The best domain providers: A comparison

It is now almost as important to choose the right domain provider as it is to find a meaningful, suitable website name. As an alternative to .org or .com, modern choices like .bio or .club have opened up a whole new range of possibilities for website operators to customize their website. Top level domains are administered by registries with different features while domain providers offer the domains to customers. Let’s take a closer look at the best domain providers in the US.

A tabular comparison of the best domain providers operating in the US

Picking a domain provider and a domain name can be an arduous task. This table will help break down the differences, and provide a comprehensive comparison of the best US domain providers:

  Founding year Setup fee Length of contract Special features
1&1 IONOS 1988 no 12 or 24 months Extensive additional features, excellent customer service
Google Domains 2015 no From 12 months Focus on privacy, easy to integrate with site builders, new domain endings
Namecheap 2000 no From 12 months Budget friendly, focus on security, DNS server access
GoDaddy 1997 no 12, 24 or 36 month plans Focus on simplicity, up to 100 subdomain options
BlueHost 2003 no From 12 months WordPress experts, free trial available

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1&1 IONOS

1&1 IONOS, founded in Germany in 1988, is one of the best domain providers in the US, offering competitive packages with a wide range of features. Their domain services include a free professional email address, access to up to 10,000 additional subdomains (by far the most on offer by any of these providers) and private registration, ICANN accreditation and Wildcard SSL included free as standard, making sure your website is as safe as possible with up-to-date encryption technology.

In addition, 1&1 IONOS’ service is designed to be as user friendly as possible. 1&1 IONOS has a domain name search function ensuring your website will have a unique name, and can provide advice on picking a suitable address. Setup is made easy thanks to their one-click activation and integration of your domain with any email or social media profiles. The final cherry on top is their top notch, professional support team who are available 24/7 to assist you, should you require any advice. The support team is extremely knowledgeable, even offering a callback service, knowledge base, and a personal consultant should you desire one.

When it comes to pricing, 1&1 IONOS stands out among the crowd. Their 2 year nominal price is just $20, and once you consider all the additional features included for free, the total effective price comes in at $8. 1&1 IONOS also offers a number of business packages focusing on Email, MyWebsite and Web Hosting which start from just $1 per month and include a domain. In terms of features and pricing, plus having 30 years of experience under their belt, 1&1 IONOS cannot be beaten as a domain provider.

Summary

1&1 IONOS is a great all-round domain provider, scoring highly in terms of features, security and price options.

Google Domains

Google Domains, the domain provider branch of the Google corporation, was launched as a beta program back in 2015. Despite remaining in beta status, they are still one of the best domain providers in the US and there are many advantages to using their service. The most obvious one: Reputation. Google has been a powerhouse on the Internet for decades, dominating in the search engine, email and app categories. This domain register is reliable and you can be guaranteed a top-notch product, keeping in line with the rest of Google’s services.

Google Domains are easy to integrate with many well-known website builders, web hosts and app hosts. Google Domains also offer a custom email feature through G Suite so that you can maintain a professional appearance with your email correspondence, and they also offer email forwarding to your main account, should you choose to create alias accounts (up to 100 additional accounts are permitted). Google Domains also offer up to 100 subdomains for your website.

Google Domains, while still competitive, is a slightly pricier domain provider. Their 2 year nominal price comes in at $24, and while private registration and ICANN is free of charge, they do not include Wildcard SSL in their packages, so you will have to fork out extra and set that up yourself. Their total effective price once all the features have been added comes in at $24. However, it should be kept in mind that Google Domains has the widest range of additional plugins available free of charge, including domain management tools, a widely familiar interface, domain forwarding and private domain registration, to name a few.

Google Domains has a well-established customer support service, with 24 hour phone, chat and email support. They also have an extremely well versed support document archive, so finding the solution to an issue yourself is easy.

Summary

Google Domains, while still in beta, is a well-known service provider with a great reputation. While pricier than other options, they also have an impressive range of free plugins.

Namecheap

Founded in the year 2000, and based in Los Angeles, Namecheap is well-known as being one of the best domain providers in the US. Where 1&1 IONOS is a great all-round choice, and Google Domains enjoys a great reputation, Namecheap has built their name up by being an inexpensive, no-fuss option for those looking for a domain provider. They also pride themselves on their goal of delivering outstanding customer experiences. Setting up a domain with them is easy, and Namecheap offers 100 additional subdomains with a regular domain, and email forwarding for up to 100 additional alias accounts.

Domain features provided by Namecheap include a reliable network of DNS servers located in the US and Europe, which facilitate URL and email forwarding, and automatically change IP addresses so that your website never experiences downtime. Namecheap prioritizes security and budget by offering a Comodo Positive SSL certificate, allowing you to secure and pay for a single domain. WhoisGuard is another feature they offer, and helps protect your privacy by concealing your personal information on the Whois database. WhoisGuard is offered free as standard with all Namecheap domains.

