Google Domain Review:
Unknown to many, Google domain registration services (similar to NameCheap, Uniregistry), courtesy of Google Domains. However, the service is still currently on beta, despite launching way back in January 2015.
It is not available worldwide as well; rather, only people with billing addresses in the US, Canada, India, and the United Kingdom can make purchases on Google Domains.
The above does not mean that you won’t be able to manage your existing domain accounts when you’re travelling outside these countries.
As long as you have a valid billing address in these countries, you will be able to purchase a domain from the service.
Pros of Getting a Domain from Google:
So, what are the advantages of getting a domain from Google’s very own domain registration service? We’ve listed the most obvious ones below.
1. Google’s Name and Reputation:
Google being what it is, when getting a domain from them, you’re assured that you’re getting a service backed up by one of the world’s most recognizable brands, worth some $82.5 billion and second only to Apple in Forbes’ list of the world’s most valuable brands in 2016.
Google will not just buckle and fold up – it is definitely not a fly-by-night domain registrar.
The fact that your domain is hosted on the same nameservers where Google hosts its own domains is reassuring by itself.
Google DNS servers are part of the backbone of the Internet and probably resolve millions, if not billions, of requests everyday.
If you’re already using Google Analytics or some other Google-provided service, it’s good to know that Google also provides domain registration.
Although it may be true that these services can be set up easily enough regardless of the domain registrar, it’s always convenient to have one vendor provide all these services.
2. A Variety of Web Hosting Partners:
Although Google Domains does not offer web hosting services per se, it does have partnerships with third-party web hosting providers, allowing you to link your domain to these services seamlessly and with minimum hassle.
You’re not limited to the above hosting providers either – you can connect your domain to any third-party web hosting provider of your choice. You can even forward your domain to your current website, if you already have one.
Of course, hosting with a third-party partner requires payment of hosting fees, much like getting hosting from another domain host that also offers web hosting services.
However, in the case of those third-party hosts with which Google Domains has partnered, expect the process of setting up your website on them to have been streamlined already.
You can also connect your new domain to your existing Blogger or Google Sites accounts. Since Google owns Blogger and Google Sites, you’re assured that the process will be easier, if not painless.
The outstanding support documentation that Google provides will also help a lot in easing the process.
3. Application Hosting on Google App Engine and Google Cloud Platform:
If you are a developer and you’re looking for a suitable hosting service for that application you have in the pipeline, you might want to get a domain account from Google Domains.
Why? Because you can connect your domain to Google App Engine, Google’s own app hosting platform.
Google App Engine is one of the services in Google Cloud Platform, Google’s own cloud computing service. These services are run from Google’s own data centers, the very same data centers that run Google’s wide array of services, e.g. email and cloud storage.
This makes Google Domains particularly suitable to companies already familiar with the platform.
Since Google’s own infrastructure runs on the platform, you can be assured that it will be extensively maintained and supported. Thus, downtime should be minimal.
Moreover, you don’t have to allocate any resources to manage the infrastructure, as Google already does that for you.
What makes the platform more attractive is that its pricing model is based on usage. If your usage does not exceed a certain limit, you may get your hosting free.
Such a pricing model is ideal if your application is new and doesn’t have that many users yet. There are no upfront costs and no termination fees, too. You get to save what may be substantial amounts in hosting fees.
The only caveat is that you must be familiar with these platforms to utilize them productively. If you’re not familiar with them, you may get expert help from outside consultants, as there are already many developers using them.
This means paying potentially huge sums in terms of consulting fees.
4. Custom Email with G Suite:
Google Domains offers free email forwarding. You may set up 100 email aliases for your domain. This is ideal for individual users and small businesses.
However, you may choose to get G Suite with your domain hosting account, albeit at an additional fee ($30 per user per month).
This means that you get a dedicated email address, as well as 30GB of Google Drive, Hangouts, Docs, Sheets, Slides, Forms, Calendar, and Sites.
You can scale up as well, adding as many users with their own email accounts as you want. Those do not come free, of course.
Although optional and only available for a fee, the fact that you have this option means one less hassle to attend to when you’re running a business.
You do not have to maintain your own email servers either, since Google will do all of that for you.
