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What are good and reliable domain name registrars that you can recommend?

Ideally, it should have some support for dynamic DNS, domain privacy, and have IPv6 as first class citizen in their web-UI.

Given the recent developments around Namecheap, I started thinking about having backup options in case my country gets on a banned list eventually.

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    I use https://gandi.net Never had a problem.

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      I stopped using Gandi after their unprofessional response to their data loss incident in 2020: https://imgur.com/s3R1VVc

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        Yikes, that’s not a good look

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          I’ve personally experienced GANDI becoming surreally rude and unhelpful when they’ve made a mistake.

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          I still use Gandi for domain name, but moved away from using their web hosting service after the data loss incident few years ago.

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            I love gandi, and use them for all my domains, but their lack of transfer lock for .fr for individuals, while they support it for their enterprise customers is a shame for a French company. (Even OVH, from which I moved away 5 years ago supported transfer lock for .fr for all customers)

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              I also use them but I’m a bit scared by the fact that their DNS API has no fine-grained access control. I can’t give an ACME client the ability to create the required TXT records for a specific domain, I have to give it the ability to modify any DNS records for any domain that I own.

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              Seconded.

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              Unrelated, but I think that one should be less concerned about registrars and more about TLDs operators.

              For example in my case (I have personal domains with .com, .fr, .org and .de):

              • Milka contre Kraft Foods: Kraft Foods (now Mondelez, owner of the “Milka” chocolate brand) sued Milka Budimir which was offered milka.fr as a Chrismas present by her children in 2001. The french court ordered her in 2005 to give milka.fr to Kraft Food.
              • Seizure of Megaupload: The US government just seized Megaupload.com since they could not seize the servers in Hong Kong.
              • technische Panne bei der DENIC eG: DENIC had a 1 hour outage which affected multiple millions of domains in 2010.
              • Ethos Capital to Acquire Public Interest Registry from the Internet Society in 2019 .org was almost sold to Ethos Capital, a shell company, with little to no transparency. Thanks to the uproar of netizens, EFF, and other organizations, the move was blocked by ICANN.
              • I could go on and on…
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                I would like to nominate .io as a possible candidate for the worst.

                It is disappointing on multiple levels that so many tech companies buy .io domains. The ethical disappointment is that the name is stolen from a group of displaced people whom the UK (absolutely royally) fucked over. The technical disappointment is that the .io registrar is clownshoes and has had years where they struggled or failed to hit 3 nines of uptime, let alone the 5 nines that tech companies like to fantasise about hitting.

                In international political terms, .io used to be beholden to the UK. I believe now it is effectively beholden to the US since it got sold to a US based company.

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                  Are there recommendations for good TLD operators?

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                    TLDs are highly centralised, many are government related, I am not aware of a good one. Three years ago, I would have told you “.org”, but after the Ethos Capital move, I wouldn’t be able to answer your question today.

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                  I personally use Porkbun, the issue with it is it doesn’t have some domains services like Namecheap, Google Domains, and others have. If you use cloudflare for a lot of services you can transfer domains you bought elsewhere to them via their registrar product. Otherwise I just recommend finding one you’re comfortable with, and provides the TLDs that you need/want.

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                    Porkbun won me over when I selected “New Zealand” in the “Country” dropdown on their sign-up form :)

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                      Is it common for companies to not recognize New Zealand as a country?

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                        Sorry, no, it’s not that people don’t know NZ is a country - it’s the little message that Porkbun shows under the dropdown if you select New Zealand as an option :)

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                          Ah! Ok I see it now :D

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                      I also use Porkbun. Phenomenal customer support, good prices too.

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                        Same issues with https://porkbun.com, using https://namecheap.com until more TLDs are available. Would also switch to https://gandi.net tho.

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                        I use https://joker.com/ but mainly because they have been extremely reliable and I don’t want the effort of moving.

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                          This is the first im hearing of Joker, how long have they been around?

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                            Over 20 years and I’ve been using them for about 16

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                              Huh, i’ll definitely check them out next time I plan on buying a domain.

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                            Just want to +1 this. I’ve used Joker for personal domains going back at least 15 years and have had zero problems with ~25+ domains over that time. Domain registration isn’t something I’m very price-sensitive about – see 25-ish domains managed in >10 years – so I haven’t really tracked how competitive they are there, but for the basics (search, register, renew, delegate DNS to my cloud provider) I’ve had no reason to look around.

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                              I stuck with them through the price increases of the zeros because they are very simple and (not coincidentally?) very reliable – and everyone else’s prices caught up anyway.

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                              First you maybe don’t realize that domain name registration and DNS are not the same thing. I say this because your title talks about domain name registrars and your body text talks solely about DNS providers.

