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Domain Registrars

Note: This article was originally published at Planet PHP on 19 April 8320.
Planet PHP

I'm a domain addict.

For years, I've maintained a portfolio of more than one hundred domains, most of which were being reserved for later use. I'm an imaginative person, and I love the Web, so I have lots and lots of ideas that require a domain name. If you're reading this, there's a good chance you're a lot like me.

Recently, I reduced the number of domains I own by about half. I let a number of them expire, and due to the prohibitive cost of renewing an expired domain, I decided to use the opportunity to reduce my portfolio substantially. I'm glad I did.

There's one more change I want to make before I'm completely happy with my whole domain situation, however. I want a new registrar. The vast majority of my domains are registered with Go Daddy. As my portfolio has grown over the years, I've been forced to use Go Daddy's web site more and more often. If you've ever had the misfortune of using their web site, you understand why that's untenable.

As I began my search, I discovered Hover. The clean, simple web site seemed like the complete opposite of the cluttered carnage of Go Daddy, so I tweeted about my discovery:

Is this the good domain registrar I've been waiting for? I sure hope so. Let me know if you use them.

Within minutes, Helgi and Ed alerted me to the fact that Hover stored passwords in plaintext. Worse, they would email you your password if you forgot it.

To be fair, Hover has since modified their approach, but I'm still a bit wary. We all make mistakes, but this was a deliberate decision made with enough thought that they blogged about it. Their transparency and friendliness earn a fair amount of forgiveness, so I'm keeping them in mind.

Others began suggesting alternatives, prompting me to ask for more:

Please keep sending your domain registrar recommendations. I'm going to share your responses in a blog post. Thanks a bunch.

So, here we are. These are my top choices at the moment. I've not yet made my decision, but if you're thinking about switching, maybe this list will help. I'm going to list and link to everyone who commented on each registrar, so you can judge for yourself.


Judging by the number of glowing recommendations, Gandi is the clear crowd favorite and went from not being on my list to being the frontrunner. The concept of "no bullshit" aligns pretty well with my needs, and the online documentation looks pretty darn good, too.

Here are the people who commented:


Hover remains on my list, primarily because I like the people. I visited them in Toronto several years ago, and everyone I met was super nice. Plus, they're Canadian, so they're pretty much nice by definition.

Here are the people who commented:

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