Where to Buy a Domain Name for Your Business (+ Registrars to Avoid)

You have about a million and a half choices for where to buy a domain name for your business, but let’s talk about a few quick things I’d love for you to know before you dive into all this.

An important tip before we get started: I want to tell you about one new phrase to add to your vocab – Whois Protection. And this is important, trust me. Basically, there is a thing called the Whois database and usually, when you register a domain name, it saves allllll of your personal info in this database. So anyone who looks at this database can access your name, phone number, business address, etc.

If you’ve ever registered a domain name and then gotten 100,000 spam phone calls shortly after, that’s why. People will cold email you and offer their web design/SEO/social media services as well.

To avoid having this happen, you need Whois protection, which is a service that most domain registrars provide to their customers where the domain registrar info is put in that database in place of yours. This doesn’t really cost them anything extra, but lots of registrars charge for it. I think that if you can find a registrar you like who doesn’t charge for Whois protection, that’s amazing.

Some domain registrars kinda take advantage of their customers, in my opinion. So let’s just get right into comparing these guys!

Which domain registrar should I use for my business? Avoid some of these if you don't want to overpay.

1.) GoDaddy

Starts at: $11.99/yr

Renews at: $17.99/yr

Whois Protection: $9.99/yr

Verdict: Avoid

GoDaddy is wildly popular and has a large ad budget, so you’ll see them all around the internet. I see their ads on YouTube, Facebook, and, like, everywhere.

Long story short, stay away from GoDaddy. There are so many options out there that are less scammy Pammy. (Sorry if your name is Pam – LOL.) Here’s the lowdown on why I’d avoid GoDaddy at all costs:

  • They will relentlessly try to upsell you on things you don’t need. This is the main problem I have with them.
  • They charge $9.99/year for Whois protection, when you can find registrars that are better and offer this for free.
  • Their starter price for a .com is $11.99, which is not bad, but that will renew at $17.99/yr, which is expensive compared to other options on this list.
  • The “GoDaddy website builder” they will push on you is mediocre at best and costs more than what it’s worth.

Their hosting is a mess, too, compared to other providers. Avoid avoid avoid. There are TOO many, better options out there. at the end of the day, GoDaddy seems to me like they are taking advantage of people who don’t know much about domain registration by shoving tons of extras in their face in a way that might make them feel like they’re doing something wrong if they don’t purchase extras.

 

2.) BlueHost

Starts at: $11.99/yr

Renews at: I can’t even tell from their cart, policies, or website. Let’s assume it’s $11.99/yr

Whois Protection: $11.88/yr

Verdict: Avoid

BlueHost is another big boy on this list and I bet you’ve seen them around. They have a lot of ads running as well, but I think their most successful marketing technique has been their affiliate network. They pay out a nice chunk of change to their affiliates.

I believe they pay out more than most other starter web hosting platforms do, so they get lots of rave reviews from big-name bloggers with affiliate links inserted and that’s why I think so many people use them. I don’t think these bloggers are evil or anything, I just think that they haven’t truly explored other options because there are lots of better options out there.

(P.S. I have nothing against affiliate marketing! I just believe from experience that BlueHost has inferior hosting services and a very pushy website that confuses newbies into buying things they don’t need and I really despise that – I wouldn’t trust recommendations from someone who recommends BlueHost if they claim to have done their research.)

BlueHost is possibly the pushiest platform ever and I’d never recommend it to anyone. The upsells over here are real (EXPENSIVE Whois protection, Codeguard security for $2.99/month, and more.) No thank you.

 

3.) Siteground

Starts at: $15.95/yr

Renews at: $15.95/yr

Whois Protection: $12.00/yr

Verdict: Avoid for domain registration, but good for web hosting

Siteground is a great web hosting platform overall and I do recommend them for some business owners. They are reliable, stellar uptime, and have pretty great customer service – but we’re talking about domain registration here. I wouldn’t recommend having domain names registered there because their pricing is for sure on the higher side and they do charge for Whois protection.

Unless you already have Siteground and would just find it easier to manage your domains from the same dashboard, I don’t recommend using them for domain names. I don’t consider them to be a shady domain registrar because they don’t push domain registration or Whois protection, they just have these services available for users who already host with them for added convenience.

