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Ask YC: Who's your favorite domain registrar and why?
49 points by pius on Mar 31, 2008 | hide | past | favorite | 66 comments
Recently I've been hearing my registrar (GoDaddy.com) getting slammed for domain stealing and other horrors. Though I've never been affected, I figure it's a good idea to become knowledgeable about other best-in-breed services. Can anyone recommend other domain registrars that are great for managing large numbers of domains?

I've been using Namecheap.com for years and they've never failed me.

Namecheap will not steal your domain name if you do not purchase it right away. GoDady has been known to do this.

Namecheap also offers dynamic DNS, and a number of creature comforts that godady just does not have. I have been a long user of namecheap and i have not heard a single complaint from any one that i have recommend use the service. namecheap in my opinion is easier to recommend that dreamhost.

I use namecheap and have never had any problems. They're a reseller of eNom though, and eNom recently jacked the domain of a company that sold trips to Cuba for Europeans at the request of the US government. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/04/us/04bar.html?ex=136228680...

Namecheap has recently become an ICANN accredited registar.

That sucks big times. I better run my new site on a .net domain then, just to be safe.

I use 1and1.com. They're cheap and I've never had any problems.

I used to use 1&1 for domains and hosting, their hosting and support are terrible, and I find their transfer/cancellation process strangely difficult, but they are the cheapest and domain name registrations don't need much in terms of quality.

I now use namecheap and love them. They also have no delays in registration: when I was at a talk by Randall Munroe, he mentioned a domain name he thought was funny. 3 or 4 people lunged for their laptops to register it, and despite me having to enter my CC# (I have to start leaving $10 in my account for such emergencies), I won it, even though everyone claimed to have gotten confirmation of a successful purchase.

I use them and even recommend them. One thing that did rub me the wrong way is that when I went to cancel one domain it wasn't straightforward and they say they will reveal your real information on whois after cancellation (and I think during transfer). Seemed sleazy to me (but I thought maybe there was some good reason for it).

I second that. Been using 1and1 for about 3 years now and have no complaints. They have good prices and their configuration interface is well designed and intuitive.

I have used 1and1.com and have been pleased. I also used GoDaddy and somehow have developed the ability to ignore their incessant advertisements.


yeah you cant beat $7 a year @ 1&1...it used to be $6 but they upped the price. grr.

funny, I thought their hosting was actually quite good.

I've been trying to switch to NameCheap, after hearing the GoDaddy horror stories, but GoDaddy's domainbyproxy takes ages to forward me my transfer proposal. :\ Also I happened to register a few domains within the last 60 days so that didn't fly.

I really like NameCheap's simplicity. GoDaddy's domain controller is horribly inflated and annoying to navigate.

I currently use Godaddy but I'm moving to nearlyfreespeech.net. Why? Because Godaddy has a horrible track record of shutting people's sites down over frivolous complaints (go see http://nodaddy.com/ ) and NFS.net has a really awesome track record: https://www.nearlyfreespeech.net/about/background.php

I can personally attest to Nearly Free Speech being a fantastic host. I used to use Godaddy, but their domain management tools were ugly and over complicated, and being a member of their site made me feel like I was just a number. NFS.net has simple, easy to use domain management tools, cheap hosting (Just like the name says) and anytime I needed help they have been able to respond very quickly. I would recommend them above any other hosting site.

mind you godaddy have so much spam it hurts

I started using GoDaddy when it was fairly new, and even though their prices have risen since, I've never bothered to switch. They make private registration very easy, and even though they spam the hell out of you during the purchasing process, I still just can't drag myself away.

Domain names are so cheap that it isn't worth it to me to risk shenanigans in an attempt to save $2 or $3.

I actually choose to pay more. I'd rather pay the extra 55 cents by paying $7.50 to Dynadot (bulk pricing option) than Godaddy's after-discount price of $6.95. That's because there are no hassles in the shopping process, no inbox or snail mail spam, an API, $2 domain privacy instead of $10 or whatever Godaddy charges, and built-in ability to cancel your domain within 5 days for any reason whatsoever. Their user interface is better and cleaner. It's like night and day.