                              They are totally different things. A Domain Registration is an entry into a database that says “example.com” is being answered by these 2+ DNS servers.

                              DNS servers then handle the conversion from example.com to IP addresses.

                              Domain Registrars typically offer both things, but there is no need for them to, it just makes good business sense to do so.

                              All of that said, I support what @popey said, and like Gandi.net.

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                                Thanks, I fixed the body text. I meant the domain registrars, but it’s so tempting to write the shorter form “dns provider”.

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                                Surprised not to see nearlyfreespeech brought up yet! They’ve been around a while and I’ve found it to be no-nonsense and reliable. I don’t use them for hosting but I’ve used them for DNS registration, DNS hosting and used them to delegate to my own authoritative nameservers.

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                                  I’ve used them for hosting and that was totally solid too. Great provider.

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                                    Indeed, I use them as well for registration, it’s all very simple and just works.

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                                      Yup, been using NFSN for hosting and DNS registration for almost a decade. Happy customer.

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                                      Cloudflare Registrar has zero markups and excellent DNS management.

                                      https://www.cloudflare.com/products/registrar/

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                                        https://dnsimple.com

                                        Though their pricing has been changing around, so I’m not sure it’s a good deal anymore. I’m grandfathered.

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                                          I actually just moved away from them because of pricing – didn’t like that you had to pay a monthly/yearly fee in addition to the cost of the domains themselves. Otherwise they were solid though.

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                                            Who did you move to?

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                                          https://njal.la is good

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                                            I’m intrigued. Totally anonymous providers are vanishingly rare. Even NearlyFreeSpeech.net doesn’t do anonymous.

                                            This was curious though, from https://njal.la/blog/opening/

                                            As long as you keep within the boundaries of reasonable law and you’re not a right-wing extremist, we’re for promoting your freedom of speech, your political weird thinking, your kinky forums and whatever. Even Trump is welcome.

                                            🤔. If you need anonymous hosting and aren’t a right wing extremist I guess it’s a good pitch. I think I’ll stick with https://www.nearlyfreespeech.net/about/faq#TheLongGame as my favorite principled though, where you can’t be anonymous but you can say whatever you want (as long as it’s legal).

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                                              Seconded. Used it for a couple of years now. Simple, works well, and is privacy focused.

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                                                Absolutely. I’ve used a good number of providers, and they’re by far the best in my experience.

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                                                Google provides quite reliable registrar services. As does Cloudflare. Cloudflare supposedly operates on 0 profit margin. But there are valid reasons to not use Google or Cloudflare as your registrar.

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                                                  What recent developments happened with Namecheap?

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                                                    Namecheap is largely a Ukrainian company (by employee count), and made the decision to cease doing business with russian customers/require existing russian customers to transfer their domains away within a week.

                                                    You can find a long thread on HN.

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                                                    I use AWS route53. They work together with gandi.net for the registration process.

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                                                      Same thing, moved all from hover and godaddy and never looked back. Also makes a lot of sense for me as I do a lot of stuff on aws, to manage dns in there as well. And R53 is a really cool service.

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                                                      I don’t think there are any angels in the domain registrar world. It’s an unneccessary layer of resellers making a lot of money by making API calls to the actual domain registers. That said, I would second Gandi as not being particularly exploitative and tangilbly supporting FOSS.

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                                                        Feel free to get accredited to the ICANN and to the registries of your choice then, but don’t underestimate the work done by registrars. From the top of my head:

                                                        • whois server
                                                        • contact validation and control (WDRP)
                                                        • sometimes full contact management (Verisign)
                                                        • lifecycle management
                                                        • fraud detection
                                                        • dispute management (UDRP)
                                                        • the APIs of the registries suck, there’s the EPP standard (XML over TCP) but the E means « extensible », and registries extend EPP a lot in non standard, sometimes undocumented ways

                                                        I work for a registrar, and it’s definitely not easy.

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                                                          You seem to have largely listed the activities of registries, not registrars.

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                                                            You would think so, but no. Registries love to delegate what should be their job to the registrars.

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                                                        I’ve been quite content with Namecheap. I don’t know if they support open standards and such as much as they did when I signed up, but they work well and do what I need them to.

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                                                          I use EasyDNS. The key differentiator with them IMO is superlative customer service.

                                                          As an example, back when ipv6 was first starting to drop from residential ISPs I tried to set my hobby domain up with the appropriate v6 flavored records for mail and botched it pretty hard. Their customer service folks helped me not just get back up and running but also understand what I did wrong and how to fix it.

                                                          That’s worth the small incremental extra $$$ IMO, but obviously YMMV. Gandi is definitely cheaper.

