Google Domains Review: Pricing, Comparison, and More (2021)
When creating a website, one of the first things you have to do is register a domain name. You can get one via a domain registrar – a company that manages domain reservations.
Google offers a domain registration service called Google Domains. This article will feature an in-depth review of the registrar – we’ll go over what it provides and how it compares to other services.
We’ll also describe the steps to register a domain name and point it to your web host.
An Overview of Google Domains
Google Domains is a domain registrar powered by Google. Despite being in beta testing, it offers over 300 new and popular top-level domain extensions (TLDs).
Users are required to have an existing Google account to access Google Domains’ services. It’s possible to connect it to other Google services for a better workflow, like Google Workspace (formerly known as Google Suite) or Google Ads.
Unlike many other domain registrars, Google Domains only provides domain hosting services – it doesn’t sell web hosting plans.
Let’s take a better look at what makes Google Domains stand out and what could be improved.
Pros of Google Domains
Being backed by Google’s infrastructure allows for Google Domains to include many features that its competitors don’t provide. The following are some of the benefits of registering your domain with this registrar.
Intuitive Interface and Tools
Google Domains’ interface is intuitive and straightforward. If you’ve used any Google service before, you’ll have no problem navigating the interface.
Once you’ve signed in, the control panel allows for the purchasing, transferring, and managing of domain names. Google Domains is integrated with other Google services for easier management.
Google Domains’ dashboard also provides domain name system (DNS) settings, domain forwarding, and billing management.
The domain registration process is straightforward. You can purchase multiple domains in a single checkout and opt for auto-renewed billing for each of them.
Google Payments handles the purchases. The supported payment methods depend on the user’s billing address.
The Favorite feature allows saving domains you want to register in the future. You can share a link to your favorite domains ‒ a handy feature for agencies and companies.
What’s more, Google Domains makes sharing domain management with other Google users easy. The domain sharing feature allows modifying domain registration, website, and DNS settings without changing the domains’ original ownership.
The domain migration process is also streamlined by the DNS Export Tool – it allows users to download the DNS records in standard formats like BIND or YAML.
Powerful Free Features
Unlike many other domain registrars, Google Domains offers free WHOIS privacy protection with every domain registration. This feature helps keep your contact information private, thus preventing spam and unauthorized domain transfers.
Google Domains allows up to 100 subdomains, which benefits large-scale projects. The domain and subdomain forwarding features let you redirect visitors to another existing domain or website.
Additionally, Google Domains lets you create up to 100 email aliases. The email forwarding feature facilitates redirecting emails to existing email accounts.
Fast Google Servers
Google Domains offers free access to cloud-based DNS servers courtesy of the Google Cloud Platform. The Google Cloud platform ensures optimal website performance and DNS resolution even during peak hours.
The premium cloud computing solution is available in over 200 countries and territories and uses the same infrastructure as Google’s search engine. Cloud DNS pricing usually starts at $0.40/million queries/month and $0.20/zone/month.
Seamless Access to Website Builders and Google Products
Since Google doesn’t sell web hosting, Google Domains has partnered with website builders like Shopify and Squarespace. The built-in integrations streamline most of the website setup process ‒ it’s convenient for even non-tech-savvy users.
For example, you can enable reports on your Google Domains account to automatically link your domain with the Google Search Console. You won’t need to verify your domain with DNS records when connecting your site to it.
Google Domains supports seamless integration with Google Workspace for $6-$18/month/user if you need a custom email address. Connecting your custom domain name to Workspace will also give you access to other Google apps, such as Gmail, Google Drive, and Google Meet.
Google Cloud provides Domain Name System Security Extensions (DNSSEC), something not yet supported by all domain registrars. This set of security specifications protects DNS records with cryptographic signatures, securing your domains from threats like DNS spoofing.
Google 2-Step Verification is also available for an additional layer of security. After logging in, this feature will make the platform request you to enter a security code provided via a text message, voice call, or the Google Authenticator app.
If you use Google Sites or Blogger to build your website, both platforms will automatically issue, install, and renew Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificates for free. An SSL certificate will protect your site’s visitors’ data privacy by encrypting the connection between the server and their web browser.
Support and Resources
The Help Center is available 24/7 in multiple languages via phone, live chat, and email ‒ the latter two accessible through your account dashboard. However, the language and the type of available Google Domains support depend on the user’s billing address.
Fortunately, Google Domains’ Support page contains thorough documentation on the platform and its services and features. The comprehensive tutorials can help you solve common problems without needing to reach out to the support team.
Cons of Google Domains
Like any other domain registrar, Google Domains has a few flaws. We’ll go over them in the following sections.
Less Affordable Compared to Other Registrars
Even with access to the additional features, Google Domains’ pricing is higher than what its competition offers.
The cost of a .com domain extension at Google Domains is $12/year. The prices of domains with other extensions start at $7/year. Google applies a fixed renewal fee, but there’s no discount for long-term registrations.
What’s more, Google Domains doesn’t sell web hosting, so you will have to buy it from a third party. In the long run, this will cost more money.
Still in Beta Version
Since its public release in 2015, Google Domains is still in the beta testing phase.
Even though this is a common practice for Google products like Gmail, there’s no guarantee that the company won’t shut the service down in the future.
Not Available in Many Countries
Google Domains is available in 23 countries only. If you live outside of the service area, you won’t be able to use its services.
Currently, the registrar is looking to expand by accepting requests for unsupported domain extensions or countries.
