The difficult part of getting a domain name shouldn’t be choosing which domain name registrar to use. However, with so many different providers available, it can become a challenge to determine which to use. To make it easy, we reviewed the top registrars to find the six best—including the best overall—that offer affordable domains as well as extras such as free domain privacy, security tools, business email, and helpful customer support.
? Pro tip: You may be eligible for a free domain name through your web hosting provider or site builder plan. On top of being free, it also eliminates the need to manually connect your domain. Learn more about building your small business website.
Top 6 Domain Registrars 2020
Domain Name Registrar
(Best overall) Purchasing low-cost domains that come with domain privacy
Businesses purchasing multiple domains
Buying hard-to-find domain names and reselling domains
Those who want a free domain through a low-cost web hosting plan
Those on an extremely limited budget and want an ultra-low introductory price for a domain
Buying domains with unique extensions, such as .yoga, at an affordable price
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How We Evaluated the Best Domain Name Registrars
It’s vital to get the right domain name for your business website, and with so many ways to register a domain, it can be dizzying to figure out which is right for you. To make it easy, we reviewed and analyzed the top domain name registrars based on factors that matter most to small businesses to find the overall six best.
We evaluated each based on the following criteria:
- Domain extension selection
- Ease of use
- Customer service
- Content management system (CMS) compatibility
After considering the above criteria, we believe Namecheap is the best overall domain registrar for small businesses due to its competitively priced domains that come with extra features built-in, such as domain name privacy. If you’re looking for the most affordable option check out all of the best cheap domain name registration services.
Namecheap: Best Overall for Low-cost Domain Registration
Average rating: 4.3 out of 5 stars (read more)
Namecheap is a low-cost domain name registrar with .com domains available for as low as $6.98 per year. While it offers web hosting services, its web hosting services are not well-rated, and it is therefore advised to use Namecheap for affordable domain name registration only. As its name suggests, it stands out for its cheap domain names, and unlike other ultra-low-cost registrars, its low price isn’t solely reflective of its introductory prices.
Very low cost
Business email not included
Domain name privacy included
Domain appraisal services not available
24/7 support via ticket, phone, and live chat
Not well-rated for its web hosting services
Namecheap offers .com domains for under $7 for the first year, which then cost around $8.98 per year thereafter. Domain name pricing may vary by domain name extension and popularity of the domain, though its more expensive domains cost around $10 to $15 per year. A la carte options, like premium domain privacy and business email, are available upon checkout for additional fees.
While the main selling point of Namecheap is its affordable prices, it also includes extras such as free domain privacy. Unlike most domain name registrars that charge an extra fee for domain name privacy, it comes standard with Namecheap domains. It also offers a la carte options such as business email and low-cost SSL certificates for just $3.88 per year.
Here is a closer look at all the features Namecheap offers:
- Various domain extensions: Namecheap offers .net and .com domain names, along with hundreds of niche and location-specific extensions like .agency, .boutique, .us, and .ai. View a full list of available domain extensions by clicking on the “Domain” menu tab on their website.
- Domain privacy included: Namecheap offers WHOIS Guard privacy protection for free with domain purchases.
- Domain lock (aka registrar lock): Namecheap offers free registrar lock for each purchased domain, which automatically protects your domain against unauthorized domain transfers or “hijacking.”
- Business email: Each domain comes with a free two-month email trial, which includes an email address to match your domain name. To keep your email after this trial period, you must pay $9.88 per year for each email address, 3GB of storage, and anti-spam protection.
Hover: Best for Registering Multiple Domains
Average rating: 4.1 out of 5 stars (read more)
Hover is a domain name registrar that stands out for its inclusion of free domain name privacy and its bulk discounts on multiple domain registrations. Companies often use bulk registration to buy different extensions of the same website address to prevent competitors from building a brand off of them. That said, it’s the best choice for budget-conscious businesses looking to purchase multiple domains at an affordable price.
Domain name privacy included
Business email must be purchased separately
Discounts available for bulk orders
More expensive than competitors
Top-rated customer support
Does not offer web hosting services
The cost of a .com domain through Hover starts at $12.99 per year and $15.95 per year for .net domains. Other domain extensions vary greatly in price. Those looking to purchase multiple domains at once will get a bulk discount. All domains come standard with free domain name privacy, a matching business email address, and 10GB of storage for $20 per year.
Hover is a straightforward, no-frills domain name registrar. Unlike other domain registrars that also offer services such as web hosting and site builders, Hover offers domains and email. Another benefit of purchasing a domain through Hover is that it automatically comes with domain security features, such as domain privacy, transfer lock, and authorization (auth) codes, with each domain registration.
Here is a closer look at Hover’s domain name registration and email features:
- Domain extensions: Hover offers .net and .com extensions, along with hundreds of more unique domain extensions. Niche domain extensions, for example, include .investments, .art, and .attorney, while location extensions include .berlin, .barcelona, and .boston.
- Domain privacy included: Hover offers free domain privacy with each domain, which conceals your address, phone number, and email address when your domain is listed in the public WHOIS domain name database. This protects you against spam and unsolicited calls.