 

4.) Google Domains

Starts at: $12.00/yr

Renews at: $12.00/yr

Whois Protection: Free

Verdict: Meh, but not a bad idea for your own stuff if you like Google

Google Domains is good for avid Google users who want to avoid having yet another account and don’t need much in terms of customer service. This isn’t a scammy/persistent upselling service provider, so yay for that. I’ve never used them, but I’ve had clients who used them and liked them. Here are my notes:

  • The good thing about Google Domains is that they aren’t trying to take allllll your money with all of these random addons that you “need.”
  • Free Whois protection
  • Their fees are straightforward and right down the middle in terms of expense – $12/yr is about average, so nothing is wrong there.
  • Their user interface is a bit confusing, but nothing super wack.
  • They have a nice set of insights that pop up when you search for a domain (“Part of this name isn’t made up of common words, so it might be harder to remember and type” or “Short names like this one are easier to remember”) and I think that’s cool of them.
  • If you do web design and need to log into client domain registrar accounts to point domains or anything like that, it might not be a good idea to use Google domains because of all the security on Google accounts (You’ll probably have to organize a time to log into their account because of how the security codes work.)

If you’re buying a domain name for your own use and you just like using Google, it’s not a bad choice at all but it’s nothing to write home about. Also, love that they provide free Whois protection. (Thanks, Google)

 

5.) Porkbun

Starts at: $5.90/yr

Renews at: $8.56/yr

Whois Protection: Free

Verdict: Best for cutting costs + experienced marketers and web devs/designers

Porkbun is a well-loved domain registrar, especially among those of us who have a trillion domain names. They are the cheapest option on this list and I like them a lot! They are not upselling you right and left and they have solid customer support (Though the hours are a bit limited.) And their logo is pretty much the cutest thing ever (it’s a pig butt icon – come on.)

  • Least expensive option I can find on the internet that still provides decent customer service
  • Great for marketers or people with lots of domain names
  • They make it really easy to browse other TLDs compared to other providers (top-level domains, so like .com, .org, .coffee, or .agency and so on)

Overall, really great registrar and I’m going to be transferring all of my domains here, I think!

 

6.) Dynadot

Starts at: $6.99/yr

Renews at: $8.99/yr

Whois Protection: Free

Verdict: Best overall, user-friendly, and good price points

Dynadot is a newer registrar and they’re gaining lots of momentum because (I think) they are a friendly platform. Good pricing, non-pushy, and on top of that, they are introducing some great features, like the ability to return a domain name for a partial refund if you change your mind or decide you won’t use it. Is that not kinda wonderful of them?

  • Free Whois protection – woohoo! (They even have this awesome page that lays out what Whois protection actually does for you.)
  • Low price points
  • Return a domain name if you change your mind
  • 24/7 customer support
  • Free security service that offers two-factor authentication (if you want to use it.)

This is my top pick for pretty much anyone. I think Dynadot offers some great, free features for their customers that set them apart from their competition. As it stands, I think it’s the best domain registrar available.

 

7.) Name

Starts at: $8.99/yr

Renews at: $12.99/yr

Whois Protection: $4.99/yr

Verdict: Meh

There’s nothing wrong with Name – their pricing is decent and they don’t push tons of extras on you, either. I don’t get a sketchy vibe when I’m on their site and I don’t feel like they’re trying to confuse anyone.

I’ve used them and I’ve had a positive experience, but because they charge for Whois protection, I’m moving the domains I have there to another service. Nothing much to say here – I think they are right down the middle when it comes to domain registrars. Not a bad choice at all, but probably not the best one.

 

8.) Namecheap

Starts at: $8.88/yr

Renews at: $10.98

Whois Protection: Free

Verdict: Good choice

Namecheap is a solid choice for a domain registrar for your business. They don’t push things on you and they have a nice-looking user interface that is simple enough for beginners to understand and clean enough for experts to appreciate. Not my top choice here, but absolutely not a bad choice.

  • Pricing is on the lower end
  • Free Whois protection
  • Good customer support

The final say

The best domain registrar for your business is the one that works best for your business, but here’s my top three suggestions for you based on scammy Pammy factor (*cough* BlueHost and GoDaddy *cough*), pricing, customer support, and Whois protection fees.

#1 |  Dynadot – Best domain registrar overall:

Good price points, 24/7 customer support, ability to return domains, non-pushy website, free Whois protection

#2 |  Porkbun – Best domain registrar for people with lots of domains:

Lowest price points, less available customer support, non-pushy website, free Whois protection

#3 |  Namecheap – Solid choice for a domain registrar

Good price points, 24/7 customer support, non-pushy website, free Whois protection

 

That’s everything I reaaaally want to say about domain registrars without getting too crazy. If you don’t see the domain registrar you’re considering on this list here, look for a registrar with free Whois protection and who doesn’t throw random “offers” at you constantly.

Let me know if you have any questions about anything in here and pin this for later if you wanna save it! 🙂

How to decide which domain registrar to use for your business (8 registrars compared)

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