Who should I use to get a domain name?
December 31, 2011 7:53 PM   Subscribe

Who should I go through to buy a domain name? New to this part of internet-dom. (Both using MetaFilter and owning digital real estate) My plan is to have a domain name where I can post my as-yet-nonexistant blog as well as build my own personal brand. Are there any suggestions for a newbie as to who I should go through to buy the domain? A friend has offered me hosting space, but any advice on that would be appreciated as well. Thanks in advance!
posted by CouldBeAProblem to Computers & Internet (28 answers total) 27 users marked this as a favorite
Namcheap and Gandi are frequently recommended on various developer forums because they are reliable and easy to use. Gandi is somewhat expensive but they're all "no bullshit" and have a great control panel.

posted by Foci for Analysis at 8:13 PM on December 31, 2011 [2 favorites]

For sheer ease of use, I suggest GoDaddy.

They're usually affordable, especially as a first time customer. (Not so much as an older customer unfortunately. They'll draw you in with $1 domains and then next year it costs $12-15) If you decide in the future you don't like them I have had no troubles transferring the domain elsewhere.

If for some reason the hosting space with your friend falls through or whatever, they also have fairly affordable hosting as well, and a lot of automatically installations of things like the major blogging platforms.

Now, GoDaddy is not the hip place to get domains at. You won't be a cool kid for getting your domain there. Their founder is absolutely off his rocker crazy, and until very recently they were in support of that legislation in the house of reps that would let copyright holders cause all sorts of havoc for the internet.

But since this is your first domain and first foray into having your own corner of the internet to own, go for it. Worry about being hip later when you know more.
posted by royalsong at 8:14 PM on December 31, 2011

By the way: one really nice thing about Gandi is that you can hide most of your contact details so that when someone looks into the records of your domain name, only your name shows up. Most domain registrars don't offer this service, which means that all your contact details - address, email, phone no, etc - are exposed to everyone on the web.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 8:16 PM on December 31, 2011 [1 favorite]

I've been happy with Joker.com and NearlyFreeSpeech.net.

Please do not use GoDaddy.
posted by alms at 8:25 PM on December 31, 2011 [1 favorite]

GoDaddy is sleazy, has an awful control panel, has sexist advertisements, they support SOPA, etc.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 8:31 PM on December 31, 2011 [3 favorites]

I use DreamHost and couldn't love it more. Google around for coupons. I think I got my first 2 years of hosting/domain for 20 dollar.

I'm playing with my site as I type (waiting for a database to set up)
posted by kathrynm at 8:35 PM on December 31, 2011 [2 favorites]

I've had great experiences with Namecheap, linked above.

Also please note the difference between a registrar, which you need, and a host, which you mentioned you do not, because your friend offered you space.
posted by drjimmy11 at 8:37 PM on December 31, 2011

Developer here, I would suggest either NameCheap or Hover. I personally use Hover, .com domains cost $10 a year, the service is terrific (when you call, you get a live person, not an answering system!), the user interface is miles ahead of godaddy, (I haven't used namecheap, but others have said theirs is pretty good, too).

Like others, I strongly advise against GoDaddy. But not because of their [former] support of SOPA, or their continual support of PIPA. Nor do I advise against them because of their CEO's killing of elephants in Africa, or of their sexist, misogynist branding and commercials, all of which are really perfectly fine reasons to not use them. No, I advise against them because their UI is shit, their customer service is nonexistent, and their website is butt ugly. If I'm a paying customer (and I help clients who have domains hosted at GoDaddy), I should not need to spend five minutes searching for basic domain administrative functions are hidden away in two layers of drop down menus tucked between banner ads that fill the majority of the user interface. That's not just bad design, that is a complete disregard for the needs of the customer.
posted by thebestsophist at 8:37 PM on December 31, 2011 [3 favorites]

Namecheap and anyone but GoDaddy or 1&1.

I personally prefer A Small Orange. Not the cheapest, but the best of the 10 or so I've worked with.
posted by TomMelee at 8:55 PM on December 31, 2011

I highly, highly recommend name.com. Based in Denver, you always get a real person on the phone. Super nice, excellent service, great prices.
posted by four panels at 9:38 PM on December 31, 2011

NameCheap has a coupon for registering new domains which gets you a $6.99 rate. I think it's SOPASUCKS.

GoDaddy's policies apart, their unrelenting efforts to constantly upsell me crappy services I don't need are very annoying.
posted by madman at 9:41 PM on December 31, 2011

I use Gandi because of their privacy policies which means I don't have to pay extra to have my personal details not out and all over the place if I want. I like their interface and they are nice and reasonable to deal with. They cost somewhat extra, but I've had 10+ domains with them for 10+ years and it's been worth the tiny extra amount of money. A registrar mostly just needs to not fuck things up and have a decent set of policies and procedures for getting things done and communicating those things to you and I've been very happy with Gandi.
posted by jessamyn at 9:44 PM on December 31, 2011

I've used GoDaddy, Gandi, Dreamhost and Namecheap.

