Wondering what company (and where) you should register your domain name with? Let us help you dive through the infinite online options. Before we go into who we think the best domain registrar is, we have explained what a domain name is, what a domain registrar is and what they actually do along with other important tips in your decision-making process.
What is a domain name?
Domain names make accessing websites easy. Without domain names, you would need to enter IP addresses to visit websites. An IP address is a long string of numbers identifying you and your device. A domain name allows websites to choose an easy to remember phrase or business name. For example zeldesigns.com.au.
What is a domain registrar?
Domain registrars are the companies responsible for registering and managing domain names for all websites around the world. While all domain name registrars are accredited by ICANN (a non-profit organization responsible for managing domain names), some are better than others.
What do domain registrars actually do?
Once you register a domain, it’s yours – it doesn’t matter which service you purchased it from. If a domain is available, you can usually buy it anywhere you’d like. However, some domain registrars offer services or advantages that others don’t
Factors to keep in mind when choosing a domain registrar
When you are choosing a domain registration service you need to keep a few things in mind. For example, do they offer free whois privacy protection, do you have the option to transfer a domain (many domain registrars put a domain lock on their customers) and do they offer the domain name extensions you need? Other important factors to keep in mind are:
- Good support:
At some point in time, you will need to get in touch with their support team. Looking for a domain registrar who offers 24/7 support and have various contact points is a great way to separate companies. Some companies only offer email support while others offer chat, email and phone support 24/7.
- Reliable network:
If you are relying on your domain registrar for DNS then you need to have a registrar with a reliable network. There is no point having a reliable web hosting company or website if your registrar network is down. If they are down, your DNS settings are not routing to your website. This means users will not be able to reach your website.
- Freedom to change suppliers:
Steer clear of the domain registrars who lock you in from transferring your domains away. You should have the freedom to move your domain name anywhere you want. On top of this, it should be an easy task to complete. Let’s not jump through hoops on this one!
- Free domain privacy protection
Find a registrar that offers free domain privacy protection with the purchase of your preferred domain. Some domain registrar service companies charge an additional fee to check your contact details off registration lists like whois.com. This is a huge point in our opinion. Hiding your contact details from public lists adds security benefits to your website like saving you from potential cyber attacks. If you choose a domain registrar that does not offer be sure to add domain privacy to your account. Thank us later.
- Management features & User friendly
An intuitive user or control panel is a great feature to have to help you manage your domain names. Some domain registrars charge for additional services. Steer clear of the companies who charge or make it difficult for you to change CNAME records, transfer your domain elsewhere and make any changes to the default settings.
The best domain registrars of 2023 for Australian Businesses
We understand it can be overwhelming when trying to find the right domain registrar to register your domain name. We want to make domain name registration an easy and straight forward process for you. So, if you need a domain for your business, we have selected these top performing companies to minimise your search.
Domain.com is a great option if you are looking for domain names only. It has an easy interface for users. Although if you are looking for a .com.au domain they are not the best priced option.
Best for keeping Australian-owned businesses going. VentraIp is a Melbourne based web hosting company with great products and pricing and even better customer support.
NameCheap is currently our go-to registrar. Whether you are looking for a top-level domain or a new ‘fancy’ extension you will be able to find well priced available domain names to register for your business. If you are looking for the best domain registrar with user-friendly control panel and great customer service, we recommend NameCheap.
Crazy domains is a great option for purchasing domain names. You can point your domain name to any hosting option you choose.
Siteground is a great option if you are looking to bundle your domain name and hosting into one package. They have created an easy to follow set up guide which makes it easier for you. Their hosting packages are great value as well.
6. Web Central
Web Central, previously known as Netregistry, is another great option for bundling your domain and hosting in one package. They don’t offer the same set-up wizard as Siteground but it is still a great option with plenty of good quality products.
How much does it cost to register a domain name in Australia?
Domain name prices will vary based on the type of domain extension and registrar you choose, but a typical domain should cost around $14.99-$21.99/ year. Because the industry has high competition and every registrar is vying for your business, most offer competitive prices for the first year to get you as a customer. The renewal prices are much higher, so keep this in mind when selecting your domain registrar.
Where can I get a domain name in Australia?
Most hosting providers offer domain registration as part of their service. This can be a convenient service especially when creating a brand new website hosting environment. Our favourite options for Australian domain name purchases are Crazy Domains and Siteground.
Do I need to have my hosting and domain name with the same company?
While most hosting providers offer domain registration, you do not need to have your domain name and hosting provider with the same company. In saying that, if they are with the same provider it is a convenient bonus when creating a completely new website & hosting environment. Although this can get trickier when you need to change hosting providers. If you purchase your domain name separately you can easily link them with domain name settings.
