The Berry Interesting team has been relying on Google Domains as our preferred domain registrar since 2019, and it has been a routine recommendation to our clients, especially those using Google Workspace services. However, with the recent news of Squarespace acquiring Google Domains, we find ourselves at a crossroads.
We prioritize providing personalized attention and up-to-date recommendations to our clients when it comes to maintaining and supporting websites and other digital properties. We’re not afraid to change service providers when it makes sense (for example, we’re always keeping an eye on things like our recommended web host, DNS management, and other elements of business tech stacks), but we’re kinda bummed about this one. We really liked that we could manage Google Domains alongside Google Workspace… their DNS was faster than other registrars we’d used in the past (so we didn’t have to use Cloudflare if we didn’t want to and could still count on changes propagating quickly)… and their price point was affordable and it included privacy with no additional cost.
Squarespace is acquiring Google Domains
In a definitive asset purchase agreement, Squarespace will be acquiring the assets associated with the Google Domains business. Following a transition period, Google Domains will wind down its operations, and Squarespace will take over approximately 10 million domains hosted on the platform. This acquisition represents Squarespace’s commitment to serving customers in the web infrastructure space.
At BIPi, we’ve been big fans of Squarespace for a while. We built our first Squarespace site for a client in 2015 and have relied on their services for our smaller and younger clients ever since (in fact, just today we recommended it to someone in the Together Digital network looking to DIY a personal portfolio site… Squarespace really is a great tool). As a result, we’re not completely turned off by them acquiring Google Domains, but based on our past experience registering domains via the Squarespace workflow, we’re not exactly sure we’ll want to continue recommending them in the future. It all depends on how the acquisition plays out.
Impact on our clients and our internal operations
For our clients (and for ourselves), we are not recommending an immediate move to a new registrar. We’re interested to see how this acquisition plays out, including what the UX and UI of the domain/account management becomes, how difficult it is to transition to a different registrar, and how this will affect things like the speed of DNS updates and ongoing registration costs.
As our domains – and the domains that we directly manage for clients – come up for renewal, we currently plan to transition most of them to Cloudflare. Given that we already utilize Cloudflare for DNS management, this transition is expected to be relatively low-impact. The first few transitions that we do will be test cases for what we’ll end up recommending going forward.
What goes into choosing a domain registrar
While your domain registrar is, for the most part, pretty low-impact when DNS is managed elsewhere, it’s still important to choose a reliable registrar, and keep in mind several factors that will impact your most important digital property. Key points to keep in mind:
- Initial Cost: Compare the initial registration fees offered by different registrars. Cost should not be the sole determining factor, but it can be a red flag, especially when you also consider other domain-associated costs.
- Renewal Prices: Beyond the initial cost, consider the long-term pricing structure to ensure you can sustain your domain registration.
- Expiration Policies: Understand the registrar’s policies regarding domain expiration and any associated fees for renewing an expired domain (sometimes this can be crazy expensive, and sometimes it can result in your site going down for an extended period of time). You’re aiming for a registrar that has reasonable and user-friendly policies.
- Other Bells & Whistles: Evaluate the additional services offered by the registrar, such as DNS management, SSL certificates, or email hosting, as these can simplify ongoing management of your digital properties.
- Data Privacy and Potential Associated Costs: Assess the registrar’s data privacy practices and any potential costs associated with protecting your personal information like name and address.
- Available Security Measures: Ensure the registrar at least has the option of implementing robust security measures, such as two-factor authentication, to safeguard your domain from unauthorized access. The worst possible scenario for a domain is your registrar account getting hacked and losing your registration.
- Transfer Process and Associated Fees: Familiarize yourself with the domain transfer process, including any fees involved, in case you decide to switch registrars in the future.
Recommended Reading from the BIPi Blog
Choosing a Web Host You Can Be With Forever (Spoiler: Not Possible)
Learn more about choosing a website host… and then choosing again
How To Choose The Right Website Platform For Your Site
Find out how we determine what website platform to recommend to a client… and why we warn against Wix.
Website support also means domain support
At Berry Interesting, we pride ourselves on being an authority on support for web properties. Your website is usually your most obvious property, but your domain is hands-down the most important. Choosing a domain registrar without the context that our team has due to daily interactions with them might seem overwhelming, but that’s why we are here – to guide you through the process. We stay up to date with industry changes, allowing us to offer our clients personalized recommendations tailored to their specific personal and business needs.
You might be interested to know that this post was created with the help of generative AI tools like ChatGPT and DALL-E-2. Find out more here.