6.0 Out Of 10
|Plans||Domains and Shared|
|Support||Chat, Phone & Knowledge Base|
|Uptime||Adequate (99.71% past 6 months)|
|No cost DNS|
|No cost domain privacy|
|Best for||Buy From A Reputable Source|
|Strengths||Domain registration for 100 years|
|Weaknesses||Hidden pricing & very expensive|
What is Network Solutions?
Network Solutions is one the oldest Internet companies that still exists. Although they are best known as domain registrars, Network Solutions also offers a complete range of business Internet solutions.
They were, in fact, the only company that was authorized to register domains from 1993 to 1999. Network Solutions was the only company that could register domains in the 1990s. Network Solutions has built a reputation for being “the Internet’s leading domain provider.”
Network Solutions is not my primary domain registry (which is Namecheap). However, I have had enough clients buy their domains from Network Solutions and I wanted to test them myself to see if they had any branding.
Here is my experience with Network Solutions and my review, with a focus upon their domain registration service.
A few things are important before we get into the pros and cons.
The Network Solutions primarily serves as a domain registry. Although they do offer hosting services, they mainly refer people to Web.com .
It’s important to note that a domain does not mean a website . It is not email or any other service. It is analogous to an address in the offline world. It helps people find your property. Domains simply tell browsers/email/etc which way to go to obtain whatever they want (website files and emails, images, data, etc.).
Setting up a website requires hosting, a website creator or an eCommerce provider.
Let’s now look at the pros and cons of Network Solutions as your domain registry.
Network Solutions Pricing
Register a Domain from Network Solutions
Network Solutions offers a unique feature: you can register domains for as long as 100 years. This means that you won’t have to worry about domain names expiring again.
You can also get discounts if you renew or register a domain name over multiple years. Even if you do this, the discounts won’t be as great as other domain registrars. For pricing that is much lower than Network Solutions, see my best Domain Registrars.
Network Solutions Alternatives
Network Solutions may be the oldest registrar today, but they’re not the only one. There are many choices. There are companies that register domain names, and then there is web hosting that offers a free domain name along with hosting.
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Network Solutions: The Pros
Here are my top Network Solutions experiences. My experience isn’t great, but it’s consistent with Network Solutions’ “Why Choose Us?” page. They give two reasons.
Branding and Longevity
Network Solutions is legitimately able to claim that it is decades older than its competitors. They were founded in 1979, and were actually the first and only company to register domains online for the general public.
Network Solutions is what my clients call it.
Network Solutions has seen a lot of changes on the Internet, but is still there.
While “branding and long-term success” may seem like an obvious reason to choose a domain registry, it is not.
Your domain, also known as your online address, is the core of your business. Your domain is the foundation of all your digital marketing efforts. It is not a good idea to leave it to an inexperienced company just because they are easier or cheaper to use.
It’s similar to choosing a bank. Their job #1 is to keep the bank in business and be around tomorrow. Network Solutions is different from most Internet companies. They have been around for decades and are a well-known brand that will likely continue to be so.
It’s a marketing ploy, but I don’t know if this is true. However, they are the only registrar I’ve seen that offers a 100-year registration at checkout (even though it’s prohibited by ICANN).
Customer Service Options
As I mentioned in my best registrar reviews, customer service is an important factor for any company. However, it can be difficult to judge.
When customers are able to get along with each other, or just a little bit of frustration, customer ratings tend to shift toward the extremes. One person’s experience can be very constructive. Only the company knows its internal culture.
Instead, I look at indicators that show whether customer service is an investment, a cost or a sales opportunity. These indicators include the number of service channels, investment in DIY help articles, and other indicators.
Network Solutions excels at both. They offer a phone option, as well as email and chat, which is a departure from many domain registrars such Namecheap and GoDaddy.
You can even set up an appointment to have them call you, so you don’t have to wait on the phone/chat.
Although reps may ask light questions in order to find a sale opportunity, those I spoke with had a simple script to assist me.
However, they only have a limited knowledge base. In fact, they redirect many search queries to Web.com. Even though there was a help page, I couldn’t find the answer to my problem.
