How to Buy Cheap Domains and Keep Renewals Cheap (10+ Tips)

If you're trying to keep your domain costs low, this guide is for you. I'm sharing some of my tips and places to buy/renew domains to save.

How to Buy Cheap Domains and Keep Renewals Cheap (10+ Tips)

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Over the years, I’ve bought a number of internet domains for various projects and I’ve wasted a bit of money in that process because I wasn’t always looking for the best deals at the time.

While domains are typically the cheaper part of the costs of running a website, it is still an ongoing cost that will add up over the years.

So if you’re trying to keep your domain purchases and renewal costs low, this guide is for you. I’m going to share some of my tips and places to buy and renew domains to save money, even if it’s just a dollar or two, it all counts!

If you’re reading this article, likely you already know what an internet domain is, so I’m not going to explain that here.

How you think about your domain matters when it comes to saving money.

Some people say that domains are like a form of digital “real estate”, and in some ways, it is.

When you buy a domain, it’s like leasing a piece of land. You can do what you like with it, but with the bonus of being able to sell it at the end. However, as long as it’s in your possession, you’ll need to keep paying to have it.

The fact is, if you want to save money on your domain you need to be proactive. If you leave it as set-and-forget (which domain registrars love) you’ll be missing out on money you could have saved.

I hope you find this article helpful and informative to help you save when buying or renewing your domains.

Things to Avoid

First up here are some tips to consider when first buying a domain. It's important to consider these as they can greatly affect how much you pay in the future to transfer or keep it.

  • Avoid transfer "from" fees or unlocking fees
    Some domain registrars attempt to lock you in by charging a fee to transfer your domain to another registrar. Or they may charge a fee to "unlock" your domain so that it can be transferred.
What is Domain Locking/Unlocking?
Domain locking is an optional security feature offered by most domain registrars to prevent unauthorized people from transferring your domain to another registrar. Put simply, it prevents someone from hijacking your domain. Before transferring a domain, a locked domain must first be unlocked.
  • Privacy protection at a fee
    If the registrar you're looking at charges you a fee to activate WHOIS privacy protection, you may want to keep looking. There are registrars out there who include this feature as standard.
  • Premium DNS Addons
    While there are cases where you might want a premium DNS (Domain Name System), such as when connection speed is critical, most personal websites will not see much of a real benefit from this addon. If you don't specifically have a need for it, there is no need to purchase a premium DNS with your domain.
  • Expensive TLD's (Domain Endings)
    Not all domains are valued the same. Some domain endings, e.g. .com, .net, .org a very popular and have very competitive pricing. Less common, subject-based domains can cost more, however.
  • "For Sale" domains
    Have you ever typed in your desired domain name and it comes up with a page that says it's for sale? It might be tempting to buy it, but it can usually cost hundreds, if not thousands, to acquire. Unless you really really really need that domain name, it's just easier and cheaper to come up with an alternative name.
  • Settling with your Registrar
    Don't settle with your domain registrar and pay the renewals year after year without first checking the competition. Renewal discounts don't come up often with many registrars, so it does take some effort to transfer the domain. If your domain renewal is cheaper elsewhere, why not change? Just remember that it's best to do this at least a month before your renewal is due.

Tips to Keep your Domain Cheap

Now that we've covered things to avoid that make domains more expensive, here's my list of tips and tricks to keep your domain ownership cheap initially and year after year.

  • Free domain with hosting
    When you're just starting your website, you typically need to buy some sort of hosting. Many hosting services offer a free domain with the purchase of hosting. This is a perfect way to begin and get a free domain, but be careful there aren't any hidden fees to transfer your domain away before that year is up!
  • Buy the first year cheap
    If you only need a domain, try to find the cheapest first-year price around. Sometimes you can find ridiculously cheap domains under $1 for the first year. Usually, the renewal cost will be high, but as long as you can transfer your domain away at no cost before your renewal date, you're in a win-win scenario.
Be careful not to get tricked into buying a domain with an expensive ending. Even if they are cheap the first year, some domain endings can be expensive no matter where you transfer them! Check with domain comparison sites to see what the renewal cost is at the lowest point before committing.
  • Wait for Black Friday/Cyber Monday
    If you can hold out for your purchase or renewal until this time, you can find some great deals floating around that are never given at any other time of the year.
  • Do yearly checks and transfer
    Don't wait until there are 4 days left to renew your domain! It'll likely be too late to transfer it. I recommend at 30 days before your renewal, start hunting around for the best deal you can find. When you find it, start the transfer process. If you use comparison sites, it should only take 10-15 minutes to find a great deal.
  • Don't forget about it!
    It's so easy to forget about domain renewals, especially when you've ticked "auto-renewal". Set a reminder some 30 days before your next renewal so you have a chance to shop around for the best deal. Don't rely on the registrar to tell you when the renewal is coming up.

Where to Compare Domain Prices?

With so many domain registrars around, how on earth can you find the cheapest ones for your next purchase or renewal? Luckily, there are some great sites that make this job easy, check out one or both of these!


Screenshot of the Domcomp Website.

Built by 3 London friends, DomComp is crazy simple to use. Just type in your domain ending (such as ".com"), choose if you are buying, renewing or transferring a domain and it'll show you the pricing list of the top 3 cheapest websites. As a bonus, they also have customer reviews of some of the registrars which you can see on the Reviews page.


A favourite of many people, TLD-List is a comparison site for Top-Level domains. It checks over 50 registrars to find which providers have the cheapest domain sale prices and renewal prices for over 3000 Top-Level Domains! It even saves you from hunting for working coupon codes by showing you which codes you need.

Cheap Places to Buy Domains

In addition to the comparison website above, you might simply want to know where you can typically get good prices. I've selected several sites below which I've known to have great prices at different times.

  • Cloudflare
    When it comes to renewing common TLD's like .com, it's hard to go past Cloudflare. Cloudflare offers renewals at wholesale prices. I've found it to be up to $10 cheaper than other popular registrars. I personally use Cloudflare for renewing several of my domains as I simply haven't found better prices worth transferring for.
DNS Gotcha
Cloudflare only allows you to use their DNS unless you pay for a business subscription, which will give you access to custom name servers. So if you need to point your domain elsewhere, this solution may not be right for you.
  • NameCheap
    NameCheap is one of the most popular domain registrars around. While they offer a lot of services, domains are their focus. While NameCheap isn't generally always the cheapest, I have found they run good promotions now and then where you can pick up new cheap domains. Even when it comes to renewal, you can occasionally find coupons (such as with Honey) to reduce the cost. They typically run their best promos around Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
  • PorkBun
    Once you get past the funny name and the amusing pig illustrations on the website, you'll find PorkBun has some of the cheapest prices around. It's definitely worth a look. Sometimes they even do a year free!
  • Sav
    Another common site that often appears when looking for rock-bottom domain prices is Sav. Some of their prices are hard to go past.

At the end of the day, there will always be a cost to keep a domain. How much that is... depends on how savvy you are at always nabbing the best deals as they come.

Don't forget to be proactive and keep those eyes peeled!

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