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CloudFlare Offers Domain Registration With Zero Markup

Cloudflare is looking to make a move into the domain registrar market as they announced their newly launched service for domain registration with Cloudflare Registrar. The web performance and security company made the announcement recently on their blog, which details their reasoning for the new service.

Screenshot of Cloudflare's tweet on September 27, 2018.

But what does it mean for you, the average user?

Well, a lot of things actually. Cloudflare’s decision to launch their own domain registrar looks to rock the industry because of the way they are approaching the service.

All TLDs Are Guaranteed Wholesale Price

With the internet becoming commonplace for today’s businesses, domain name registrations is one of the fundamental aspects of every website creation. Ever since it was first introduced in the 90s, domain name registration has improved vastly and included a number of wide domain extensions (.org, .net., .io, etc.).

While domains are reasonably priced for the first year (you could get a domain name for as cheap as $0.99), the prices tend to vary between different domain name registrars and reseller hosting companies, and will often increase significantly when you renew.

Plus, all domain registrars will mark-up the prices as part of their service fees. This is where Cloudflare’s domain registration service stands out as they promised that all domain names purchased from them will be at a wholesale price.

Cloudflare domain name service fee (source: Cloudflare)

Matthew Prince, CEO of Cloudflare, wrote –

From the price side, it’s even simpler: we promise to never charge you anything more than the wholesale price for each TLD charges. That’s true the first year and it’s true every subsequent year. If you register your domain with Cloudflare Registrar you’ll always pay the wholesale price with no markup.

Rocking the domain business landscape

This essentially puts Cloudflare as one of the cheapest places for domain registration due to their zero markup of their services. Unless they offer some form of value-added services or match Cloudflare’s pricing, there’s really no reason to use other domain name registrars such as GoDaddy, NameCheap, or Domain.com.

The reasoning behind the zero markups is due to Cloudflare believing that there shouldn’t be any extra charges when you want to register a domain name for your website as it’s a fairly simple process.

“Registering a domain is a commodity”, writes Prince. “There’s no meaningful difference between any of the existing mass market registrars. Each top-level domain registry (TLDs like .com, .org, .info, .io, etc) sets a wholesale price for registering a domain under them. These prices are known and remain relatively consistent over time. All the registrar does is record you as the owner of a particular domain. That just involves sending some commands to an API. In other words, domain registrars are charging you for being a middle-man and delivering essentially no value to justify their markup.”

To further cement their promise for providing a transparent and affordable domain registering services, they have publicly avowed any up-sell techniques to their services. Also, Cloudflare will not operate any form of domain name marketplace or auctions to discourage domain name speculations, which can lead to high-priced domain names.

Beefed Up Security For Domain Names

While they are known for offering free Let’s Encrypt SSL/TLS certificates, their high-security measures go beyond just their CDN or SSL services. They also have a Custom Domain Protection service, which is part of their Enterprise Registrar product for those who want next-level security.

Every client using Custom Domain Protection defines their own process for updating records. For instance, if a Custom Domain Protection client wants us to not change their DNS records unless 6 different individuals call us, in order, from a set of predefined phone numbers, each reading multiple unique passcodes, and telling us their favorite ice cream flavor, on a Tuesday that is also a full moon, we will enforce that. Literally.

Given the fact that the service is not scalable, it would cost a premium for them to offer it as part of their domain name registrar services. Instead, Cloudflare will include a number of security services with their domain names that still allows them to have zero markups.

“From the security side, we promise we’ll allow you to enable two-factor authentication, we’ll lock your domain registration by default, and automatically enable best-practice security services like DNSSEC.”

Switching Over To Cloudflare

If you want to register a new domain name with Cloudflare, you can’t. Not yet at least. The service is currently limited to existing Cloudflare users who want to transfer their existing domains to their platform.

Those who are current customers can sign up for an Early Access to receive an invitation for the domain name transition process. For new customers, it might be a while before you’re able to use their domain name services as they are prioritizing customers who have been with them longer.

It might be some time before Cloudflare domain name services go public. In the meantime, why not check out our guide for buying a domain name which lists some of the cheapest places to buy a domain name.

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Article by Azreen Azmi

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