Published: 20.03.2021 | Edited: 20.03.2021 | Tags: 100daystooffload
Comparing my domain registrars
Over my life as a mostly hobby web developer I had used multiple domain registrars. I did not look at this as a problem. Domains are usually paid once a year and sometimes even less often, and many can be turned on auto renew, so it is mostly set and forget.
The problems start to appear when the accounting comes into play. The finances are side are simpler to manage if they come as a one invoice for the package of services. This usually has a drawback - many service providers are good and their core thing and add other services on top of that, usually at a premium.
So while getting most services, like domain registration, hosting and email from the single provider is easier on accounting, it is usually more expensive than having separate providers for each respective service. There is also manageability at play. Keeping track of different services across different user interfaces and different support channels also usually takes more time, than having it "under one roof".
So having the same service (domain registration) split further across multiple providers takes even more effort to manage. When an email forwarding comes into play, it can become a complete disaster, because today it almost makes no sense to have a web application without any kind of email contact available, taking out contact forms (I really hate them but it is a different story). The email forwarding can belong among the first steps during web app idea validation and unless using just another separate provider like ImprovMX for this purpose, the domain registrar is usually a first choice, because most of them forward emails for you for your domain registered by them for free.
Having multiple domain registrars usually boils down just to the question of price. There is a variation among Top Level Domains (TLD) among many registrars available on the market and it is possible to save a few bucks by fishing for the cheapest one. This is usually done by registrars to attract customers and then upsell other services to them.
As I have already noted, I believe currently it is better to have a single provider for a service it does the best. By this reasoning I have decided to transfer all my domains under one registrar to keep consistent with this strategy. Here are four registrars I have used recently and my subjective opinion on them.
My oldest partner with the web services, I was using it since I was literally a child. Their core service is web hosting and they provide a comprehensible amount of services comparable with other major web hosting providers on the market, domain registration included.
Before I understood how it all works, it did not occur to me that web hosting could be detached from the domain and subsequently, that the email service could be detached from the domain as well, so naturally I have ordered all here.
Their support is top quality, I had every case resolved or even technically explained over times in a matter of minutes. The domain registration prices are little bit higher and also the amount of available TLDs is quite limited. The unavailability of some domains was precisely what made me started looking elsewhere.
Namesilo is a domain registrar with great prices. It is trusted and recommended by many and it is not that mainstream. Their UI could be better, it is quite old. It does not mean that it is buggy or anything, but it definitely feels unloved. I only had a single domain registered by them and everything worked flawlessly. I had no need to use any support channel, so I cannot comment on it. Worth checking out when aiming for price and stability.
A mainstream player in domain registration business. Probably does not need to be described too much. I had a bunch of domains registered here. They provide most TLDs that are available to buy and the price is very reasonable. Their UI is quite modern, but at the same time quite heavy and sometimes a little sluggish. I did not need any support channel here either, so again, cannot comment (this might be a good flag, you know). Some people complain about the sheer amount of upsells offered by Namecheap, so this but might be a little discouraging.
This is the winner of this match, I am transferring everything here. It took a few months of testing, but I have found they offer everything I needed. The support by chat or by email is great. I had an issue with the SMS gate they were using. They are located in Canada and had to allow to send SMS to Slovakia. Maybe Iwas their first customer from Slovakia that decided to verify the phone number. It got resolved however.
The UI is minimalistic and clean. The prices are so good that there is almost no point in fishing. I hope they won't undercut themselves out of the business, though. AL the imaginable TLDs I looked for are available here. They offer a great knowledge base pages with advanced topics, such as setting up ANAME (sometimes called ALIAS), which is also a feature I plan to use. There is a clean switch for a domain lock (preventing an unauthorized transfer). I had an experience where I had to ask the support for an unlock with a different provider, which felt quite protective. Most or all of the advantages mentioned in this paragraph are also offered by Namecheap, so keep that it in mind.
On top of that, they offer an API. I did not had an opportunity to use that yet, but it definitely feels good from a developer's standpoint. It kind of sends the message that "we know what you need and we are here for you". Hopefully my life will be a little bit easier after all the transfers to Porkbun, so with me luck.
This is a 10th post of #100daystooffload.