Factors to consider
First of all, the choice depends on 3 things, or 4 but to me, the fourth is not very important
- PRICE for a given TLD (TLD = .com, .net, etc…) and it’s persistence
This is probably the most important factor, there is no such thing as “Performance” as your registrar does not run the TLD’s registry, something to take into account is also the renewal price next year.
- whether or not you plan to use their “Usually free” nameservers (Most people will use their web host’s nameservers and not the registrar’s)
- The business stability of the registrar, when a registrar goes down, you might find your domains with a registrar who picked up all the domains the sunken registrar had, and if you were using the old registrar’s add on services, you will end up needing to redo them, and probably find a different registrar that you like to move those domains to.
- And last but not least, the interface and speed of the registrar’s website and tools, I don’t think this is very important as most registrars have a usable interface and you will only need to use it infrequently
Which one do i recommend ?
I personally use more than one registrar, for some TLDs, I use nameCheap, and for the more standard domain TLDs (Like .COM etc…) I used godaddy for a long time, then i switched to a godaddy reseller (PoloDomains), it has the same exact products (and phone support) as godaddy and in my experience this reseller has very persistent prices that are lower than those of godaddy themselves, not to mention that godaddy keeps surprising me with different pricing when the time comes to renew. Again, godaddy is a good registrar that checks all the boxes, but the reseller is more or less just cheaper. other good well known registrars include namesilo.com, google domains (Not recommended as google is selling it to another company), Name.com, domain.com and many others that you can research online…
Get it for free when it makes sense
Some web hosts offer free domain names for as long as you are paying for your hosting, this is not exactly a catch, but it might be, so what I do is decide on a web host through reviews and what have you, and if that web host offers free or cheap domains with their web hosting, then that is where I will get my domain, But mind you, when i make the choice, i subtract 1/12 of the normal domain price (that you would get if you used a separate registrar) from the monthly hosting fee, and then compare the web-hosts with the new discounted price tag, the last thing i want is to get stuck with a bad web host because they offer a free domain, that would be a very bad decision.
When is the registrar relevant to performance ?
The main function of a registrar is to sell you domains and register them with a registry, after registering them, the registrar also informs the registry of what nameservers to use with the domain name. after that, the registrar in it’s strict form has no technical function, up until you either want to renew that domain, or change the nameservers attached to that domain, a web request (from a website visitor for example) does not pass through your registrar.
The above remains true, unless you opt to use one of those free DNS services that are provided by many registrars, in this scenario you are using the registrar’s DNS servers instead of your host’s or a third party, which is not a bad idea depending on the quality of your registrar, godaddy (and it’s resellers) provides a free DNS service that uses anycast ! anycast is a cool internet technology where the user will be using the closest DNS server to them without knowing, effectively cutting down the latency of the DNS request.