If you are looking for a place to register a domain name and start your own website, two of the biggest names in the industry you cannot overlook are GoDaddy and NameCheap.
I have used, and am still currently using, both of these companies.
If you feel lost in a sea of endless contradicting reviews, maybe this one will help you get a better understanding of what to expect and which provider might be the better choice for you.
I’ll start with a quick overview of each company and then move on to discussing the pros and cons of each based on my experience as well as user feedback on Reddit.
A Brief Introduction
GoDaddy is a US-based company located in Tempe, Arizona. They provide domain registration and website-related services to millions of customers worldwide. This is one of the oldest domain registrars on the market and has been the world’s largest for many years now.
NameCheap is based in Phoenix, Arizona, and they are the second largest domain registrar in the world. They are known for their low-cost and discounted domain registration deals, and they also offer web hosting and other related services.
- Long-established company: GoDaddy is one of the oldest, and has long been the world’s largest domain registrar. Many other smaller registrars have come and gone over the years, but these guys aren’t likely to go anywhere.
- Well documented: You can find comprehensive help articles and video guides covering almost every possible issue you may be stuck at.
- User-friendly interface: Despite some occasional glitches, I find the GoDaddy account management interface quit easy to navigate and use.
- Free Whois privacy: You get basic Whois privacy for free. This removes all personal data from the Whois database except for the country, state, and organization name.
- Free website builder: While I don’t personally use it, GD’s website builder is one of the main attractions for beginners looking to quickly build a website with minimum effort. It comes with an easy-to-learn, drag-and-drop editor and many ready-made templates to choose from.
- Domain auctions: GoDaddy has a huge domain aftermarket where you can find countless worthy domain names that are offered for sale or auction. I discovered and purchased many good expired domains from the GoDaddy Auctions marketplace.
- High renewal prices: Although some services are offered at an attractive discounted price, the renewal cost is rather high and ends up negativing the initial savings. Some domain extensions are renewed at almost double the renewal fee charged by other companies.
- Website builder limitations: There are limited things you can do to customize a website made with the GD website builder. This is a major disadvantage compared to highly customizable WordPress and other third-party content management systems. Furthermore, you won’t be able to transfer the website to another hosting provider without manually rebuilding the whole site.
- No free SSL: If you are going to host your website with GoDaddy and you need an SSL certificate, you’re gonna have to purchase one from the various options they offer, which aren’t cheap. Some hosting plans include a free SSL certificate for the first year only, after which it renews at the regular price.
- Outsourced support: Live chat support is outsourced and not that helpful at times. Some agents appear unfamiliar with GoDaddy’s own products and services! The waiting time for phone support is sometimes too long.
- Easy-to-use interface: From domain search to checkout to managing settings and configurations, NameCheap’s interface is intuitive and simple enough for a beginner to use without much hassle.
- Competitive prices: NameCheap is one of the best places where you can buy low-cost domain names. They usually have big discounts on the first year of registration for many TLDs. Their regular and renewal prices are reasonable and lower than GoDaddy’s.
- Free Whois privacy: You get full Whois privacy protection for free with each domain you register at NameCheap. You can turn privacy on and off from the control panel.
- Premium DNS: Each domain gets standard DNS service for free. But if you are going to use it for a small business website, you can opt for the Premium DNS service, which is affordable and offers better performance and security.
- Premium SSL certificates: If you are looking to purchase a premium SSL certificate for your website, NameCheap has a selection of those at low prices.
- No discounts for renewals: Most of the discounted prices for different TLDs only apply to the first year of registration. Renewals are processed at the regular price and don’t receive any discounts.
- Not the best web hosting: NameCheap is one of the top domain registrars and they are pretty solid at that. Although they also offer various web hosting solutions, I think the features are lacking. You can get better web hosting deals from companies that are primarily focused on web hosting.
- No phone support: Live chat and ticket support is available around the clock, and they usually respond quickly. If you prefer phone support, unfortunately, NameCheap doesn’t offer it.
GoDaddy vs. NameCheap on Reddit
Most users on Reddit favor NameCheap over GoDaddy according to numerous discussions on different tech-related subreddits.
NameCheap gets more recommendations for their more reasonable pricing, less glitchy interface and better support. Add to that the free full Whois privacy and the more affordable add-ons, such as premium SSL certificates.
On the other hand, many Redditors advise against using GoDaddy because of their greedy pricing and upselling, as well as their outsourced support that has been heading downhill. These are also my own observations after about a decade of being a GoDaddy customer.