Hover Domains is a domain registrar founded in 2009 as an offshoot of Tucows Inc. (the second largest ICANN accredited domain registrar online). Hover’s M.O. is that they stick to what they know, and that’s domains.
But let’s be honest, you probably only know them from their podcast ads on shows like Hello Internet and 99% Invisible. While Grey and Roman might plug them – you want to know how they actually stack up.
Well – this domain registrar deals solely with buying, managing, and transferring domains on their platform. They do offer email services, but do not offer other complementary products such as hosting, website builders, etc.
Check out Hover’s products & pricing here.
It’s important to remember that a domain is not a website. It’s not an email, an app, or any other service. It’s simply your online address. It helps people locate where you are. If you want to setup a website, you’ll still need to get hosting or a website builder / ecommerce provider that provides hosting (which Hover does not provide).
I’ll dive deeper into this in the pros and cons, but it’s an important distinction to make up front, because it helps us understand what Hover’s goal is. They’re not about being an all-in-one solution — quite the opposite, actually. Their focus is on on simplicity. They’re all about getting you your domain and letting you use it wherever you need it through app integrations.
How does Hover stack up against other domain registrars? Here’s our review of Hover Domains as a domain registrar with pros and cons.
Disclosure – I receive customer referral fees from companies mentioned on this website. All data & opinions are based on my professional experience as a paying customer or consultant to a paying customer.
Pros of Hover Domains
Hover’s interface is about as user-friendly as it gets. It’s clean, simple, and easy to navigate. The domain search is the most prominent thing on the homepage, making it clear exactly where to go to get started.
Once you search for a domain, you’re given a clean list with an exact match and other recommendations. Hover offers a ton of top level domain options (more on that in a minute), and gives an easy way to navigate through them with different filter categories.
The checkout process itself is simple as well. It took me four easy steps to get my domain from my cart to my dashboard. For a domain registrar that prides itself on simplicity, Hover definitely delivers.
Variety of TLDs
Now that ICANN allows more TLDs outside of generic .com/.net/.org, website owners have to make sure their domain registrar has all the ones they want (especially if you’re buying in bulk). Hover has a ton of TLD options that go beyond generic domains, which are broken down by categories to make finding the perfect match easier.
Hover also offers a ton of country-specific domains for international use, making it a great choice if you need to buy up domains for various countries/regions or even cities.
Domain registrars use a whole host of pricing types, from cheap upfront pricing with high renewal rates to expensive with cheap renewals.
Hover is fairly straightforward with their pricing. Their table breaks down pricing for purchase, renewal, and transfer for all of their TLD types. Their rates include WHOIS privacy protection, which means that your personal details like name, address, and contact information are protected from spammers, marketers, and others who may do a WHOIS lookup. The prices do not include ICANN fees however, which means you’ll need to add an additional $0.18 on to your purchase (more on that in the cons).
Hover also offers discounts on renewal rates when you have 10 or more domains registered with them. You can see how the pricing breaks down for the domain ranges in their pricing table.
“Real Person” Support
While I haven’t had to contact support, Hover is well known for their excellent customer service. They claim to be fellow haters of the phone tree, and as such, don’t use automated systems. Whether you’re calling in, emailing, or live chatting, you’re connected to a person.
In terms of coverage, Hover offers a pretty robust schedule. You can contact them weekdays (8:00 AM – 11:00 PM ET) and weekends (8:00 AM – 8:00 PM ET) via email, phone, or live chat.
Their “Need Help” tab also follows you throughout the site and offers frequently asked questions and answers, as well as a link to their live chat and additional support information.
Although Hover focuses solely on domain registering and managing (and email), it does offer a plethora off apps you can easily integrate your domain with, from website builders like Squarespace to ecommerce platforms like Shopify.
Aside from the integration options, the actual process of integrating your domain is fairly straightforward. Hover provides step-by-step instructions for each app, making it easy for even the least tech-experienced website owners. They’ll even handle some of the work for you (like adding your DNS records to connect your domain with your website platform).
One of the main things that stood out to me while registering a domain with Hover was how far they went to protect my data. There’s nothing worse than registering a domain and getting tons of spam emails immediately afterward (or getting retargeted by ads left and right). WHOIS privacy protects this somewhat, but Hover goes a step beyond during the checkout process by allowing you to select how your data is shared. I also received an email after purchasing my domain prompting me to set my data use consent preferences.
Cons of Hover Domains
Lacking Complementary Products
Hover’s focus on only domains is a pro, but it’s also a con.
There are several products that almost always go with a domain. If you want to make your site secure with SSL, you’ll need an SSL certificate associated with the domain. You can buy it separately from a third party, but from my experience, managing it with your domain is simpler.
When it comes to hosting, I like to separate my domains and hosting, but many owners prefer that their hosting and domains get bundled into one (even if it’s not ideal from a performance perspective).
NameCheap has competitive hosting; GoDaddy offers affordable managed WordPress hosting with domains. And most hosting companies offer domain registration (or even free domains) with hosting purchase (such as InMotion or Bluehost).
Those kind of products simply aren’t available with Hover. You can purchase domain email (AKA match your domain name to an email address (or several), but if you’re looking for the convenience of having your hosting and website builder all in one platform, you’re out of luck.
While Hover offers straightforward pricing (which is a pro), the con is that they tend to be pricier than other registrars — and this is the largest con going against them as a domain registrar.
If you want to compare prices, let’s look at NameCheap vs. Hover. You can get a .com domain on NameCheap for $10.98 (plus the $0.18 ICANN fee), which then renews at $12.98. With Hover, that same .com domain will cost you $12.99 and renews at $14.99.
The pricing discrepancy gets even larger when you get into other specialty TLDs. See the comparison for this .condos domain between Hover and NameCheap.
If you’re looking to save money on a domain purchase or renewal and don’t mind the upselling/cross selling that typically comes with those registrars, there are better choices out there for you than Hover.
If you don’t mind spending a bit more for a domain registrar that’s straightforward and keeps their cross selling and upselling out of it, Hover isn’t a bad choice – but you need to fully factor in your costs.
- Want a very simple domain buying and integration experience
- Need a registrar that offers plenty of support
- Want to keep your email and your domain with the same provider
- Don’t need complementary products (besides email)
… Hover Domains could be a good fit for you.
However, if you’re…
- More experienced in getting online
- Looking to save on domains (especially specialty TLDs)
- Want to keep your hosting and domains in the same place
… there are better options out there for you (I mostly use NameCheap). You can take my domain registrar quiz to help you narrow down which might be best for your needs.
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