What is a Domain Name Registrar?
Domain names can be purchased from domain registrars. A domain registrar will sell domain names as well as manage them for you if something goes wrong. Different domain registrars will have advantages and disadvantages, varying prices, and a range of features. Some domain names can even be obtained for free!
Setting up a new website or starting a new project can be difficult – in fact, at times you may feel like banging your head against the wall!
I’m going to cover the best domain registrars so you can dive into the domain world, fully equipped. Stripping down the waves of information that come your way is our mission to make things easier for you.
I’ll cover the pros and cons of each registrar, as well as important features and aspects that will help you decide which domain registrar is best for you. So sit down, take a sip of your coffee, and relax.
What’s The Difference Between Domain Name Registrars?
At a base level, all domain registrars offer the same service; you can purchase a domain name from them. However, they do all differ in one way or another, which is what makes domain registration a competitive market.
The main differences I’ve come across are:
- Price: Providers can offer a different price for the same domain name. If you’re on a budget, you may want to browse your chosen domain name across multiple registrars to ensure you’re getting the best deal.
- Term: When you purchase a domain name, some registrars offer deals on 1-year or 2-year plans. For example, if you purchase a domain name for 2 years, the first year may cost you just £0.01.
- Support: Customer service is essential if you run into any issues. Regardless of whether you’ve bought your first domain or your 30th, customer support should be a priority.
- Extras: Most domain registrars offer free and paid extras. Some will include domain privacy with the purchase of a domain name whereas others may charge an additional premium.
- Web Hosting: Some of the top UK web hosts offer free domain name registration when you sign up for their hosting service, such as Hostinger’s Premium plan which is extremely reliable and fast.
Note: When choosing a domain registrar, make sure your chosen provider is accredited by ICANN.
#1 | Hostinger – Best Domain Registrar (Overall)
With well over 30 million users, Hostinger is fast leading the web hosting market. But, that’s not all – they offer affordable services including domain registration. Hostinger’s premium and business hosting plans include a FREE domain name. You can nab one of their plans from just 99p per month (yes, you’re reading that right… pence)!
If you want to purchase a domain name through Hostinger, .co.uk prices start from just £5.50 per year. Although they may not be the absolute cheapest domain registrar, they’re certainly incredibly affordable. You can bag yourself a .com domain name from just £8.99, simply by using their domain name search on their website.
If you’re looking for web hosting as well, I’d personally get your domain for free with their premium plan. From just £2.15 per month, you’ll get a free domain name and free SSL certificate. The savings are unreal and shouldn’t be missed. When you consider some web hosts don’t even offer a domain name, it’s hard to get a bargain like this anywhere else.
Alternatively, if you have a WordPress website, Hostinger offers some of the cheapest WordPress hosting from just £1.99 per month, and their Starter plan includes a free domain name!
When you purchase a domain name through Hostinger, you’ll get the option of paying for a 1 year, 2 years, or 3-year registration. If you know you want your domain name for the foreseeable future, it’s worth paying for 3 years to ensure that no one else can purchase it. If you want privacy protection (which I do recommend), you can pay extra for this at the checkout.
#2 | BlueHost
BlueHost is one of the biggest web hosting companies in the world. You may be wondering why we’re even mentioning them! Like most web hosts, BlueHost is also a domain registrar, but I wouldn’t necessarily recommend them if you only wanted a domain name. If you want the full package, BlueHost is a brilliant option.
Although you can purchase a domain from BlueHost without web hosting, I personally wouldn’t. Simply because, even on their lowest-priced shared hosting, BlueHost offers a free domain name. Starting from only $3.95 per month, you can get hosting for your website and a domain of your choice included.
On top of web hosting and a free domain name, you’ll also receive a free SSL. Once you’ve purchased your package with BlueHost, you’ll have everything you need to get your website live in a matter of hours.
If you’re ready to take a step up from shared web hosting, BlueHost’s VPS hosting prices start from a little over £15 per month, and all of their customers who sign up for a VPS plan will get a free domain name.
Similar to most other domain registrars, you can upgrade your domain privacy for a small fee. With BlueHost, if you pay $0.99 per month, you’ll receive their full domain privacy protection. Your WHOIS information will be masked and branded with BlueHost’s details rather than your own.
#3 | GoDaddy
GoDaddy has been around for over 20 years, since 1997. GoDaddy offer domains, domain services, websites, web hosting, and more! If you’re looking for every aspect to start a website, GoDaddy is a user-friendly option for a wide audience. GoDaddy manages nearly 80 million domains for over 18 million customers – wow!
That’s right, you can actually purchase a .co.uk domain name from only 1p! .com domains can be purchased from £0.99, as well as a large pool of others. .net and .tech domain names can be a little more pricey due to their top-level demand, but I wouldn’t say they were expensive by any means.
There is a bit of a catch. Well, it’s not really a catch, more so further information that isn’t initially presented. If you purchase a .co.uk domain name, you’ll only have to pay 1p for the first year, then £9.99 thereafter. But, you will need to sign up for 2 years to get this price.
