Domain registrars often serve up attractive, ultra-low prices for the first year. However, it’s buried in the fine print that the domain automatically renews a year later at a much higher price, catching customers off-guard.
“When you look at all of the complaints submitted against registrars, you'll notice that the vast majority of them are about fees that the client was not aware of,” says Chris Nddie, co-owner and marketing director at frugal living blog ClothingRIC. “These [fees] are usually in the form of auto-renewal or transfer-out fees explained and outlined in the ‘Terms of Service' of a registrar.”
Many other hidden costs can sneak up quickly, as well. Premium add-ons, such as email addresses and anti-virus tools, are also stealthy levies prone to auto-renewal surprises.
That’s why Nddie told Business.org that it’s crucial to analyze terms and conditions with a fine-tooth comb, even if some charges are unavoidable.
“While there may be fees in the contract with which you disagree, you will be prepared to deal with them if they emerge in the future,” Nddie advises.
So, how much should it cost to buy a domain name? Among the 117 professionals we spoke to, “.com” registrations usually fall between $10 to $20 annually. Google Domains charges a flat $12, while Namecheap boasts a starting price around $8. Remember that many registrars liberally distribute coupons, so we recommend searching for promo codes first.
Keep in mind that the “.com” suffix is among the cheapest to register year after year. As a result, expect to pay more for less popular domain endings, with some options soaring to over $1,000 annually (more on this below).