Introduction to Jumpstarting Your Website:
As a website administrator and hosting provider, starting up a website and getting it to a self sustainable level has become second nature to myself. That doesn’t mean that it is easy for those new to the topic, though. In fact, the reason most do not put their content onto the internet stems from the complexity and overwhelming amount of information available. In this multi-part series we will go over all of the basics (and even some of the more complex aspects) of beginning your own website.
The definitive starting point is buying a domain. Of all of the domain registrars available, the companies you can buy your domain name from, there are three main competitors: Google Domains, NameCheap, and GoDaddy. We will focus on the pro’s and con’s of each of these providers and their prices. It is important to remember that all prices below are those at the time of writing, and all websites must be renewed yearly.
Google Domains has the simplest pricing of all of the registrars, and it is also the most recently public registrar. Google Domains costs $12.00 (USD) to purchase a .com domain with prices varying for other domain extensions. With each domain, you will receive private registration which keeps your home address and phone number private and out of the Whois database. This may not seem like a huge issue at first glance, but as you gain popularity you could become victim to senseless “pranks” such as swatting. Besides private registration, you also receive free email forwarding to gmail accounts which prevents the need of a dedicated email provider. Google also provides seamless integration with many services, like Google App Engine. The user interface can be hard to understand at times, and the email forwarding has been know to be spotty, at best, with other email providers like yahoo mail.
NameCheap is a well known company that prides itself on low cost solutions into the web. Unlike Google Domains, you can begin at just $0.88 (USD) for a .xyz top level domain. They also provide an add-on for private registration which varies in price, different levels of website hosting, and email services. The customer support and website are very intuitive. Simple tasks, such as changing DNS settings, do suffer at times due to the oversimplification of this process, though. Unlike Google Domains, NameCheap also provides SSL certificates to allow HTTPS traffic to your site, which Google will increase your index rating for using.
GoDaddy is the biggest of all registrars; so big that their name is as commonly known as google’s. GoDaddy spends millions on ads, mostly controversial in nature. Their domains come relatively cheaply, from $0.99 (USD) to $11.99 (USD) to start, but after the first year the renewal rates are often much higher. This is true of most domain registrars, excluding Google Domains. Like NameCheap, they offer similar hosting which can get the job done; for any major site with tons of visitors, GoDaddy’s hosting will be an expensive venture, however. They also offer SSL certificates and even email and office 365 through a partnership with Microsoft (for an additional fee). They have been known to support some very unpopular beliefs, such as SOPA/PIPA. Customer support can take hours to reach if you have trouble, as well; personally I have had to wait on the phone for 3 hours just to speak to a person before. Neither NameCheap nor Google Domains have ever had this issue in my experience.
After using each of these providers, my personal favorite is Google Domains. With seamless integration to Gmail and Google’s App Engine, starting up your own site is insanely simple. They may not offer some of the bells and whistles that the competitors elect to sell, but the price that Google is able to charge is directly related to that decision. Google also has the best, and friendliest, customer support. If you ever have trouble setting your DNS up, no worries, their support agents will help get you to where you want to be. You will not regret using Google Domains, and you can be guaranteed that your site will be able to scale with the Internets largest entity backing you up.
Have questions or comments about selecting a registrar thats right for you? Something we missed? Just plain excited for the next installment of this min-series? Let us know below in the comment section!