Gandi, one of the best hosts in Europe, has been bought by a not particularly great company (known for price gouging and bad customer service). All my domains are registered with Gandi, so I’m looking to move somewhere else, and I know I’m not the only one, and I have very little appetite for GoDaddy or 101domain or other lumbering dinosaurs who are just as bad as Gandi is probably now going to become. Since Google results for this sort of thing are mostly spam these days, I thought I’d ask here – I hope it’s not considered off topic to ask.
The following are all nice-to-haves for me personally:
I didn’t know that Gandi was bought, very sad news :(
If you are looking for a privacy focused domain registrar, check this list:
Larger list of EU-based registrars:
It is not based in the EU, but I like and use porkbun.
I’ve used porkbun for about 5 years now. Nothing to complain about. Decent UI, decent security, never had any availability issues. Possibly their best attribute: they have never sent me any promotional emails trying to convince me to buy more domains or services.
I’ve been a happy porkbun customer since 2019. I didn’t even think about the fact that they haven’t sent promotional emails trying to convince me to buy more. Thanks for pointing that out, I’m even more happy to recommend them to others.
I’m based in Canada and have been using Gandi for a while. The moment I sniff trouble from this takeover I think I’ll start the process of moving to Porkbun, great sales pitches on that site.
Just moved a few domains to porkbun, quite easy to use but still has all the features you might expect.
I’ve also been using porkbun for all my domains starting a few years ago, haven’t had any issues.
Huge +1 for porkbun, love the no-frills UI.
+1 for porkbun, i’ve been using them for a year or so and they’ve worked wonderfully for me
I have been using Hetzner for years. They are situated in Germany and you can register domains there two ways: Either via KonsoleH or Domain Robot, where the latter offers great prices. Their customer service is also unmatched.
They still require paperwork (as in: real paper, signatures, stamps, faxes) when you want to be able to register domains with them. German bureaucracy is improving rather slowly. In neighboring Poland this is not the case since 2002.
They only require that for the Domain Robot (and for good reason), not with KonsoleH
(I’m not affiliated and I don’t own any stock of the following companies)
Historically in France, in the nerd/FLOSS community, the main competitor of Gandi has always been Bookmyname.com. They’re owned by Illiad (which is the group behind French ISP called “Free”, and Scaleway, they are also popular in the french nerd/FLOSS community.)
I’ve never used Bookmyname.com, but I use to have my domains with OVH before transferring them to Gandi. I transferred them because I didn’t want my domains to be lost in case any abuse was reported on my VPS at OVH. It was okay, they had more features than Gandi (= registrar lock on .fr) OVH also supports security keys for 2-factor-auth, they have a shit-ton of TLDs, and the prices are cheaper than Gandi. They’re historically the choice over Scaleway (previously known as “Dedibox”) in the french nerd/FLOSS community.
In Germany, I’ve seen most people just use ionos.
love the bookmyname.com website; namesilo’s used to be kind of like that but they started wrecking it a few years ago.
Since no-one’s mentioned it, I’ve used DNSimple exclusively for my own stuff since maybe 10 years and they tick all your boxes except EU based, and in particular the last one. They provide an API and the UI hits the right spot for me: clean, simple, but helpful. (Not affiliated in any way.)
+1 for DNSimple. I’ve been using them for years, easy to use, transparent pricing, developer focused.
IIRC a lot of the DNSimple team is EU based.
Not exactly EU, but I used Norway-based Domeneshop (https://domene.shop); they have a fair range of TLDs (but nothing too exotic), and their webinterface does what it’s supposed to do. They offer registrary-only, registrar+DNS+DNSSEC, secondary DNS, to full webhosting and e-mail packages.
My impression is that it’s just a couple of passionate people, but they’ve managed to become Norway’s #1 registrar.
I can vouch for this one. I’ve had my domains with these guys for years.
The only lacking is a proper API and clients. But you can easily solve this by using a different NS.
They’ve started with APIs in recent years. It’s not in v1 yet, but here is some documentation.
Yes. I’m aware. :) Waiting eagerly for v1.
But, thanks for posting it so others can see it.
