Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Google Domain Overview

Google Domain Overview: Pros and cons of Google as a Domain registrar

Google Domain Overview: Pros and cons of Google as a Domain registrar

  • Advantages of Google Domains
  • Integrations
  • Simplicity
  • Transparent cost
  • Selecting new TLDs
  • Disadvantages of Google Domains
  • Support Service
  • Additional products
  • Selecting a country's TLD
  • Google Promise / Beta status
  • Google SEO Advantage / Disadvantage

Google Domains is a domain name registrar that is owned and operated by Google. Google released the product in 2014, and as of 2018, it is still in "beta".

Google domains are not their own primary domain registrar (which is namechip). As a Googlephile and SEO consultant, I had to register a domain with Google Domains the day they started.

Here is my experience and my full review of Google domains with pros and cons…

Go to conclusion and next steps

Disclosure - I receive remuneration from the companies mentioned on this site. All data and opinions are based on my experience as a paying client or consultant to a paying client.

Before we look at the pros and cons, there are a couple of things that need to be mentioned.

First, Google Domains is strictly a domain registrar , they allow you to claim, register, and manage domain names. They do not offer additional services, such as hosting. Google separately offers email and business services through Google Apps , Google Services require their own domain name to start with.

Except Google Sites, which is the creator of a website that provides storage (but not hosting) via Google Drive.

We'll take a closer look at this point in the pros and cons, but it's important to understand Google's goal with Google Domains, They want "getting online" to be easier and less complex for very small and / or less tech - savvy businesses-meaning these businesses need to get a domain name.

And even further, this means that the process of obtaining a domain should be as simple and transparent as possible.

Second, it is important to remember that a domain is not a website. This is not email - or any other service. This is the equivalent of your address in the offline world - it helps people determine the location of your property. The domain simply tells browsers / email / etc. where to go to get whatever it wants (text file, website files, emails, images, data, etc.).

If you want to set up a website, you still need to get a hosting service or website builder / e-commerce provider that provides hosting.

All that said, let's take a look at the pros and cons of using Google domains as a domain registrar.

Advantages of Google Domains:

Interface / Backend
Google domains promise to be simple and transparent. And you'll immediately notice this with their homepage and backend design.

It is so minimalistic that it is almost empty.

It has Google's signature design style (aka the nearly empty Google search page). Google Domains is focused on doing one thing and only one thing - domains.

The design has no sales, no cross-selling, and no visual clutter. This is honestly refreshing compared to the typical direct response offers from most domain and hosting companies.

Once you leave the site, you won't even see the amazing retargeting ads. On Facebook, you will only see stylish ads with reminders. No offers - just the promise of simplicity and transparency.

When you need to specify your domain to a host or site developer, it's all in one place. There are literally 3 options in the server sidebar.

The Google Domains interface is a refreshing professional in an industry where most small business owners have to put up with pop-ups, resales, and confusing backends.

Although Google Domains doesn't offer built-in add-ons, it integrates very well with the most common web applications.

It simply syncs with Google Apps (for email, storage, records, etc.). And Google runs one of the best DNS servers (a system that tells the browser to go to a specific server to get files) on the internet.

And Google runs one of the best DNS servers (a system that tells the browser to go to a specific server to get files) on the internet

In fact, many webmasters will use Google DNS instead of their domain registrars or hosting companies, which is a plus as it integrates well with Google domains.

The (sponsored) general site creators menu integrates directly into the "add site" drop-down list. This includes Shopify, Weebly , Wix Blogger & Squarespace , 

All of this leads to the next professional of overall simplicity.

If you are setting up your own website with a hosting provider, specifying your name servers is located right in the domain menu. It's a single click.

But it's not just a single click on a clear interface - even advanced features are easy to find and use.

If you want to leave Google Domains, it is easy to unblock your domain (something that other domain name registrars can do quite difficult). Updating addresses is simple.

Detecting your payment history is very simple. Since Google Domains uses your Google account, it is easy to pay for and maintain it (it is taken from your email and information from your Google Wallet).

Simplicity is what Google Domains promises, and they live up to it.

Transparent cost:
Google Domains maintains a single price for each top-level domain (TWO). The commission fee is $ 12 per year.

Their pricing across the board is not the cheapest long-term or short-term. They are a couple of dollars more expensive per year than NameCheap. And they don't do short-term discounts like GoDaddy.

However, Google Domains integrates privacy protection with all of its domains. Namecheap and GoDaddy both have this option as upsell.

So while Google domains aren't the cheapest, they offer a reliable total cost - and they're very transparent about what you get.

Selecting new TLDs:

In 2014, ICANN, the Internet governance body, allowed many more top-level domains (TLDs). This has led to a wide choice in the domain name market, which is limited to .com, .net, several other generics, as well as national top-level domains.

Now more and more companies are looking for unique TLDs, such as .kitchen or .academy, among hundreds of others. The problem now is to make sure that your domain registrar has everything you want to register.

The problem now is to make sure that your domain registrar has everything you want to register

There's a catch: Google domains don't have named TLDs. This is a US-only service and has only "general" TLDs (plus the country's .us TLD). If you want a domain .co.uk or. ie - you're out of luck.

ie - you're out of luck

But as long as you're only looking for a US-only TLD, you'll find a solid choice with Google domains. Google Domains has almost everything I've seen.

