All domain name registrars serve the same basic function: they enable you to register domain names like yourbrand.com, myname.org or somethingcool.club.
But the similarities end there.
For ten years I did a survey of domain name owners for Domain Name Wire. One of the questions I asked people was to rank the importance of certain factors when choosing a domain name registrar.
Below let’s take a look at the four things that showed up at the top of my survey every single year.
Domain theft is rampant. Unscrupulous people will try to hack into your registrar account or get control of your email address. They can then hijack domain names and transfer them to other registrars. By the time you find out, it can be too late to get your domain name back (or it might require an expensive lawsuit).
That’s why security should be the first thing you look for when selecting a domain name registrar. Some registrars have good reputations for security while others are known as domain thieves’ best friends.
A key security feature to look for is two-factor authentication. Namecheap offers two-factor authentication as a free account option.
When two-factor authentication is turned on, Namecheap will send a secondary password to your mobile phone when you access your account. This means that a thief who learns your account password won’t be able to log into your account unless they also have your mobile phone.
How much is that domain name in the window?
Pricing is an important consideration when registering (and renewing) your domains, especially if you have a lot of them. The good news is, prices are usually easy to compare between registrars. If you buy a lot of domain names for your company, then a few dollars here or there can add up.
Also consider how much the domain registrar charges for add-on features like whois privacy, which can save you from getting spammed and robocalled all day long.
Namecheap offers free WhoisGuard on most new domains and transferred domains, with inexpensive renewals.
3. Customer Support
Customer support is something a lot of people don’t think about until they really need it. But think about the number of times you’ve need to submit a support ticket for an online service. Support is critical!
It can be difficult to figure out how good a company’s support is before you buy its service. Sometimes I send a quick question through a company’s support tools before making a purchase, just to see how quickly they respond.
Namecheap prides itself on its customer support, and offers both live chat support and an online ticketing system.
4. Account Management
Have you ever signed up for a service and then been baffled about how to use it? Having support nearby is handy, but a lot of times you can avoid needing extra help if the company does a good job designing its interface.
Is the domain management system easy to understand? Is it intuitive how you can make simple updates like changing your nameservers? Does it work well in your browser?
Namecheap offers a centralized Dashboard to manage domains, hosting, and other services, making it easy to check renewal dates and purchase new products.
Andrew Allemann is editor of Domain Name Wire, the longest-running blog covering the business of domain names. Domain Name Wire has covered the business of domain name investing for over ten years.