Where Should You Buy Your Domain Names

GoDaddy used to be my domain registrar of choice. But that was back in the days when they were cheap and offered discount coupons.

Why GoDaddy Sucks

Their coupons used to work worldwide. Then they started geo-locking coupons to territories so, for example, the $0.99 new domain coupon wouldn’t work in Europe. And so on.

Prices are also forced into your local currency with no option of paying in the currency of your choice, unless you use a VPN.

Then the domain fees and, particularly, the domain renewal fees started rising over the years.

Then they introduced the Discount Domain Club. Pay $120 per year and your domain renewal fees are reduced.

Paying for a discount seems counter-intuitive, doesn’t it?

Their user interface in clunky, badly designed and user-unfriendly. Here’s what the default screen looks like after you log into GoDaddy (I’ve blurred out my domain names):

GoDaddy Default Screen

It only shows 10 domain names. If you want to see more, you have to click the Show more link at the bottom of the page to see the next 10. And so on.

If you want to see all your domain names, you can click the Manage All button at the top of the page (not in this screenshot).

There’s an upsell (or multiple upsells) attached to everything.

When you want to manually renew a domain they default the renewal to 2 Years not 1. I checked the price of a .com renewal today and it’s €18.99 (about $22) per year ((are you kidding me??). That seems excessively high, even for GoDaddy.

I thought .com renewal fees were €14.99 unless the price went up recently.

Here’s a typical loaded offer from GoDaddy:

GoDaddy Domain Offer

A quick look at this ad on their site suggests that you can get a domain for €0.99…but no…you have to buy 2 years of registration, so in fact you have to stump up €19.98, not €0.99.

As a member of the Discount Domain Club (DDC), it actually cost me €8.43 for a .com (almost $10).

So let’s say the DDC saves me €10 (about 12 bucks) per renewal.

That means I need to have 11 domains registered with GoDaddy  to save just €10 a year!. So, clearly, the DDC isn’t worth the cost unless you have ten or more domains.

What About GoDaddy’s Biggest Competitor?

I then looked at the current prices on NameCheap who are probably GoDaddy’s biggest competitor (the prices below are for new domain registrations only, not for domain renewals).

While they’re certainly cheaper than GoDaddy, they’re not as cheap as their name might suggest.

I prefer paying in Dollars because domains are often cheaper than in Euros, even with foreign transaction fees factored in.

NameCheap Domain Fees (Dollars)

NameCheap don’t fleece their non-U.S. customers. Their Euro prices are the same as if I’d paid in Dollars with a credit card. U.S. based companies often charge customers more in their local currency than the equivalent in Dollars. (You can see NameCheap’s Euro prices in this image)

NameCheap’s user interface is way better than GoDaddy’s though. .com renewals are $13.16 (about 50% more expensive than for a new domain), so they’re about 40% cheaper than GoDaddy and no Discount Domain Club needed either.

 

NameCheap Dashboard

Another Alternative Domain Registrar

Dynadot is another domain registrar I’ve used and they have the least expensive fees I’ve found.

Their fees are charged in US dollars wherever you are in the world. GoDaddy forces pricing into Euros for those in Europe and these prices can often be more expensive that their dollar counterparts. NameCheap at least provide the option to select your billing currency.

It costs $8.99 to renew a .com with Dynadot (about €7.80) so they’re cheaper than GoDaddy’s Discount Domain Club prices. About 8% cheaper. And they’re about 40% cheaper than GoDaddy’s regular domain fees!

And they’re about 31% cheaper than NameCheap.

Dynadot Dashboard

Both GoDaddy and Namecheap add on an ICANN fee of $0.18 per domain to your bill. Dynadot doesn’t. I presume it’s built into their prices.

So I’ve been in the process of transferring my domains over to Dynadot. I move a domain about 3-4 weeks before it’s up for renewal.

This way I’m essentially paying Dynadot to renew the domain.

Whenever you transfer a domain, an extra year of registration is added to your registration duration. So if you transferred a domain 3 months after you bought it, it wouldn’t need to be renewed for another 21 months.

I prefer to renew domains so they’re registered for another 12 months, not longer.

So now, there’s nothing to recommend GoDaddy as a company. Their web hosting sucks too.

The fact that they are still is business is a testament to their successful marketing strategy and keeping their brand name in the public consciousness.

But it goes to show that the brand with the biggest impact isn’t necessarily the best one to choose.

Addendum

Since I started writing this article, I’ve cancelled my GoDaddy Domain Discount Club subscription, saving $120 per year.

Oddly, domains that are up for renewal there after my DCC subscription ended are still being listed at the DCC discount price of €8.43!

So, either GoDaddy hasn’t properly processed the cancellation and thinks it’s still in operation (I did double-check that I haven’t been billed for the DDC) or DDC is a scam.

I’m pretty sure it’s the former as, despite my very low opinion of GoDaddy, I don’t believe they engage in illegal practices.

 
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