Your domain name, typically “mybusiness.com,” is one of your most important business assets. We encourage our clients to choose a domain name registrar carefully, as there is a great deal of variance in price and trustworthiness. We also urge you to make sure you have the information you need to log into your domain registration account, and keep it in a safe place.
I have been using and recommending Namecheap.com, a large eNom reseller, for many years. Their prices are modest, their site and control panel are fairly easy to navigate, and I have never had a problem transferring a domain away from them when necessary.
Much as I dislike GoDaddy’s advertising, I’ve had many clients who registered domains with them over the years, and have no complaints about their domain registration service or reliability. My main complaint with GoDaddy is that their control panel is difficult to navigate, though it has gotten better in the past year.
Registrars to Avoid
There are many horror stories about domain registrars who make it difficult or impossible to transfer your domain away from them. My recent experience with DotEasy.com was a nightmare. My client had registered over a dozen names with them, and they were charging her well above market rate. In addition, they were charging for services she didn’t need and charging for services that are included for free with any reputable registrar. It took over six months and several hundred dollars to move her domains, as they kept throwing roadblocks in the way and adding absurd fees.
Another client had a similar problem with cheap-registrar.com. Fortunately she had only one domain name registered with them and it only took a few weeks to get it moved.
There are other registrars who are safe to work with but charge fees above the norm. Domain registration for .com domains typically runs in the neighborhood of $10/year. Register.com and Network Solutions, both now billing themselves as “a web.com company,” charge $35/year. If you don’t mind the overcharges, there is no reason to avoid them, but there is no advantage to registering with them either.
Web Hosting with Your Registrar
I do not recommend hosting your website with your domain registrar, unless it is a very small and simple site or a temporary placeholder. Hosting is not their primary focus and their server performance is generally not acceptable for business websites. Separating your domain registration account and web hosting account also enables you to work with a web developer that you do not yet fully trust; you can give him/her the web hosting password without risking your domain password as well.