Google Domains gained global recognition as a reputable domain registrar, managing over 10 million domains since its launch in 2015.
However, Squarespace has recently acquired Google Domains, and soon, all domains will be migrated to Squarespace Domains. With this shift in ownership, are there good alternatives to Google Domains?
What is Google domains?
Google Domains is a domain registration service provided by Google. It allows users to search, register, and manage domain names for their websites. The service includes features such as domain management tools, privacy protection options, integration with other Google services like Google Workspace, transparent pricing, and customer support. Google Domains simplifies the process of acquiring and maintaining domain names for individuals and businesses.
How does Google domain work?
Google domains simplifies the process of obtaining and managing domain names.
Users start by searching for their desired domain on the Google Domains website, where they can check availability and choose from various top-level domains.
Upon finding an available domain, users register it by providing the necessary information. The platform offers a user-friendly dashboard for managing registered domains, allowing users to configure settings, set up Domain Name System (DNS) records, and integrate with other Google services like Google Workspace for professional email addresses.
Optional privacy protection enhances security by keeping personal information private in the public WHOIS database.
Transparent pricing and straightforward billing details are accessible through the platform, and users can utilize customer support for assistance with domain-related issues.
Overall, Google domains streamlines the domain registration and management experience with its intuitive interface and integrated features.
An overview of Google Domains
Google Domains was a top-rated domain registration service provided by Google. It allowed people to buy domain names, leveraging Google’s world-class infrastructure to provide a reliable and secure domain registration service.
While Google Domains did not offer web hosting, it seamlessly integrated with Google Cloud, Google Sites and Google Workspace (formerly G Suite), making it a valuable platform for website owners.
The platform’s ease of use and user-friendly interface quickly made it a top choice for millions of website owners worldwide.
Google Domains’ rise to popularity
Google is known for expanding its reach and offering new products to its users. Google Domains was one of these. In June 2014, Google Domains was privately launched as an invitation-only service. By January 2015, it entered public beta.
Google is globally associated with reliability and robust security. So, when it launched a domain registration service, website owners were willing to try it.
Google aimed to simplify domain name registration through transparent pricing, free privacy protection and seamless integration with other Google services.
Google Domains exited beta in 2022, nearly seven years after its public launch. Yet, only a year later, Google Domains was bought out by Squarespace and no longer offers new domain registrations.
Wondering what led to this acquisition? The next section has the answer.
Squarespace’s acquisition of Google Domains
The Squarespace acquisition seemed to emerge out of the blue, especially for Google Domains’ customers.
On June 15, 2023, Squarespace announced its acquisition of Google Domains and all 10 million domains registered on Google.
Google’s spokespeople have little to say about the acquisition, mentioning only efforts to sharpen the company’s focus.
While Google is known for launching hundreds of exciting projects, it shuts down just as many. Cody Ogden, the owner of the Killed by Google website catalogs all of Google’s discontinued products. With the closure of Google Domains, the catalog has reached 288 entries in the fourth quarter of 2023.
Despite its success, Google no longer wishes to maintain Google Domains and will shift its focus to newer projects. Although many users enjoyed the simplicity and transparency of Google Domains, Google is moving on.
Therefore, users can no longer buy new domains from Google Domains. Instead, Google now recommends Squarespace Domains to new users.
The future of Google Domains
As a Google Domains customer, you’re probably wondering how the transition to Squarespace will affect you and what steps you need to take.
You don’t need to do anything at this time. In the coming year, Google Domains will fully transition to Squarespace. After the transition phase, Squarespace will contact you if you need to do anything.
As for the fine details:
- Your domain registration, DNS records and encrypted billing information will be transferred to Squarespace’s servers.
- Squarespace will honor Google Domains’ renewal prices for 12 months — however, Squarespace tends to be pricey, so don’t be surprised if prices rise afterward.
- During the transition period, Squarespace will leverage Google’s infrastructure to ensure your website stays online as your domain changes hands.
