There are hundreds of different domain extensions out there. If you’re starting a new website and buying a domain, it can be challenging to figure out which option is the best for you or which domain registrar will best help you figure it out.
What if the .com domain you want to register is unavailable? Is it worth getting that domain name with a different extension? And if so, where should you get it?
These are some common questions and problems that every beginner has when they’re buying a domain for the first time. This guide will help you make sense of the best domain extensions.
What is a Domain Extension?
A domain extension is the final piece of every domain.
Here at Quick Sprout, our domain extension is .com. While .com is definitely the most recognizable extension, there are actually countless other domain extensions for you to choose from.
That’s why it’s so important to purchase your domain from one of the best domain registrars on the market today. These registrars offer a wide variety of options to choose from, in addition to .com extensions.
5 Tools to Improve the Best Domain Extensions
Getting the best domain extension starts with using the right domain registrar. With countless options to choose from, we’ve narrowed the list down to our five favorites that we can recommend with confidence.
#1 — Domain.com
Domain.com is one of the most trusted, popular, and reputable domain registrars on the market today.
We love this domain registrar because it’s affordable and easy to use. Even if it’s your first time buying a domain name, Domain.com eliminates any headaches associated with this process.
You can register a domain quickly, register the name for multiple years, and won’t have to worry about the name expiring with an auto-renewal service.
Browse from all of the most popular TLDs (top-level domains) like .com, .org, .net, and more.
Domain.com even offers unique extensions like .tech, .space, .store, .online, .blog, .me, .live, .design, .biz, .io, .info, and so much more.
If you’d like to purchase multiple domain names or get the same domain with different extensions, Domain.com makes it easy to manage all of those options during checkout. With .com domains starting at $11.99 per year, this registrar should be on everyone’s radar.
#2 — Namecheap
Namecheap is another excellent domain registrar. With 2+ million customers worldwide registering domains with this provider, Namecheap’s reputation speaks for itself.
With .com domains starting at just $5.98, it’s one of the best values offered on the market today. In fact, Namecheap even has $0.98 domains, including .xyz, .link, .store, .icu, .college, .top, .baby, .host, and so much more.
In addition to getting the best domain extensions at competitive prices, Namecheap offers other incentives to use its service. When you register a domain name with Namecheap, you’ll also get free WhoisGuard privacy protection for life.
They even offer free DNSSEC security to protect your site from fraudulent activity.
Namecheap’s process is arguably the easiest option on the market today. The checkout process is so simple that anyone can do it. You’ll be able to search and register a domain with your extension of choice in less than two minutes.
#3 — Bluehost
Bluehost is best known for its web hosting services. But this service provider also doubles as a domain registrar.
You’ll also benefit from features like domain lock, automatic renewals, domain forwarding, expert support, and simple domain management directly from your Bluehost control panel. Bluehost has a large selection of domain names, including geo-location domains.
The real reason why Bluehost ranks so high on our list of the best domain extension tools is that you can get a free domain name when you use it. If you choose Bluehost as your web hosting provider, you can register a free domain for the first year.
Every website needs to have web hosting. Normally, we’d say keep your hosting and domain registration separate. We definitely don’t recommend getting your hosting service from a domain registrar, and we usually wouldn’t tell people to get a domain name from a web host.
But Bluehost is the exception. For new websites looking for an all-in-one solution to bundle hosting and domain registration, Bluehost is by far the best option.
#4 — GoDaddy
GoDaddy is a name that you’re likely familiar with. But this company has come a long way from its risqué Super Bowl commercials.
Today, GoDaddy is one of the most reputable and reliable solutions for starting and growing your presence online. They offer tons of different tools and services, including web hosting, site builders, web design services, SSL security, and—of course—domain registration.
With GoDaddy, you’ll benefit from a huge selection of domain extensions at affordable prices. It’s easy to register your domain and get started, regardless of your technical skill level. GoDaddy also offers real-time monitoring services to ensure that your site is always up and running.
Choose from unique domains like .win, .party, .cool, .fun, .global, .wedding, .art, .guru, or stick with something more conservative like .com, .net, or other TLDs.
Since GoDaddy is such a big domain registrar, you’ll benefit from one of the best bulk domain search services on the market today. This will help you find the best domain extension for your needs.
#5 — NameSilo
NameSilo may not be as recognizable or as well known as some of the other tools on this list.
But it’s a fast-growing domain registrar that’s still a safe and reliable way to get a great domain extension. Over 3 million active domains are powered by NameSilo.
This registrar has 400+ different domain extensions with prices starting as low as $0.99 per year. When you register a domain with NameSilo, you’ll also benefit from 24/7/365 service from a world-class support team.
