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Best domain registrar for small business

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What's the best domain registrar for small business? We compare GoDaddy, Namecheap, Porkbun, Hover, and Cloudflare, with pros, cons, features and pricing.

If you’re like me, the moment my new business idea feels real is when I register the domain name. It’s usually one of the first, if not the first, investments I make into my new venture.

I used Google Domains for many years to purchase and manage domain names. I liked it because I always use G Suite for email/calendar, etc., which was easy to add on and one less service I needed to use. However, Google recently sold its domain business to Squarespace, which isn’t a service I use otherwise. So now I’m on the hunt for a new domain registry.

Join me in discovering the best domain registrar for small businesses.

Ready to build a website? Here's a rundown of the various website building platforms

What is a domain registrar?

Domain registrars are businesses that handle the registration and management of domain names. The registries own domains, which they lease to the end users.

How domain registration works - from Cloudflare
How domain registration works - from Cloudflare

What to consider when deciding on a domain registrar

There are a few things to consider when deciding where to register your domain:

  1. Price and renewal fees
  2. Customer support
  3. Ease of use
  4. Additional services
  5. Business practices

Price and renewal fees

Comparing pricing

Generally, all registrars are similarly priced and won’t break the bank for .com domains. Some try to entice you in with a low-cost first year, and then raise the rate on subsequent years, so keep that in mind when deciding.

Also, remember that certain specialized top level domains (TLDs) will be more expensive than others. For example, check out some of the various TLDs for Peak Digital Studio I found at GoDaddy below if we wanted to register it would cost us $99.99 for the first year, then $399.99 for every year after that. I can’t imagine paying that much for a .sucks domain, but I suppose someone out there is willing to pay it.

Customer support

Some registrars are better than others when it comes to customer support. I’ve had to spend hours on chats with domain registrars before, and mileage will vary with all of them. Be sure to research customer satisfaction (we’ll address this in our comparison below).

Ease of use

One thing I liked about Google Domains was its ease of use. I could easily register a domain, set up the DNS records, and add G Suite. Google Domains didn’t do much else. On the other hand, registrars like GoDaddy have a million different services and upsells. I find it hard to navigate when I need to make site changes.

This might be trivial, but many domain registrars have atrocious design/UI that hasn’t changed since the early days of the Internet. All things being equal, I will always opt for a better-designed UI.

Additional services

Many registrars offer additional services, or they’re primarily selling other services, and domain names are just one of their feature offerings. For example, you can register your domain at Webflow, which is mainly a website builder. On the other hand, you can register your domain name at GoDaddy, their primary business. Still, they have additional features like a website builder or email. Remember, the service won’t generally be as good when it's not their core business.

Business practices

There are some domain name providers that I won’t name (it rhymes with DoGaddy) that are actually using domain searches on their site to front-run and register domains before you can purchase them and sell them at a higher price.

Comparing the registrars

Now that we know the basics and what to look for, let’s compare the top providers. When we show prices, this will be for a standard .com domain, including first-year and subsequent-year prices.

For the reviews, we aggregated a bunch of reviews and ran them through ChatGPT to identify what people loved about each registrar and what they didn’t.


First Year Price: $0.01 (must committee to a 3-year term)
Subsequent Years Price: $21.99

The top domain registered by market share is over 14% of all domains registered through GoDaddy.

Additional Services/Features

  • Website Builder
  • Email
  • Hosting
  • Marketing services
  • Payments

Why people love them

  • Exceptional Customer Service: High praise for supportive, polite, and efficient customer service.
  • Effective Problem Resolution: Quick and effective resolution of issues related to hosting, domains, billing, and technical support.
  • Product Satisfaction: Customers are satisfied with GoDaddy's website building, domain services, and IT solutions, noting their ease of use and functionality.
  • Recommendations for Additional Services: Appreciation for suggestions on products and services that offer savings or enhance functionality.
  • 24/7 Support: The availability of live agents around the clock is valued for ensuring support is always accessible.
  • Professionalism and Friendliness: Customer service representatives are noted for their professionalism, friendliness, and patience.

Why people hate them

  • Pricing and Upselling Concerns: Customers feel overcharged with unexpected fees and pressured into buying additional services.
  • Website and Platform Problems: Reports of a buggy, slow website that compromises data security.
  • Customer Service Issues: Long wait times, unhelpful or unresponsive support, and difficulty in resolving issues.
  • Technical and Billing Complaints: Problems with domain renewal, auto-renewal failures, and dissatisfaction with billing and refund processes.
  • Transparency and Communication Flaws: Lack of clear communication about pricing, services, and account notifications.
  • Service Cancellation and Refund Challenges: Difficulties encountered when trying to cancel services or obtain refunds.
  • Specific Service Dissatisfaction: Complaints about security measures, account limitations, and the quality of web services.