- For at least three years, Squarespace will become the exclusive domain provider for Google Workspace’s customers. You can still link domains purchased elsewhere to Google Workspace.
- Squarespace will provide billing and customer support to Google Workspace’s customers who signed up via Google Domains.
- Google Cloud Domains’ customers are also affected. While Google keeps providing customer support, Squarespace Domains will become the owner and registrar of your cloud domain. Your billing information will not be transferred to Squarespace.
While the future is uncertain, Google and Squarespace are doing their best to ensure the transition goes smoothly.
Was Google Domains good?
Google Domains was once a definite recommendation. Its reliability, transparency and simplicity made it an excellent choice for domain registration.
It provided a speed-optimized service and thoroughly maintained a high security standard through its DNS servers. And since Google Domains was integrated into the broader Google ecosystem, users could rely on its search and suggestions tools to find the perfect domain name.
With access to professional tools like Google Synthetic Records and Dynamic DNS, Google Domains had much to offer. But now that Squarespace has acquired it, you may need to find an alternative registrar.
Let’s compare Google Domains with Squarespace Domains to help you decide if you want to stick around or move on to another registrar.
Advantages of using Google domains
- Integration with Google services: Google Domains seamlessly integrates with other Google services, such as Google Workspace. This integration allows users to easily set up professional email addresses using their registered domain, enhancing the overall efficiency and cohesion of online activities.
- Transparent pricing: Google Domains is known for its transparent and straightforward pricing structure. Users can easily view and understand the costs associated with domain registration and renewal, avoiding hidden fees or complicated pricing models.
- Security features: The platform incorporates robust security features, including two-step verification, to enhance the security of user accounts. This focus on security helps protect against unauthorized access and ensures the safety of sensitive information.
- Privacy protection: Google Domains offers optional domain privacy protection. This feature helps keep the personal contact information associated with the domain private in the publicly accessible WHOIS database, providing an added layer of privacy and security for users.
- DNS configuration and management: The platform offers comprehensive DNS configuration and management tools. Users can easily set up DNS records, link their domain to websites or online services, and manage email forwarding and subdomains through the Google Domains dashboard.
- Google’s reliability and infrastructure: Leveraging Google’s infrastructure and reliability, Google Domains benefits from the company’s robust network and data centers. This can contribute to the overall stability and performance of domain-related services.
- Brand trust and reputation: Google is a globally recognized and trusted brand and its domain registration service benefits from this reputation. Users may feel more confident using Google Domains due to the brand’s reliability and commitment to user security.
Disadvantages of using Google domains
- Limited TLD options: While Google domains support many popular TLDs, the selection might be more limited compared to some other domain registrars that offer a broader range of domain extensions.
- No hosting services: Google domains focuses solely on domain registration and management and does not provide hosting services. Users need to use a separate hosting service for website hosting.
- Pricing comparisons: While Google Domains offers transparent pricing, users may find that prices are sometimes higher compared to other domain registrars, depending on the specific TLD.
- No additional business features: Some domain registrars offer additional business features, such as website builders or marketing tools. Google domains primarily focus on domain-related services without providing these additional features.
- Limited promotions or discounts: Google domains may not offer as many promotional discounts or pricing incentives as some other domain registrars, which could impact cost savings for users.
Squarespace Domains vs. Google Domains review
Here are some features that set Google Domains apart from the competition:
- Transparent pricing: With Google Domains, there were little to no upsells. There were also no hidden costs — customers knew what they were paying for.
- Straightforward UI: Unlike other domain registrars, Google Domains offered a user-friendly interface that was easy to navigate and did not contain ads.
- Partners and integrations: Besides integrating with Google’s product suite, Google Domains also integrated with platforms like Blogger, Wix and Shopify.
- Powerful infrastructure: Google Domains leveraged Google’s robust Cloud DNS infrastructure, which provided speed, scalability and ironclad security.
Google Domains also offered additional features such as free domain privacy, email forwarding (with up to 100 aliases), 100 sub-domains and one-click domain name system security extensions (DNSSEC).
