Whether you are looking to start your own commercial or personal website, launch a new brand or project, have your own professional email account(s) hosted on a private domain, or just keep it for future use or investment, a domain name can be a window of opportunity and a gateway to success in the cyber-world. Okay, this sounds a bit of an oversell but true, if you know what you’re doing.
A domain name is often described as a virtual real estate; it’s a virtual address that enables you to have your own space on the internet where you can build and grow your online business or any other type of project you have in mind. The good news is that, unlike brick-and-mortar real estate, web domains are available at a very low cost that anyone can afford.
New domains are sold at a yearly registration fee that varies from one domain registrar to another, and from one TLD to another. (TLD, short for Top-Level Domain, is the extension or the part that comes after the “dot”, for example: “com”, “net”, “org”, “shop”, etc.)
The registration cost for the three main generic TLDs (com, net, org) is usually in the $10-$20 range. This is the price you’ll need to pay every year to maintain ownership of the domain.
I’m sorry if this information sounds too basic and a little insulting to your intelligence in case you are an experienced webmaster who’s just looking for some advice on different registrars! I’m making no assumptions about your level of technical expertise and I just want this post to be helpful to everyone, including novices who are about to register their first domain name.
Alright then, let’s discuss registrars!
5 Best Domain Name Registrars, IMO
I’ve been in the tech business for many years now and I’ve had experiences with numerous domain registrars over the years. So if you ask me which are the best places to buy a domain name from in 2021, I’d vouch for the following five trustworthy providers:
This is my favorite registrar for a couple of reasons; their prices are very reasonable, you get free Whois privacy, and they provide all the technical and security features that I’d need in the company I entrust with my dear domains.
While NameCheap may be “cheap” in terms of their prices, they are a reputable company and they provide solid services. Free Whois privacy service is included with every domain purchase (applies to eligible TLDs). If you are looking to register multiple names at once, this is one of the top places to go to.
This company may not be as popular as some of the other ones mentioned here, but they are very well known and recommended by many domainers. I’ve been keeping a few of my domains with NameSilo for years and I have nothing but good things to say about their service. Prices are very competitive and they offer free Whois privacy and free email forwarding.
You must have heard about GoDaddy! They are the largest domain name registrar in the world where you can find any website related service you’ll need; from domain registration to web hosting and many other related services and products. The only notable disadvantage is their premium prices. This may not be a big problem if you are just going to register one or a few names, but for those with many domains in their portfolio, the massive markup will weigh heavily on their wallets.
If you are in search of a company that values the privacy of their users and the security of their domains, then Epik excels in this regard. They offer low-cost registration services with free Whois privacy. On the downside, they do not accept PayPal payments.
Keep Your Domains and Hosting Separate!
There is very little you can do with a mere domain name. If you are starting a new website, then the next step is to set up a web hosting account and associate it with your domain (this is done by setting your domain’s nameservers to those provided by your hosting provider).
It may seem convenient that most registrars also provide hosting services, and the same applies to web hosting providers which also usually provide domain registration with their plans. However, experienced webmasters — myself included *cough cough* — would recommend keeping your domains and hosting at separate providers.
Here are a couple of reasons why you should do that:
- Most of the top domain registrars aren’t usually among the most reputable or affordable hosting providers. Many of them offer hosting as a secondary service while they remain mostly focused on domain services.
- You may want to change your web host down the road for one reason or another. Transferring your domain alongside to the new company may be a hassle. Unlike hosting services, people are rarely dissatisfied with their domain registration service and they rarely change registrars.
It’s more manageable and secure to stick with one registrar that you’re happy with and keep all your domains at one place. You will likely use different web hosts for different domains, and whenever you need to change your web host, all you have to do is change the domain’s nameservers to the new host’s, and that’s it. That’s what I do, and that’s what many successful webmasters and domainers do.
Looking for Good Web Hosting?
I hate searching for a new web host! It usually consumes hours of my time jumping from one company to another and from one review to another. There are literally thousands of hosting providers out there and they all claim to be the “best”, and they have user reviews to prove it too!
I don’t think it’s easy or relevant to say which single web host is the best. There are so many varying considerations and individual requirements to take into account here. I’ve tried dozens of different companies over the years and I’m currently signed up with several hosts.
If I have to pick one favorite, then A2 Hosting would be at the top of my list. I’ve been with them for years and I’ve never experienced any downtime nor have I ever needed to contact them about any major issues, and that says it all.
OK, I think it’s time to wrap this post up. If I missed anything, or if you have any comments or questions, feel free to leave a comment below.