- Transfer lock: You can lock your domains so unauthorized people cannot transfer them. This protects your domain name from being stolen.
- Auth codes: This is a code assigned to your domain to create a second layer of security against unauthorized transfers. If you purchase this service, you would have to supply an auth code in order to transfer your domain to a new registrar.
- Business email: You must purchase a business email account separately but, once you do, your email addresses will match your domain (firstname.lastname@example.org, for example).
GoDaddy: Best for Buying Hard-to-Find Domains
Average rating: 4.1 out of 5 stars (read more)
GoDaddy is a domain name registrar and web hosting provider that specializes in helping businesses acquire domains currently owned by another person or business. Its domain appraisal and broker services set it apart from other domain name registrars because it helps businesses get access to domains that are already owned and enables users to sell their domains.
Discounts for bulk purchases
More expensive than alternatives
Domain name appraisal services
Privacy protection costs extra
Intuitive cPanel and domain management
Business email costs an extra $3.99/month
The cost for the average domain on GoDaddy is around $11.99 to $13.99 per year depending on factors such as your desired domain extension. Domain name privacy does not come standard, costing an additional $9.99 per year. Other extras, such as business email, are available for $3.99 per inbox, per year.
GoDaddy offers standard features like domain extension selection, privacy protection, and domain lock. In addition, you can purchase an email address to match your domain name. What’s unique about GoDaddy, however, is their appraisal and broker services for already-owned domains. In other words, with GoDaddy, it’s possible to purchase domains that someone else already owns, as well as list domains you own for sale.
Here is a closer look at GoDaddy’s domain registration features:
- Domain extensions: GoDaddy offers hundreds of domain extensions you can search for by categories like education, health, or real estate. You can even preregister a domain name using an extension that’s slated to become available in the near future.
- Privacy protection: For $9.99 per year, GoDaddy’s domain privacy protection replaces your contact information in the public domain database with generic information from GoDaddy’s partner, Domains by Proxy. This protects you against spam and identity theft.
- Domain lock: GoDaddy’s domain lock is called Business Protection by GoDaddy, but serves the same purpose. It blocks accidental or unauthorized domain transfers—unless you manually unlock your domain.
- Domain backorders: If the domain you want is currently owned by someone else, you can pay to get first access to it if the owner sells it or it becomes available for purchase.
- Domain broker services: You can hire a GoDaddy broker to negotiate with a domain’s current owner to purchase it from them. Broker services cost $69.99 plus a 20% commission of the price of the acquired domain.
- Domain value appraisal: GoDaddy will appraise any domain name for free. With this appraisal, you learn exactly how much you should pay to acquire it.
- Personal domains: For a more professional feel to your personal brand or ecommerce marketing, you can purchase a domain and then point it to non-website platforms like your YouTube channel, your Etsy shop, or your LinkedIn profile.
- Business email: When you purchase a domain name, you can also add a matching email address to it at checkout starting at $3.99 per month. With the entry-level plan, you will receive 5GB of storage. More expensive email address plans offer more storage.
Bluehost: Best for Getting a Free Domain With Web Hosting
Average rating: 4.1 out of 5 stars (read more)
Bluehost is a web hosting provider that offers a free domain name with its low-cost, feature-rich web hosting plans, as well as many other extras businesses need to build and maintain a professional site. With plans starting at $2.95 per month, it is the best option for those who plan to build a website using WordPress because it comes with a free domain and one-click WordPress installation, eliminating the need to manually connect your domain to your website.
Fewer domain extensions available
Free domain w/hosting plans
Customer support is fairly limited
One-click WordPress installation
Must purchase web hosting to get business email
Bluehost gives you a free domain when you purchase one of its web hosting plans, which start as low as $2.95 per month and include everything you’ll need for your small business website. The cost to purchase a domain separately is also competitively priced at around $11.99 per year for a .com and around $12.99 per year for a .net. Other extensions, such as .io or .org, vary in price.
Bluehost offers more features than many domain name registrars since it is more than just a domain name registrar. Its entry-level web hosting plan comes packed with features, such as a free domain for a year, up to five business email addresses (e.g., email@example.com), a free SSL certificate, 50GB of space, and unlimited bandwidth.
Here’s a closer look at Bluehost’s features:
- Domain registration: Purchase your domain name directly from Bluehost.
- Extensions: Bluehost offers .com, .net, .org, .us, .biz, and .info domain extensions. They don’t offer a lot of the extensions some registrars like HostGator offer, however, including industry- and location-specific extensions.
- Domain privacy: When you buy a domain through Bluehost, you can also add domain privacy for $.99 per month, a much better price than HostGator’s.
- Domain lock: Domain lock adds another layer of security by keeping your domain name from being transferred to a website by any unauthorized person.
- SSL certificate: It is common practice to have an SSL certificate installed on a professional website for further security and user data protection.
- Email: Get free business email with the purchase of a web hosting plan.
- Web hosting: The entry-level plan offers 50GB of website storage, not quite as much as HostGator offers in their most basic web hosting plan. Their larger plans offer unlimited website storage.
