Some registrars offer consistently good deals on .com domains.
There’s a lot of competition at the registrar level for .com domain names. This intense competition leads to prices near the wholesale price that the registrar pays the registry (Verisign) for the domain.
Verisign currently charges a list price of $7.85 for .com registrations and renewals. This will increase to $8.39 on September 1, 2021.
But Verisign offers discounts to registrars for new .com registrations depending on things like volume, growth, and region. Sometimes, Verisign offers discounts for domains that are re-registered shortly after they expire. Registry discounts are why you often see prices for what appear to be below cost.
Many registrars offer special pricing for the first year. Prices revert to their standard pricing thereafter.
Others offer coupons for first-year registrations. I don’t like dealing with coupons because you spend a lot of time hunting them down and reading the fine print.
So, from the perspective of getting the best .com prices all of the time, here’s what I’ve found.
I see a handful of registrars that pass along first-year discounts so that domains are at or below the current wholesale price. Sav.com is the most consistent about this; its price for .com domain registrations has been $6.95 for a long time. This includes ICANN’s 18-cent fee. Dynadot often passes along the savings as well. Both registrars will charge you more to renew but the prices are still lower than most competitors.
NameBright also has consistently low prices on .com domains. It charges the wholesale cost (including the ICANN fee) of $8.03 per year if you pre-fund your account by bank wire or check. The nice thing is that this is also the renewal price. It’s rare for registrars to charge at-cost renewals. Of course, this price will increase when Verisign increases prices later this year.
You also need to consider any extras that you usually opt for when registering domains. Most domain investors choose to keep their Whois information public, but it’s worth noting that some registrars charge for privacy and others don’t. NameBright gives domain privacy free for the first year but it’s $2.95 per year after that.
I personally register most of my domains at GoDaddy. It charges $8.47 per year including the ICANN fee if you opt for the Domain Discount Club, which is currently $240 per year. (Customers who bought this early pay only$120 per year.) I don’t love the idea of having memberships to get discounts but I understand why GoDaddy does this in the context of its user base.
One of the reasons I register at GoDaddy is because it provides additional transfer-out security to people with large portfolios and a dedicated account manager. It’s difficult to place a value on this but it’s a reminder to consider the entire package when selecting a registrar.
Of course, you should never select a registrar based on price alone. Make sure they have good customer service and a user-friendly account management interface.
Feel free to share other registrars that consistently have good prices on .com domains.