First Year Price: $5.98
Subsequent Years Price: $10.28

The second larget domain registrar, also with roughly 14% market share, Namecheap is quite similar to GoDaddy with its add-on services. It’s a pretty user-frindly interface, and has lots of add-on features. It also includes an app store with things like business formation, Weebly, Wordpress, and other add-ons for your domain.

Additional Services/Features

  • Email
  • Hosting
  • Marketing tools
  • App store

Why people love them

  • Exceptional Customer Service: Users consistently praise the quality and responsiveness of the customer support team.
  • User-Friendly Platform: Customers find Namecheap's interface easy to navigate, making domain registration and management straightforward even for non-technical users.
  • Effective Technical Support: Technical issues are resolved efficiently, with support staff providing clear instructions and going above and beyond to assist.
  • Good Value for Money: Reviewers appreciate Namecheap's competitive pricing for domains, hosting, and other services, feeling they receive excellent value.
  • Strong Security Measures: Users trust Namecheap's commitment to security, valuing their proactive communication about potential threats.

Why people hate them

  • Difficulties with Service Cancellation and Billing: Customers encounter issues with canceling services and unexpected charges, including premature auto-renewals.
  • Customer Service Problems: There are complaints about long wait times for support, unhelpful responses, and unresolved issues.
  • Technical and Hosting Concerns: Users report technical glitches, such as disappearing DNS records and unfulfilled SSL certificate promises.
  • Refund Policy Frustrations: Dissatisfaction arises over Namecheap's refusal to refund for unwanted or unauthorized services.
  • Domain Registration and Transfer Issues: Allegations include unethical domain registration practices and difficulties transferring domains away.
  • Security and Spam Complaints: Concerns are raised about Namecheap hosting potentially fraudulent or spam-filled websites.
  • Lack of Transparency: Customers criticize unclear fees, service limitations, and the handling of disputes, feeling misled or unfairly treated.


First Year Price: $6.99
Subsequent Years Price: $10.37

Certainly the most fun domain registrar name of the bunch, it prides itself on simplicity and ease of use.

Additional Services/Features

  • Marketplace
  • Auctions
  • Web Hosting
  • Email Hosting

Why people love them

  • Excellent Value: Including essential features for domain management at no extra cost.
  • Ease of Use: Smooth registration process and user-friendly management interface.
  • Outstanding Customer Support: Responsive and helpful support team.
  • Strong Security Features: Appreciation for 2FA, free SSL certificates, and privacy protections.
  • Fast and Simple Service: Quick domain search and registration.
  • Unique Brand Personality: The website's quirkiness and humor enhance the user experience.
  • Consistent Reliability: Long-term satisfaction with service quality.
  • Privacy and Transparency: Commitment to protecting user information and clear pricing.

Why people hate them

  • Account Access: Problems with account verification and UI bugs hinder account access and transactions.
  • Website Usability: Customers find the website difficult to navigate, with an outdated interface.
  • Payment Issues: Complaints about declined credit card payments, difficulties with Bitcoin transactions, and issues with Stripe as a payment processor.
  • Customer Support: Slow responses, unhelpful support agents, and overall dissatisfaction with the level of customer service.
  • Service Suspension: Accounts and domains being suspended or blocked without clear justification.
  • Privacy and Spam: Concerns over personal information being shared and an increase in spam calls.
  • Technical Problems: Issues with technical aspects and API documentation, perceived as buggy and inconsistent.
  • Excessive Security Measures: Security protocols viewed as overly restrictive and cumbersome.
  • Pricing and Renewal: Discontent with renewal prices and promotional codes not functioning as expected.


First Year Price: $17.99
Subsequent Years Price: $17.99

Dead simple domain registrar. I personally used Hover prior to Google Domains and found it really easy to use personally. They don’t offer a lot of services, and thus don’t have a lot of upsells, and they offer bulk pricing discounts if you have lots of domains. However, Hover has some of the worst reviews of any service I looked at, so perhaps the platform has slipped in the last few years.

