Ten out of 10
Last updated: April 14, 2022
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What are Google Domains?
Google Domains is a domain registrar that Google owns and operates. The service was launched by Google in 2014. Google Domains has been removed from beta as of March 2022. Google is celebrating by offering 20% off any domain up to April 15, 2022.
An SEO consultant, I had to register a Google Domains domain the moment they launched in 2014. Since then, I have been a client of Google Domains.
Here is my experience (going on for over 7 years) as well as my complete Google Domains review, including pros and cons.
Two things are important before we get into the pros and cons of Google Domains.
Google Domains is a strictly domain registration service.
These domains allow you to claim, transfer, manage, and transfer domain names. Your domain can also resolve through their DNS servers.
Google doesn’t offer web hosting as a complementary service.
Google Sites has a basic website builder, but it is not sufficient for most users. You can also get email and business services via Google Workspace (read my explanation on pricing & plans). Google Workspace requires a custom domain to get started.
This point will be explored in greater detail below. However, it is important to understand the purpose of Google Domains.
These businesses want to make “getting online” easier and less intimidating for small businesses that are not tech-savvy. This means they need a domain name.
It also means that the process of obtaining a domain is as easy and transparent as possible.
It is important to understand that a domain does not necessarily mean a website.
It is not email, nor any other service that you can access online. Domain names are analogous to your physical address. They help people find your property.
A domain name tells the Internet service where it can get what it wants (website files and emails, images, videos, data, etc.).
You will still need something to host your website if you want to create a website. I’ve reviewed the various options for hosting your domain name. These are the options:
- Web hosting
- WordPress Hosting
- Web builders
- Hosting eCommerce
Let’s now look at the pros and cons of using Google Domains to register your domains.
Google Domains Pricing
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Alternative Google Domains
Google isn’t your only option to register your domain name. You can actually bundle your hosting with domain names and often get it free.
Register Your Domain for Free
Google does not offer web hosting if you want to create a site.
When you sign up for web hosting from the below providers, you can get a one-year free domain name. Here is a list I recommend:
- InMotion Hosting
This will definitely save you money over buying both your domain name AND hosting separately. You are required to either pay a cancellation fee or stay for a certain period of time in order to keep your domain name. This is usually a better deal than purchasing separately.
These alternatives to Google Domains are available if you’re looking to purchase a domain name or bulk buy.
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Google Domains: The Pros
Only domain registration
Google Domains promises simplicity and transparency. You’ll see it immediately with their homepage design and backend design.
It is so minimalistic that it almost seems blank.
There will be no upsells when you sign up for web hosting with Google
It features Google’s trademark design ethos (aka the almost blank Google Search Page). Google Domains is focused on one thing, domains.
All the information you need for domain management is right there. The main screen allows you to do everything from a domain transfer to editing your DNS settings/ DNS records, setting up domain forwarding, and even buying a new domain. It is easy to manage multiple domain options simultaneously.
It does not include any upsells or cross-sells and it is free of visual clutter. This design is refreshingly different from the usual direct response offers by most hosting and domain companies.
Retargeting ads will disappear once you have left the site. Facebook will only show you classy reminder ads. There are no offers, just simple reminder ads.
You can point your domain to a website builder or host from one place in your Google Domains account. The backend sidebar has only three options.
Google Domains’ interface has a refreshingly simple design. This is a refreshing change in an industry that sees many small business owners having to endure pop-ups and upsells as well as confusing backends.
Integration with Third-Party Services
Google Domains doesn’t offer web hosting or other complementary services, but it integrates well with other web applications.
It syncs with Google Workspace for email, storage, and records. Google also has one of the most reliable DNS servers in the world.
Many webmasters will actually use Google’s DNS instead of their domain registrar or hosting service. This is because it integrates well with Google Domains.
You can also use the Google Workspace integration to send emails. It’s easy to create a custom email address.
Google Domains integrates with a variety of website builders. These include:
This leads to the next benefit of simplicity overall.
Pointing your nameservers to a web host is easy if you’re setting up your website. It takes only one click.
It’s not just about one click. Advanced functions can be found and operated easily.
Google Domains makes it easy to unlock your domain. This is something that many domain name registrars find difficult. You can request a transfer authorization code from the domain settings. It is easy to update addresses.
It is easy to find your billing history. Google Domains works with your Google Account so it is easy to pay and keep your account active (it pulls information from your email address and Google Wallet).
Google Domains is simple and lives up to its promise.
Google Domains charges one price per top-level domain (TLD). The domain extension.com costs $12/year
They are not the most affordable long-term or short-term. Namecheap is a few dollars less expensive than theirs. They don’t often do promotions like GoDaddy.
Google Domains includes WHOIS Privacy Protection when you purchase a domain. WHOIS Protection protects your domain from spammers and other scrapers of public information.
Google Domains may not be the most affordable, but they offer solid total value pricing and are transparent about what you get.
Extensive Selection of Domain Extensions
The internet’s governing body, ICANN, introduced a number of top-level domains (TLDs) in 2014. The domain name market was once limited to.com and.net. There were also a few generics available as well as TLDs that were specific to each country.
