What is The Best Domain Registrar for Small Businesses in 2021
There are at least 100,000 new domains registered every single day
Because every website needs one.
The problem is that all domain registrars make the same claims and offer the same basic product.
So how can you tell which one is the right choice for your business?
After all, you don’t have time to test all of them.
That’s okay though because we did that for you.
And based on that we put together a roundup of the best domain registrars for a small business.
Let’s get started.
What Are The Best Domain Registrars For Small Businesses
Here are our top choices for small business owners to register domains.
Namecheap has been around since the earlier days of the Internet, all the way back in the year 2000.
They arrived on the scene at a time when certain domain registration providers were still charging $60 to register a .com, .net, or .org TLD, and as much again to renew it.
Back then your domain name renewal form used to arrive in the mail. That’s not a joke either. It actually happened.
So the stage was set for Namecheap (and other registrars) to offer aspiring online business owners far more affordable domain names.
They found a ready market for their service, and currently manage 13 million domains for their customers.
Why choose Namecheap?
Small business owners typically don’t have a lot of spare time on their hands to figure out how to use a domain registration service.
Namecheap takes that into account with a streamlined domain registration process that anyone can use.
They do offer up-sells in the form of various add-ons but there are no high-pressure sales tactics, or “accidentally” adding web hosting to your shopping cart, for example.
Another perk is that they’re also the cheapest registrar in this roundup.
Namecheap does what it says on the tin because you can register a .com TLD with them for less than $10 for your first year.
You get Whois privacy protection included as standard, and a premium SSL certificate only costs $5.
But you don’t need to worry about low prices equating to sub-standard service. In fact, with Namecheap you get the same quality of service as with any other domain registrar we can think of.
You’re just not overpaying for the privilege.
And this is reflected in the huge number of positive reviews they receive from satisfied customers.
So although Namecheap never deliberately targeted the small business market they are almost perfectly suited to it.
Are they the perfect domain registrar?
No, but they get more things right than they get wrong.
Namecheap provides you with a knowledge base, ‘Guru Guides’, How-to videos, a support ticket function, and a live chat service.
- A minimalist interface that’s easy to navigate
- Make the registration process as easy as possible
- They’re hands-down the best domain registrar for price
- Your account is protected by Two-Factor authentication
- No hard-selling during the checkout process
- Affordable SSL add-on
- Bulk domain search function
- Don’t overcharge for renewals
- No phone support
GoDaddy was founded in 1997 by Bob Parsons, a serial entrepreneur who saw that the Internet was the next big thing.
Trivia: The company was originally called, “Jomax Technologies”.
The team behind GoDaddy understood the power of advertising, which is exactly why this particular registrar sounds familiar to you – that’s the net result of tens of millions spent on Super Bowl advertising.
Their initial barrage of advertising was also part of the reason why GoDaddy was the most popular domain registrar in the world for well over a decade.
To date, they manage 70+ million domain names for their customers, making them the biggest registrar in the world by a factor of 5x.
So they’re obviously doing something right to keep that many customers happy.
Why choose GoDaddy?
The first reason is stability – they manage a vast portfolio of domain names, all of which have to be paid for.
This gives them the financial resources needed to survive any kind of financial slowdown or depression. For example, they’ve already weathered the original Dotcom bust and the 2008 banking crisis.
GoDaddy specializes in providing very low pricing for new customers, so that will appeal to new bloggers and small businesses alike.
Just be aware that those initial discounts don’t stick around forever – GoDaddy renewal prices are far higher than the initial registration fee.
With that said, their domains are competitively priced with a basic .com costing just $11.99 per year. And, yes, you get Whois privacy included in the price.
So although you’ll hear some people complain about GoDaddy’s pricing they never compare it to some of the other “popular” domain registrars out there who charge at least $15 for a basic TLD and then $9.99 for Whois protection.
So it’s important to compare apples with apples when it comes to how much a domain costs to register.
GoDaddy was also the first registrar to provide small business customers with a full suite of tools, including web hosting, website security, a website builder, etc.
They also offer comprehensive support, which brings us neatly to the next part of our GoDaddy review.
You can contact GoDaddy support 247 via live chat or by telephone.
Yes, you can actually call them to get an answer to your question, although it’s not a toll-free number so you’ll have to pick up the bill.
And they also offer phone support for their international customers.
- Low first-year pricing for new customers
- Basic Whois privacy included as standard
- Have been in business for almost 25 years
- Full suite of add-ons
- Phone support as standard
- They push tons of up-sells during checkout
- Lack of real transparency in pricing
- Cluttered user interface that can be difficult to navigate
Did you know that Google also sells domains?
In fact, Google became a domain registrar all the way back in 2014, but it didn’t do a lot of advertising.
Because let’s face facts, Google doesn’t need to but that also meant that only a handful of people knew about Google Domains.
With that said, Big G does appear to be putting a little more promotional muscle behind its domain registration service.
So let’s look at what they have to offer a small business owner.
Why choose Google Domains?
The first thing that becomes apparent when you arrive on their landing page is the no-frills design and layout.
What you get is pure Google minimalism instead of the usual hectic array of buttons, flashing ads, and distracting pop-ups you’ll find most domain sellers using.
They offer a refreshing change to that style of marketing.
It’s also worth mentioning that you’ll need to be logged into your Gmail/Google account to use them as your domain registrar, so you’ll need to set up at least a Gmail account if you don’t already have one.
Searching for an available domain name is also very straightforward – you just type in your full domain name (including extension) and Google will then tell you:
- If it’s available
- How much it costs
- All available variations
But you also get some ‘Insights’ on your domain choice in terms of suitability for your business.