(Hint: our hosting and domain names are not with the same company).
Tips on how to choose the best domain registrar
Most domain name registrars offer huge discounts for the first pay period to entice you to be their customer. This seems to be a standard practice with most companies – even the best domain registrar is doing this. Price is important to most businesses. So, keep in mind the current and future prices when comparing.
- Domain transfer
Domain names can be moved from one domain registrar to another. This should be an easily available task to complete with all domain registrars but it seems that only the best domain registrar companies are offering. With that in mind, you wouldn’t usually need to transfer your domain name, but if you are unhappy with your domain registrar, then having this option easily accessible is essential.
- Domain expiry polices
Every domain name will have an expiry (unfortunately you can not buy one out right). Check a companies domain expiry policy prior to purchase. When a domain expires some of the bad domain registrars offer the domain name to the highest bidder straight away. The best domain registrar companies offer a grace period, even after the expiry. This is due to many factors but the number one (other than being graceful and good business tactics!) being an issue with someone’s automatic renewal.
Who is the best domain name registrar in Australia?
Our favourite options for Australian domain name purchases are Crazy Domains and Siteground. If you are purchasing your website hosting at the same time, VentraIp and Siteground are both great options. VentraIp is an Australian company, based in Melbourne and one of the best domain registration companies. Their support is second to none.
Is .com or com au better?
To gain access to a .com.au domain you need to have an Australian business number (ABN). This means you have credibility connected to Australia. So, if you are an Australian company you should aim for the .com.au. This does not mean you can’t use the dot com domain. It is advantageous to own domain names with your business name so no one else can purchase.
Can I buy a domain name forever?
Unfortunately you can not purchase a domain name forever. But, once you own a domain name, so long as you continue to renew it, then it will be yours for as long as you want. Renewal fees apply and vary depending on your registrar.
Why is domain renewal more expensive?
Many domain registrars offer heavy discounts for the first year to get your business. When it comes time for renewal, the price reverts back to the normal price. Most companies offer discounts on multiyear purchases. So, it is beneficial to purchase 2-3 years up front.
Can I move my domain name to a different company?
You certainly can! Just keep in mind that the transfer period varies. While the domain transfer process itself does not cause any downtime, it can happen after the transfer if the domain is using the default nameservers of your Registrar. It is important to find a domain registrar that also offer domain transfers with a user-friendly control panel. Some popular domain name registrars make it difficult to transfer domain names.
How can I get a free domain name?
Looking to get a free domain name? Check out hosting companies like BlueHost. Do we recommend choosing your domain registrar because they offer a domain name for free? Not particularly. Different domain registrar companies offer this deal as an incentive to get you to sign with them. They offer a free domain for the first year and then you start paying with your renewals. If you look at the bigger picture you are saving about $15-20 for the one-off payment. In doing this you could be forgoing valuable hosting requirements like speed, support and other important web hosting features.
In a nutshell, we do not recommend chasing this as your main point of decision making. If your preferred hosting company offers it, then it is an added bonus. Look for features like backups, 24/7 support, locally hosted and speed. We have discussed the best website hosting companies available to Australian companies in a recent blog post.
What happens if my domain is taken?
If the domain name you want is already taken, most domain registrars will offer a backorder service. This means, if the current owner does not renew the domain name, it will become available to the public. If you have registered a backorder on a domain, the service provider will attempt to purchase the domain on your behalf.
What do you need to register a domain name in Australia?
To register your domain name in Australia you will need:
- a unique web address (keep it easy and relevant to your business)
- an Australian Business Number (ABN) or Australian Company Number (ACN)*
- payment details
- business details
- contact details
- a reputable domain name registrar – like the best domain registrar we list below.
* You only need your ACN or ABN if you want a domain name that ends with ‘.au’
Do I need an ABN to get a domain name?
Not all domain name options are equal. There are different types of requirements for domain names.
A large portion of Australian businesses use .com.au domains. If you want to buy a .com.au, .net.au or .au domain, you will need to be a commercial entity and have either an Australian Business Number (ABN) or Australian Company Number (ACN).
Our top 5 best domain registrars in Australia
Summary: Best Domain Registrar
To wrap up our decision on who the best domain name registrar is, we recommend either Crazy Domains or Siteground. Worthy alternatives are VentraIp, Web Central or your hosting company. So long as the interface is user-intuitive, the pricing is reasonable and they offer good support you are on the right track.
When looking for the right domain name for your website, keep in mind privacy protection. Top domain registrars like NameCheap offer free domain protection.
If you after a new domain purchase and would like to discuss your options before you select the right domain registrar, please contact us. We would love to give you feedback on your domain registrar.