1&1 IONOS: Ultra-low Introductory Domain Prices
Average rating: 4.1 out of 5 stars
1&1 IONOS offers a range of services, from domain name registration to web hosting and marketing. It offers ultra-low .com domains for $1 for the first year, and then $15 per year upon renewal. A domain purchase comes with a matching email address, domain privacy, and domain lock. They are best for businesses that are just starting out and are working with extremely limited budgets.
$1 domains (introductory pricing)
Doesn’t offer a true cPanel
Domain privacy included
Users report issues with billing
Support includes business and marketing consultations
Renewal fee is higher than competitors
1&1 IONOS Pricing
1&1 IONOS’ .com domains are $1 for one year, then $15 per year thereafter. Its .net domains cost $9 for the first year, then renew at $20 per year for every year thereafter. Domains come with a free matching email, domain lock to prevent unauthorized transfers, and domain privacy. With a $2 per month email plan, you get a free domain for a lifetime.
1&1 IONOS Features
1&1 IONOS’ standout feature is its affordability. With .com domain extensions at just $1 for the first year, they stand out from other providers on this list. If you sign up for an email hosting plan for $2 per month, you will also receive a free-forever domain of your choosing. They also offer free domain lock, domain privacy, and domain transfers.
Here is a closer look at 1&1 IONOS’ domain features:
- Extensions: 1&1 IONOS offers a very long list of domain extensions, from the more common .com, .net, and .org to more unique domain extensions like .boutique, .catering, and .finance.
- Domain privacy: To hide your personal contact information, preventing spam and identity theft, 1&1 IONOS offers free domain privacy when you sign up for a one-year registration.
- Domain lock: This feature ensures your domain cannot be transferred without authorization from you. A domain can only be unlocked or locked when you log into your password-protected 1&1 IONOS account and unlock it.
- Domain transfers: Domains can be transferred to 1&1 IONOS for free. Unlike HostGator, each domain is renewed at full price for one year automatically the day you transfer it to 1&1 IONOS, instead of after your existing registration period ends.
- Domain forwarding: Like GoDaddy, 1&1 IONOS allows you to link your domain name to an ecommerce platform like Etsy or to platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn.
- Preregistration: If you know that a domain extension is soon to hit the market, you can preregister for a domain using that extension.
- Business email: 1&1 IONOS offers a free matching email address with each domain name you register. For larger businesses, they have a $2 per month email plan that comes with 25 matching email addresses and a free lifetime domain.
HostGator: Best for Affordable Unique Extensions
Average rating: 4.4 out of 5 stars
HostGator is a top domain registrar and web hosting provider. What’s different about HostGator is that it offers just about every possible domain extension, making it best for those who want a unique extension to market themselves. For example, an accounting firm could use the .accountant domain extension and a cruise company may opt for the .cruise extension.
Hosting plans do not include a free domain
Domain privacy included
Cannot sign up for business email without a web hosting plan
Domain privacy not included
HostGator’s domains start at $12.95 per year. They also offer domain transfers at $7.95 per year. For free transfers, you have to sign up for web hosting at $2.75 per month. When you transfer in a domain, they add a year extension to your current registration. Domain privacy is $14.95 per year.
HostGator offers a huge selection of domain extensions via its partnership with domain.com. When you purchase a domain name, you also get domain locking for free. In addition, you can purchase domain privacy and domain transfers separately. You must sign up for a HostGator web hosting plan to get a matching email address for your domain.
Here is a closer look at HostGator’s domain name registration features:
- Domain locking: To prevent unauthorized transfers of your domain, you can enable and disable domain locking through your password-protected HostGator control panel.
- Extensions: HostGator offers .com, .club, .co, .space, .us, .website, .org, .net, .me, .bix, .info, .hot, .online, .site, and .tech extensions. They also partner with domain.com to sell new and unique extensions.
- Domain privacy: When you opt in to HostGator’s domain privacy for $14.95 per year, they replace your contact information (like your address, phone number, and email) with their own so your identity is protected from spam and theft in the WHOIS domain database.
- Domain transfers: You can transfer all of your domains to HostGator, then manage them from one control panel. Transferring a .com or .net domain costs $7.95 per year. This year-long registration is added to the end of your existing registration period.
- Preregistration and priority preregistration: If a new domain extension is soon to hit the market, you can preregister to get first access to domains with that extension. If you priority-preregister, you are put higher on the list of those who have paid for first access.
- Business email: To get a matching email address for your domain, you must sign up for one of HostGator’s web hosting plans, which start at $2.75 per month.
The best domain name registrars make it easy to find, register, and use your domain name at an affordable price. In addition to domain registration and management, the top domain registrars also offer extra features such as domain privacy included, domain lock, business email, and helpful support. Which domain registrar is best for you will depend on your unique needs, whether that’s bulk domain registration or locked domains.
By the way, it’s worth mentioning again that before buying a domain, check whether you might be able to get a domain name for free through a provider or plan you are likely already using. For example, those using WordPress to build a website will need web hosting, and top providers such as Bluehost include a free domain name with its feature-rich plans starting as low as $2.95 per month.