While Squarespace may provide only some of these features, it offers its own perks.
- Website building: Squarespace is a website builder for eCommerce stores, so if that interests you, sticking with the company could be a good idea. However, you can’t import an existing website design to this platform.
- Clean UI: Squarespace Domains is refreshing its dashboard. The result is a clean, uncluttered user interface for easy navigation.
- Useful features to be added: Bulk management, domain forwarding and email forwarding are all “coming soon.”
- Free add-ons: Domain privacy is still free, and you also get a free SSL certificate.
And finally, what are you losing out on by moving to Squarespace?
- Domain extensions: Squarespace offers 300+ top-level domains (TLDs). However, it doesn’t support some domain extensions. So, if you’re interested in an unsupported domain extension, you can register your new domain with a third-party registrar and connect it to your Squarespace website.
- Integrations: With Squarespace Domains, you’ll lose out on the integrations you may have relied on before, like with Wix or Weebly.
- Transparency: Squarespace is an eCommerce website builder first and a domain registrar second. So, expect plenty of upsells and a less transparent pricing model than Google Domains.
A major sticking point is the price — Squarespace’s domain registration service is expected to be more expensive. Don’t be surprised if the renewal fee increases once the 12-month grace period is up.
Are you undecided about sticking with Squarespace? Consider some alternatives.
Alternatives to Google Domains
From a long list of domain registrars, we’ve gathered 10 of the best Google Domains alternatives for you.
One of the leading domain registrars, Bluehost is known for its affordability and scalability. Unlike Google domains, Bluehost provides stellar web hosting services with beginner-friendly tools, helping you build and manage your website all in one place.
With Bluehost, you get to save money — many hosting plans come with free domain registration.
Price: A .com domain costs $12.99 for registration and $21.99 for renewal.
2. Cloudflare Registrar
Cloudflare is popular for providing content delivery network (CDN) and cybersecurity services on its extensive platform, and Cloudflare Registrar is just one of its many offerings. Most who use Cloudflare Registrar do so in conjunction with other Cloudflare services, so better options for standalone domain registration might exist.
Price: $8-$12/year, depending on your chosen TLD.
As one of the largest domain registrars in the world, GoDaddy is undoubtedly a popular choice. With hundreds of industry-specific templates on GoDaddy, you can create a modern website without any technical skills.
However, its dashboard is hard to navigate, and it implements many upselling tactics, which beginners may find confusing.
Price: It varies depending on your chosen domain; the first year is generally cheap, but renewals are pricey.
NameSilo is a budget-friendly domain registrar that offers 400+ TLDs and many free add-ons, such as WHOIS privacy, email forwarding and DNS management. However, its website lacks the intuitiveness of other popular registrars on this list and doesn’t offer many extra services or integrations.
Price: $10.95/year for a .com domain.
Domain.com offers website services like hosting and domain registration. This domain registrar also provides web design and marketing services.
However, its services lack flexibility. So Domain.com may not be ideal for experienced web developers who want to design and build a customizable website themselves.
Price: A .com domain costs $11.99 for registration and $21.99 for renewal.
With its user-friendly interface, Name.com is ideal for users who have never bought a domain. It offers free perks like email forwarding, DNS server templates and two-step verification.
However, its pricing for some TLDs is pretty high, so you may need to find an alternative if you’re on a budget. Name.com also charges a pricey restoration fee if you miss your renewal payment.
Price: A .com domain costs $12.99 for registration and $16.99 for renewal.
Gandi is a French registrar that offers website owners a feature-rich experience. With 800+ domain extensions to choose from, you’re sure to find the right fit for your website.
However, this domain registrar is more expensive than other Google Domains alternatives on this list, which is a major drawback if you want to cut costs.
Price: A .com domain costs $17.75 for registration and $23.99 for renewal.
With its quirky advertising, Porkbun is not your typical domain registrar, and its low prices have boosted its popularity.
