When choosing a domain name, you may think it doesn’t matter what company you buy it from. You couldn’t be more wrong. Choosing a domain registrar has become a lot more daunting in the last few years as the amount of website hosting companies and domain registrars have increased dramatically.
If you have done your research, you have probably noticed that some registrars sell only domain names while others also sell cloud services and additional features. Two of the more respected domain registrars are GoDaddy and Namecheap. Since all domain registrars have access to the same URLs and domain names, what sets these two apart? Here is an overview of some of the features you should consider before deciding on a domain registrar and also how both GoDaddy and Namecheap compare in each of these categories.
The Difference between Domain names and Web Hosting
Basically, you can think of a domain name like the address of your home while web hosting is the physical space of your home where you would put your belongings. So, instead of an area code and street address, you get a group of words or numbers that are used to name the website. Web hosting is similar only you are using the computer’s memory and hard disk to store and process data.
When you purchase a domain name, you are receiving sole ownership and all rights that are associated with the name of your site. You are the only one in the market that has access to the name of that particular domain.
Keep in mind that just because you own the domain name doesn’t mean you’re your website is ready to show the world. To do that, you need to design and operate a website using a web host.
Web hosting is defined as the web server that stores lots of data files. Providers of web hosting usually rent out a network connection and web server to end users. Typically, the web hosting provider will also handle any server maintenance work like backup, disaster recoveries, and root configuration. However, there may be certain instances where the end users will need to cover everything themselves.
Finding a reliable Domain Registration Company
Since all domain registration companies have the same access to the same domain names, the difference is in the different services that are offered at different prices.
So, what is important to look for in a domain registrar?
The most important feature of a registrar is how easily and effectively that allows you to manage and administer your domain name. Other function and features you should consider include:
• Make sure that the registrar has a good reputation
• Search for hidden fees like a fee for transferring your domain to another company
• Includes a comprehensive administration
• Has affordably priced registration fees
• The company is accredited by The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, a non-profit organization)
• Transferring your domain name is easy in and out of registrar
• Offers domain name forwarding
• Offers auto and manual renewal, but make sure you are not auto-renewing by default which can cause you to renew several domain names that you may not want to be renewed
• Offer a private whois registration that conceals important information like your name, phone number, and address
• Offers email accounts
• Offers customer support that is easy to access including live chat, email, and phone support
Since it is not uncommon to see domain registrars come and go, you need to make sure you are aware of the terms and conditions of your service provider.
Stay focused on your immediate needs when you check out a prospective domain registrar’s website as you can be easily distracted by different offers and specials on their website. Also, focus on the pricing and make sure it is competitive compared to other domain registrars. This shouldn’t be your only deciding factor, but it can rate up there with other considerations.
It is also recommended by experts to use a different website hosting service from your domain registrar. This helps if you decide to change to another website hosting service as having your domain name with the same registrar can cause complications. When talking with your prospective domain registrar, make sure to ask your customer representative if changing your domain registry to another website host will cause any issues.
Here is a brief overview each domain registrar’s details so you can make an informed decision between two of the best domain registrars on the market today.
Founded in 2000 and accredited by ICANN, Namecheap is a leading domain registrar that has created a strong market by providing over 4 million domain names to their customers all over the world. Besides its core business of domain registry services, Namecheap provides other services including email hosting, web hosting, cloud-based services, and security.
GoDaddy is the largest domain registrar when you consider market and size domination. It actually has over 30 percent of the domain registry market share, and it has provided over 59 million domain names to customers all over the world. GoDaddy also provides a wide variety of services including online marketing tools, email aliases, sub domains, search engine optimization, and privacy protection.
If you need a price break, both GoDaddy and Namecheap and GoDaddy have promo codes that you can find on several different websites. They both offer many services to their customers so it can be difficult to compare apples to apples. In this instance, we will compare a one-year renewal rate for a domain site.
Namecheap charges $10.69 per year for renewals while GoDaddy features a one-year renewal at $14.99 per year. However, they do offer $0.99 domain names when you sign up, so at the very beginning you will save money, it will just cost more later at the renewal.
Depending on how long you are planning to run your website, say more than two years, Namecheap will be the least expensive in the long run. If you just want to get a name quickly and plan on transferring it later, then GoDaddy will save you a few dollars now.
GoDaddy also has a Domain Discount Club that is $120 per year to join that gives one annual renewal at only $8.29 per year. It also gives you the ability to bid on auctions. So, if you own a lot of domains, this discount club can help you save some money.