Sold. I'll try them next time.

I have an account at Dynadot. I was an early Dotster user when they were the best alternative to Network Solutions, and then an early user of GoDaddy for many years now. Now, I think Dynadot is the best, and you should, too. :)

It has a clean user interface and even lower prices than Godaddy. If you deposit $500, you get an API and even cheaper prices.

They also have "domain tasting" for everybody for 5 days, which means you get a full refund for your domain name in that time period. Therefore, you can register domain names and cancel them later if you change your mind. I've lost a lot of domain names where I hesitated registering them for a few days.

Oh, and their domain privacy is only $2. It doesn't obfuscate your name, just all of the other parts. However, they can forward physical mail sent to the domain's private address to you, though I'm not sure what the cost of that is.

If you do choose to use Godaddy, always buy with their 20% off coupons found on Google if you're renewing. If you're registering a new domain, simply google "Godaddy" and then enter by clicking their ad on the search results of Google. That will give you 6.95 pricing instead of the 9.99 they currently charge--that's $3.04 cheaper per year per domain!

I think domain tasting is going away for everyone because of new ICANN rules...

Thanks for the tips, I'll be taking a look at Dynadot.

Re: Godaddy, how do you find the coupon codes for renewals? It wasn't clear to me from your post. Thanks!

By googling for "Godaddy coupon" and applying it to my cart.

Anyway, Dynadot is better. Rather than hunt for coupons to get Godaddy's after-coupon price of $6.95, I'd rather pay the extra 55 cents to Dynadot($7.50 bulk pricing) as standard pricing.

My problem with Dynadot is this:

In order to get their bulk pricing, you have to prepay $500. And you may not ever get any of your $500 back ever again. So for me, with my half dozen or so domains, that means I have to decide that Dynadot will be my registrar for the next 9 years or so.

That's too much of a commitment for me.

Their regular pricing is still cheaper than godaddy, you still get 5 day domain refunds (as account credit), and $2 domain privacy. Bulk pricing gets you an extra 1.50 off and an Api.


I use EasyDNS. They're expensive, but reliable and never do anything evil.

EasyDNS is one of the best registrars out there. I highly recommend them.


They appear to be Canadian too -- which I feel is a point in their favour.

Definitely Gandi (http://www.gandi.net/whowe/), I've been there for almost 10 years.

It's not too expensive and they have a very nice web interface to manage multiple domains (different edition modes, zone versioning system, free primary/secondary DNS). They're also hosting and helping several OpenSource projects.

I've been using Gandi for many years. Never a problem and, at least the last time I checked, they had a proper policy saying that your name was yours.

I use Google's thing:


Since it's only $10, works well, and I get all their apps and other junk with it.

NearlyFreeSpeech (http://nearlyfreespeech.net). Slightly more expensive, but given their track record and their attitude toward web hosting, you can be pretty sure they're trustworthy.

DirectNIC. They kept their systems up during Hurricane Katrina.


DirectNIC/InterCosmos are historically the largest abusers of the domain registration system for domain sniping. I still have a few domains with them, but only by accident. They are, in fact, reliable and their service is good. But I'd like to avoid supporting a company that takes part in one of the most dishonest aspects of the domain industry on a massive scale--unmatched by pretty much any other registrar.

Really? As bad as InterNIC? I stopped using DirectNIC only because of their prices. I liked them well enough, but with 600+ domains it was getting rather expensive. I've had some great domains, and never experienced any domain sniping with them (GoDaddy and InterNIC are another story.)

I mostly use 1&1 now, but their domain management tools and interface suck. I'd love to find a cheap, non-evil registrar that has a good domain management interface and good customer service. Every time I ask around, I get new suggestions...but the people usually turn out to be shills or to have limited experience with their recommendations.

When is the Y Combinator Registrar launching, eh? ;-)

Google "intercosmos domain sniping". I only knows what the Internets tells me, and the Internets have spoken about Intercosmos/DirectNIC.