More businesses are now looking for unique domain extensions options and TLDs, such as.academy or.kitchen among many others. It is important to make sure that your domain registrar holds all of the TLDs you are interested in.
Google Domains doesn’t have all TLDs in every country. It is a US-only service that has no “generic TLDs” (plus the.us TLD). You won’t be able to get a.ie domain in Ireland.
Cons of Google Domains
Google Domain’s pricing is simple and transparent, as I have already mentioned. They offer privacy and are less expensive than other web hosting companies that offer domain registration.
Google Domain’s pricing is higher than Namecheap and GoDaddy. They lose. Namecheap’s pricing structure is transparent and consistently cheaper for the long-term.
Namecheap has promotions that make them cheaper than Google Domains.
GoDaddy is actually more costly than Google Domains year-to-year. They also offer deep discounts for domains the first year (see their current promotion).
GoDaddy is a better choice if you’re looking to buy domains cheaply and quickly. Namecheap will continue to be the best long-term choice.
Inadequacy of customer service
Google Domain’s interface and product are designed to eliminate any customer support. However, stuff does happen. You need support when it happens.
Although I have only used Google Domain’s support support a few times it has been a frustrating experience. They seem to be fine. Their contact forms are hidden and their phone support options limited to US business hours. They offer chat, email and call-backs during off-hours.
Although support is not necessarily a problem, it’s still a reason to use Google Domains.
There are no complementary products
Google Domain’s sole focus on domains is a pro, but also a drawback.
There are many products that almost always work with domains. An SSL certificate will be required to secure your domain with SSL.
It is possible to buy it separately from third parties, but managing it with your domain is easier.
Although I prefer to keep my domains separate from hosting, many domain owners prefer that hosting and domains be combined into one (even though it may not be the best for performance).
Namecheap offers competitive hosting. GoDaddy provides basic hosting with domains. Many hosting companies offer domain registration or even free domains with web hosting purchases (such as InMotion Hosting and Bluehost).
Google Domains doesn’t offer these types of services. You won’t find this kind of integration and convenience with Google Domains.
Selecting Country and Specific TLDs
Google Domains offers a large selection of generic domains. However, they don’t support high-dollar domains or country-level domains like other domain registrars. They have approximately 300 TLDs as of 2022. For example,.fm can be used for podcasts.
Namecheap allows domain extensions to be made.
Preptual Google Beta
Google Domains is not the best choice for domain providers. This is due to the nature of Google and how it is managed.
The product has been removed from beta testing, or “beta”, as of March 20,22. It has been in Beta almost seven years.
Google claims that this is a long-term project, and it will be integrated with other products such as Google Workspace. However, Google has a history of closing down popular Google services.
Unfortunately, the list is quite long. They have also killed Google Reader and iGoogle as well as Google Apps for Team, Google Glass, and Google Apps For Teams. Google has made many changes to their local business product (aka Google Places and Google+ Local, Google MyBusiness etc.) and even Google+, their most prominent side project.
So, while Google Domains offers many benefits, domain names are not and will never be Google’s priority. Google Domains is always at risk of being shut down, even if they are doing well. You wouldn’t lose domain name if they shut down, but you would need to transition companies according to Google’s timeline.
Namecheap and other domain registration companies such as Hover, GoDaddy, Hover or others only offer domain name registration. They may go out of business but they won’t be shut down if they continue to make money.
Google Domains for SEO Reasons
Before I get into the next steps, let me briefly touch on some mythology about SEO (search engine optimization). There are three camps in the SEO world.
According to the first camp, Google is not trustworthy in its core. They claim that Google is inherently untrustworthy and you should not use its products. It’s all about outsmarting Google and tricking them.
The second camp claims that Google is SEO. They recommend that you use all of their products and follow every instruction. Google will always favor their products and will reward anyone who uses them. It’s all about cooperation and sucking up Google.
The third camp claims that none of the two previous camps is based on evidence or testing. All things SEO are dependent on your business. Don’t use Google products for businesses that don’t suit you. Focus on what works for you and your customers, regardless of the outcome.
I have not seen any evidence that Google Domains aids in SEO.
When you’re looking for a domain registrar, don’t fall for SEO fads. The internet is made up domain names. This is the only proven SEO truth. To build a long-term project, you will need a custom domain.
You should consider pricing, support, usability and convenience when choosing a registrar.
Use Promo Code DOMAINS20 to Get 20% off
If you are:
- Are you just looking to register some generic domains for your company?
- Transparency and simplicity are important to us.
- You don’t necessarily need to have a large product selection
- You don’t necessarily need a very competitive price point
- Google is a trustworthy company
Google Domains could be the right fit for you.
Namecheap is a great option if you’re looking for a company that offers a wide range of products and low prices, without upselling.
GoDaddy offers a special domain deal for those who just need a domain that is super cheap right now, but plan to transfer it out or delete it once they are done using it.
Finally, if you’re still confused, check out my top domain registrar listicle.