I use https://www.mythic-beasts.com/
They are based near me in Cambridge, UK. They host the Raspberry Pi websites, and are the registrar for Cambridge University’s miscellaneous domains. (I used to be
Also a happy mythic beasts customer.
I recently looked into it for the same reasons, and if you’re looking for a really no-frills registrar with a world-class security team (which was my priority) it looks like AWS Route53 Domains is really the only choice. The other option would be Google Domains, but I don’t trust their account closure policies.
The list of TLDs they support has grown significantly, and they have everything I own but Google’s
The UI is not particularly friendly, being the AWS console, but I use dnscontrol anyway.
My bias here is that I generally trust a large business with serious customers that have confidentiality demands like AWS more than small businesses that market themselves as “privacy first” (with few exceptions).
Interestingly, it looks like AWS isn’t actually a registrar and themselves use Gandi (amongst others) for domain registration: https://aws.amazon.com/route53/domain-registration-agreement/ §2.1.
I’m using INWX and they have been great so far. It’s based in Germany.
I use them as well. Zero complaints from me so far, Just Works for what I need.
I can also recommend them. Easy to forget how many domains you have with them because everything just works.
Seconded. Have been using them for >10 years. The one time I contacted support they also responded quickly (surprisingly after hours) and were helpful.
I’m considering them. I couldn’t find whether they support security key for second factor authentication.
Just checked, they support a “mobile tan” and since they provide links e.g. to google authenticator I assume that those are TOTP tokens or similar. The description text also mentions a code that is only available for a short time.
It is TOTP. If you want to use their API and have 2FA enabled you need to submit a TOTP code when logging in with that too, there’s no other way.
Neither are EU based, but my personal experience in case it’s useful for others in this thread:
For a while I was happy with Google Domains, mainly because they included fairly reliable email forwarding. Recently I’ve run into some shenanigans regarding my WHOIS (suddenly demanding my passport and other government ID, despite my address being “verified” already and matching my credit card billing), which is prompting me to migrate remaining domains away.
Otherwise I’ve also used Cloudflare Domains for a while too:
In the distant past I’ve also had terrible experiences with GoDaddy (unsurprising) and mediocrely-bad experiences with Namecheap (their heart was maybe in the right place, but it really felt like they were too focused on competing with GoDaddy and rolling around in the same mud).
I’m surprised to not see NETIM here. Based in France:
I found them years ago when doing a price-comparison search, because they were the cheapest provider of a few TLDs I needed (.ee .rs .win .nz). They have basically every TLD, it seems. See TLDs and prices here:
I have all 28 of my domains with them for 5+ years now, and they’ve been great. No spammy marketing upselling at all. Easy UI. Seems to be founded by two guys with background in domains, and very trustworthy so far:
I love nearlyfreespeech.net. I’ve used them for over ten years and they do a good job of exactly what I wanted, no fuss, no problems.
US Based. https://www.nearlyfreespeech.net/about/faq#WhereAreYou
You’re probably looking for a small company that does only DNS, that has no loss-leader products, and whose CEO is the kind of person you might find on Lobste.rs. EasyDNS is that. Surely not the only such company.
luadns.com is great as well, I can’t recall whether the ceo is floating around here…
That is exactly what I want (less caring about the proclivities of the CEO though), and it took me to Namesilo a while ago. They’ve since gone down the “push add on services unless you’re a domain hoarder with hundreds of ‘investments’”
EasyDNS also mentions web hosting and email hosting - so seems like they too are not only DNS/Registrar.
Yes. No loss-leading or cross-subsidy, though, and they’ve never asked me whether I might perchance want to purchase their other products.
I don’t care whether a CEO posts here, but I do care that the CEO speaks and understands the language spoken here, and shares our values.
Genuinely devastated by this one. Every usable service I use has been following the usual pattern of being acquired and ruined, but I really thought that Gandi would resist. I’ve been using them for nine years now, and even convinced my company to shift several hundred domains over to them because I’d had such good experience with their interface, support staff, and wanted to support the ethos.