Disadvantages of Google Domains:

  • Disadvantages of Google Domains
  • pricing policy
As I mentioned in the Pros section, Google Domain pricing focuses on simplicity and transparency. They include privacy in their prices - and are cheaper than most of all hosting companies that offer domain registration.

However, when Google domain prices go up against Bluehost, NameCheap or GoDaddy, they lose out. NameCheap prices are transparent and constantly cheaper.

Namecheap also includes a first-year WHOIS Guard (Privacy) for the first year for free with this link ,

GoDaddy is more expensive every year than Google domains. However, they are also heavily discounting domains in the first year ( see their current ads here).

If you're just trying to secure domains quickly and cheaply, then GoDaddy will be the best bet on the price. Namecheap will still be the best long-term option.

Support Service:
The Google Domain interface and product are designed to address any potential customer support needs. However, things do happen. And when something happens, you need support.

I've never had to use Google Domain support, but their support options aren't the best in the industry. Their contact forms are hidden, and phone support options are limited to business hours in the United States. They offer after-hours chat / email services.

  • They offer after-hours chat / email services
  • Support isn't necessarily a scam, but it's not really a reason to choose Google domains.

Additional products:
Google Domain only focuses on domains, but it's also a scam.

And that's because there are several products that almost always come with a domain. If you want to make your site secure with SSL you will need an SSL certificate associated with the domain.

You can buy it separately from a third party, but as far as I know, it's easier to manage it using your own domain.

I like to separate my domains and hosting, but many owners prefer to have their hosting and domains combined into one (even if it's not ideal in terms of performance).

NameCheap has competitive hosting ; GoDaddy offers well-established hosting with domains. And most hosting companies offer domain registration (or even free domains) when buying hosting (for example, In Motion or Bluehost).

Similar products are simply not available with Google domains. So if you want that convenience, then you're out of luck.

Selecting a country's TLD:
Although Google Domains has a wide selection of shared domains, they do not support country-level domains.

At first, I didn't think it would be too much of a problem, since it's only available to US customers anyway.

However, if you are an American company with a country-specific website, it may be convenient to manage these domains together. You can do this with companies like NameCheap, but not Google domains ,

Google Promise / Beta status:
The final downside to using Google Domains as your domain provider is Google itself. Right now, at the end of 2018, the product is in "beta" - or testing. And it's been in beta for over 5 years now.

And while Google says it's a long-term project that fits naturally with their other business products, such as Google Apps and Google App Engine, Google also has a long history of shutting down well-known projects.

They have killed Google Reader, iGoogle, Google Apps for the team and Google Glass. Google has undergone countless changes in its local business product (Google Places, Google+ Local, Google MyBusiness, etc.) and even in Google+ - the highest profile project in history.

In other words, even though Google domains have many advantages over Google, domain names are not and will never be a priority for Google. Google domains will always be at risk of being shut down - even if things are going well. If they closed , you wouldn't lose your domain name, but you would have to switch to another company within Google's time frame.

NameCheap, GoDaddy, Hang Out, or other domain name registration companies only register domain names. They may go bankrupt, but as long as they make money, they will never shut down unceremoniously.

Google SEO Advantage / Disadvantage:
Before moving on to the next steps, I should touch on one part of the SEO (search engine optimization) mythology. In the SEO worldwide, there are 3 camps on Google products.

The first camp says that Google is inherently unreliable. They say you should never use their products because they are just spying on you and are going to punish you. It's all about tricking and outsmarting Google.

The second camp says that Google is about SEO. They say you should use all their products and do whatever they say. Google will always prioritize its own products and will reward everyone who uses them. It's all about Google's collaboration and takeover.

The third camp says that none of the first two camps rely on evidence or testing. The answer to all SEO questions is "it all depends." Use Google products that are right for your business; don't use Google products that don't work for you. Either way, focus on testing and doing the right thing for your customers.

I'm in the third camp. I've never seen any evidence that Google Domains will "clear" or "remove" a black domain. I've never seen evidence that domains registered with Google get an advantage in search results. I also have no idea why Google would even make this a factor.

Don't buy snake oil SEO when you are looking for a domain name registrar, The only proven SEO truth is that the internet is made up of domain names. And you need your own domain (not a subdomain .weebly.com, or .wordpress.com, or .blogspot.com) to build a long-term project.

The registrar's choice should be based on price, convenience, usability, and support.

Next steps
If you -

  • just want to register multiple shared domains for your business
  • value simplicity and transparency
  • don't need a wide selection of products
  • don't need a super competitive price
  • trust google as a company
  •  then Google Domains is right for you. Go check them out here 

If you want lots of options and the best prices from a reputable company with no sales, I would recommend checking out NameCheap here ...

If you just want to get a super-cheap domain right now and plan to delete it or migrate it as soon as you use it, then go check out the GoDaddy special domain here ...

Finally, if you're more confused than ever, check out my BuzzFeed-esque Domain Registrar Selection Test here.

  • Editor's Rating
  • Rating 4 stars
  • Great
  • Google Domains
  • Review: Nate Shivar
  • Published in:

Last change:

Google Domains is a product of the Google domain registrar. This promises simplicity and transparency for US customers. Slightly more expensive than the competition. But a solid product for multi-domain ownership. Simple and clean, but not enough additional products.


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