Namecheap has an affordable nominal price of $21.86, but additional costs can add up, with private registration costing $12.98, ICANN costing $0.36 and upgrading your SSL certificate to Wildcard SSL costing a whopping $74.88. This sets their effective pricing once additional features are factored in, at $97.10.

While they prioritize customer experience and satisfaction, their customer service support is ticket based, and includes a knowledge base and a chat option, but lacks a 24 hour dedicated phone service.

Summary

Namecheap has inexpensive options and a good range of security features.

GoDaddy

Another product of the .com boom, GoDaddy was founded in 1997 and is based in Scottsdale, Arizona. They are the largest domain provider in the US with more than 30% of the market share.

GoDaddy is a trusted name in the domain provider game, and their no-frills website has plenty of competitive domain options. Selecting and purchasing a domain is easy and requires no technical skills, thanks to their domain name search function. Similar to their competitors, they offer up to 100 subdomains in addition to your own domain, and up to 400 professional email aliases.

In terms of security, GoDaddy offers an additional Business Security option, which blocks accidental and malicious transfers, keeps your personal details concealed, and provides you with an online business card. They also offer the standard privacy features in their Privacy Protection option, concealing and replacing your name and contact information. Both these packages require additional payment, however.

As far as pricing is concerned, costs vary. Their two year nominal price is $18.68, however private registration is another $9.99, ICANN comes in at $0.36 and Wildcard SSL protection will set you back a huge $591.98. This makes their total effective price with these features a sky-high: $621.01. Despite being a well-known, excellent service provider, GoDaddy does not match up with the others in terms of pricing.

Summary

GoDaddy is a well-know, extremely popular brand with good security options.

BlueHost

Bluehost is a web hosting company founded in 2003 and based in Salt Lake City, Utah. Over the years, they have cultivated a reputation as one of the best domain providers in the US. Although they are well-known for their complete hosting solutions, their domain offers stand out.

Bluehost is user friendly domain provider, with a simple interface and easy-to-use control panel where users can manage their domains and all aspects of their website. Changing DNS records is easy to do across multiple domains, and Bluehost includes an auto-renewal service in their package, so that your website will never expire or be lost. They also offer a Domain Lock function so that you can avoid any unauthorized transfers from taking place.

Standard domain pricing with Bluehost starts at $11.99 per year for a .com address, with other domains varying in price. Domain Privacy Protection comes in at an additional $0.99 per month, and their Codeguard feature is an additional $2.99 per month. Additionally, Bluehost domains come with a free SSL certificate, however if you want to bump it up to the Comodo Wildcard SSL cert, that’s going to be an additional $299. There is also an additional $30 renewal fee, should you forget to renew your account with them. On the other hand, Bluehost regularly features heavy discounts throughout the year, so it may still be possible to snag a bargain.

Unlike the other providers, they do not offer an email service or email aliases. They have a comprehensive customer support service with 24 hour phone lines and chat options.

Summary

A well-known domain provider with a sleek package, they score highly in terms of user-friendliness and customer service.

What you should keep in mind when selecting a domain provider

The most important thing to check when selecting a domain provider is that it is a legitimate offer: All domain providers should be ICANN-accredited. If you want to check whether or not a service provider is serious, you can find a list of accredited registrars here. If you are unsure, you can’t go wrong selecting one of the options in this guide. All of these domain providers have ample experience and established procedures and partners, making them well-equipped for the tasks required of a domain provider.

Once you’ve taken legitimacy into consideration, there are a few other key things to consider:

  • Domain range: One of the most important things to look for is that the provider has a wide range of top-level domains available for registration. The decisive factor here is the number of registries the domain provider has contracts with. Some providers aim to cover as broad a spectrum as possible, while other providers specialize in selling particularly exclusive domains.
  • Price: Selling domain extensions is a lucrative business for registries. We recommend checking the price ranges of various services, paying particular attention to the price once all necessary additional features are included, before registering with any one provider.
  • Service: A big advantage that professional domain providers have compared to smaller registrars is their ability to provide comprehensive and reliable service and support. In addition to the standard domain registration, services should include extension or termination of a contract, as well as steps taken to ensure that finding a suitable domain name is as easy as possible for the customer – an availability checker for example. If you have any questions about domain services, providers should have a hotline or email support to provide information.
  • Security: All customers looking to register a domain should ensure that their domain provider is going to provide them with as secure a website as possible. All domain providers should offer SSL encryption, the higher the quality the better. Many also offer additional privacy features like Whois concealment. Be sure to compare providers to make sure you are making the safest choice for your website.

Your very own .com domain name!

Get your very own domain starting from only $1/year!

Secure
Simple
24/7 support
Summary

In order to find the right domain provider for you, comparison is key. When comparing web hosting providers, look at which company offers the best range of services and security, for the best price.


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