Namecheap is the most popular domain name registrar on the Internet. Google Domains is the second. I have written about Google Domains as well as . I also compared Namecheap with GoDaddy, their other major competitor. How do they compare?
Domain registrars are an industry that is unique. There is little scope for Registrars to offer different products, as ICANN issues all domain names. You only need a domain you can associate with the server where your data resides.
However, not all domain registrations are created equal (which is why I am guessing you are reading this post). I have tried many and had every problem possible. Namecheap, Google and others are two great examples of domain registration methods that can be used in a variety of ways.
Google Domains was my first customer back in the launch of their products. I have been a customer since then, with Namecheap going up to 10 years.
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Company structure is crucial for long-term projects. A publicly traded company will offer different incentives to an investor-funded startup than one that is privately funded. A product that makes a direct profit will be treated differently from a product that adds to a company’s main profit center.
Google and Namecheap both have a strong reputation, but they are quite different when it comes to domains.
Namecheap, a privately held company, answers to its founders and investors. Namecheap is a web service company that was founded in 1999 as a domain name registrar (Namecheap). Although they offer a wide range of products, including hosting and logo makers to SEOs, domain names remain their core product.
Namecheap wants to encourage you to purchase a domain. They know that once you have bought, you will likely buy more stuff, and stay with them. Namecheap has always stood for customer service, the Open Web’s values, and led the fight against surveillance, domain monopolies and other privacy initiatives.
Google is an advertising company. Google makes its money by selling highly targeted ads that are based on data no one else has. Domains are their “thing” and not their domain. Google, however, is more concerned about your loyalty and data than any other company in the world. Google also needs websites to be available on the open Web.
Google’s biggest loss is if you run your business on Facebook and Instagram, but never log into Google. Google recently started making money from Enterprise & Business Services via G Suite and Cloud. However, this is a compliment to their data needs.
Google requires that you buy a domain to ensure that you have at least one website you can index on Google and to which you will likely run ads. You might also be able to buy G Suite if you purchase a domain through Google.
The upside: Both of these companies offer great deals. Namecheap will offer crazy discounts to encourage you to purchase. For decades, they have maintained a remarkable permanent pricing. Google wants it all to be easy and simple.
The Downside.Namecheap wants to make a profit. They want you to stay and buy more products. Google isn’t sure if they are interested in domains. Google Domains has been through 5 years of “beta”. In other words, Google could still shut down the domain anytime without prior notice an ingrained habit of theirs).
The Alternatives: You might consider Hover, Porkbun or GoDaddy if you found those words to be too boring.
Hover, another private company that focuses on privacy, is similar to Namecheap. Porkbun , an independent company that focuses on design and customer support, is. GoDaddy offers bulk domain purchases and short-term discounts. Bluehost gives you a wide range of domains free with hosting.
Let’s take a look at the other factors that influence Google & Namecheap to see if you like what they have to offer.
Namecheap offers long-term pricing that is cheaper, as well as seasonal and short-term discounts (especially for non.com’s).
Register a Domain from Namecheap
Namecheap offers a variety of complementary products that can be used to cover domain name sales at low prices (e.g. they are often loss-leaders). Customers have the advantage of getting a domain name at a low price both when you buy it and when you renew it.
Namecheap wins in pricing. Namecheap’s renewal pricing is comparable to Google’s flat-rate pricing. Google’s flat rate pricing for renewal of.com domains is $0.90 less per year. If you only buy one or two domains, there is not much to worry about in comparison to other factors.
Google Domains charges a flat fee for domains without any discounts or promotions. Although their upfront and renewal prices are slightly higher than other domain registrars they are not excessively high. Pricing is straightforward and transparent.
Register a Domain from Google Domains
Since the ICANN domain name / extension gold rush, vanity top level domains have been more popular. A TLD cannot replace.com or.org , but if your industry is crowded, then a niche domain might be worth it.
However, you cannot buy one from every registrar.
Namecheap as well as Google both have extensive lists of common TLDs. Google is not able to match Namecheap’s sheer selection. Here’s Google –
Namecheap currently has 489 TLDs available, compared to Google’s only 332.
It isn’t a big issue, as you can check each one. However, if you plan on purchasing additional vanity domains or brand domains this is something you should consider.
It is unlikely that you will be actively managing domains every day. Domain management is, on the one hand, not very important. But, domain management is something you *really* have to do. Domain management is also very important.
Clear settings are essential. Good design is essential for interfaces.
Google Domains excels on this point almost to a fault.
Google Domains does not have any upsell, resell, push or sales options. The interface is simple. Google Material Design is used to design the product. It has simple interfaces and clear settings.
Namecheap, however, is a solid choice. Their domain management interface is very clean and features many upsells and classy ads. Their dashboard has not changed much in the past 5+ years but it has been perfect. Their Dashboard allows me to quickly manage multiple domain settings (i.e. DNS settings) and there have never been any restrictions on domain transfers.
Google Domains is the best option if you manage many domains and don’t like upsells or clutter.
Customer support for domains. It is one of those things that you do not really need until you absolutely need it.
Google Domains offers some support in English and Spanish as well as French and Japanese. You can reach them by phone, chat, or email at any hour of the day. This is pretty standard support.
Namecheap is known for their excellent customer service. However, they only have limited support channels. Although they do not offer phone support, they have a vast knowledge base and fast chat and email support. Although I prefer this route, many customers prefer to have phone support.
It’s anecdotal, but Namecheap’s customer service has been great with all the usual chat and email issues. Google has been great, but they are still building their team. They only provided support during business hours in English, even though this was over a year ago. Porkbun is the place to go if you value high-touch customer service and phone support.
Domains can’t be used as a standalone product. Domains by themselves can only point to one thing.
Namecheap and Google offer the basic domain registrar features: WHOIS domain privacy, DNS records and domain forwarding. There are differences in the additional services options such as web hosting and SSL certificates.
I like the idea of purchasing domains from domain registrars and then buying complementary products (e.g. web hosting plan, email, site builder, storage, etc). It’s a way to save money and add diversity to my setups. For example, if company X is having problems, it’s much easier to move if company Y seems fine.
This setup can be a bit frustrating. It is not something I recommend. It’s not a good idea for anyone who wants a simple setup that includes hosting, email, domains, and other services.
Google Domains doesn’t really offer a lot of other Google products, just customer support. Google Domains can be integrated with Google Sites, Blogger and Google Suite (Google’s business email and storage products).
Google doesn’t offer traditional hosting , and its website builders do not exist.
Namecheap’s new focus is on their complementary products – Namecheap has many options for Namecheap Hosting (see Plans) from email hosting to logo makers, website builders and payment processing.
Namecheap is the best company for everything.
Google Domains is a solid choice if you’re looking for integration with email and the ability to integrate your domain with third-party services.
As I have said in my reviews and comparisons, there’s no “best” product. Based on your needs and preferences, there is only the best option for you.
Google Domains can be a great place to register a new domain or transfer an existing one. It also integrates with Google Workspace .
Namecheap offers a variety of products and discounts, including shared hosting and WordPress hosting.
If you are still unsure, read my top Domain Registrars.