However, new service regions and domain extensions are likely to be implemented very slowly because of the ongoing beta testing.
Google Domains Compared to Other Registrars
Registering your domain name with Google Domains will be beneficial if you use Google’s other services. The built-in integrations contribute to the platform’s scalability.
Linking a domain to the Google Search Console or other Google services is easier if you purchase it from Google Domains. You won’t need to verify its ownership or update any DNS records – something you’d have to do with a different domain registrar.
However, even with the streamlined integration, Google Domains lags behind other domain registrars in terms of domain availability and ease of use. Below, we’ll compare it to Hostinger.
Hostinger’s domain registrar services are available in 178 countries. Likewise, Hostinger offers more country-specific top-level domains (ccTLDs) than Google Domains. Popular extensions like .net and .org domains, as well as new gTLDs, are also available.
Domain Name Checker
Instantly check domain name availability.
Multilingual live chat or email support is available 24/7, regardless of your country of residence.
In addition to web hosting and domain registration services, Hostinger also offers Zyro, an AI-powered website builder. Compared to Google Sites, Zyro is better suited for small business owners who want to develop professional, personal, or eCommerce sites.
Hostinger lays out all the tools needed to manage domains and hosting within a single control panel to streamline the workflow. It can save you the hassle of having to switch between different platforms for your tasks.
How Much Does Google Domains Charge?
The following is the price breakdown for registering a .com domain for a year at Google Domains:
- New domain name registration fee ‒ $12/year
- WHOIS protection ‒ free
The price will remain the same for the following years should you renew the contract.
Let’s compare it to the cost of registering the same domain extension at Hostinger:
- New domain name registration fee ‒ $8.99/year
- WHOIS protection ‒ $5/year
Hostinger charges $8.99/year for a .com domain, excluding taxes. It will renew at the regular rate of $11/year. If you want to get the domain privacy protection add-on, the total cost would be $13.99 for the first year.
That said, keep in mind that the prices of domains at our registrar start from as low as $0.99/year. If you’re looking for a domain with an extension other than .com, you can secure one along with WHOIS protection for $5.99/year.
Can I Host My Site Using Google Domains?
Google Domains is only a domain registrar, so it doesn’t sell hosting services. Since building a website requires not only a domain name but web hosting, too, you’ll have to purchase the latter from third-party hosting providers.
If you register a domain with Google Domains, you can point it to Hostinger. However, separating your domain from your web host costs more than getting them bundled together. Plus, it’s easier to manage them and receive support if they’re handled by the same company.
We recommend checking our web hosting plans out. Most of them come with one-year domain registration, saving you money and the hassle of connecting the domain to your hosting account.
What’s more, you get to pick a specific hosting type to better accommodate your website’s needs.
Google Domains Registration: Steps to Register A Domain Name
If you have decided to try out Google Domains, follow these steps to register a domain:
- Go to the Google Domains main page, then input your desired domain.
- The domain registrar will check its availability. It will also list other available alternatives with different keyword combinations and domain extensions. Add the one you like to cart.
- After proceeding to checkout, pick the registration period from the dropdown menu and enable auto-renew if needed. We recommend enabling privacy protection since the registrar provides it for free.
- Check the Google Workspace box and pick a plan from the dropdown menu to create a custom email with the new domain. Google Domains will prompt you to create an admin account to manage Google domain settings.
- Review your choices, then click Check out.
- Add your contact information and select Save & Continue.
- Input your payment details, then click Buy. The registration may take a few minutes to complete.
You have to pick the right domain from the very beginning – it plays a significant role in boosting your brand’s online presence. To help you out, we have some tips and tricks on choosing the best domain name for a business.
Alternatively, use a domain name generator to create a unique domain for your brand.
How to Point A Domain Name from Google to Hostinger
If you decide to register a domain at Google Domains and use Hostinger’s web hosting service, you’ll have to point the domain to our server.
Here’s how to do it by changing the domain’s nameservers:
- Log in to your Hostinger account, then go to DNS Zone Editor in the Advanced section.
- Locate Hostinger nameservers by entering “ns” into the search bar. Take note of the nameservers and your IP address ‒ the latter are under the type A in the DNS records.
- Then, log in to your Google Domains account. Click Manage next to the domain you want to point to Hostinger servers.
- Access the DNS menu, then update the nameserver and IP address fields with the ones obtained from Hostinger.
- Save the changes. The DNS may take up to 24 hours to propagate worldwide.
If you decide to transfer your Google Domains to Hostinger for simpler management, here’s how to do it.
Keep in mind that you must have full ownership of the domain to do so. It should also be older than 60 days, unlocked by its current domain host, and not transferred within the last 60 days.
Google Domains offers an easy domain hosting solution for people who already use other Google services. Its single sign-on system integration gives Google Domains a unique advantage over other domain registrars.
Google Domains stands out with its fast DNS servers powered by the Google Cloud Platform, DNSSEC support, 2-Step Verification, and multilingual 24/7 support. Its email forwarding feature also allocates up to 100 email aliases.
That said, Google Domains lacks in a few other aspects compared to other domain registrars that also offer web hosting services. Its users have to pay extra for web hosting from a third-party company and go through the process of pointing the domain to them.
Unlike other domain registrars on the market, Google Domains is still in beta testing. Considering how important a domain is to a business’s branding effort, this may prove too unreliable for business owners with long-term plans.
We hope this review was informative and helped you get to know the features of Google Domains and its pros and cons. If you have any feedback, let us know in the comments section below.