Domain names are a commodity. You can get them from anywhere, but their cost varies wildly. Why does the cost vary? One reason: Profit.
The technology behind domain names is 35+ years old now. Every serious registrar has automated the entire process, and offers more or less the same service. So why not get your domains from the cheapest place?
Don’t worry. I’m not going to tell you not to save money. We’re going to save lots of money! But before we get there I just want you to know what you need to look out for when jumping in bed with a new registrar.
How do you like your DNS management?
Most registrars let you use their DNS server. This way you don’t have to have a DNS server on your webhost’s end. If your host also offer this, you get to choose the one you like best.
If you use your DNS with your registrar, then your host can’t help configure it, or mess with it. If you use your DNS with your host, you have everything conveniently in one place. You could even get a third party DNS service and split it up completely. It is up to you.
Because DNS is such an old technology your registrar may give you a confusing, ugly, annoying DNS control panel coded 15 years ago. That’s something you may want to avoid by paying a little more for your domains at another registrar.
How are payments handled?
When you become a registrar’s latest customer, and you transfer or register a domain, you’re going to have to pay up. How do they handle payment? Are you cool with PayPal, credit card or bank transfers?
More important than your first bill is making sure your domains will automatically renew. It is completely up to your registrar to decide what to do when you haven’t paid yet, but your domain is coming up on its expiration date. Most will renew it for you and send you the bill, but some will let it expire. That can be catastrophic for you or your client. Make sure you are aware of the renewal/payment policy of your registrar.
Do you need WHOIS privacy?
Every TLD has it’s own rules regarding ownership, but almost all require you to enter legitimate owner information. That’s your name, email address, and your postal address. Do they keep that info safely stashed away? No! That information is public, and it is meant for people to find you! A WHOIS query will give anyone these details, for any domain.
If you are registering domains on behalf of your agency, corporation or retailer, you can put in your company address and your boss’ name, and you’ll be fine. Your company is public anyway.
If you are a freelancer or just an individual however, you may not want the world to know where you live. That’s where a WHOIS privacy service comes in. With WHOIS privacy the registrar registers the domain with their information, on your behalf. They will still require you to give them your full details, but they will only pass them on when law enforcement comes knocking, not anyone that runs a WHOIS query.
If you need WHOIS privacy, you may want to pay a little more.
Do you mind shopping around?
The final caveat.
ccTLDs, domains that belong to a country, tend to be cheaper when purchased from registrars in those countries.
If you manage domains for clients all around the world, you may find that you need accounts at 10 different registrars, in order to save the most money. Spreading your domains out over so many registrars is fine, but it also means you need to keep track of yearly payments to 10 companies, and domain related emails that look 10 different way, and DNS control panels that look 10 different ways.
There is value in simplicity. If 50 cents per domain extra means you simplify your domain management life, that may be worth it. It is entirely up to you.
Registrar pricing compared
You’re almost ready to start hunting registrars. Here’s what you need to know about the information I present:
- All prices are ex-VAT. If you pay VAT your bill will be higher.
- All prices are in USD. All currencies are converted to USD so we can compare them fairly.
- All prices are renewal prices. Renewal pricing is often higher than Registration and Transfer pricing.
- All prices are regular prices. No promotions, no sales, no discounts!
Have at it!
No TLDs were found matching your filter.
Why these registrars?
Cloudflare: Promises to not take any profit. Supports very few TLDs at the moment.
Help keep this data up to date
The data behind this page is updated manually. To limit the amount of work needed only the most popular TLDs are tracked. If you think I missed a TLD that is popular on a global scale please tell me. You can also report outdated numbers, or request a registrar to be added.