When you purchase a domain name from GoDaddy you’ll get basic privacy protection included for free. Your name, address, and phone number will remain private on WHOIS. However, your country, state, and organisation will be public.
If you’re happy to pay £8.99 per year, you can have full domain privacy and protection. This feature will entitle you to:
- Protection against malicious transfers and accidental expiration
- Reassures your website visitor’s that their information is secure with McAfee
- Prevents data being accessed by third parties
#4 | Namecheap.com
Established in 2000, Namecheap.com manages over 7 million domains. In fact, in 2010, they were dubbed the best domain name registrar by LifeHacker. Namecheap.com do offer other services like web hosting, managed WordPress hosting, and more, but their main focus is domains.
Namecheap.com domain names are available from only $0.88 per year. There aren’t any catches or clauses, just simple pricing. What you see is what you get, so if you see $0.88, that’s all you’ll have to pay for your domain for the year.
What’s also pretty cool about Namecheap.com is that they have a marketplace. You can purchase popular domain names from their marketplace at any time. It’s a little bit like an auction site in that domains are only available for a limited time, but you won’t have to bid.
Domain names that are registered with, or transferred over to Namecheap.com come with free WhoisGuard protection. This feature used to be free for the first year. Now it’s free – forever!
Privacy protection may not seem like it would have many features aside from masking your details. But WhoisGuard protection offers a lot more:
- Contact info shield – protecting your contact information from being publicly accessible
- Spam killer – this protects your email address on WHOIS so you’re less likely to receive spam emails
- Flexible control – allowing you to update your details and settings at any point in time, with quick enable and disable of WhoisGuard
#5 | HostGator
HostGator forms part of the well-known EIG company. In the space of 10 years, they had acquired over half a million customers. Similar to BlueHost, HostGator are primarily a web hosting company, but they are also a domain registrar.
HostGator’s domain prices start from as little as $0.95 per year. More popular domain extensions like .com are more expensive, but still, work out at just over $1 per month which isn’t bad at all!
As you’ll see from our HostGator review, you’ll get a free domain name with the Hatchling web hosting plan. If you go for the Baby or Business plans, you’ll get free unlimited domains. So, when you put it that way, there’s a real bargain to be had here! Prices start from just $2.75 per month.
All of the features you see above are included for free when you purchase a domain name with HostGator. The same also applies if you obtain your domain through their web hosting packages.
- Domain locking – prevents unauthorised domain name transfers
- Domain renewal – your domains will auto-renew by default so you won’t lose your perfect domain at the end of the year
- Easy management – domains come with their own control panel, making managing your domain completely easy and simple
#6 | Name
Name.com was established in 2003. Another provider who offers web hosting, websites, email services, and more. They have a large database of domain names to choose from, displaying prices for new registrations, renewals, and transfers.
Name.com’s list of domain names is very extensive. Currently, .com domains are available from £6.97 for the year. Similar to other providers who also offer web hosting, Name’s WordPress hosting includes a free domain name.
From only £23.23 per year, you can purchase their Blogger WordPress hosting plan. All plans include unlimited storage, bandwidth, and free daily backups. I’d definitely recommend Name.com if you are a blogger, or thinking of installing a WordPress website. After all, you’ll get a free domain name!
It’s worth noting that when you add a domain to your cart, you’ll notice it displays 2 items. That’s because Name automatically includes their advanced security and privacy (WHOIS) product to your cart for £3.87.
Although this is a very reasonable price, you may not want it included. However, if you do, you’ll have your privacy protected, a domain lock, and also a free SSL certificate to apply to your website.
#7 | 1&1
1&1 was established in 1988, making it one of the oldest domain registrars still existing. 1&1 are well-known for their cheap domain registration, as well as offering web hosting, servers, web security, emails, eCommerce, and more.
Starting from as little as 99p, you can bag yourself a .co.uk domain name with 1&1. Similar to GoDaddy, you’ll need to sign up for a 2 year period to get this deal, where you’ll pay just £9.99 thereafter. It’s worth noting though, the prices you see exclude VAT at 20%, so consider that in your calculations.
If you are interested in web hosting, you can always sign up to 1&1’s all-in-one web package. You’ll get a website, domain, and email address for only 99p per month for the first 12 months. It’s a deal not to be missed if you’d rather purchase everything at once.
When you register a domain with 1&1 you can opt-in for free private registration. This will mask your private details with 1&1’s information on a WHOIS lookup. In terms of overall pricing and features, 1&1 is a brilliant option if you just need a domain name or some basic products.
In fact, I highly rate their WordPress hosting which is only £0.99 per month for the first year. You’ll have access to create a WordPress website as well as a free domain name for 12 months. If you’re a blogger, this is a really affordable option for your hosting and domain needs.
#8 | BuyDomains
BuyDomains is a premium domain name registrar. Simply enter your search terms to discover premium domains that match. These premium domains are already registered but are being sold on by third parties. These domain names are premium because they are popular, hard to get hold of, and often are more memorable than others.
