Picking a domain name is one of the most exciting steps when creating a website.

Will you go with the common .com or .ca, the credible .ed or .gov, or the cool .xyz or .io? With over 1 billion websites on the internet, is the domain name you want available, or will you have to get creative? And with so many cheap domain registrars on the market, which company will you go with?

Amidst all of the excitement of picking a domain name, it’s easy to get roped into more than you are looking for. We’ve created a list of 4 hidden costs to look out for when purchasing a cheap domain name, as well as tips to keep in mind. Check it out. No strings attached.  


1. Only the first year is inexpensive.

A lot of domain registrars flaunt insanely low domain prices, often for less than a buck. While a dollar domain may sound delightful, this kind of deal is usually only for the first year. When you go to renew your domain the following year, you may suddenly realize that the price to renew your domain is much higher. Companies will rack up the price of cheap domains in subsequent years to balance out the initial discount of the first year.

What’s worse, you’re often not told that the price will be higher, or if you are warned, it’s in the fine print. Or, in order to obtain the cheap domain price, companies try to lock you down for a multi-year contract so that you’re forced to pay the increased domain price later. 


cheap domain

That’s your cheap domain price skyrocketing the next year.


2. There are sneaky hidden fees.

Look out for hidden additional charges associated with billing, renewal, and transfers that domain registrars will try to shake you down of later.

Companies may put your contract on “Auto-Renew” so that you’re automatically charged for the following year when it comes around. Or, they’ll charge you a fee for not selecting the “Auto-Renew” option when you request to renew your domain the following year. You should be the one who decides if you renew your domain or not and the company should be upfront about its rules and regulations.


3. You’re locked into a lengthy contract.

In exchange for a cheap domain, some companies want you to sign up with them for a contract of several years. That way they retain a customer and make up for the initial low cost. If you change your mind later and decide you no longer want the domain, you don’t get your money back. A multi-year contract may be exactly what you need, just make sure you know exactly what you are signing up for. 


cheap domain

Think twice before shaking on it.

4. They’ll try to upsell you additional services.

You think you’re getting a rad deal that costs less than a coffee and then comes the dreaded Checkout page. It’s littered with “recommended” add-ons that you’re urged to buy, also at a low, low price, like:

  • Matching domain names
  • Web security packages
  • Additional backups
  • Website builders
  • Additional emails

It’s important to know that these add-ons are not mandatory and that you don’t have to purchase everything all at once or from the same organization. So before you check out with a basket full of items, make sure you’re not buying anything under pressure.

We should also mention that these add-ons are different from companies like Canadian Web Hosting who sells domains and web hosting together. We encourage customers to buy their domain and hosting together because we know it’s easier to handle everything when it’s consolidated under one easy-access account.


Tips for Domain Name Shopping

Cheap domain registrars prey on eager customers. Here are some tips to keep you mindful during the domain name shopping process:  

1. Do your research.

You can find out more about a domain registrar with a few simple online searches. Check out what real people are saying about the company online.

2. Trust your instincts.

If it feels too good to be true, it probably is.

3. Find out what their customer support policy is.

Do they have one? Is it free? Is it 24/7?

4. Confirm you can enable WHOIS privacy.

You should have the choice to protect your personal information online.

5. Think long-term.

You may be getting a good deal the first year, but can you afford to shell out more later?

6. Be wary of anything that looks flashy, gimmicky or that pressures you to buy.

What is all that flash trying to accomplish or distract you from?

7. Look for a company with a flexible return policy.

The company should be confident that you’ll be happy with their services or you should be allowed to get your money back.

8. Read the fine print when checking out.

We’re all guilty of our eyes glazing over when we see the words “Terms of Service” and it may be tempting to hit “Submit” but before you do, check out the terms you’re agreeing to and make sure there are no catches. To make reading the Terms of Service easier to scan, hit control + F and search for keywords like “restrictions,” “refund policy,”  “transfers,” and “fees.”

9. Make sure you know the final price, after taxes, add-ons, and time commitments.

You may be surprised to see the price is something totally different from what was promised.


The Bottom Line

We’re not trying to scare you away from purchasing a domain name. In fact, we’re really excited for you! Purchasing a domain is the first step in building the website of your dreams. Our goal is to educate you so that you can be mindful of the red flags when assessing domain registrars—before you whip out your credit card.

With all that said, we think you’re ready to buy your domain name! Canadian Web Hosting offers domain registration with its quality hosting plans. We have 100+ TLDs to choose from so you can get the exact domain name you want. Our shared hosting plans come with easy-to-use Weebly Site Builder and we offer 24/7 support. We also have a flexible 60-day money back guarantee if you’re not entirely happy.

Do you have any questions about domains? What is the most important thing to you when buying a domain? Let us know in the comments below.