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A domain registrar doesn’t seem like a big deal at first – after all, it’s just a way to buy domain names for use with your online business or affiliate site.
Over the past couple of years, there’s been a surge in the number of domain registrars and website hosting companies. This sudden growth makes it challenging to choose only one domain registrar among so many that offer similar services.
The truth is, these services are not all created equal. Some specialize in selling domain names. Others offer additional features such as shared hosting, security, email marketing solutions, etc. We decided to make things easier for you and narrow down the list to only two popular domain registrars: Namecheap and GoDaddy.
“Why these two?” you may be wondering. GoDaddy is the biggest domain registrar of them all. Namecheap, on the other hand, is more of a niche registrar that earned its spot on the radar thanks to good quality of service and attractive pricing.
In this guide, we will compare Namecheap vs GoDaddy, point out the merits and drawbacks of these two titans in the domain registrar space, and help you choose the one that will suit your specific needs.
Which is Better: Namecheap vs GoDaddy?
Namecheap and GoDaddy are both known for their great domain name offerings and affordable web hosting. But those are the only two features they have in common. These two registrars are more different from each other than you can imagine.
Namecheap is a leading domain registrar accredited by ICANN. The company was founded in 2000 and has developed a strong following ever since. Currently, Namecheap has a total of 7,927,926 domain names registered. Although Namecheap’s core business is domain registry services, it provides additional services including web hosting, email hosting, security and cloud-based services.
GoDaddy is the largest domain registrar currently available. In fact, the company has over 30 percent of the domain registry market share and a total of 59,605,374 domain names registered throughout the world. GoDaddy provides a wide array of services including email aliases, online marketing tools, search engine optimization, privacy protection, and subdomains.
Before we dig deeper and examine both registrars into detail, let’s first cover one important question – what should you look out for in a domain registrar?
What to Watch for in a Domain Registrar?
If this is your first time choosing a domain registrar, you may be wondering what the big deal is – it’s just a company that registers the website’s domain name. But what if something goes wrong and you need customer support? Or what if you’re buying a lot of domains and the prices start to add up? And are there other hidden features or benefits you aren’t considering?
That is why it is important to get acquainted with some desirable features each quality domain registration company should offer.
The first thing you should know about domain registrars is that every single service has access to the same domain names and URLs. This means that no company can provide you with better or different URL names than other companies.
Here is a list of features you should pay attention to as you search for the perfect domain registrar for your needs:
- Look for any additional or hidden fees, such as those associated with transferring your domain name.
- Go for a registrar with a history and reputation of providing quality services.
- Sign up for reasonably-priced services.
- The domain registrar should be accredited by the Internet Corporation for Assigned of Names and Numbers (ICANN).
- Easy domain transfer and forwarding services is very desirable.
- Service with 24/7 customer support is recommended.
- Search for registrars with private WhoIs registration.
- Research the manual and automatic renewal features.
When you start searching for a potential domain registrar, focus on your actual needs. Many registrars offer various specials and advanced features, so it’s easy to get distracted.
Competitive pricing should be another factor to take into consideration, but not the one that influences your final decision too much. You should choose a registrar that offers the features that suit your current needs.
Also, don’t forget to take a website hosting service into account. Many experts recommend you use a different domain registrar and website hosting service. If you decide to change to another website hosting service, having your domain name with the same registrar can complicate the matter. Ask the customer representative of your prospective domain registrars if switching your domain registry to another website host will cause any disruptions.
Before you make a final decision, don’t forget to ask yourself the following questions:
- What features are included in this domain registry package?
- Is the price competitive with other domain registrars?
- What features does the company offer (or that it doesn’t offer) as an excuse for the price difference?
- Has the company created processes that make it easy for you to manage your services without assistance?
Namecheap vs GoDaddy: A Detailed Comparison
Overall User Experience
Namecheap has a quick and seamless checkout process, and there are almost no upselling tactics that could disrupt your experience. Also, Namecheap comes with a good search engine that will provide you with useful domain name suggestions.
When you enter the site, you will be able to find your way around pretty easily. However, you’ll notice that Namecheap doesn’t have many bells and whistles like some of its competitors, including GoDaddy. The company doesn’t have telephone customer support, but their live chat feature is excellent and the team is very responsive.
If you’re interested in super-fast domain creation process, make sure to check Namecheap out.
As soon as you enter the GoDaddy website, you will be dazzled by the lively colors. At first glance, it seems that the registrar really has a lot to offer. However, the hustle and bustle associated with this website can be confusing.
GoDaddy is the epicenter of upsells. With every click you make, a new ad for a certain special feature will pop up. So, if you need to get a domain name quickly, the constant upsells will make the process a bit more difficult for you.
GoDaddy also offers a domain management feature. However, the domain manager opens in another window. This feature makes the user experience feel segmented and disjointed.
When it comes to customer support, GoDaddy offers both live chat and telephone support options.
If you’re interested in a domain registrar with lots of bells and whistles, make sure to check GoDaddy out.
