I've been buying domain names for a few years already and I hope I know something about that process. In the domain business the most important features are
- how quickly and easily you can book the domain name,
- how quickly they update the DNS,
- how easily you can sell or transfer domains.
I ordered a domain name 3 days ago at MyHosting.com. 3 days and the domain is still nowhere in sight. Not even in my Control panel. Answer - don't use myhosting.com for buying domain names. They say they have the cheapest domain names among competitors (currently less than $7), however they have a "renewal fee" which makes domains cost a few dollars more next year than the initial registration. I am talking about .com domain names.
I have been using 1and1.com for buying domain names. These guys really shine when you need to snatch a good name quickly and make your site up and running. It almost seems like they own one of the root DNS servers also, which brings DNS updates to a record setting 2 or 3 hours. They are not as good in hosting, especially in VPS. I will talk about this in my next post.
1and1 is also good for hosting private domains. You can't beat the price - private domain hosting is free at 1and1. I never owned any trademark domain names, so I don't know how friendly 1and1 is when it comes to ownership rights. I will appreciate if anyone can post a response here about this.
In regards to transferring domain names from 1and1, they have some issues here. First and the most annoying is that they charge you the full price of the domain again shortly after you transferred it to another provider. I've seen it several times on my domains and 1and1 billing department will not reply to your questions.
Second, their user interface is not user friendly and outright buggy when you need to change something in the domain properties. I get 'server error 500' on a regular basis when changing domain lock/unlock, contact info, and so on. I had to write to customer service and wait for 2 weeks until they fixed my domain transfer once. But again, if you need to snatch a domain name quickly - they are pretty good at that.
Spammy. That's the first word I would use to characterize their user interface. Another word would be Expensive. These guys make money on every single click you make with them. And most of the charges they do are recurring. They charge you for private registration, they charge you extra for renewal, they charge you for email address.
There are two things they've done right - their user interface works very well, however it appears to be really spammy with all those optional features they sell you all the time. In most places you don't have to opt-out of anything, but you have to watch them - they sometimes turn those options on and off.
Another good thing - they have domain auctions. This is what 1and1 lacks. 1and1 has Sedo service, but they are unusable for me, because they charge you $75 or more upfront for each listing. Godaddy charges you a couple of bucks a year for auction membership and that appears to include unlimited domain listings. I just listed two domain names for sale, the auction will end in about a month. I will post the update once I figure out if that worked for me.
I bought two domains from some guy who hosted them with Namecheap. It was more than 2 years ago and I can't recall the details, but I remember that transferring the domains to 1and1 was pretty easy. Please post some comments below if you know anything good or bad about namecheap.
And.. if you know any place where I can safely host domains and have the free or inexpensive private registration, please let me know also.