Also be aware that Namecheap and GoDaddy offer different prices depending on the domain type. Both sites give you multiple year discounts on your domain names, and they both allow you to register a domain name for up to ten years.
We’re all busy. And you certainly don’t want to waste the little time you have trying to figure out how your new domain registrar works, they should give you an easy to use interface starting from your point of purchase. This should be a big consideration as you don’t want to spend your entire day trying to manage your domain name.
Namecheap provides a quick and seamless check-out process that is straightforward and very few upselling tactics. Although it doesn’t feature telephone support services or all of the fancy add-ons of a larger competitor, it does have a good search engine for suggested domain names and a quick live chat feature.
If you enjoy a lively and colorful website experience, the GoDaddy website will not disappoint. You may be overwhelmed with all of the options on this website and the overall website can be somewhat confusing. GoDaddy loves to upsell and you are continually blasted with advertisements as you navigate the website. If you need to get your domain name quickly, be prepared for the upsells to slow your progress.
With both live chat and telephone support, GoDaddy is there to help you with any issues. It also offers a domain management feature which feels a little disjointed as it opens in another window.
Both sites have some good and bad features, and here is a quick rundown of each site for an overall view of their customer experience.
• Occasionally issues with auto-renewal
• Straightforward checkout process
• Good suggestion engine
• Well put together knowledgebase
• Fast chat support
• No phone support
• Gives you a basic design
• Check out process is confusing
• Too many upsell suggestions
• Overall clean color scheme
• Extensive knowledgebase
• Good support through chat, email, and phone
• Domain manager opens up in a separate window which has a weird feel
Namecheap has the best overall experience due to its lack of constant upsells and less cluttered layout, but if you are interested in all those extra features then GoDaddy is a better site for you.
In the DNS management window, you have the ability to make changes which will all be done manually unless you are a technology manager. Remember that this needs to be a user-friendly interface so you can make your changes quickly and get on with your other work.
With a streamlined DNS management interface, Namecheap’s interface is free from upsell offers and unnecessary clutter. With a straightforward layout, Namecheap is created in a way that lessens the amount of time it takes to make a quick change and leave the site.
With a more cluttered interface, GoDaddy has several added features to their interface that doesn’t add value to your experience. You will notice added features on the interface that you did not buy, but that is part of the way GoDaddy upsells its subscriptions. Unfortunately, these added features tend to get in the way of the functionality of the interface which can become troublesome.
With an easy interface, you can have an easy one-time setup, while a more difficult interface can lead to a long night of frustration. When doing your initial setup, you will be setting up your email, routing your DNS to your hosting company, and setting up any subdomains.
The more straightforward this site can be the better and, with Namecheap, you have all your features set up in a sidebar and it doesn’t include any unnecessary settings. GoDaddy includes a lot of extra settings in an attempt to sell you more features which make it harder to get your work done. However, they are more widely used so you will be able to find a lot of support for it on the internet or in their knowledgebase.
Ease of Registration
When you are going through the registration process, you will notice a lot of encouragement to sign up for extras. GoDaddy is one of the most aggressive in trying to get you to add additional offers like other domain extensions which can get annoying. This can also end up costing you money if you are new to purchasing a domain name if you aren’t aware of what you need exactly, you can end up purchasing a bunch of stuff you not need or will ever use. One of the biggest cons of GoDaddy is the domain registration process.
One the other hand, Namecheap making buying the domain name really easy, especially if you are brand new to running a website and have no technical skills. This is a great hassle-free way to buy a domain name where you don’t have to worry about buying more than you need or want. However, if you are technically savvy, GoDaddy won’t be a problem for you since you already have a good understanding of how the domain and hosting businesses work
Speed and Uptime
In the area of uptime, both NameCheap and GoDaddy are equal offering you a guaranteed uptime of 99.9% to all their hosting customers by using a reliable platform that keeps all of their hosted websites online. When it comes to server response, Go Daddy has a problem with slow speed for quite a while and NameCheap will respond in an average of 547ms that is only considered average. Even with its average response time, Namecheap remains 30% faster than GoDaddy.
Although we are primarily discussing domain registration, it is helpful to see how both of these companies work for web hosting. Of the two, Namecheap offers a less expensive option for web hosting than GoDaddy does and offers better and more stable features. It also has more powerful hardware for higher level hosting enabling their customers room to grow.
Extra services are common for domain registrars to provide and are included in the price of your subscription price. With all the competition on the market, the domain registrars need to make an extra effort to stick out from the others.
