I got access to the Google Domains beta and Amazon Route 53 expanded their external DNS to a registrar, so I wanted to create an overview of the services to anybody shopping around for a new registrar. I have transferred almost all of my domains from GoDaddy to Hover or Gandi following GoDaddy’s SOPA support and the fact that there are alternatives without horrible websites. I believe both sites are expanding as registrars as part of ICANN’s expansion of gTLDs. In order to sponsor a new gTLD (like .google) you had show that you were capable of operating the infrastructure as a registrar.
I walked through the typical domain purchase or transfer process in a video this morning. Alternatively, I’ll give some of the highlights below.
Google Domains is currently beta and invite-only. Along with the invite, Google is giving $12 in credit, essentially a year’s registration for one domain to try out the service. Google does a good job of explaining the features of their service on the features page.
A .com domain costs $12 and others vary above and below that price. The domain registration includes private registration, 100 email aliases, and it uses Google’s infrastructure, so you may not need an external DNS service and cost like Amazon Route 53 or DNSMadeEasy. They allow 10 million lookups per domain per year. The service is also supposed to support the new gTLDs and promises support, possibly the one thing Google has never really excelled at.
As the registrar, Google will finally be providing the authoritative answer for domains where it is the registrar. I know this caused some confusion before with Google Public DNS where Google just provided the infrastructure for the lookups.
Amazon Route 53
Amazon’s Route 53 updated last week to lower their prices for DNS queries and include domain registration. It currently supports a wide variety of gTLDs and the interface is similarly simplistic and clean as Google Domains. Domains ending in .com also run $12 and all domains include private registration and utilizing AWS Route 53, provides a robust infrastructure for speedy DNS lookups. Geo Routing is another feature that was added on with AWS to allow independent mapping of resources. Domain registration with Route 53 is also available through the Route 53 API and AWS Command Line Interface.
Overall, it’s great to see some big players entering the domain registrar industry with clean, fast interfaces. GoDaddy is working on an IPO and this would make me very nervous if I were them, though they have a large head start and a lot invested in marketing. GoDaddy also has other services like hosting to lean on and they specialize in upselling. I’ve used Hover and Gandi for the past few years but I’m really looking forward to one location to register and organize my domains. Gandi did not impress me with my latest domain, a simple .com domain, that took several hours for them to register. Everywhere else, domains have been available immediately for configuration and use.
Between Amazon and Google, I’m not sure which one I will end up with. I know this overview barely scratched the surface when it comes to the intricate interactions with a registrar. Both of these companies are straight-forward, cover the basics, and have reputations of running good services. If this can save some extra costs from my external DNS service, even better.