features they include are domain transfer, eCommerce site builder, web hosting, website builder, WordPress hosting, email hosting, and lots more. You can probably get all the tools you need to create your own website in one place with 1&1 and a reasonable price. They may not be the most powerful web host or domain registrar, but they’re definitely cheap.
At the moment, 1&1 are offering domain names for free for the first year. After this, it will cost you £10 per year. But this is a really good offer to take advantage of! Web hosting is only £1 per month for the first year and includes a free domain name for life. If you’re looking to start a new website, 1&1 are a great place to start.