Additional Services/Features

  • Email
  • Bulk pricing for domains

Why people love them

  • Smooth Service: Seamless domain transfers and management.
  • Intuitive Interface: User-friendly website and management tools.
  • Exceptional Support: Efficient, helpful customer support.
  • Reliability and Trust: Trusted for secure domain handling.
  • Competitive Pricing: Reasonable costs for services.
  • Long-term Satisfaction: Loyal customers over years.
  • Ethical Practices: No domain sniping reported (ie registering domains their users search for)

Why people hate them

  • Email Forwarding Failures: Customers report problems with simple tasks like email forwarding not functioning properly.
  • Unsatisfactory Customer Service: Issues include slow response times, unhelpful support, and occasionally condescending interactions.
  • Transfer Difficulties: Difficulties transferring domains to or from Hover, with inadequate support.
  • Reliability Issues: Service outages and unexpected deletion of emails, affecting business operations.
  • Billing and Refund Problems: Unexpected charges, auto-renewal failures, and challenges in obtaining refunds.
  • Usability Concerns: Complaints about a difficult-to-navigate website and bugs affecting domain management.
  • Security and Privacy Issues: Inconsistent security measures causing access problems without effectively preventing unauthorized use.
  • Pricing Concerns: Some customers find the cost of services, especially email hosting, too high for the offered value.


First Year Price: $9.77
Subsequent Years Price: $9.77

Cloudflare is certainly much more than a domain registrar, with their primary business being content delivery networks, cybersecurity, and more.

Full disclosure, I’ll probably migrate over to Cloudflar for my domains now that Google Domains has been sold.

Additional Services/Features

  • CDN
  • Cybersecurity
  • Analytics
  • DDoS mitigation

Why people love them

  • Robust and Cutting-Edge Services: Users appreciate the advanced features, especially in the Zero Trust and WARP client offerings, which enhance network security and performance.
  • Ease of Use: The platform's user interface and configuration console are lauded for their intuitiveness, making it accessible for IT professionals and hobbyists alike.
  • Exceptional Performance: High cache ratios and fast DNS services are highlighted, contributing to improved website efficiency and user experience.
  • Cost-Effectiveness: Cloudflare's competitive pricing, especially for its Pro version and free tier services, is appreciated for providing significant value.
  • Reliability: Long-term users attest to Cloudflare's reliability and the minimal occurrence of global issues over the years.
  • Comprehensive Security and CDN Features: The wide range of services, including WAF, workers, rocket loader, and image optimization, receives positive mentions for enhancing website security and performance.
  • Support for Information Access: Cloudflare's decision not to block clients based on geographical or political reasons is respected for keeping information access open.
  • Customer Support: Though not universally praised, there are acknowledgments of helpful and knowledgeable customer support in resolving issues.
  • Contribution to Internet Safety: Cloudflare is commended for making the internet a safer place by offering basic security features to everyone and effectively handling security threats.

Why people hate them

  • Service Restrictions and Blocks: Users express frustration with Cloudflare's actions that obstruct access to websites or services, causing inconvenience and lost business opportunities.
  • Trust and Privacy Issues: Concerns about Cloudflare violating user trust by allegedly providing sensitive information to third parties in response to legal notices, despite promises of privacy and security.
  • Customer Service Challenges: Several reviews point to difficulties in obtaining support or resolving issues through Cloudflare's customer service channels, including the lack of direct communication for troubleshooting and problem-solving.
  • Billing and Account Management Complaints: Complaints include issues with billing, such as being charged for services after cancellation and difficulties with managing or accessing accounts, leading to lost domain ownership or unexpected service terminations.
  • Technical and Performance Problems: Some users report technical difficulties, including service disruptions and poor website performance, contrary to Cloudflare's promises of enhancing website speed and security.
  • Unethical Practices and Content Hosting: Cloudflare faces criticism for allegedly hosting and protecting websites with objectionable content, including animal abuse and gore, raising ethical concerns about the company's policies and actions.
  • Employee Treatment: A number of reviews also focus on Cloudflare's internal culture and treatment of employees, including allegations of unjustified layoffs and a toxic workplace environment, further affecting the company's reputation.

TL;DR Picking the best domain registrar for your small business

When starting a new business, choosing the right domain registrar is crucial for managing your online presence. The ideal registrar should offer a balance of affordable pricing, reliable customer support, ease of use, and additional services. While Google Domains was preferred for its simplicity and integration with G Suite, its sale to Squarespace prompts a search for alternatives. Essential factors include price, renewal fees, customer support quality, user interface design, and the availability of additional services like email and web hosting. Major registrars like GoDaddy, Namecheap, Porkbun, Hover, and Cloudflare offer varying experiences, with GoDaddy being the market leader but criticized for pricing and upselling tactics. Namecheap is lauded for customer service and value, while Porkbun stands out for its unique brand and simplicity. Hover offers straightforward domain registration with mixed reviews on service quality. Cloudflare, known for its CDN and cybersecurity services, is considered for its reliability and advanced features. Each registrar has its strengths and weaknesses, making it essential to consider personal needs and preferences before making a decision.

Matthew Johnson

Published on

March 15, 2024