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Choosing a Domain Registrar: The Steps & Our Top Pick

Before choosing a domain registrar, we need to know what is a domain name registrar. Now, let’s go over the main features of the registrar that we need to consider.

The current article is "4.5. Choose Registrar" of our Complete SEO Guide Box.
Previous Article: 4.4. Choosing Domain & TLD. Next Article: 4.6. Buy a Domain: NameSilo


Choosing a domain registrar is a crucial step that might affect your online presence. The most important is to choose a reputable registrar. Find reviews and feedback online. Pick registrars with a long history and a strong track record.

In the past, incidents happened when big domain name registrars suddenly went bankrupt and closed. Many people were affected. They could no longer use the registrar services to keep or get new domain names. The above is like losing your house’s address.

What Happens When Domain Name Registrar Goes Offline?

What happens to all the information these people give to the company? That’s a big worry. Thankfully, ICANN helps in situations like this. They remove the company’s ability to operate and move all the domains to another company that can care for them. ICANN then shares this information on its website. You can also get familiar with ICANN’s purpose.

Domain Privacy

When choosing a domain registrar, make sure you get domain privacy. This service is usually free, but some companies charge about $12 annually. It’s important because it keeps your details, like your name and contact information (domain WHOIS data), hidden from spammers. However, because of GDPR, some registrars have started automatically hiding this information. Still, it’s a good idea to pay for WHOIS privacy protection.

Renewal Price

Another thing to remember when choosing a domain registrar is how much they charge. Some companies have special offers that seem reasonable initially but cost more later.

For example, you can buy a domain at a discount of $2 a year, and when you renew it for the next year, it will be for a regular price of $20. The price terms are almost always present when you buy the domain – the discount price of the new domain and the renewal prices of the following purchases.

One way to avoid surprises is to buy a long-term plan, but ICANN has a rule that you can only buy for up to 10 years at a time. Sometimes, companies can suddenly change their prices. So, watching for such changes each time you renew a domain name would be best. Usually, you will get a renewal notice email 30 days before manual or automatic renewal with new terms.

Hidden Fees

Be wary of add-on services that may come with additional costs. Ensure that the advertised price includes all necessary services and that there aren’t hidden fees.

Look for ICANN Accreditation

Pick a domain registrar accredited by ICANN. They follow standard practices and are generally more reliable.

Domain Registrar and Hosting Provider Combos

Many domain name registrars also provide hosting services to host your site and vice versa: a hosting service may also offer registrar services. A combo decision is always a bad idea.

If the service is a registrar, its hosting is not optimal and could be slow; if it is a hosting service, its registrar services are cumbersome. Better separate these services.

Use the registrar service of a company that specializes in such services and buy hosting from a company that specializes in hosting services.

More Features to Consider While Choosing a Domain Registrar

Domain Transfer Policy: You should be able to transfer your domain to another registrar without hassle. Check for any restrictions or fees for your domain transfer.

Domain Management Tools: The control panel should be user-friendly and intuitive. Features like domain locking, DNS management, and forwarding should be available.

Customer Support: Check if they offer 24/7 customer support. Test their response time and the quality of their support before committing.

Expiration Policies: Some registrars may provide a grace period after a domain expires, allowing you to renew it without penalty. Understand the renewal process and ensure you’re notified in advance.

Data Privacy: Some registrars offer domain privacy (sometimes called WHOIS privacy) to protect your personal information from being publicly displayed. If this is important, check if it’s provided and at what cost.

Contract and Terms: Always read the fine print. Understand the terms of service and the domain registration agreement.

TLD Availability: Ensure your chosen registrar supports them if you’re interested in specific Top-Level Domains (like .app, .blog, .guru, and more).

Security: Features like two-factor authentication (2FA) and domain locking can protect your domain from unauthorized changes or transfers.

Personal Experience

After trying HostGator (primarily a hosting service), NameCheap, Google Domains, and NameSilo, the most feature-rich and the best support was at NameSilo. At the time of this writing, NameSilo had WHOIS data privacy for free, and the .com TLD was one of the cheapest available on the market. NameSilo is an ICANN-accredited registrar.

While considering other features from the list above: NameSilo has an extensive TLD availability list, They notice you 30 days before renewal/domain expiration by email, they have a domain transfer feature where you can transfer a domain to NameSilo from another registrar, they have extensive Domain management features. Finally, NameSilo offers several security features like domain locking and 2FA.

Note: it is better to separate Domain Services from Google Adsense accounts if you want to use Google Domains.


Choosing a domain registrar might seem minor, but it can significantly impact. Selecting a company that offers privacy protection, transparent pricing, and a good reputation is essential.

The current article is "4.5. Choose Registrar" of our Complete SEO Guide Box.
Previous Article: 4.4. Choosing Domain & TLD. Next Article: 4.6. Buy a Domain: NameSilo


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