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                                                            I use Hover, and it’s fine. In that, I mean, the UX is good, it is affordable, and I have never noticed any problems with the service. Of course, my needs are very limited, mostly just a few custom domains that redirect to Fastmail.

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                                                              INWX GmbH has been awesome for me, for about 10 years. It’s the only registrar I’ve found that exposes their API interactions with the TLD registries on the back end, and they do so in nearly real time. On the support side, they have people capable of patient technical conversations and navigating subtle or tricky problems.

                                                              Most registrars think they’re in an easy rent-seeking business, and customers are nominally happy because the window dressing is nice and nothing ever goes wrong. But one day you have an urgent delegation change that’s not going through, or some weird glue record conflict, or an unauthorized transfer, and lo and behold you find yourself wishing that your registrar could behave like a competent fiduciary.

                                                              INWX is the first registrar that stopped me looking for another one.

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                                                                I use Hetzner (DNS, Domain Robot) as it also offers an API and CLI tools. Definitely recommended.

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                                                                  What about infomaniak (since you’re based in CH) ?

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                                                                    I was not aware they exist :) I’m definitely looking into them as they seems to offer all TLDs I’m interested in, and I like the option to pay for many years in advance. Thanks for the recommendation.

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                                                                    I switched from Gandi to NameSilo when Gandi fucked up their site, then NameSilo fucked up theirs! At least the management UI hasn’t been ruined yet, and they are cheaper. The old domain search page is still accessible at https://www.namesilo.com/domain_results.php if you type your search into the bottom search bar instead of the top one.

                                                                    I was originally wanted to use SDF but they didn’t respond when I emailed my transfer code :(

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                                                                      I’ve been using Hover for years and like it. They’re not the cheapest or most featureful, but the service works and isn’t stupid. Their DNS is good. One drawback is they don’t support dynamic DNS updates but there’s a bunch of third party scripts that seem to work fine, at least for light use.

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                                                                        I use namecheap, and just today I had a super fast support response.

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                                                                          I use cloudflare, regardless of whether I end up using their services, they offer nice DNS management APIs and provide you domain names at cost

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                                                                            I second the porkbun recommendation. Also hear good things about joker.

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                                                                              If you have API access to your dns records, the you can have ACMEv2 domains, which means wildcard domains. Maybe this list (of the acme client of my choice) helps a little bit. https://go-acme.github.io/lego/dns/

                                                                              As every fey weeks someone comes up with another idea which needs custom DNS records, you should be able to implement freestyle records with yout provider. You should also be able to pick a very short TTL, especially on your playground domain.

                                                                              I’m currently switching to hosting.de, as I am german and they are german, service has been good whenever I needed it.

                                                                              Caution: in Germany, the registrar renews your domains on behalf of you and sends out invoices and debits your card or account, in much of the world it is different: you have to renew you domain every year, or it is lost.

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                                                                                I use https://www.blacknight.com/ because I’m Irish, and like to support a “local” business. (Local in quotes because I don’t live in Ireland anymore :p) Quite happy with them so far.

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                                                                                  For dynamic DNS I use dyndns.org, but they seem to have difficulty providing an updater for my OS. Anyone have any suggestions for a replacement?

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                                                                                    I left Dyn in 2013 and am using FreeDNS since then: https://freedns.afraid.org/

                                                                                    1. 1

                                                                                      Thank you

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                                                                                      Hurricane Electric actually provides free DNS hosting (dns.he.net), with a very simple https API for dynamic DNS.

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                                                                                      iwantmyname has been good to me

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                                                                                        I like https://glauca.digital/ , they offer DNS servers as well, I think you should be able to do dynamic DNS via their API, but haven’t tried myself.

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                                                                                          I’ve had great experiences with https://www.simply.com/en/

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                                                                                            I used to use Gandi, but then they FUBARd themselves, so I found Uniregistry which was great… until GoDaddy bought them. To be fair, they didn’t destroy them yet, but it’s only a matter of time.

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                                                                                              I use Google Domains, no need for an extra account and secured through my Google account

                                                                                              I sometimes subscribe to Google Workspace and most of the times I change the nameservers to Cloudflare

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                                                                                                I use OVH for domains since 2011 and not had any problems with them. Switching to them allowed me to save a few bucks too. Not sure about explicit dynamic DNS support, though.

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                                                                                                  I use a nearlyfreespeech.net for many of my domains, and namecheap for most of the rest. What are the recent developments around namecheap?

                                                                                                  (Nearlyfreespeech is great, but I expect that they have to abide by any exclusionary lists that namecheap does…)

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                                                                                                    Namecheap has informed customers registered in Russia that they will have to transfer their domains from Namecheap within 1 week.

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                                                                                                    https://www.mythic-beasts.com/

                                                                                                    Their support is excellent