Domain registrar(s) matching these criteria, for .com and
January 16, 2013 4:43 PM   Subscribe

I have about a dozen .com and domains with GoDaddy and which I'd like to move, ideally to a single new registrar. Criteria below the fold:

- no upselling or sneaky emails (appearance of basic trustworthiness)
- clean back-end with easy name server management
- easy transfers
- responsive email support (same or next day), or better, live chat or a phone number to call

I'm in the process of moving all my websites to a VPS, so I don't require DNS hosting, and I'm willing to pay a small premium for the peace of not having to deal with sleazy business practices or broken back-end websites.

Currently considering: Gandi (for .coms only), Namecheap, Jumba (have had shared hosting accounts with them, with no problems)

I'd also appreciate any cautionary tips on how to go about transferring domains from GoDaddy/ (owned by the same people as Domain Central). None of my domains are up for renewal in the next month.

Full disclosure: I asked this question at but was told it wasn't right for their format. I hope Ask MeFi is the right place to ask for recommendations like this.
posted by sakahane to Computers & Internet (7 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I used Dotster as my domain registrar for years, but now I'm slowly moving to Badger because it is the cleanest and simplest no-fuss back-end I've ever seen on anything domain/hosting related.

There's also a feature that looks like it maybe starts a transfer process for all your GoDaddy domains? But I don't use GoDaddy so I don't know if that's actually what it does.
posted by Jairus at 4:50 PM on January 16, 2013

I used Dotster for a long time, but realized I couldn't justify the upcharge relative to Namecheap, so I switched a little over a year ago. I have had no problems whatsoever, so I can't actually say how responsive their support is. Same for Dotster.
posted by wierdo at 5:01 PM on January 16, 2013

I've been using Gandi since 1998 and have no complaints. The only emails I can remember receiving are notices telling me my domains are due for renewal. They're more expensive than most registrars, but several of my friends have lost domains due to shady registrar practices so I'm happy to keep paying for a service that has always served me well.

I've never needed to use their support, though, so I can't say how that is.
posted by Georgina at 5:47 PM on January 16, 2013

Dotster changed hands a year and a half ago and while initially they were being run as a stand alone company they are in the process of migrating to the platform of the acquiring company. There's been some bumps along the way. Whether they will recover from that... hard to say.

NameCheap isn't the cleanest but they are pretty damn solid. I don't know a thing about Badger, but now I'm curious. I'll have to check them out more.
posted by FlamingBore at 7:03 PM on January 16, 2013

We resell OpenSRS (but only to our clients, which you aren't). If you find an OpenSRS reseller that sells to the public, that might be an option. OpenSRS has a default back-end that's reasonably easy for users to use, and support is provided by the reseller.

More generally, a good bit of advice for the domain registration game is that you probably should not wait until "renewal" time to renew. You can register for up to 10 years at a time, at the current rate. I suggest registering for no more than 9, because a transfer requires a renewal.

You can even do something shady like renew for 8 years at the cheapest possible registrar and then transfer to someplace you really like, let's say Gandi since it's been mentioned, that charges more, to get to a 9 year registry serviced by Gandi for a lesser price. This is a bit of a loophole in the way things work. On the other hand, you're locked into the cheaper registrar for a short period because transfers are limited in frequency.

Also, make sure that your contact info, not some anon service or your registrar, is on as the entity owning the zone, at least if you care about being able to regain control of it if there's a dispute or problem of any sort.
posted by jgreco at 6:56 AM on January 17, 2013 is excellent -- I think this is what you want. They are an offshoot (or something) of the excellent, very ethical, very technically friendly,

There is accessible phone support. There are ethics: there is renewable energy; there is stability (they've been around a long time); there are smart people on the other end of the phone. I've elected not to renew domain names; they've contacted me after the expiration time to make sure I didn't just forget (and not so that they can charge large amounts of money).

Really, please use them.
posted by amtho at 10:48 AM on January 17, 2013

I would strongly discourage you from using Gandi. I was a web designer for 12 years and have owned over 100 domains. Gandi is far and away the worst company I've ever dealt with--which is saying a lot since I've dealt with 1and1, Network Solutions, and GoDaddy, which are also awful. (Though GoDaddy is fine as a company to deal with; it's the issues they support with the profits they make from you that makes them a bad choice.)

I had one domain, which has been registered under a writer pseudonym for almost 15 years. An article came out about the writer which indicated it was not the writer's real name. Gandi locked up the domain (a consequence of which the web site vanishes and email is unobtainable) without notifying the domain-name holder. They refused to release the domain until the writer proves the psuedonym is his real name (which it isn't, and for various good reasons the writer does not want to associate his legal name with it) and refuses to allow the writer to transfer it to another registrar *and* refuses to allow the writer to re-register the name as private under his real name, something every other registrar spoken to has said is no problem. And, they refuse to do this while the domain is still paid for (that is, it has not expired).

Via Gandi's own interface, I renewed the domain for the writer (I already had an account with them). Gandi accepted my payment via my paypal-verified account and extended the expiration date appropriately. However, they refuse to take the domain out of limbo so it's actually useful until I now send them a copy of my passport, something they did not indicate would be required and which is obviously fucked considering I have other domains registered with them. Further, when they told me it could be purchased under my real name, they did not indicate I'd have to send them a copy of my passport. Had they, we would have just let the domain expire and rebought it with a more honest and trustworthy registrar. I've sent copies of my passport to other companies but not nothing that Gandi has done during this whole process leads me to believe they can be trusted with sensitive personal information.

Use PairNic. If you have a problem, a human can be on the line in 2 minutes. has refused to provide a phone number and every time their support team mails us, they change their story. They're awesome if you never have a problem. However, if you ever have to contact tech support or have any issue--or, as in this case, they create an issue--they become the worst registrar ever. It is not worth risking your domain on--that they can, on essentially a whim--decide to throw your domain into a black hole cutting you off from your your contacts/customers, and, for all intents and purposes, delete your web site by making it 404.

(And yes, I'm aware that InterNIC insists on valid data. The writer should have registered privately back in 1999 if that was an option. However, Gandi not allowing him to do that now, and them literally changing their story with each email, is ridiculous.)
posted by dobbs at 7:42 PM on June 15, 2013

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