If you’re not a tech-savvy person, domain names and hosting might seem like an advanced and complicated topic. That’s why every good domain registrar strives to be as approachable as possible and easy to grasp, even for users who are beginners.
Here is how Namecheap vs. GoDaddy compare here.
First, check out the following photo that shows how the domain management panel looks like at Namecheap. The company chose to display everything on a couple of tabs, while keeping the interface surprisingly understandable.
As you can see, GoDaddy opts for a “casualized” panel that doesn’t display the majority of available options on one screen, which is the case with Namecheap. Instead, GoDaddy has adopted a different approach and tries to guide the user every step of the way by showing them what’s possible with their domain names.
For example, if you click Use My Domain, the following page will show up.
This page is the entry point to building a new WordPress site using GoDaddy’s page builders. If you’re an advanced user, you can click on the small gear button displayed next to the original GoDaddy domain panel.
Deciding which service offers a better user panel actually depends on your personal preferences. Some people prefer to see all the available options right away, and, if you fall into this category, then Namecheap’s interface will suit you much better.
But if you’re more interested in a user panel that guides you through the process step by step, then GoDaddy is the better option for you.
Customer Support & Experience
When it comes to finding the best domain registrar and hosting service, customer support might not be on the top of your list of priorities. But what if something goes wrong or you need help setting up your website? A responsive team is definitely desirable in such situations!
We already mentioned that Namecheap offers only live chat service, whereas GoDaddy offers both chat and telephone service. When comparing Namecheap vs GoDaddy customer support, there is one significant difference – Namecheap support is always available, whereas GoDaddy has some limitations.
GoDaddy claims to have 24/7 customer support, but this information is a bit misleading. The company doesn’t offer ticket support at all, and chat support is only available Monday through Friday. Telephone support is available 24/7 in many countries, but in some it works only during specific hours. Make sure to check the Global Support page to find the hours for your country.
Another problematic issue is the waiting time. In some cases, customers stated that they had to wait for 75 minutes or longer to reach an agent via live chat. Also, the following error message is not uncommon.
So, not only is GoDaddy’s live chat limited in terms of working hours, but sometimes it may not work at all.
Namecheap outshines GoDaddy here. They offer 24/7 live chat support, and the waiting time is usually less than a minute. Also, you can use a ticketing system to resolve your issue.
The price often has the most significant impact on our decision-making process. Well, I have good news – you can find promo codes for both GoDaddy and Namecheap! Since both companies offer plenty of services and options, it would require a separate article to cover all of them. The best option is to check out each website and search for the service you need.
But we believe that an overview of the prices and comparison of a one-year renewal rate for a domain site can help you make up your mind.
Namecheap charges $8.88 for .com domains per year for renewals while GoDaddy features a one-year renewal at $17.99 for .com domains per year. The website often offers special deals and discounts that can help you save additional money.
The first and most obvious choice would be Namecheap, right? Well, only if you plan to run your website for more than 2 years. If that’s the case, then choose Namecheap as your domain registrar.
If you’re trying to claim a name fast and don’t mind transferring it later, then you may actually save a few bucks with GoDaddy.
It is important to point out that GoDaddy has a Domain Discount Club. It costs you $120 per year to join. But once you do, renewals will cost you only $8.29 per year and you’ll also be able to bid on auctions.
So, if you own hundreds of domains, GoDaddy Discount Club will help you save some money. But if you own fewer domains and you’re planning to run your website for a while, then Namecheap is the less expensive option.
Also, keep in mind that Namecheap and GoDaddy offer different prices depending on the domain type. Both domain registrars give you multiple year discounts on your domain names, and they both allow you to register a domain name for up to ten years.
DNS Management Interface
The DNS management interface is the section where you configure your domain name and make changes (such as routing your DNS to your hosting company, setting up your email, setting up any subdomains, etc.). Hopefully, you won’t be needing this page often, only when you want to reroute your DNS to your web host and set up any emails related to your domain.
Since the work you do here is very important, you don’t want to make any mistakes (or your site may go down). That’s why you should go for a domain registrar with a user-friendly interface. Let’s see how Namecheap vs GoDaddy stack up here.
Namecheap provides a streamlined DNS management interface and a pretty straightforward layout. The entire section is constructed in a way that minimizes the time it takes the user to quickly make changes and leave the site. Most importantly, the page is free from any clutter and unnecessary upsell offers.
GoDaddy’s DNS management is slightly different. It offers plenty of additional features in this section, which don’t add any value to the customer experience. For example, you may notice features on your DNS management interface that you did not purchase. Many of these extra settings are there as a way to upsell the company’s email/hosting/services.
Unfortunately, all these extra settings get in the way of functionality and slightly complicate the user experience. GoDaddy requires so many clicks to get to where you need to go – and the main Dashboard is just ads for more domain products.
The only good thing about GoDaddy’s complicated interface is that it is widely used by millions of people all over the world. So, if you ever need help, you’ll be able to easily find answers on the Internet or in GoDaddy’s knowledgebase.