5. Wide Range of Available TLDs:
The list is comparable to what other domain registrars support. Google Domains has committed to providing as many of the hundreds of new TLDs that will be available in the next few years.
Thus, if you’re eyeing a new domain with one of the upcoming TLD extensions for your website in the future, you may be able to get that domain from Google.
6. Familiar Interface:
If you already have a Google account, or you’re a Google+ or GMail user, you can manage your domain account directly from your Google account.
There is no learning curve in the process, as you’ll be doing this from an already familiar user interface. You’ll save time, something not possible with other domain hosts with unfamiliar management consoles.
Along with the familiar interface, expect the security features to be the same for Google products anywhere. Thus, two-factor authentication is a given.
7. Wide Array of Free Add-Ons:
You get a wide array of add-ons, at no additional costs, when you get a domain from Google Domains.
These include private domain registration, email forwarding, domain forwarding, up to 100 customizable subdomains, and domain management tools using a simple and familiar interface (see previous section).
8. Extensive Customer Support and Documentation:
If you’re a GMail user, or if you have a Google account, you’ve probably encountered Google’s self-help options at one point in time.
That’s why it’s a bit surprising that Google Domains offers telephone support aside from the customary chat and email support that other domain hosts provide.
Phone support hours used to be limited to 15 hours daily (6:00 AM to 9:00 PM US Pacific Time), but this has now been extended to 24/7, just like chat and email.
Google Domains also does not disappoint in terms of support documentation. If you have a problem setting up your account, you can choose not to contact support at all, given the comprehensive documentation. This is not surprising, though, as Google products have traditionally not been lacking in this aspect.
The Google Domains Support page is shown in the screenshot below. Note the simple interface that has long characterized Google’s websites.
Cons of Having a Domain with Google:
So, what are the disadvantages, if any, of registering a domain with Google Domains?
1. High Cost Compared to Other Registration Services:
Compared to other domain registrars, getting a domain from Google Domains does not come cheap. A .com domain costs $12 per year.
Moreover, Google Domains does not offer discounts for long-term contracts, e.g. if you register a domain for 5 years, you still pay $12 per year.
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Other domain registrars that also provide web hosting services offer substantial discounts on your first year of registration. The same can be said for web hosts that offer free domain accounts for a year.
If you get an app running on Google App Engine, and decide to renew your domain with Google Domains, you still have to pay the normal rate for your domain.
Given that your usage may not exceed Google App Engine’s free tier, this doesn’t seem bad at all, particularly if you’re just starting out and don’t have that many users just yet.
2. Limited Coverage:
As mentioned above, Google Domains operates only in four countries at present: the US, Canada, India, and the United Kingdom.
If you live outside of these countries, you’re out of luck – you won’t be able to register a domain with the company.
You will encounter the following message if you try to register a domain from a country where Google Domains does not operate.
Whether Google Domains will eventually offer its services to residents of other countries remains a big question, although given Google’s capabilities, it won’t come as a surprise to anyone at all if they start offering the service worldwide soon.
However, Google has not been forthcoming on its plans regarding the service. So, if you’re already looking to register your new domain, you should already start looking from among the other reputable domain hosting services on our list.
Bottom line about Google Domains:
Although still in beta after more than two years in the domain registration business, Google Domains will not go away anytime soon. If you’re looking for a reliable domain registrar, Google Domain fits the bill.
You’ll be sure that your nameservers will always be up, as these are the same hardware on which Google’s own infrastructure runs.
True that the pricing is a bit higher compared to other domain registrars, particularly since Google Domains does not seem to offer any promo pricing, but Google’s name and reputation is more than enough to compensate for the higher pricing.
Add to that the fact that you get Whois privacy plus a slew of other add-ons, and Google Domains makes a sweet enough deal.
If you’re an individual or small business owner on a limited budget, the added expense may not be justified.
But if you’re looking for a domain registrar that also simplifies the process of putting your website or app on hosting from Google Apps Engine or the Google Cloud Platform, Google Domains is an attractive option.
If you’re lucky enough to live in the four countries where Google Domains operates, the company is an excellent domain registrar to consider.
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