• Totally free email forwarding services
• Reliable DNS with no hacking history
• Bundled WhoIs privacy feature
• Limited hosting package plus it charges $3 for photo storage
• Free custom name servers
• Added fee for custom name servers
• Limited hosting package and free photo storage for 1 year
• Added fee for WHOIS guard
• Email is offered as an upsell package
• Reliable DNS, but it has been hacked
Namecheap focuses more on technical giveaways, while GoDaddy likes to give away extras like hosting and photo storage. Depending on your preferences, Namecheap focuses more on the basics instead of flashy extras, so they are more of a fit for those needing a technical front.
Upselling is a natural part of the internet experience and gives customers the opportunity to take advantage of other great offers. This can also be a very profitable opportunity for domain registrars like GoDaddy and Namecheap. However, of the two, GoDaddy is a lot more aggressive with rather annoying upsells advertisements that don’t give you enough time to make a good decision as to whether you need the added service.
Otherwise, they both offer the same hosting and storage packages, but one of the more common upsell for each of them include SSL packages. They also both offer upsells to their hosting and storage packages. Namecheap has a great upsell for a one-page website that is great if you need something quick, plus they both have an upsell for a discounted WordPress guide which can be useful.
When it comes to the internet, you may be interested in supporting companies that have value and opposed the Stop Internet Piracy Act (SOPA). The purpose of SOPA is to limit the freedom of all internet users. Of our two companies, Namecheap has been the only one who has opposed SOPA believing that everyone has the right to use the internet in a responsible manner and without legislative restraints. In comparison, GoDaddy has actively supported the SOPA legislation as well as marketing practices that try to lock customers into long-term agreements.
Namecheap and GoDaddy – Pros and Cons
Keep in mind when you are looking for the best domain registrar that all domain registrars have good and bad features.
Here are a few pros and cons of Namecheap and GoDaddy –
Namecheap – Pros
• Has good security features and service
• Is accredited by ICANN
• Affordable prices for all of their services
• Knowledgeable help desk
• Has a simple transfer of domains
• Very few upsell tactics
• 24/7 customer support via help desk
Namecheap – Cons
• Glitches with automatic renewal
• Looking through all the many options can be time-consuming
• Website is not as customer-friendly as others
• Offers a short money back period of only 14 days which is too short a period of time to really test out the hosting services quality
• Offers limited disk space that ranges from 25 GB to 150 GB in comparison to other companies that offer unlimited disk space
GoDaddy – Pros
• Well-known and trusted name in the domain name registry industry
• Easy to choose and buy a domain name
• Easy to navigate website and easy to understand options
• 24/7 customer support
• Offers a wide range of services
• Knowledgeable and helpful customer support representatives
• Is accredited ICANN
GoDaddy – Cons
• Confusing check-out process
• Process to transfer domains is difficult
• Upsell tactics are aggressive
• Long wait times for customer support
• Lots of pop-ups on the screen for upsells and promotions which can be annoying when you are trying to navigate around the site
When you compare the two sites, you will definitely notice that GoDaddy is a larger company and some of the problems you will experience are normal for a larger company such as the lack of personal touches. Since Namecheap is a smaller company, you will get a more personalized touch.
Both sites provide good customer service support. Below is a breakdown of how you can reach their respective customer support teams.
• Live chat support
• 24/7 phone support
• Community forum
• Tutorial videos
• Support tickets
• Live chat support
• API docs
• Status update bog which gives you updated information on Namecheap’s scheduled maintenance and servers
Both GoDaddy and Namecheap give you reliable and practical support option as well as a lot of online resources to help you find the answers on your own.
When considering what you need from a domain registrar and what your level of computer experience is, it is helpful to consider the differences between different domain registrars to see which fits better with your skill set and meets your needs. Both Namecheap and GoDaddy are good domain registrars, so choosing between them doesn’t mean you will end up with a bad choice. They both include flexible domain management services, dynamic DNS performance, solid security features, and 24/7 customer support, plus you are guaranteed some free stuff when you purchase their services.
Otherwise, if you need a user-friendly interface with few upsell approaches, Namecheap is probably the best option for you. If you prefer having around the clock customer service telephone support, use a lot of different services, and aren’t phased by a lot of upsell tactics then GoDaddy might be a better option for you. Also, if you need an inexpensive domain name and aren’t planning on using it long term, GoDaddy is a really good fit while Namecheap is better for those individuals that want to build a website for the long term.