Domain Name Extras
It is common for domain registrars to include some additional services and features in your subscription. After all, the competition is tough and every company needs to make sure that their product stands out from all the rest.
Both Namecheap and GoDaddy offer extras; some are free of charge, while others require extra payment.
Here are the extras that Namecheap offers:
- 100 percent free email forwarding services. One email account is free; every additional one costs $0.25 per month.
- Reliable DNS (no history of company being hacked).
- WhoIs privacy package is included free of charge; it protects user’s personal info when someone searches for the domain name registration details.
- Namecheap charges $3 for photo storage and limited hosting package.
- Free custom name servers.
- Hosting – from $9.88 for the first year.
- PositiveSSL – $1.99 for the first year.
- PremiumDNS – additional DNS uptime and DDoS protection that costs $4.88 a year.
If these offers sound like something you’re looking for, make sure to give Namecheap a try.
Here are the extras included in GoDaddy subscription:
- A limited hosted package and photo storage are free for 1 year.
- A mostly reliable DNS (but the site has been hacked before).
- Email is a part of an upsell package; email accounts cost from $4.49/month.
- Custom name servers and WhoIs guard ($7.99/year) are charged additionally.
- Managed WordPress hosting — from $6.99 a month. Standard hosting — from $4.99 a month.
- GoCentral Website Builder — free for the first month, then $14.99 a month.
- GoCentral Online Store — free for the first month, then $29 a month.
- SSL certificate — from $55.99 a year.
If these offers sound like something you’re looking for, make sure to give GoDaddy a try.
Depending on your plans for the domain, one of these offers may seem more appealing to you. For example, if you just want to test out a concept website and want to do so quickly and at a low cost, Namecheap is a better choice.
But if you want to get started with a WordPress project on a managed hosting account, then GoDaddy might be just what you need!
Namecheap vs GoDaddy: Pros & Cons
When searching for the right domain registrar, you should keep in mind that the perfect registry service does not exist. Every company has some good aspects, as well as some not-so-good ones.
Here are the pros and cons of using Namecheap vs GoDaddy.
- Good service and security features.
- ICANN Accreditation.
- Domains are simple to transfer.
- Minimal upsell tactics.
- Knowledgeable help desk.
- 24/7 customer support via live chat.
- Competitive price points for all services.
- Certain new domain extensions can be very expensive.
- No customer support by phone.
- Well-known, trusted brand in the domain name registry industry.
- It is easy to purchase and select a domain name.
- Website seems easy to navigate and clearly explains all the offerings,
- 24/7 customer support via telephone; live chat support is also available.
- A wide range of services with GoDaddyPro.
- Customer support representatives are helpful and knowledgeable.
- Accredited by ICANN.
- Checkout process can be slightly confusing.
- Domain manager is not integrated into same window as other features.
- Domain transfer process is difficult.
- Long customer support waiting times.
- Due to promotions and upsell tactics, there are a lot of pop-up specials on the screen. This can be annoying when you are trying to navigate quickly around the site.
Choosing a Domain Registrar FAQs
Should I protect my domain name?
A domain name can be a company’s or individual’s valuable asset. So, whether you’ve been using a domain name for years or you’re looking to acquire one, you should make sure to protect it. That way, you won’t lose your domain or website due to oversight, deception or illegal activity.
Can you purchase a domain name forever?
Unfortunately, no. Domain name registration has to be done on a yearly basis. However, you can pre-pay for up to 10 years and ensure that the domain belongs to you for the next decade.
How do I know if a registrar is trustworthy?
Here are certain features that will help you recognize whether a domain registrar is trustworthy:
- The registrar is ICANN accredited.
- The pricing structure is displayed transparently.
- Users have full control over their domains.
- Customer support is quick and reliable.
- Trustworthy registrars often offer extra value-added services.
Final Word: Namecheap vs GoDaddy
Both Namecheap and GoDaddy are great domain registrar services in their own right. Both provide domain names at reasonable prices and come with decent security features, flexible domain management services, good customer support, and dynamic DNS performance. What is a great plus for both registrars is that they provide freebies for their subscribers.
But how can you decide which service is better for you? In our Namecheap vs GoDaddy review, we reviewed both services in detail, pointed out their pros and cons, and listed the prices, so you could decide which registrar is more suitable for your needs.
GoDaddy is a great fit for many people, especially those who are looking to buy many cheap domains upfront and prefer phone customer support.
GoDaddy is also an excellent choice for beginners who’d rather use friendly builder tools and don’t mind paying a bit more for that service. If this sounds like you, then make sure to grab your next domain from GoDaddy.
Namecheap is an excellent choice for those who want to build a website and run it for a long time and who are comfortable dealing with standard web forms and settings. Also, Namecheap is an excellent choice for those who already have a domain and are looking to switch providers, as the registrar makes it super easy to transfer domains.
Last but not least, Namecheap is a good choice for all those who want to test out a project/website for a cheap price. If you belong to any of these categories, then go and register your domain with Namecheap.