When that lightbulb moment strikes and you have a brilliant idea for a website, the first thing you need to do is get an awesome domain name to go with it.
After all, your domain name will be your brand, your own piece of virtual real estate.
Domains, Your Piece of Virtual Real Estate
While you can get domains for free, it is important to get your OWN piece of “virtual real estate” or domain.
Having your own .com, .org, or .net domain comes with some real incentives such as:
- It’s an Asset that You Own. When you purchase a domain, you own it. Its 100% yours and you are also in full control of every aspect of your domain.
- Your Domains will Increase in Value. As you build out your website and your domain, it will increase in value just like improvement and extensions to any real estate asset.
- They Rank Better. Having your own domain leads to better rankings in Google, Bing & Yahoo which own 99% of all searches online. This is a big deal as better rankings lead to more traffic and visitors. More visitors means more sales and more revenue (yay!).
Now that you know the importance of having your own domain, there is ONE problem.
Which domain registrar should you choose?
If that’s you and you’re wondering what the best domain registrar on the market is, then you’ve come to the right place.
This list is not only based off my personal experience with these registrars, but is also supported by hours of online research.
The Best Domain Registrars for 2017/ 2018?
I have shortlisted the top 5 best domain registrar services online based on various criteria like reputation,security, fetures, ease of use, price etc.
All the domain registrars have the following key features which are a must:
- 24/7 technical support
- Live chat
- Clear pricing and renewal rates.
I hope this helps you find the best domain registrar that meets you needs!
Namecheap – The best domain registrar on the market
Official Website: NameCheap.com
Founded in 2000, NameCheap is one of the most well-known and recommended domain name registrars. NameCheap has also been selected as a best domain name registrar at Lifehacker poll from 2010 to 2015, that is no easy feat with the fierce competition in the market.
It has also won many reader’s choice awards.
NameCheap offers a user-friendly platform for buying domain names as well as hosting and other tools for building your website. NameCheap is also known for its reasonable up-front pricing and great technical support.
This is the reason why NameCheap is so popular and has been nominated for so many awards from site reviews to users’ votes. This is also why NameCheap is my domain registrar of choice, where I register my first websites.
My favorite thing about NameCheap was the up-front pricing. I had previously been put off by domain registrars that lure you in with cheap prices for your first year, then slap you with overpriced SSL certificate and domain privacy options (cough! Godaddy cough!).
With NameCheap, you can get SSL certificates to protect your sites at very reasonable prices. They also offer an outstanding 24/7 live chat support which I found invaluable especially when first starting out. When I hit an issue, I was always able to reach out to an online support person in minutes.
Aside from domain registration, NameCheap also offers Shared Hosting, Reseller hosting, VPS hosting, Dedicated servers and Email hosting at very reasonable prices.
I still highly recommend NameCheap as your domain registrar of choice!
Register Your Domains Hassle-Free with Namecheap
2. Wealthy Affiliate – the one stop shop for online entrepreneurs
Official Website: https://www.wealthyaffiliate.c…
As an online entrepreneur, you need a domain name, hosting, personal email, content management system to run your business.
Wealthy Affiliate has made things very simple and I want to show you today why this is fast becoming my favorite domain registrar of choice.
Firstly, Wealthy Affiliate’s SiteDomain makes purchasing domain names simple. I don’t have to wait 48 hours to see my website live online. Once I purchase a domain name, it is immediately available for me to start building.
I mean who has time to wait around, we want to start building your website asap!
SiteDomain also provides WHOIS Privacy Protection so no one will see your personal details like name and address.
SiteDomain also offers free SSL certificates. That gives you the little green padlock you see on sites like Paypal.
This shows people that your site is secure and gives you better rankings on search engines.
Again, other domain registrars provide this at an additional cost. SiteDomains includes this as part of their complete package,
And just like NameCheap, SiteDomain does not have any hidden pricing and offers Next Year Guarantee Pricing. There is no $0.99 domain name for the first year, then a surprise $20 renewal fee the next year. You have certainty over what your domain is going to cost you year on year.
