Dynadot is an ICANN-accredited domain registrar and web host headquartered in California. They were founded in 2002 by a software engineer and state their primary focus is engineering and designing excellence.
Dynadot’s main pitch is to help customers “register domains names and create websites simply and affordably”.
They are one of the myriad smaller domain registrars that have a dedicated but smaller following than the big brands like GoDaddy.
Do they hold up to their mission? Here’s our Dynadot review 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 Dynadot
Straightforward Search + Purchase Process
Dynadot makes good on its promise to make registering a domain simple. The interface is clean, easy to navigate, and straightforward. There aren’t any bells and whistles, which for a domain registrar is just fine — we don’t need them. What we need is function and usability, and Dynadot’s interface gives us both. It’s basic and directs you to where you need to go.
While Dynadot does offer complementary products (such as websites and hosting — more on that in a bit), the design has no upsells, cross-sells, or visual clutter. There is no distraction from the main action, which is to search and register for a domain, and the checkout process is quick and easy to complete.
There’s nothing more frustrating than going to a domain registrar and having to hunt for pricing information. Dynadot is 100% transparent with their pricing. From the moment you land on the homepage, you can see what .com domains and other popular top level domains (TLDs) are selling for.
As far as the actual value goes, Dynadot skews toward the cheaper side for first-time purchases and renewals. They’re not as cheap as NameCheap or GoDaddy for a first time purchase of a .com domain (who offer first time purchase promo codes), but their renewal rates are cheaper ($8.99 vs. $13.16 for NameCheap and $15.17 for GoDaddy), and their transfer rates are on par with the rest.
If you’re planning on holding on to your domain for awhile, it could be worth purchasing it elsewhere and then transferring and renewing with Dynadot to save money in the long run.
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 of the variations they need (especially if you’re buying in bulk). Dynadot offers a ton of TLD options that go beyond generic domains, from country-specific domains for international use to category-specific, like technology, real estate, etc.
Upsells aren’t inherently annoying or bad. But so many domain registrars make the mistake of bombarding customers with direct sales tactics that they do become annoying.
Dynadot is not one of these domain registrars. While they do offer complementary products such as websites and hosting, they keep them in the background. You can add them from your account dashboard once you purchase a domain, or you can purchase them from the Dynadot homepage, but at no point are you bombarded with pop-ups or forced to navigate through upsells while trying to buy a domain.
Cons of Dynadot
Unclear Next Steps/Management
Dynadot makes registering a domain incredibly simple… but once you register the domain, there aren’t clear instructions as to what to do next. As soon as I was done checking out, I was given a referral code to share with friends and an order pending message with details. There weren’t any instructions on what to do now that I have my domain.
This is fine for those who are familiar with registering domains and building websites, but if you’re new to the experience and looking for guidance, there’s not much to go on.
Even the follow up email I received after my order had been processed was lacking detailed instructions. Again, if you’re experienced in managing domains, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. But if you’re a beginner and aren’t sure how to set up your nameservers (or what those even are), you’re probably going to be confused.
I also found it difficult to actually manage my domain. For example, I couldn’t find where I’d go about transferring my domain when I was logged into my account. I had to click around a good bit (and eventually consult the help forum) to get that information.
This experience relates to “onboarding” which is the jargon for moving a new customer to an active customer.
It’s important to remember that a domain is not a website. It’s not email or any other service. It’s merely your address online. It helps people locate where your property is by telling browsers/email/etc where to go to get whatever it wants (website files, emails, images, data, etc).
If you want to setup a website, you’ll still need to get hosting or a website builder / ecommerce provider that provides hosting.
Dynadot provides an all-in-one approach with complementary products. You can bundle your domain, website builder, hosting, and email and do it all from their platform.
Typically, this would be a pro — while I personally prefer to separate my hosting and domains to provide an extra layer of control & reliability in addition to cost savings, many website owners prefer to have them bundled for convenience.
But Dynadot’s complementary products are actually a con due to serious limitations.
For example, Dynadot only offers VPS hosting (virtual private server) rather than the more traditional spectrum of shared hosting paired with a website builder or open-source software.
While VPS provides a level of control you can’t get with Shared hosting (where every account is treated the same), you have to be technically competent enough to manage your own server resources.
If you don’t like getting in the weeds with your server, the price only makes sense if you know how to use it. It’s a bit like buying the whole chicken at the grocery store and cutting it yourself instead of buying the drumsticks, thighs, and breasts. On one hand, it makes sense if you know how to carve it and are willing to take the time to do it… but most people just want it done for them.
In most cases, if you’re looking to bundle your website, hosting, email, and domain management, then you’re looking for convenience. Dynadot, for all their simplicity in the domain buying experience, doesn’t prioritize convenience in their products. They’re a company founded by a software developer — they’re into engineering and hands-on approaches. That’s fine – but it’s also something to be aware of as a customer. It’s like going to a lumber yard over Home Depot. You get the same thing, but the feel is a bit different.
- Want a very simple domain purchasing process
- Don’t need guidance on how to set up / manage your domain
- Want to save on domain renewals
- Are looking for complementary products you can customize to your own needs
…. Dynadot could be a good choice for you.
However, if you’re…
- Less experienced getting online
- Need detailed steps on how to set up / manage your domain
- Want to keep your hosting / website separate from your domain
- Want complementary products that require less technical expertise
… there are better options out there for you (I 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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