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5 Cheap Alternatives to Google Domains After Shutdown

Domain names are crucial for establishing an online presence. With the recent shutdown of Google Domains, many are seeking new, affordable alternatives. This article will guide you through this change and highlight the five cost-effective alternatives to Google Domains.

About Google Domains

Launched in 2014 and exiting beta in 2022, Google Domains quickly became a preferred choice for many due to its user-friendly interface, no-cost WHOIS privacy, and one-click DNSSEC.

However, in a surprising turn of events, Google announced the winding down of Google Domains, citing efforts to sharpen their focus as the primary reason. The business and assets of Google Domains, including approximately 10 million domains spread across millions of customers, are being acquired by Squarespace.

According to its official announcement (source), Squarespace promised to honor all existing Google Domains customers' renewal prices for at least 12 months following the transaction's closure – which is expected to occur in Q3 2023. There will be no immediate impact on Google Domains accounts, and customers will transition to Squarespace after regulatory approvals and a transition period.

Furthermore, Squarespace will become the exclusive domain provider for any customer purchasing a domain along with their Google Workspace subscription for a minimum of three years.

1. Namecheap

Website: https://www.namecheap.com

Namecheap, as the name suggests, is known for its affordable domain registration services. It has been in the industry since 2000 and has built a strong reputation for its customer-centric approach.

Namecheap Features & Pricing

Namecheap offers a broad selection of TLDs with free WHOIS privacy protection – a feature also appreciated in Google Domains.

A .com or .net domain costs $13.98 per year; while a .org domain costs $12.98 per year.

Apart from domain registration, Namecheap offers a host of other services including web hosting, email, SSL certificates, and a user-friendly domain management interface.

Comparison with Google Domains

While Google Domains had a simpler interface, Namecheap offers a wider range of services and more competitive pricing – especially for bulk domain purchases.

2. Hostinger

Website: https://www.hostinger.com

While Hostinger is primarily known for its cheap web hosting services, it also provides a comprehensive domain registration platform. Its wide range of TLDs and integration with hosting services make it a convenient choice for users seeking to manage their website and domain under one roof.

Features & Pricing

Hostinger's domain price starts as low as $0.99/year (for .shop, .online, and .cloud). For .com – the price is $9.99/year

Hostinger offers a range of services including domain registration, web hosting, email, and an A.I.-powered website builder. They also provide a user-friendly control panel named hPanel and a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Note that Hostinger offers a free domain with its premium and business web hosting plans. In case you are buying just one domain, you might want to take advantage of this offer.

Comparison with Google Domains

Hostinger, with its focus on affordable hosting, offers more bundled services compared to Google Domains. Their domain registration service – while not as robust as Google Domains, is a solid choice for those looking to register a domain and set up hosting in one place.

3. GoDaddy

Website: https://www.godaddy.com

GoDaddy is one of the largest domain registrars in the world, managing over 77 million domain names for over 19 million customers.

Features & Pricing

GoDaddy often has promotional pricing for the first year of domain registration, making it an attractive option for new businesses. At this time of writing, a .com costs $12.17 a year; while .net costs $17.17/year, and .me costs $11.99/year.

The company also offers comprehensive services beyond domain registration, including hosting, email, website builder, and marketing services.

Comparison with Google Domains

GoDaddy offers more ancillary services compared to Google Domains. However, it's worth noting that GoDaddy's renewal prices can be higher.

4. Domain.com

Website: https://www.domain.com

Domain.com has been in the domain registration business since 2000 and offers a variety of TLDs (Top-Level Domains) to choose from.

Features & Pricing

Domain.com's pricing is competitive with other registrars, and they often run promotions that further reduce the cost. At this time of writing, a .com costs only $10.99 a year at Domain.com.

Besides domain registration, the company also offers a range of relevant web services including website hosting, email hosting, SSL certificates, and web design services.

Comparison with Google Domains

Domain.com offers a similar range of services as Google Domains but stands out with its web design offerings.

5. Hover

Website: https://www.hover.com

Hover is a straightforward and user-friendly domain registrar known for its clean, clutter-free interface and excellent customer support.

Features & Pricing

Hover's domain registration pricing is competitive, and they offer a wide variety of TLDs (Top-Level Domains) to choose from.

Hover focuses solely on domain registration and email forwarding, avoiding the upselling of other services that some registrars engage in. This makes it a great choice for those who want a simple, no-fuss domain registration process.

Plus, you'll get a large discount when you have a bunch of domains with Hover. For users managing more than 400 domains, you'll get up to a $5 discount per domain per year – which makes them a fantastic choice for agencies.

Comparison with Google Domains

Unlike Google Domains, Hover does not offer any additional services like web hosting and SSL certificates. However, their focus on domains means a more streamlined, easy-to-navigate experience for users.

Transitioning from Google Domains to a New Registrar

Switching your domain registrar might seem like a daunting task, but it's a straightforward process if you follow the right steps.

First, unlock your domain from Google Domains and request an authorization code (you can access this option under “Registration Settings”, see screenshot below). Then, go to your new registrar and initiate a domain transfer using this code. You'll need to verify the transfer through an email confirmation. Remember to check the DNS settings and ensure they're correctly configured to prevent any downtime during the transfer. It's also important to note that domain transfers can take up to seven days to complete, so plan accordingly to avoid any disruptions to your website.

Google Domains Registration Settings

Final Thoughts

The shutdown of Google Domains has necessitated the search for alternatives, but this can be an opportunity to find a domain registrar that better suits your needs.

Whether you prioritize cost, customer service, additional features, or a user-friendly interface – there are plenty of reliable and affordable options out there. The five domain registrars mentioned above – Namecheap, GoDaddy, Hover, Hostinger, and Domain.com are all excellent choices. The best domain registrar for you will depend on your specific requirements – so take the time to explore each option before making a decision.

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Article by Jerry Low

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