Quick. Don’t think, just answer. What’s the first company name that pops into your head when you think about internet domain registration?
If your first thought wasn’t, “what’s domain registration?” and you live in the U.S., the name that likely bubbled up was “GoDaddy”.
This isn’t by accident. After its launch in 1997, GoDaddy spent considerable sums of money promoting itself as the preferred domain registrar for anyone looking to launch a website. Their racy ads in the mid-2000s proved that sex can truly sell anything, including something as unseductive as internet hosting and domain registration.
But "well-known" doesn't automatically translate to "best". Anyone that tried a Hydrox cookie before the better-known Oreo showed them the door can attest to this.
Today, GoDaddy has considerable competition, and some contenders offer demonstrably better service. If we take two of these, and pit GoDaddy vs. Namecheap vs. Google Domains, it will become clear that GoDaddy isn't always the best choice.
GoDaddy vs. Namecheap vs. Google Domains: How Are They Different?
GoDaddy has endeavored to build a one-stop-shop for all things web hosting. You can buy your domain, your hosting plan, set up your email, build your website, add eCommerce functionality, and countless other services, all from the same company.
Are they the cheapest? No. But if dealing with a single company appeals to you then GoDaddy can be a good choice. However, the old adage, "Jack of all trades, master of none" is appropriate.
Google Domains takes the opposite approach. If GoDaddy is a nine-year-old, jacked up on sugar in the middle of Times Square, then Google Domains is a Buddhist monk, placidly meditating in a field of wildflowers.
With Google Domains you can...register a domain. That's the service, and they supply it impeccably well. You can also get email through Gmail and some productivity apps through Google's G Suite, but if you need hosting you'll get that elsewhere. Same for building a website.
However, Google offers seamless integrations with leading service providers like Shopify, Squarespace, WIX, Bluehost, and Weebly. So while you aren't getting everything from one company, it may still feel like it.
Namecheap's chief selling point should be fairly obvious. They offer domain names and everything else for cheap. Really cheap. Head-scratchingly cheap.
Confusingly cheap because the value you get for what you pay outstrips the competition, both in terms of features and performance.
But making the initial purchase is only part of the equation. How do these three match up once you're a customer?
GoDaddy vs. Namecheap vs. Google Domains: Which Offers a Better Customer Experience?
GoDaddy offers everything, including some services of dubious utility designed to massage extra money from their customer's bank accounts. The difficulty customers face is figuring out what services they need, and which ones they don't.
Neither Google Domains nor Namecheap suffers from this issue. With Google Domains, there's no clutter and no confusing extras because they don't offer them. Namecheap does offer a few extra services, but its interface is clean and easy to understand.
If you have issues, Namecheap's site has a large knowledge base and offers excellent chat support. Google Domain's support options are less impressive. However, their service is so well-designed, the chances that you'll have an issue that requires support is greatly reduced.
With GoDaddy's massive feature set, issues are common, particularly for people that aren't familiar with the specifics of domains, websites, and hosting. Their chat support is passable, but they do offer phone support. And that's good because you'll probably need it at some point in your relationship.
GoDaddy vs. Namecheap vs. Google Domains: If You Just Want a Domain Name, Who Should You Choose?
Skip GoDaddy. Compared to the other two, GoDaddy's registration process is confusing, cluttered, and laden with upsells. If you just want to register a domain you shouldn't have to waste time checking "no" to a dozen or more add-on offers.
Because they offer deep discounts on the first year of registration their pricing is good. But only if you're looking for short-term ownership because the price jumps considerably higher than either of our other two contenders, come year two.
If you're eyeing GoDaddy because of their attractive pricing, you should instead look at Namecheap. They also offer discounts for the first year, and their regular prices are far cheaper than GoDaddy's.
If it's simplicity, elegance, and a sublime user experience that you're after, register with Google Domains. Everything just works. And they offer transparent, flat-rate annual pricing that, in the long run, is on par with what Namecheap offers.
Comparing GoDaddy vs. Namecheap vs. Google Domains reveals that GoDaddy is aging. It was THE choice in domain registration and web hosting ten to twenty years ago, but times have changed. At the very least, it will be worth your time to explore your other options before settling on what has become something of an unfortunate default.
There's also a fourth option. You can let us handle everything for you.
If you have us design and build a website for you, we will take care of getting your domain names registered. We can handle hosting, setting up email accounts, and the myriad other small details that need to be put in place.
If you like GoDaddy because it's a one-stop-shop, so are we. If you prefer Google because it just works, so do we. If you like Namecheap because of their competitive pricing, you'll appreciate our affordable design and hosting packages.
We can even consult with you if you're looking to move your existing site to a new provider. You might find it advantageous to spruce a few things up in the process. Give Puget Tech a call or drop us a line. We'd more than happy to discuss your options.