We've looked at the best web-hosting companies, but you also need a domain name to make your website a reality. When it's time to register your domain name, which registrar do you choose? Here are five options that offer a good combination of affordability, features, customer service and reliability.
This list doesn't include Australian registrars, which we prefer for .com.au domain names. The ownership rules for those are slightly different and are usually more expensive, but the convenience of local support and customer service may well be worth the extra money, especially if you want to promote your "local" brand value. If you have your own recommendations for good Australian domain name registrars, let us know in the comments.
Hover may not have the cheapest registration prices on the market, but it makes up for it with abundant discount codes around the web, stellar customer support and hands-off domain migration. Hover offers a transfer "valet" service that does all of the work for you and makes switching over a painless process. Its control panel and management tools are notable for being clean and easy to use. You can see all of Hover's plans and pricing here.
Namecheap took the top spot last time we covered this topic for good reason. As its name implies, it has some of the most affordable prices in the business, but somehow manages to offer stellar customer support and free services, such as URL forwarding and email. If you have more money to burn, you can get advanced services at bargain prices, including Dynamic DNS and SSL certificates. You can see all of Namecheap's features here, and its plans and pricing here.
Gandi is famous for its no-bullshit approach to domain name registration and renewal. It won't try to sell you a bunch of services you don't need or want, and the company is committed to being honest, open and upfront with its customers. Combined with the fact that Gandi has been around for longer than the others, it has earned itself a huge following. Every domain registration comes with two free hosted pages, a free Gandiblog, a one-year SSL cert for free, email services and more. You can see all of Gandi's features and pricing here.
Dreamhost was included in our list of best web-hosting services, and it offers free domain name registration with most of its hosting plans. Not only does Dreamhost offer the convenience of having your hosting and registration in one place, it offers speedy customer service, and comprehensive dashboard and management tools. You can read more about Dreamhost's domain registration services here, with more details at its wiki here and here.
Name.com isn't the cheapest domain registrar, but it does have aggressive pricing plans and excellent customer support. Name.com also offers "Domain Nabber" services to snag expired domains that may be relevant to your business or site. So if you want the .net to go with your .com, Name.com will give you the opportunity to grab it before someone else does. It also offers domain name suggestions if the one you want is taken or unavailable. You can read more about Name.com's pricing and available TLDs here.
Honourable mentions this week go to 1&1 Internet for its great prices, fantastic customer support and easy sign-up process.
Have anything to say about the five listed above? Can you recommend a good Australian registrar? Make your case in the comments below.