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Looking for the best domain registrars of 2020? Walk with me...
We know that setting up your new website can seem pretty bleeding confusing at first glance, so we’re here to make it all simple as a wink.
If it’s your first time setting up a website, perhaps you’re suffering from a terrible thing known as analysis paralysis.
Even us heavy-weight pros have been there at one point or the other
For the lucky ones—in our team—our overwhelmed looks were mistaken for smouldering intensity
When there’s too much information out there, it helps to have someone to clear it up—to make sense of it all.. Aaand that’s what we’re going to do right now.
Relax. Cup of warm tea. We’ve got you.
First - Exactly What Is a Domain Registrar?
The first great pickle eh? Tosh, it’s less fancy than it sounds—don’t worry.
A domain registrar simply secures a domain name on your behalf: SmolderingIntensity.com No? Billionaire-Me.org ? Ok, you choose.
One you’ve decided, they work by contacting the relevant specific registry. In other words, they grab the domain for you—usually for an annual fee.
Simple is as simple does. Mostly... With the massive amount of companies offering this service—admittedly—it’s still easy to get confused.
So many companies...all fighting for our attention. Who to choose? And what is the difference anyway?
Continue to walk with me...
Question 2: How Do Domain Registrars Differ?
Essentially, domain registrars all offer the same service, but some do it a lot better than others.
Here are the main differences to look out:
- Pricing – You’ll be surprised to learn there can be a significant difference in price between providers for the same domain name—yep, keep this in mind if budgeting.
- Contract Length – This may vary between providers, with small print technicalities that may cause headaches further down the line—such as renewal fees.
- Extras – We’ve read all about it...and some offer enticing package deals, great for total solutions e.g. Whois guards, to hide personal details from the public.
- Customer Service - This is the big bonanza one. If something goes wrong, you’ll need a zippy customer service solution not one that’ll leave you high and dry
- Web Hosting – This is now a common optional extra. However, there’s usually better value elsewhere. Learn more about the top UK web hosts to find the best deals.
Best Domain Registrars (UK): Top Picks
Techie note: 🐻 Make sure your choice is accredited by the Internet Corporation for Assigned of Names and Numbers (ICANN).
Save time with our list.. Yolo as the kids say.
1. Namecheap - Great Value Choice
What we like:
Top of our list. Namecheap is a solid, dependable domain registrar. They’ve been around almost 20 years. (Must be doing something right.)
Currently, they hold around 7 million active domain names—it’s their bread and butter service.
Where they shine is their cheap, uncomplicated service. You can expect to have your domain registered—and paid for—in a little over ten minutes.
Simply search your requested domain in the search bar and choose from the options.
Grab a wide range of top-level domain names—that is, your address’s end extension: .com .net or .org and so on---you’ll get all the most popular options.
You are greeted with a variety of upsells when you make your selection, but it’s relatively simple to avoid these if you wish to do so. These include web hosting, logo makers and email providers.
As far as support goes, Namecheap does a great job. Real dandy Q&A section on the sidebar, for quick answers to the most common queries. If that fails, then you can always contact the 24/7 support, which includes live chat.
If you are trying to secure a .com domain name, expect to pay somewhere around $8-$9 or the first year and approximately $13 upon renewal.
You can get much cheaper if you’re happy to settle for a more obscure TLD (top-level domain), some are as low a $0.50!
If your perfect domain name’s unfortunately taken, they let you contact the domain owner—so you can offer to buy them out.
Cheap and cheerful way of securing your domain name with a trusted company. Namecheap fits that profile.
What we like:
NameSilo is another excellent site—just over 3 million domain names registered currently.
A much simpler site than a lot of their competitors, but that shouldn’t be an issue if you’re looking to get in and out with your domain name registered.
Simply search for your requested domain name as per usual, and check the desired option.
NameSilo offers a vast range of TLDs if you’re looking to buy in bulk, or just feel a little exotic and want to something totally obscure. We don’t judge.
The reason NameSilo is growing so rapidly is that it’s a super simple, cheap and streamlined service. They offer domain registrations and that’s it.
24/7 support, with a very responsive live chat if you have any questions.