And just like NameCheap, SiteDomain has brilliant 24/7 site support and live chat so you will never feel alone when faced with a problem.
So overall, I rate NameCheap slightly higher because it is cheaper and is great if you need only a domain name and hosting, nothing else.
However, if you are looking for a one-stop shop for all your online business needs the Wealthy Affiliate has all the features you need including:
- Over 300 hours of Expert Education
- Online Entrepreneur Certification (50 lessons)
- Weekly LIVE interactive classes
- Industry leading web hosting
- Integrated keyword research tool
- Content writing platform with grammar and spelling checker, plagiarism checker and over 1 million optimized photos
- Network of 1.2 MILLION Members
- Access to personal mentoring and support from industry experts
If you are interested, you can read my full review here.
3. Bluehost – Offers free domain registration with hosting
Official Website: www.bluehost.com/
BlueHost is not only a domain registrar but like Wealthy Affiliate’s SiteDomain it also provides hosting.
As of 2017, BlueHost like SiteDomain offers free SSL certificate on all WordPress downloads, giving you that added security.
If you are looking for both a host and domain registrar and don’t need the additional features that Wealthy Affiliate provides, then BlueHost is a great choice.
It is a definite cost saving to be able to get your domain for free with a BlueHost hosting package. I understand that when you are first starting out budgets are a bit tight, so every penny counts!
BlueHost offers several hosting services such as hosting, Cloud Hosting, share and dedicated hosting, VPS all with a free domain name for a year.
But I note when your domain name renews it is more pricey than Namecheap AND Wealthy Affiliate’s Sitedomain. But you can always decide to move it at the time.
BlueHost is used by many of the big names in the online entrepreneur industry like Pat Flynn and Ramsay Taplin. That says a lot.
If BlueHost provides quality hosting for these big websites that get lots of lots of traffic. You can be sure it will handle your website with ease.
BlueHost also provides great 24/7 support which is absolutely essential in my books.
I would recommend BlueHost for those who are looking for affordable WordPress hosting.
4. iPage – Great for small sized websites
Official Website: www.ipage.com/
Just like BlueHost, iPage offers website hosting with a free domain name for a year. After this, they do offer renewals for as low as $8.99 per month.
iPage does offer one of the cheapest web hosting you can find on the market today starting at only $1.99 per month.
If you are just starting out and are on a bit of a shoestring budget, this is perfect for you.
iPage also offers quite a few freebies such as SiteLock security, Free toll-free number, Site Analytics and more.
The iPage domain name registration platform is also very user friendly and makes buying a domain nice and simple.
But the only downside with iPage is that it will not grow with your website ambitions. To keep its costs low, iPage does not have the capability to host robust sites on its platform. There is also limited storage which may slow your website down.
When you are starting out on a budget, iPage is a good option. But if you are looking for a long term domain registrar and host that can grow with your business and ambitions then my top 3 would be a much better choice.
5. HostGator – Affordable and Reliable
Official Website: www.hostgator.com/
Hostgator is one of the largest domain registrars and web hosting companies on the market. It currently hosting over 9 million sites (Bluehost for example hosts about 2 million sites)!
Unlike iPage, it can grow with you and host bandwidth-heavy sites.
While Hostgator started off as a web hosting company, it has now added domain registration to their list of services. Their domain registration start at $12.59 per year and they will help you setup everything and connect your domain names and host with no fuss.
However, unlike Wealthy Affiliate’s SiteDomain which offers free setup, domain registration and web hosting all in one platform, Hostgator does not offer SSL certificate, Whois Privacy Protection and unlimited email addresses in the price.
Like all good domain registrars, Hostgator offer great 24/7 technical support. There is a toll-free number, live chat and ticketing support that allows you to get help anytime you need it.
As a whole HostGator is a solid and affordable choice for both hosting and domain name registrar if you are looking to have them in one place.