The checkout process is equally painless because you get “Privacy Protection” as standard and your domain is set to auto-renew by default.
In fact, the only extra that Google offers is to add Google Workspace to your package. If you’re not familiar with ‘Workspace’ it allows you to do things like manage your @domain.com email addresses but using a Gmail interface.
So that would proactively solve the problem of dealing with setting up email addresses via your hosting provider.
And the icing on the cake is that domain registration via Google is also very affordable, with a .com starting at just $12 for 1 year.
Are there any downsides?
Yup, there’s one that really sticks out –they don’t offer SSL certificates. Which means you’ll need to purchase one from your web hosting company instead.
Google Domains also isn’t available internationally…yet.
But, all things considered, Google Domains is something of a hidden gem in the world of domain registrars.
They’re definitely worth checking out if you’re comfortable setting up SSL yourself.
Google Domains offers its customers 24/7 support from real live human beings via either email or webchat. Their team has developed a reputation for providing excellent customer support.
- Whois privacy protection as standard
- Competitively priced domains
- Auto-renew enabled by default
- The only up-sell is Google Workspace
- Super-easy checkout process
- 24/7 support from real humans
- Above-average pricing although not extortionate
- No option to purchase an SSL certificate
- Do you want Google to know more about your business?
Domain Name Buyer’s Guide
We’ve also put together a quick buyer’s guide for anyone interested in learning more about exactly what you need to watch out for when you register a domain.
And that includes those of you who are in the habit of buying your domains from a specific registrar out of habit.
You’re probably spending far more money than you need to.
So let’s take a look at the key things you need to take into consideration when choosing a domain registrar.
Because not all registrars are created equal.
When the Internet was dominated by just a handful of domain registrars pricing was extremely transparent.
You paid anywhere from $60 – $100 per year to register your domain name and the same again when it was due for renewal.
Times, thankfully, have changed and there are now over 900 different domain registrars doing business online.
And not all of them are dedicated registrars. In fact, most of them are web hosting providers who now also sell domains.
Put simply, there’s a lot of competition out there to win over customers looking to register even one domain.
That’s why you’ll see some companies advertising domains at ridiculous prices like $2 each. Pricing like that is hard to compete with and you’ll probably congratulate yourself for getting a bargain.
Until your domain automatically renews at $25 the following year and you find out that you can’t transfer it to another registrar for at least 90 days.
The moral of the story here is this: There are no free lunches with web hosting or domain names.
So, if you purchase a domain for far less than you can get it anywhere else, we assure you that the renewal price is going to be far higher than you expected.
Because whoever you purchased the domain from will find a way to recoup their initial loss.
There was a time when choosing Whois/Privacy Protection for your domain name could be considered optional.
After all, if you’re running a legitimate business what did you have to hide?
Plus, there was a rumor doing the rounds a few years ago that Google would rank you higher in the search results if you included lots of personal information in your Whois record.
But the world of digital marketing has moved on since then.
In fact, right now it’s nothing short of madness to not use some form of privacy protection to keep prying eyes away from your personal information.
For example, the name address, and phone number listed in your Whois record could be used for the purposes of identity theft.
Another risk is that you’ll expose your domain to theft or hijacking because your personal information was used to socially engineer your domain registrar’s customer support staff. The first hint you’d get of a problem there is when you realize your domain has been transferred to another registrar…and there’s nothing you can do about it.
And finally, leaving your personal information exposed as part of your Whois record will result in you getting tons of spam emails and sales calls.
That means that domain privacy protection is no longer optional.
A domain transfer is where you move your domain from one registrar to another.
So, if you had a domain registered with GoDaddy you could ‘transfer’ it to Namecheap or pretty much any other registrar on the planet.
But again, not all domain registrars are created equal when it comes to a domain transfer.
Most will ask that you not attempt to transfer your domain to another registrar for at least 30 days after registration.
Others will prevent you from transferring your domain to another domain registrar for at least 60 days.
Some web hosting providers deliberately make the domain transfer process nothing short of a nightmare in the hope of you giving up and simply keeping the domain with them instead.
60 days is a minor inconvenience in terms of the overall lifetime of your online business. But it’s also yet another reason why you need to check the fine print when it comes to what your registrar does and does not permit in terms of domain transfers.
And that’s especially true of web hosting companies.
Our Final Verdict
So, who do we considered to be the best domain registrar for small business owners?
It was a tough call to make, but Namecheap takes home the prize for best all-around domain registration provider.
Their streamlined, non-invasive checkout system is a joy to use every time.
But Google Domains does come a very close second.
In fact, Google might actually be a better choice for a small business if you’d already decided to go with Google Workspace as your email provider.
If that, however, is not the case then Namecheap emerges as the overall winner here.
Wrapping It Up
If you’ve followed The Money Shark for any length of time you’ll know that our roundups don’t include “The top 10” of something unless there’s a valid reason for doing that.
Our focus is on featuring the best products, services, or providers in a given category.
That’s why our roundup of the best domain registrars only features three companies.
For example, we didn’t list web hosting companies because they routinely charge 2x as much for a domain name as anyone else.
We prefer to show you the best possible options for you.
So we hope that this roundup helped you choose your ideal registrar.
Which domain registrar did you use? Let us know (and why) in the comments below!
About Matt Collins
With a rapidly growing team of readers, my mission is to teach hungry professionals how to maximize their net worth with scalable side hustles and responsible financial management practices.
My reputation is of the utmost importance to me, which is why I only provide completely honest, 100% true, unbiased recommendations for systems and software I know and trust.