What we like:
Chances are you’ve already heard of GoDaddy before but can’t remember where... The answer is: everywhere. 😮
They have a great marketing department and have established themselves as a market leader for domain registration and web hosting.
You’ll find a super smooth website with a slick design, easy to navigate around. As with the others, simply search for your desired domain name and select from options available.
One of the chief complaints that GoDaddy receives is its complicated pricing systems. Not very straightforward, to say the least. 🐻
They offer insanely low prices for the first year then hike up the renewal fee, which is often not disclosed very easily. It can be easy to fall into this trap and be left in a bit of a situation one year down the line.
Nevertheless, they offer excellent service, and you can choose from a wide variety of TLDs if you scroll down from their initial offers.
The checkout process is a little complicated too, with a bunch of option you have to deselect and navigate around if you want to come away with just a domain in your basket. This can become a bit tedious 😢 Whois Guard is at an extra cost too.
They do offer 24/7 support as well as an online chat to answer your questions, but to be honest, this is not the easiest domain registrar to use.
If you’re looking for a one-stop-shop for all of your website needs, then this could be the best solution for you. You’ll find cheaper and easier options out there, though.
What we like:
As the name suggests, HostGator is primarily a web hosting provider, but they do offer domain registration services too. In fact, they have almost 10 million domains registered currently. 😮
As domains are not their primary service, you have to navigate to the domains tab that is located at the top of the page. You’ll be greeted with a search bar where you can enter your desired domain name. Easy peasy.
The checkout process is straightforward, without too many upsells. The main drawback here is the price. A standard .com will set you back around $13 and the privacy protection a relatively whopping $15. 😐
Considering we get this for free from some of the registrars in this list, it could easily be a deal-breaker for a lot of people 😐😐
The TLD options are pretty limited, too, when compared to Namecheap and NameSilo.
On the plus side, HostGator is another veteran of the web, after having been around for some 16+ years. They are extremely reliable, and you can confidently register your domain and expect excellent service.
Speaking of which, they have a top-notch 24/& service, including telephone support. This alone may be worth the higher prices if service is important to you.
What we like:
Hover has been growing in popularity over the years. It’s a simple domain registrar—easy to use—and offers a nice and simple check out process.
Their primary service is domain registration, and you can tell. 😛
As with the others, support is 24/7, and they offer a live chat service as you would expect.
After you have searched for your domain name, you will be given a massive list of TLDs to choose from, all with varying prices. You can expect to pay around $13 for a standard .com, which is a fair bit higher than the budget providers.
Nevertheless, they offer an excellent service with transparent pricing. There are no hidden fees, and privacy comes as standard too.
One unique feature is the ability to filter TLD options by the industry your website is in.
As you can see, we are given many options, such as educational, business, travel etc. This can be handy if you are looking for a relevant TLD and don’t have the time to scroll through hundreds of options.
The checkout is super easy too, just select your TLD and pay, simple as that.
What we like:
Google, is there anything that they don’t do? It’s no surprise to see the internet colossus making it into our list of best domain providers.
The domain registrar service has only been around since 2015, so it is not the most established on our list. But with a name like Google, it’s bound to catch some attention pretty quickly.
This may be particularly attractive if you already have a bunch of Google products, such as Gsuite. It all integrates pretty nicely with your Google account, and you will be able to manage your account with your existing log in details.
They offer a super, no-nonsense service that does exactly what it says on the tin. Enter your domain name, click the one you want, and the job is done.
They conveniently list all of the most popular domains at the top, and you can click to see more TLDs if you wish.
The pricing is around mid-range, coming in at £10 per year. It’s nice to see no psychological pricing here too, no £0.99 to try and entice us — just a simple, straightforward service.
Privacy comes as standard, which is great, and there is an auto-renew feature that you can opt-in for you if wish to.
As you expect from Google, the service is excellent. They even have a learning centre, equipped with videos and mini-courses that will get you up to speed with the basics of domain registration and hosting.
This is a great no-nonsense web registrar that you should use if you want to keep it simple.
What we like:
Bluehost is another hugely popular service. They are a heavyweight in the hosting industry 🔥 but still have over 2 million domains registered--a great one-stop-shop for people looking to get their domain and hosting sorted in one place.