The only one I've had trouble with is GoDaddy (see here).

Gandi is more expensive but great, and they let me reregister one of my domains that I had let expire with no muss, no fuss, no extra charges. Very nice. I totally trust them.

Dreamhost has lots of freebies and special offers, and have never caused me any trouble. I feel like they consciously try to be a do-no-evil company.

I've had no trouble at all with Namecheap.

I've also had pretty much zero spam with any of these three companies, unlike GoDaddy, and unlike GoDaddy they don't set up their registration process so that you have to wade through the confusion and mess of opting out of a ton of extra charges for services you don't want.
posted by taz at 9:47 PM on December 31, 2011 [1 favorite]

Feels old to still have my domains at netsol which was the only game when I registered them.
posted by bz at 10:19 PM on December 31, 2011 [1 favorite]

I would concur that anyone but GoDaddy or 1&1 would be OK.

I've been quite happy with namecheap.
posted by birdherder at 10:39 PM on December 31, 2011

Surprised that nobody has mentioned Pair Networks (for hosting) and the affiliated PairNic (for domains). I've been with them since 1997, and their service has been rock-solid, the support excellent, and the features constantly upgraded.
posted by woodblock100 at 11:28 PM on December 31, 2011 [1 favorite]

I have used pairnic and dreamhost for my domain registration, and both of them have been very nice. When I moved a domain off pair.com to dreamhost, the pair.com customer service people helped me find some information, and politely (instead of 'grar why you hating') asked me why I was moving my registration (answer: dreamhost a bit cheaper than pair.com), and wished me well with my new service.

So both of them are, in my opinion, worthwhile. If you do go Dreamhost for hosting, let me know in memail and I'll get you one of my discount coupons to use.
posted by mephron at 11:30 PM on December 31, 2011

woodblock100: I was just doing so as you posted!
posted by mephron at 11:30 PM on December 31, 2011

Namecheap gets recommended lots. I'll nth staying away from Godaddy and 1&1 (a recent tale from them involved a stolen domain name, and 1&1 dragging their feet to get it returned to the rightful owner.)

Also, along with the above - use a strong password for your account!
posted by backwards guitar at 11:36 PM on December 31, 2011

You've been given plenty of good options so far (except the one for GoDaddy; even if it wasn't a terrible company, it's just a terrible user experience!). Another one to toss in: register4less. They are my registrar (not my host), and have been excellent in the nearly a decade I've used them. I can't speak to customer service, not having needed it, but I find the website quite easy to use.
posted by asciident at 12:18 AM on January 1, 2012

Just chiming in to say NOT Godaddy. Happy new year.
posted by oceanjesse at 1:47 AM on January 1, 2012

I've never had any trouble with Dotster.
posted by flabdablet at 2:11 AM on January 1, 2012 [1 favorite]

I've been using DomainMonger for years. They're not the cheapest, but they've gone above and beyond on customer support for me and for several friends.

And: Don't use GoDaddy.
posted by straw at 8:08 AM on January 1, 2012

Vesana.com for hosting. Great service, great pricing, and each hosting package sponsors free hosting for a non-profit.
Vesana.com is a web hosting project providing free space to nonprofits, community organizers, and others working to help the world, regardless of politics. We fund this work by offering inexpensive hosting options to individuals and businesses on a one-to-one basis: when you sign up for a hosting plan, you are in effect "sponsoring" free hosting for a community service group from our waiting list. Whether you're looking to effect global change, or just trying to find a great deal on quality hosting service, you've come to the right place.
posted by MexicanYenta at 8:20 AM on January 1, 2012

Oops, forgot the link. Vesana.com
posted by MexicanYenta at 8:21 AM on January 1, 2012

I sold a domain name. The buyer used Godaddy. They were utterly useless; I called a couple times and the staff there could not figure out how to get the domain transferred. So the buyer registered with my domain registrar, and it was transferred quickly and easily. I used Dotster.com because that's where metafilter is registered.
posted by theora55 at 9:40 PM on January 1, 2012

"I have used pairnic and dreamhost for my domain registration..."

Ooh, yes, pairnic, and pair.com in general, are really great to deal with all around. I even ordered them a pizza once because they worked so hard to resolve an issue.
posted by bz at 11:22 AM on January 3, 2012

Response by poster: Used Namecheap, thanks everybody for your help!
posted by CouldBeAProblem at 12:02 AM on January 4, 2012

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