Gandi sent out an email this evening announcing huge price rises as of early April. I don’t know what it’s like for every TLD, but the price of registering a .com is increasing by 20%. I knew this would be coming down the line but christ, they’ve decided to do it straight away.
Gandi’s generally good at communication as well, but there is as yet no announcement that they’ve been sold on any of their usual places as far as I can see. RIP.
There’s Njalla, good for your privacy: https://njal.la/
Which, to be clear, isn’t technically a registrar but rather a privacy provider sitting in between you and a registrar. I highly recommend it for personal websites at least though. It completely isolates you from ICANN nonsense regarding personal info, there’s nowhere to put your physical home address.
I use Namecheap for the non-EU TLDs, and Zone.ee for my EU ones. Both price well, I don’t get any email from either except for standard notices at renewal time; both have a web UI that’s just fine, nothing to write home about; I don’t and wouldn’t use any of their non-domain registry services (i.e. hosting, VPS, DNS, email), and use specialised services for those instead. Both let me configure the registrar-level DNSSEC entries correctly and easily.
Cloudflare registrar? Google domains
I’d probably prefer Google Domains over Cloudflare if they supported more TLDs
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OP said “nice to have” so it’s fine to recommend—I’d second them as I use them both personally.
I googled “how to get a web address” many years ago and the first result was Namecheap and I’ve just stuck with them ever since. Not familiar with any controversy or issues, and it just does the job. Never had an annual renewal price go up (or down) so… yeah it’s fine.
I remember Namecheap being slightly cheaper than Google Domains for .com years ago, but now Google Domains is cheaper, without having changed its price from a memorably round 12.00 USD, so I guess Namecheap raised its prices at least for .com.
For what it’s worth, as explained in that article, Gandi had already been bought by another investor (Montefiore Investments) 4 years ago. That investor sold to TWS.
Gandi’s CEO Stéphane Ramoin said he is confident Gandi will remain independent. He is withdrawing from operational work due to health issues (which we had known about for a long time).
I have also talked to employees who think it may all be just fine.
I have been a Gandi customer for 15 years, I will give them the benefit of the doubt for now.
I use OVH and so far had no major issues.
Porkbun is great IME, though they’re based in the US: https://porkbun.com
Very sad news. Gandi made a name for itself being the domain registrar you can actually trust.
When trying to find alternatives to Gandi, make sure you check whether any given registrar is ICANN accredited (meaning it isn’t dependent on another registrar and talks to the TLD registries directly), or is a reseller. Lots of enom/Tucows/Key Systems resellers out there.
Using a reseller is fine but if your concern in choosing a domain registrar is operational maturity and minimising the chance of your domain getting randomly nuked, it’s obviously the same as using the original registrar. Arguably worse, since with a reseller there are three entities that can mess with your domain (registry, registrar, reseller), rather than just two.
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I love NearlyFreeSpeech, and use them as a registrar, DNS host and web host. I’ve been happy with them for about 19 years now. They’re great.
They are very much US-based, though, and if part of your goal is that your registrar not be subject to US laws, that may be a dealbreaker. And most of their servers are in Phoenix, AZ.
Switzerland based: https://www.hostpoint.ch
I’ve slowly started migrating my domains off Gandi and towards AWS both for running DNS and as a registrar.
I’ve had some minor success with ‘nameISP’, which seems to be Sweden based: https://www.nameisp.com/sv
Prices are a little more than I normally like, but this is news about Gandi means I’ll probably migrate back to NameISP.
EuroDNS is also worth looking into
I can recommend Nederhost, not the cheapest, but small and for people who know what they’re doing: https://nederhost.nl/
I’ve been using joker.com for the past ~20 years without any complaints or nonsense, including their root DNS servers and mail forwarding service. I believe they are a German company. No idea if they are cheap(eat) but most likely not.
Why EU based?
Aw, I have been with Gandi forever – bummer.
I am in the eu use joker.com and njalla and have no complaints.
I tried to use porkbun but for some reason I got flagged for fraud (normal credit card I use often, normal email, no VPN) they wanted a bunch of data including my passport to unlock my account so I just gave up. Actually at this point I gave up on us registrars and trying to find the cheapest and just decided I am willing to pay a bit more.