However...as domains are not their primary service, you must navigate to the domains section with the link at the top of the page. That will pull up the search bar.
You can expect to pick up a .com domain for somewhere in the region of $11, which is pretty reasonable. The only kicker is that we have to pay for the added privacy protection, that’s another $11. Not ideal.
There is a wide range of TLDs available on Bluehost too—scroll down on the results page, and you will find all of the popular ones there.
The .com domain will be automatically placed in the cart if it’s available. From that point, it is a super simple checkout procedure with just one added presell of Microsoft Office 365.
Skip past that, and you’ll have your domain pretty quickly. The main reason for including Bluehost in this list is their great bundle deals. If you use their hosting service, then they will give you one domain name free.
This is fantastic for those on a budget or those looking for an easy solution.
Support is excellent here too as you’d expect. Live chat options, and 24/7 customer service is available.
Enough talking… Which domain registrar is best?
“Best.” After reading our list, you can see just how similar some of these services are to each other. We would advise keeping your hosting and domain registration separate from one another, rather than putting all of your eggs in one basket.
In this game, speciality is what counts. Because of this, we would generally suggest steering clear of the bundled options, if possible.
Namecheap’s at the forefront of our list of domain registrars but have a look at your specific needs. Proceed below... ➡️
Where should I purchase my domain name?
This all depends on what you’re looking for from your provider. If you are looking for an all in one solution and don’t mind paying for the convenience, then you should opt for HostGator, GoDaddy or Bluehost.
These will all provide hosting and domain registration in the same place. As we mentioned earlier, this isn’t recommended, but it’s not a massive issue if you do decide to do it that way.
Super Simple Services
If you’re after a comfortable life and all of this internet stuff is giving you a headache, then I wouldn’t blame you in searching for the most straightforward option. No need to overcomplicate it, right?
If this sounds like you, then go for Google or Hover. They are both extremely easy to use and the websites and kept minimal, which is a nice change from most of the other options.
There is no upselling on their sites, so you don’t need to be worried about selecting the wrong option and being tied into some unwanted hosting contract or setting up with an email provider.
Cheap and Cheerful
The good news for those looking to save their pennies is that the budget options here are outstanding too—in fact, they are just as good, if not even better than the more expensive options.
If you’re working on a budget, then you should check this list of cheap web hosting solutions to host your domain name on.
Where Do I Buy a Domain Name in the UK?
Any of the options on this list! If you are from the UK, then you can go ahead and pick your favourite registrar from this list and make an account with them. They will all accept UK customers and UK bank accounts.
As far as the service goes, there is no real standout provider that will be better to use in the UK.
Which Is the Best for WordPress Hosting?
Those looking for especially easy integration with Wordpress would be better off going with one of the bundled options, such as Bluehost, HostGator or GoDaddy. They all make it pretty seamless to host your WordPress sites—you’ll have it all in one place.
You can even use the support services for help on how to run through the setup, which can come in handy.
If you want to dive a bit deeper. Make sure you decide on a high-quality managed WordPress hosting. We recommend Wordpress for designing sites but there are many exceptions.
So there you have it: our guide to the best domain registrars of 2020. As we mentioned, most of the companies are very similar. They all offer the same product but with a few subtle differences that should be kept in mind.
For the best experience, it’s essential to consider what you want from your domain registrar and then pick accordingly from there.
If you want a simple life, then go for Google or Hover. Looking for a cheap option that is just as good as the rest, go for Namecheap or NameSilo.
If you’re the type of person that likes to get everything they need in one place—and don’t mind paying for it—then HostGator, Bluehost or GoDaddy are our preferred options.
Be mindful of the upselling tactics that the domain registrars use, and keep an eye out for the added privacy options. Some of the options in this list charge extra for the privacy addons. In some cases, it even doubles the cost of the whole basket.
Once you’ve got the domain name registered and your hosting sorted out, it’s time to get down to business… building your website! We strongly advise getting yourself a good website builder to make your life easier; it’ll surely save you a few headaches further down the line.
#confusedface no more... Only confidence. You are the registrar master.
From today, we expect you to truly smoulder with conviction all who come across you.