If you find a good one, let me know, as we provide automatic registration in our product, but we're not ecstatic about only supporting one registrar (Register.com) that is known mainly for being expensive...they are seemingly honest and their tools are fine, but even reseller pricing is too high (and their retail prices are laughably high).

I search domains all the time through DirectNIC and I've never experienced any sniping firsthand.

Name.com. I'm surprised noone's mentioned them. $5.99 domains. Free private registration. Easy interface. Account credit balances for really easy domain regging from an iPhone. I've transferred everything I had on Joker over to them b/c it's 1/2 the cost.

I've been using DynDNS ( http://dyndns.com ). They have slightly higher prices than registrars such as GoDaddy, but I trust their brand more and haven't encountered any behavior that looks suspicious. Also, I used to host my websites from home via a cable modem, and their free dynamic IP address services worked very well.

To be honest, I haven't ever considered switching; Has anyone switched to or from DynDNS and have an anecdote about their experience to share?


6.99 domains free private registration i've pushed through 100 domains through them

Results returned from whois.publicinterestregistry.net: " If anyone's dns people were going to be threatened, it would be their's. Wonder if you can reserve your own name at other company's so if it is revoked or expires, it is automatically registered to you at a different place.

I've used joker.com for the last 4-5 years. Free DNS, mail and url forwarding, etc., too.

Yeah, I've used joker for a long time as well, they have been great to deal with for pretty much forever.

As a downside, any purchase I make with them via Wells Fargo causes Wells Fargo to pitch a fit.

yah. Joker rules. Been using them since 1999.

Other shops come and go, but Joker is a rock.

I use Yahoo so I'll never forget. Used register fly before and they lost my account.

I've used joker.com too for a while now, pretty good. I also use dreamhost.

Not directly related but anyone using Webhostingbuzz.com for hosting and domain names? it's quite slow but their shared hosting solution is one of the cheapest one around.. :o)

I've been using gandi.net for roughly a year and haven't had any trouble. They don't offer bargain prices, but they're not the most expensive either.

I've used domainsite for many years. They've had a couple of annoying email outages, but other than that they've been pretty solid.

I have been using lunarpages.com for my site saarr.com since two years. I did not face any major issues with them.

I've been using Dotster for about 4 years now and they are fine. Make sure to search for discount coupons...

netfirms.com used to do registrations for 4.95 and I was an affiliate that got $2 commissions on domain reg so I would essentially get $2.95 domain reg.

I'm using Dreamhost. They are cheap and easy.

I really like dreamhost as a webhosting service, and I am sure they are honest as a domain registrar, but if you are looking purely in terms of domain registration and are handling the webhosting elsewhere, I'd say dyndns.org is one of the best. They have a great feature set for domain management.

So far I have had no problem with them, either. Someone suggeested here that they don't release domain names for transfer (something about swimming backwards across the ocean).

Anyone else have this problem with Dreamhost?

You make them sound like a cheap prostitute. Good job.

Anyone used Moniker? I've heard good things.

I've been using Moniker, after hearing some of those same good things. I have had no problems with them.

Of course, one of the classic problems with registrars is an inability to get your names out when things go bad. (Presumably the ones that make it difficult to join are rapidly culled by natural selection.) And it's kind of hard to judge that. I'm certainly not going to leave Moniker just to see how easily they let me go...

I use Moniker and I have been happy with them. They have a pleasant interface. However, if you add their extra services like email and such it probably becomes expensive.

Moniker has services for domain appraisal and all that junk if you are into it.

register4less.com, on recommendation from the userfriendly.org folks. I've been happy with them.

Registerfly? Kidding...

I use Dreamhost and eNom.

domainmonger.com - Cheap. Simple to use. No hassles.

i use dreamhost

AVOID DREAMHOST like the plague they will never release your domain, unless you know how to swim backwards across the Atlantic.

I've used Dreamhost for five years, no complaints. They have had a couple of down times, which were annoying to say the least, but were pretty good about letting folks know what the heck was going on.

I'd recommend them for small sites.

i used yahoo once - it was a deal to register domain for $1 ... can't go cheaper and better than yahoo.

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