I have great success with sav.com
InterNetX - I’m not affiliated, but a custromer for over 15 years.
They are very professional, even have an API for automation, plus reseller functions. They are definitely not the cheapest, but provide a robust and extensive service around domains.
We use https://www.openprovider.com Located in the Netherlands.
Infomaniak is a Swiss company with good reputation and offers a large number of TLDs and prices are decent.
I am saddened to hear that Gandi was bought – apparently by “Montefiore Investment”, of which it doesn’t seem I can find much on the Internet – especially since this holding group appears to invest all over the place (according to their own page, and not focus on a particular market… (I just hope they don’t go the LastPass way after their own acquisition…)
Regarding registrars, I’ll have to take a look at CloudFlare (since I already use them for the DNS), or perhaps NameCheap (one of my colleagues uses it)… But, as the OP said, I’ll definitively stay away from GoDaddy and the like…
Or perhaps I’ll try to find an EU-based registrar that focuses on security and privacy.
P.S.: I always asked myself why do we need to pay yearly for a particular domain registration? Why can’t we buy it once and be done with it. In the end it’s just a record in a database somewhere, which although is massive, I think it can easily be supported by the international community. If for nothing else, let’s just think at the amount of damages due to expired and rebought domains for malware or other such purposes…
Apparently Montefoire has merged Gandi with Total Webhosting Solutions:
TWS apparently has a history of buying web hosting companies and cranking up the prices.
Cloudflare lacks at least some regional TLDs support. After they started providing registrar services, I contacted them and asked for plans to introduce the .pl TLD. Was told something in lines of “soon” in 2018 and the .pl TLD cannot be registered with them yet.
Unfortunately this is also the case for
I think that if you buy them directly from the rotld registrar you get them for life/a very long time.
The situation with RoTLD has changed about 3 or 4 years ago. Now they want yearly payment… (And for the same money, I’ve moved to Gandi.)
I had my domain purchased in 2006, and at that time I’ve payed perhaps ~100 EUR (I don’t remember exactly) and they’ve promised that would cover 99 years. :)
Maintenance isn’t free. Although, I’m fairly sure the prices of some domains go way beyond maintenance costs …
Why do we need registrars to keep paying staff and electricity for the domains we have registered? Might as well pay once and get the single write operation to the domain database in exchange for that money. After that it’s best effort. If money runs out and domains stop working, well at least you only paid once
For example the registrars could, on a yearly basis, let the actual DNS hosting services pay (if they are large enough) or let the owner pay, else that domain is “delisted” but without touching the ownership. This way, if the owner can’t pay for it anymore (for a particular time-frame), he can always just come back and re-list it at a later time. (As said, in such a “delisted” state it’s just another record in a database somewhere; I’m sure the registrar can come-up with a real figure for an-up-front payment that would cover the storage costs for that record, say for the next 100 years…)
On the other hand, it’s not like nobody registers completely new domain names, thus covering the day-to-day costs…
Or, as hinted initially, perhaps the ISP’s can support / sponsor some global organization to manage all this. (The Internet Archive is a good candidate.)
BTW, how do we pay for the DNS root servers? Why can’t we apply the same model here?
What about Aruba? It’s italian, have lot of TLDs available and quite cheap.
I use MrDomain/Don Dominio and Piensa Solutions. Both are Spanish-based (EU), never had any problems with them, the UI is very straightforward and the domains are cheap too. MrDomain/DonDominio has more TLDs, in fact, I started using them as they were one of the few Spanish based registrars that allowed me to buy .pl domains.
small german based https://variomedia.de is great.
I’m using united-domains and am quite happy with them.
I use the small local ones and never had any issues. CZ.NIC (non-profit taking care of
.cz, rather open minded) specifically endorses these Czech registrars:
They usually offer domains under many more TLDs.
I can highly recommend subreg.cz
I like pair networks, unfortunately they are US based. I’ve had them for 10 years and I love them.
Highly recommend https://domains.google/
I’m familiar with https://domains.google.com but didn’t know there was also https://domains.google. I… hope they’re the same thing.
I like Dynadot (US).