Domain Registration Survey «


I’ve had all my domains registered at for a few years – great price, decent control panel, and competent support. Last week I went to renew some domains and found that Name has quietly doubled their prices by charging for the whois privacy protection that used to be free.

Name didn’t warn any customers this was coming and didn’t email customers about it, which is funny because they’ll send a half-dozen warnings if a single domain name nears the end of its registration. They know very well the effectiveness of sending emails, so instead they made a brief blog post (who knew they even had a blog?) to announce the price hike as quietly as possible. The post doesn’t mention the new price is $8/year (laughably saying “While some registrars charge as much as eight or nine dollars per domain for this service”) and falsely claims pre-existing domains will continue to receive free privacy protection (the control panel shows that this will expire when the domain is up for reregistration). Unsurprisingly, the comments have filled up with comments from angry, shocked customers and Name is only responding to the few people who had billing problems with the related pricing promotions.

I’ve got around a hundred domains registered, mostly because I handle domain registrations whenever I give a friend hosting. It’s worth the $800 per year to take a few minutes this morning to survey competitors and maybe get better customer service (besides this unpleasant surprise, I’ve never seen Name respond to a support request in less than 36h).

In the table below, domain cost is the highest cost I could find on the site for a .com, I’m not interested in dancing around promotions and “restrictions may apply” loss leaders. The “upselling” column is whether I was disgusted or confused by the amount of upselling of related domains and products during the registration process. Survey was taken on 2010-05-03 and prices ending in .95 or .99 were rounded up.

Registrar 1yr .com Privacy Upselling Total/yr
1&1 $9 $0 ugh $9
DirectNIC $15 $5 $20 (Dotster?) $10 $7 ugh $17
DomainMonger $17 n/a n/a
Dotster $16 $7 ugh $23
DynDNS $15 $10 $25
Enom $6 $6 ugh $12
Gandi $15 $0 $15
Moniker $8 $4 ugh $12
NameCheap $9.69 $2.88 $12.57 $9 $8 $17
NearlyFreeSpeech $8.59 $3.65 $12.24
NetworkSolutions $35 $9 ugh $44
PairNIC $19 $0 $19 $35 $11 ugh $46
Yahoo! Domains $10 $9 $19

I didn’t include Fabulous because it has great prices but is primarily (only?) for domain parking and requires customers to have >750 domains. I didn’t include GoDaddy because I don’t like their support of torture and their habit of deactivating/deleting/holding hostage domains in response to any outside complaints.

If you’re not familiar with domain names, they’re a perfect commodity. Except for customer support issues (easy bulk management, quick responses to questions, downtime), every .com domain is exactly the same and costs the company the same $6.86 to register with Verisign, the .com registry.

Anyone have a registrar I should add to the list? Any stories, good or bad, about managing a lot of domains at any of these?


  1. I used to register with A quick look at their site shows that they’ve hiked their rates too. It’s now $10.95 to register a domain for a year. There are slight discounts for longer registrations.

    I didn’t see anything at quick glance about privacy options and it’s been a few years since I registered a domain name so they may have gone downhill since then.

  2. I use to register my domains. I have an account there from the distant past when I used to use shared hosting, but I’ve kept it because their domains cost $10 a year and they’re good about sending expiration warning emails.

  3. I use NameCheap, mainly because they also have $10/yr unchained SSL certs.

  4. 1&1 is a huge company, and their upselling is nauseating. But the prices are low and private registration is free, which is simply hard to beat. It’s the reason I still have all my domains with them (which is about twenty).

    I’ve rarely needed to contact their support, but many reviews label it as pretty mediocre. The domain management panel is decent, although I think they’ve been moving things around recently and I’m not sure if it’s for the better. I can look into what sort of tools or batch capabilities it has for larger numbers of domains.

    I was pleasently suprised when I signed up with them because they sent me a welcome brochure in actual snail mail. This was a couple of years ago and I think they’re a bit further down the slippery slope of corporate evil by now.

  5. I love NearlyFreeSpeech’s service, honesty and their domain transfer software is automatic and effective. They don’t ever upsell or screw with me. I believe they will keep their prices low.

  6. I use godaddyfor domain registration and always search for coupons to get a good deal (<$10 year). I have the name server pointed elsewhere, and haven't had any problems.

    I do find their advertising in poor taste and they do try to upsell, but I just ignore it. Only problem I've had is that I got some domains with privacy for free but it costs money when I renew and they won't let me remove the privacy, though, I haven't tried very hard.

    I host at westhost/ and am happy there. for some love :)

  7. I have domains at as well. I looked at NetworkSolutions and eNom and felt the exact same way about their upselling. One of my domains is about to expire, and the WHOIS privacy for is actually $2, so the total is $11. Also, I found out that I can use the promo code FREEWHOIS to knock that price off (at least this time around). This is a nice list to get an idea of what is out there. But so far, even though hiked up their prices, I don’t really see any better deals on this list yet, except for 1&1.

    Right now, it looks like you can get a domain with 1&1 for only $7 with free privacy. In the checkout, they actually just gave me the .com for free, and added an extra .net that I only pay $7 for. It says no re-occurring fees for the .com, just the .net. It makes you wonder how they can possibly pull something like that off, perhaps because of all the upselling?

  8. Just noticed today: the Dreamhost and terms of service both say they can delete your domains at any time for no reason.

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