While it is not a comprehensive one-stop shop with Wealthy Affiliate’s SiteDomain, it does offer a more competitive price than BlueHost and SiteDomain.
A walkthrough how to actually registrar a domain name
So hopefully you have now decided on your domain registrar of choice and a ready to purchase your first piece of virtual real estate. Exciting!
I’m going to walk you through the process of buying and setting up your domain name below. While I’ll be using SiteDomain as an example, this process is largely similar for domain registrars which offer both domain registration and hosting on one platform.
If you prefer the walkthrough by video, here you go:
Step 1: Coming up with a domain name
Did you know that there are over 334.6 million registered domain names out there as at 2016?
This is why it is important to brainstorm for as many domain names as possible, just in case your first choice is already taken.
To come up with a list of domain ideas, I use namemesh.com. It is a completely free tool it is brilliant to help you come up with “brand worthy” domain ideas.
Here are a few top up for choosing a domain name that you should consider.
Tip #1: Don’t worry about keywords in your domain
You might have heard that websites with keywords get better traffic. While this used to be true, Google has since changed its algorithm and now keywords in your domain get DO NOT matter. As you build out your website, your content and posts that target keyword will naturally get you rankings.
Tip #2: Aim to get a “.com” domain.
These have the tendency to rank the best, but as 2nd best choice you want either a .net or .org domain.
I would personally avoid the TLD type domains (.cool, .reviews, .travel, .money, .co). People don’t trust these as much and they definitely do not achieve the same kind of rankings that .com and .org domains do with the same efficiency.
Tip #3: Avoid “dashes” in your domain.
My-Basketball-Skills.com (NOT AS GOOD)
While domain with dashes can definitely still rank, but they are not as good. They are also harder for people to type and search for.
Tip #4: Choose a “brandable” domain.
Be brandable and make your domain name easy to remember. You also want a name that resonates with you. Because your domain is going to be the long term brand for your website you should be something you like.
Step 2: If you are building a brand new website
To start a brand new website, you will want to go to the Sitebuilder platform within Siterubix => SiteBuilder menu:
Then you want to select “Register a domain” and this will direct you to SiteDomains.
Step 3: Check if your preferred domain name is available
To do this, you can do a search using SiteDomains.
Alternatively, you can find the SiteDomains platform within the SiteRubix => SiteDomains menu:
From there, do a search for your preferred domain name. In this example below, we are doing a search for “BasketballSkillsAndskills.com”.
In this case, our first choice is not available. So we will need to move onto the next preferred domain name on our list. You now see why brainstorming a few options in step 1 is important.
Step 3: Purchase Domain name
When you get a domain name that is available, click “Add to Cart”. Then you just go through the checkout process and purchase the domain.
If you have purchased something online before, you will be very familiar with this check-out process.
And there you have it, you very own online “real estate” investment!
Step 4: Move your existing website to your new domain
If you previously had a free website Siterubix platform then you will want to move this over to your newly purchased domain name.
Here is a video of the transfer process, it is literally just a click of a few buttons.
Step 5: Set up Domain with hosting
If you are using other platforms, this is a crucial step where you link your hosting (where the stuff on your website) with your domain (your piece of onluine real estate).
If you are building a new website with SiteDomain, then you don’t have to do this. It is automatically done for you. All you have to do is go into SiteManager and your website will be ready for you to build and work on instantly.
But if you domain registrar and host are different then you need to jump through a few more hoops.
Let’s say you decided to buy your domain name on Namecheap but want the hosting and all the features of Wealthy Affiliate. No problem.
I hope this post has helped you decide on your preferred domain registrar.
Your choice between the two will depend on whether you need the full features that the one-stop shop Wealthy Affiliate offers.
Its time to have your say
But that is just my personal recommendation.
What is your choice going to be?
Let me know if the comments below. And if you’ve had any experiences with the services above, please share your experience with me on the comments below. And of course if you have any questions domain registrars, let me know and I will try my best to answer!