To my last count, I own over 42 domain names, including ezpr.com, which I had to pay using an obtuse series of services and an escrow. Every service seems to look identical, regardless of the fact that many actually have different prices, far less reliable customer service or have a slight likelihood your site may just not work one day.
Field name registrars, in case you didn’t know, are the companies that manage all the website domain names you’ll see (EG: Inc.com) – the fingerprint of your business, which may also include the hosting and privacy measures. For example, by default, many companies will actually over-price the simple process of keeping your registration information private (which if it isn’t can be found via a simple Whois search).
I’ve dug into it a little and found the few that I actually respect and would trust with what money you and I have.
Host winds remains a user-friendly option for registration and hosting, even if you’re transferring from another service. It lists out all the extensions to create your domain name with prices to register, transfer, or renew for each extension, unlike some services that bury these within the website. You simply enter the domain name you want and check the availability, and can theoretically get going in a few clicks (if it’s available or taken). It will then tell you if it is available or taken. They’ve also got live chat, email, and phone technical support before purchase too, which is rather rare.
GoDaddy used to be a place I’d recommend only as a joke but has significantly improved their service. They’ll recommend you domains based on certain keywords, which is useful if you’ve not got the one you want available (they’ll actually remove these from the search to try and not break your heart), and they’ve also significantly improved their hosting offering. They still continue to offer weird things like “email services” that other hosting companies provide too. Our GoDaddy Review.
Snap Names is a web domain name marketplace – meaning that they only deal specifically with domains that are currently owned by somebody else. They offer daily and premium auctions, private brokerage of domains, and buy-it-now listings for buying and selling domain names, including over 30 million domain names that aren’t all, as you’ll find on some services, exorbitant. They have over three million customers, including a significant number of small businesses, which is worth it.
The Best Web Hosting Services for Small Businesses
Finding the best web hosting service for your business can be very confusing. Here’s what you should look for.
Sedo is where I bought my domain – over Escrow – and is a global marketplace to buy, sell, and park domain names. They’ve over 18 million domain names for sale, but the big part is that they’re a huge, well-respected company. This may not be important if you’re spending $150 on a domain, but in a $15,000+ purchase – which happens in many cases – you will be potentially buying from a foreign entity, that you don’t know, and many of them will suggest an escrow payment. This means you put the money in an account owned by a third party that will hold it and only passes it on once the domain has been transferred over into their name (which in this case is what Sedo does). This can be quite disconcerting – but Sedo is well-known and has done many, many deals – and the process is about as full of hand-holding as handing tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars for a domain name can be.
Flippa is another marketplace for domain names, but they have a significant number of domain names at much, much lower prices, some even costing as low as a dollar. You can also purchase an existing website and a mobile app from Flippa, potentially making it a great starter for your online existence.
Name Cheap offers domain names to individuals and businesses, including a wide range of new TLDs that can draw further attention to your particular business segment. They also have a user-friendly control panel for buying domain names as well as offer hosting and tools for building your website. I personally used them to transfer over 25 domain names at once, and it took a few days and about three clicks. They’re my go-to processor for names I’m just looking to hold.
iPage’s web hosting packages start as low as $1.99 per month and they throw in domain registration for free during the first year, which makes them a bargain for very, very lean startups or one-person operations. They also have the classic domain name search portal and provide a tutorial on the new TLDs that helps, considering a new one seems to be appearing every second or two.
Fat Cow has one of the cheapest offers for an entire website package, with hosting and domain names for just thirty cents during your first month. After, that the price is $10.99 a month or $59.88 for the whole year, in a shared hosting package with enough bandwidth for most people. This is a limited promotion I found, but they still sell fairly well-priced packages (their “fat” options come with extras like marketing and advertising credits), and will gladly offer you perks for transferring your domains and hosting to them.
HostGator is a company I used for many years with an old firm, and I’ve found them to be fairly reliable as a rock-solid grounding for a bandwidth-heavy site. Their control panel is also fairly powerful, allowing you to automatically control your fleet of names, as well as locking them down so that nobody can snipe them if you accidentally let a renewal lapse. Their prices are competitive but not the best, but I’ve found them to be immensely reliable in the past. Read our HostGator Review.
Host is a just-launched free web hosting company that includes domain name purchasing and registration. They have a suite of offerings, such as one where you’ll pay $13.99 per year for domain names with extensions that include .com, .net, .org, .us, .biz, and .info., but have unlimited bandwidth, web space, sub-domains, parked domains, sub-domains and email accounts, among other things. Like HostGator, they include domain locking and automatic renewal, along with a user-friendly management portal (which, believe me, is pretty rare) and 24/7 technical support. This isn’t a bad price considering the amount you get, and they are $3.95 and $5.95 a month packages both offer fairly balanced domain-inclusive packages.