However, its customer support is limited to specific time slots and is accessible only via phone or email. This could be a dealbreaker if you prefer real-time assistance via live chat.
Price: A .com domain costs $9.73/year.
If you liked Google Domains’ straightforward interface, then you’ll like Hover. The website’s uncluttered interface makes it easy to find the exact features you’re looking for. It also offers professional emails to help you level up your communications.
Price: A .com domain costs $14.99 for registration and $16.99 for renewal.
Serving over 100,000 customers, Dynadot is one of the best domain registrars worldwide. It offers competitive pricing on a wide range of domain extensions. It also supports bulk edits, which enables website owners to make changes to multiple domains at once, saving time and effort.
However, Dynadot is tailored to domain investors and resellers, so it may not be suitable for small business owners.
Price: A .com domain costs $10.99/year for registration.
Bluehost — the best Google Domains alternative
Now that Google Domains has been sold to Squarespace, things have majorly shaken up. You’re likely searching for a stable and reliable registrar to turn to.
At Bluehost, we offer reliable domain registration and migration services. We also provide seamless web hosting services, especially for WordPress users.
Here are five reasons why you should consider Bluehost as your domain registrar:
- Seamless integration with Bluehost web hosting services: If you want to keep your hosting and domain under the same provider, then Bluehost is the domain registrar for you. We offer quick and easy setup on fast, affordable servers. WordPress, shared, VPS and dedicated hosting are available for websites of any size.
- 200+ domain extensions: With Bluehost as your domain name registrar, you can access over 200 unique TLDs and traditional staples.
- Easy domain management: Bluehost’s user-friendly dashboard has been designed with efficiency in mind, enabling you to access the features you need with minimal effort.
- 24/7 support: Get 24/7 support via phone or live chat. This expert support is especially helpful if you’re new to web hosting and domain management.
- Reliable service: Bluehost is a WordPress-recommended web hosting provider trusted by over two million websites worldwide. We offer 99.9% uptime, so your website will always be accessible to visitors.
By migrating to Bluehost, you’ll also have access to additional perks. For instance, our domain registration solutions allow you to redirect domains, manage DNS records, forward emails and purchase domain privacy protection.
How to migrate from Google Domains to Bluehost
You can migrate from Google Domains to Bluehost by following seven straightforward steps.
1. Sign in to Google Domains and select the domain you want to transfer.
2. Open the menu and click on Registration Settings.
3. Disable WHOIS Privacy Protection, unlock your domain and get your extensible provisioning protocol (EPP) authorization code.
4. If you’ve already migrated an existing domain to Squarespace, open the Domains panel instead. Switch off WHOIS Privacy and Domain Lock, then open the three-dot menu and click Send Transfer Authentication Code to get your EPP authorization code via email.
5. Optional: Update your nameservers to ns1.bluehost.com and ns2.Bluehost.com. This takes a few days and can’t be initiated during an active transfer.
6. Log in to your Bluehost control panel. Click Domains > Transfer, enter your domain name and provide your EPP code.
7. You’ll receive an email with an admin verification code; enter this to complete the process.
Once the transfer is complete, you can update your nameservers, set up auto-renewal and add Domain Privacy.
Remember: No matter what domain registrar you use, you can’t transfer a domain for 60 days after purchasing it.
Final thoughts: Google Domains review
With Google Domains no longer open for business, it’s probably time to move to another domain registrar. And with Squarespace taking over, an increase in price is expected to occur in the near future.
At Bluehost, we offer affordable domain registration that pairs well with our robust hosting services. If you’ve been searching for a reliable domain registration and web hosting combo, search no more — Bluehost is your one-stop solution.
Google Domains is no longer open for business, so if you want to register a new domain, you’ll be referred to Squarespace Domains.
Google wishes to sharpen its focus and move on to other projects that are more beneficial to the company.
Google Domains has been offering transparency and simplicity backed by Google’s powerful servers. Now that it has been acquired by Squarespace, you should verify if Squarespace Domains has the features you want in a domain registrar.