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The Real Price of a Cheap Domain Name

Hover on October 11, 2016
Empty pockets? You need a cheap domain name

There’s nothing quite like finding a great deal, and domain names are no exception. After all, the domain name will be exactly the same regardless of where you register it — so why not pay less for it? Many registrars will offer limited time sales for cheap domain name for as low as $0.99, which seems like a no-brainer…until you go through the checkout process and see what that practically free domain name really costs. In many cases, this will end up being much higher than a regularly priced domain name at another domain provider.

The Hidden Costs of a Cheap Domain Name

Here’s a list of commonly-used tactics to watched out for to make sure you’re truly paying the best price for domain names.

High Renewal Cost

Your domain may be on sale right now, but it won’t always be. Look at how much it will cost to keep your domain past your first year of registration and compare this cost with other registrars. In the long run, it may make more sense to pay more in your first year and save much more in the long run.

Long Registration Term

Even if you’re a savvy shopper and planning on transferring to a different registrar that has a sale when it comes time to renew your domain, pay attention to how long you need to register the domain for to get the sale price. Some registrars will lock you in for two or more years, and the price of your second year can skyrocket in order for the registrar to recoup the cost of your first year’s discount price.

Charging for WHOIS Privacy Services

When a domain name is registered, its owner’s contact information is published in the online WHOIS database. WHOIS Privacy keeps your information hidden, protecting you from hackers and spammers who often use the WHOIS database to target unsuspecting domain owners.

Some registrars will charge upwards of $10-20/year for WHOIS Privacy. Others may offer it free for your first year of registration, after which they will begin charging for any subsequent years. This is typically the most overlooked fee involved with domain registration, so make sure your registrar charges a reasonable price for domain privacy (or, in Hover’s case, offers free WHOIS privacy).

Many Upsells

Shopping at a domain registrar can be like shopping at a grocery store: you go in just to grab some milk and end up spending $50 on chips, ice cream, apples (to offset the previous add-ons) and other things you had no intention of buying when you walked in.

Domain names are often used as an opportunity to upsell customers on additional items like website builders and hosting. They’ll list the domain names for cheap, but you will “pay” by getting a cluttered experience with annoying upsells for additional services that you may not want or need.

“Premium” Support

Mistakes can happen, and when they do you want to make sure your website or domain email address have as little downtime as possible. Some registrars will charge additional fees to speak with their support team, so make sure that your cheap domain name includes access to your registrar’s support (or, more importantly, that they offer it at all).

Key Takeaway: Think Long-Term

If you’re planning on having your domain name for a while, it’s important to consider the many other factors involved with your domain besides its initial price. By taking the above tactics into account, you’ll be able to make an informed decision that will ensure you’ll be just as happy with your domain name in the future as you were when you first registered it.