For those of you who are interested in bulk-domain purchases, NameSilo should be a top option to consider. They even offer a discount program for bulk domain registration.
NameSilo’s .com domains start at $10.95.
The Basics of the Best Domain Extensions
There are certain things that you need to consider if you want to have one of the best domain extensions. We’ll break down the core components of this category below.
Domain Privacy and Protection
Domain privacy and protection is definitely something that you need to have. Lots of the best domain registrars will include this service for free. Even if you have to pay for it, don’t skip out on this add-on.
Without domain privacy, all of your personal information will be listed on a public Whois database. This includes your name, address, phone number, and email address. Whois protection services hide all of your personal information.
You definitely don’t want that info on the web for anyone to find. Otherwise, you’ll be bombarded with spam and fraud calls, emails, or maybe something worse.
Renewals and Transfers
All domains must be registered for a minimum of one year. Some domain registrars allow you to register it for longer periods, usually up to five years. If you know that you’ll want that domain for a while, it’s definitely worth registering it for the longest allowable length of time. This just gives you one less thing to worry about and reduces the chances of your registration lapsing.
Always turn on auto-renewal if it’s available. Again, this is just peace of mind so you won’t have to worry about manually renewing your domain five years from now. Once the registration lapses, it will be available on the open market for someone else to purchase.
It’s also worth noting that some domain registrars have different prices for renewals. This shouldn’t be a deal-breaker, but it’s definitely something to keep in mind. You should also consider the fees and process associated with transferring your domain from one registrar to another.
TLDs and ccTLDs
TLD stands for “top-level domain” and ccTLD stands for “country code top-level domain.”
Common TLDs are .com, .net, .org, and other extensions that you see on a regular basis. ccTLDs are location-specific, such as .ca (Canda) or .uk (United Kingdom).
Generally speaking, it’s always in your best interest to go with a TLD. We rarely recommend people to register extensions like .club or .fun. Most people associate .com domains with a site that’s reputable and trustworthy. If you register a domain extension that nobody has heard of, it may lower the perceived credibility of your site.
Bulk Domain Purchase
Some of you might be interested in buying multiple domains simultaneously. If you fall into this category, there are definitely certain domain registrars that are better than others for your needs.
You need a bulk search tool and a shopping experience that makes it easy to add lots of domains to your cart at once. Consider using a domain registrar that has a bulk discount program as well.
Some people like to register multiple extensions for the same domain. For example, you could register yoursitename.com, yoursitename.net, yoursitename.io, etc.
This prevents other people from registering your domain with another extension. However, this will obviously add to the cost of your registration, and it’s not something that we typically recommend.
3 Tricks For the Best Domain Extensions
We’ve registered countless domains and different domain extensions throughout our careers. Our experience has taught us some great tips over the years, and we’d like to share those quick hacks with you.
Trick #1: Consider Free Domain Registration (But Be Selective)
You don’t have to pay for a domain name. In fact, you can even get a .com domain for free.
Lots of service providers out there offer a free domain, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you should go with that particular option. Be selective. Nine times out of ten, it’s better to get your domain name from a domain registrar and your hosting from a web hosting provider. But there are exceptions to this rule.
If it’s your first time buying a domain and starting a website, it might be easier to bundle services under one roof. In this case, go with Bluehost. Bluehost is an industry leader in the web hosting space, and they’ll give you a free domain for one year.
Trick #2: Ignore Small Price Differences
As you’re checking out different options for domain registration, you’ll likely notice some price differences between one domain registrar and another. Don’t let a dollar or two be the deciding factor here.
In the long run, this marginal difference is insignificant. Instead, look at the big-picture. Some services offer cheap domain extensions when you first sign up, then increase the cost when you renew.
Is your registrar offering free privacy protection? What other services are you getting? Can you turn on auto-renewal? How long can you register your domain for? Even factors like customer service should be taken into consideration.
Cheaper isn’t always better. Getting the best domain extension is more important than saving $15 over the course of five years.
Trick #3: Shop Around For the URL and Extension You Want
Generally speaking, any available domain name can be purchased from a reputable domain registrar, including the tools listed earlier in this guide. But some registrars only offer certain TLDs. This is usually the case if domain registration isn’t the primary service offered by a particular platform.
So if the URL and domain extension you want can’t be registered from the first place you looked, don’t assume that it’s impossible to get. Shop around and look at other domain registrars. You can probably find what you’re looking for elsewhere.
This is especially true if you want a really unique extension. You might not be able to get an extension like .wedding or .cool from a web hosting provider. But a service that specializes in domain registration will have more options.