I consider their customer service to be an advantage in Network Solutions.
Cons of Network Solutions
Here are the drawbacks I discovered when using Network Solutions.
Network Solutions Domain Pricing
Domain pricing is generally straightforward for all providers. A single domain registration costs you annually. Some companies will offer discounts for the first year (e.g. GoDaddy), while others will offer lower prices over time (e.g. Namecheap).
Network Solutions is in the GoDaddy category, but it’s much more expensive short-term than at renewal.
Like – a lot more expensive.
Network Solutions will typically offer a standard domain name for $20.00/year for the first year . They’ll renew it at $37.99/year.
This is why GoDaddy often sets first-year prices. .com At Less than $1.99/yr You can renew your membership at $14.99/year. Namecheap’s flat-rate price is $10.29/year For.com, there are occasional discounts
Network Solutions is a high-priced domain provider, but it’s worth the investment.
Pricing is just one aspect. Network Solutions kept me surprised with the fees they charge for add-ons or services that were either included, free or very cheap compared to other companies.
To illustrate, I thought that by registering my domain I would be able to redirect where I want – this is what I get from other providers. Network Solutions charges for this feature.
WHOIS privacy, also known as Private Registration, allows you to conceal your address and telephone number from public records. Hover and Google Domains bundle this information into the cost of a domain. Namecheap and GoDaddy charge a few dollars each year to provide the service.
Network Solutions charges several dollars per month to provide this service.
Network Solutions couldn’t even get my domain’s price correct. I was given one price throughout the checkout. When I was ready to pay, however, the screen refreshed to inform me that the price was invalid and had raised my cost by $7.
Network Solutions’ checkout process and product setup are riddled with surprises fees and asterisks.
While I don’t object to promotional pricing or fees for valuable services, I want the fees to be clear and reasonable. Network Solutions is seriously failing on this front.
It’s not always a good thing to have upsells. If I find a service valuable or useful, then I would like to hear about it. It’s easier to buy everything in one purchase than to order a set of items individually if I remember the details.
There is a clear line between a “Hey! Would you also like this?” and “Hey! We put this in our cart and you can’t take it out until later” or “Hey! You’d love this so have a peek before you can manage your account.”
Below are some screenshots taken from Network Solutions’ checkout process…
You can even access a “Daily Recommendation” screen by logging into your account after you have purchased an upsell.
It can be exhausting after a while and definitely a disadvantage.
Interface and Usability
Domain registrars don’t need many features. Sometimes, even a lack of features can be beneficial. Domain registrars should be easy to use and have a user-friendly design.
You won’t want to have to manage your domains very often. However, when you do need it, it should be quick and easy.
Network Solutions’ backend makes managing domains easy and fast. This is how it looks –
It’s not too harsh to say that it’s just an assortment of upsells with a small link to domain management. Every action on a domain is its own screen, even when you’re viewing it.
You can’t do any action in less than four clicks. It would be terrible if I were to migrate a website.
Network Solutions’ usability is a major disadvantage, especially in comparison to minimalist design competitors such as Namecheap or Google Domains.
Although I mentioned features in surprise fees, I must emphasize that Network Solutions doesn’t include basic features other domain providers offer.
Network Solutions charges a fee to forward domains. They also do not support forwarding to HTTPS addresses.
It is extremely restrictive to not be able to forward to an HTTPS address in a world where the majority of websites are moving to HTTPS. Network Solutions touts this upsell as a great opportunity.
They also don’t have email forwarding, and they bury all advanced DNS functionality. Although these are features many website owners won’t use, the fact they aren’t available is a problem. Network Solutions doesn’t want to have to move your domain to get an advanced feature you don’t need.
Domain registrars need to have a simple feature set. Network Solutions’ problem is that their feature set isn’t up-to-date or focused on users.
Network Solutions may be a good fit. You can obtain a domain from them.
There are better options, with better branding and support.
Namecheap is a great company that offers many options and low prices.
You can get a domain for as low as $0, with phone support, if you don’t mind waiting, then you should go to a GoDaddy special.
Finally, you can check out my guide to the best domain registrations.