If you can’t find the perfect domain name, because other domain name registrars have confirmed it’s taken, you may have some luck with BuyDomains. If you have the budget to do so, you can potentially find the perfect domain name, but it does come at a price.
Of course, the price depends on the domain name itself. It’s also worth noting, you’re not limited to the domains that are on display when you first visit their website. You can search for particular terms that you’d like to include in your domain name, e.g. ‘digital’, so anything relating to the term will appear.
One of the main features that BuyDomains boast as a premium domain name registrar is their offer process. All domain names will have a ‘buy it now’ price, which you can pay, and the domain name is yours. But, if you’re feeling lucky, you can put in an offer (kind of like a bid) to see if the third party are willing to accept.
#9 | Register.com
Register.com has been around since 1994, founded by a New York-based company. The domain name registrar has several million domain name customers. They also offer other services, including web design, web hosting, email, and online marketing.
Pricing is quite competitive with this domain name registrar. However, the $5.00 price you see above is just for the domain name extensions listed. If you’re looking for a .co.uk or other domain name, the prices will differ.
You can purchase WHOIS privacy protection from Register.com for just $11 per year. It’s important to do this, especially if you run a business. If you want to protect your contact information, this will replace your details with generic contact details if anyone performs a WHOIS check on your domain.
Other benefits of purchasing this with Register.com include:
- Reduced spam from sales, telemarketing, and data miners
- Mask your home/business address from the public
- Reduces the chance of being a victim of identity theft
#10 | Domains.com
Domains.com (previously known as ZenNames.com) was founded in 2000. The company’s main location is in the United Kingdom. Like many of the other domain name registrars on this list, Domains.com also offer web hosting and other web services for the ‘complete package’.
If you’re just looking to purchase a domain name without any other products, you can get a .com domain for only £9.99 for the year. There is a wide range of domain name extensions to choose from with Domains.com, alongside a bunch of free features which we’ll cover shortly.
If you are interested in other products such as web hosting, for only £6.99 per month, you can get your web hosting and a free domain name. The free domain name is included with all of Domains.com hosting plans.
Domains.com offers quite a lot of features with their domain names when you purchase from them. A lot of the features are just helpful things for customers, e.g. renewal reminders, etc. If you want domain privacy protection, you can also add this on for an extra £2.99 per year.
#11 | Google Domains
Yes, that’s right, Google are now offering domains! The reason why Google Domains is number 10 on our list is that it’s currently in Beta. Simply choose a domain name and you’re good to go, along with a custom email address for your domain name.
Google’s pricing is set up in a table view where you can also see any limitations a domain name will come with. A .co.uk domain name will set you back £10 per year, and a .com domain name comes at the same cost.
As with all domain names, you can choose to renew your Google Domain each year. Alternatively, some domain names will allow you to purchase up to 10 years worth of domain registration!
All of Google Domain’s domain names come with a set of free features. In fairness, when you compare these features to other domain name registrars, I’d actually put Google Domains ahead of them in terms of their top 10 rankings.
Included for free:
- WHOIS privacy
- Domain forwarding and subdomain forwarding
- Email forwarding
- Google nameservers with 10 million DNS resolutions per year
- Support via help center, email, chat, or phone.
Domain Registrar FAQs
Which Domain Registrar Is Best?
Best is a hard one to answer because it really depends what you’re looking for in a domain name registrar. My personal recommendation would be to register a domain with my favourite cheap web host (hosting from just 99p per month) Hostinger; they are a great web hosting company who offer a FREE domain name with their Premium and Business hosting plans starting from just £2.99 per month.
Where Can I Purchase A Domain In The UK?
If you live in the UK you can purchase a domain name from any of the domain name providers on this list. All of the registrars will accept UK customers as well as most international customers.
What’s The Easiest Option?
If you’re looking for pure simplicity and you don’t want to purchase your domain name through a domain name registrar who upsells products and extras, then my suggestion would be Google.
Google is a simple and basic service; easy to use and straightforward. However, if you want to purchase web hosting as well, Hostinger is hands down my favourite choice, with their easy cPanel to manage your domain.
I hope you’ve enjoyed my guide to the best domain name registrars of 2023. Most domain name registrars are very similar; they offer the same product but with a couple of differences to make them stand out.
You’ll want to consider what your priority is – is it budget, customer support, or extras?
If you’re not sure what your priority is, or perhaps your priority is all three of the things I’ve mentioned, Hostinger will definitely be able to tick those boxes.
Hostinger offers some of the cheapest and easiest web hosting I’ve ever come across, along with useful extras like a free SSL and free domain name on their Premium and Business plans. From just 99p per month, I don’t think you get much better than that!
Once you’ve sorted your domain name and web hosting (remember, they don’t have to be from the same provider), you may want to consider your next steps. Perhaps you already have a web designer and developer in mind, or you may want to give creating your own website from scratch a go!
Honestly, I know it seems daunting, but there are some really beginner-friendly website builders out there like Wix. Not only will they help you to build a stunning and professional website, but you’ll also have help with your SEO and marketing!