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Google Domains: What Is It, and How Does It Work?

11 min read

One of the earliest steps in setting up your company for Ecommerce is domain registration. Without securing your domain, you’ll have no online base of operations, no storefront, and no destination for your customers. It would be like acquiring all the parts to build a home, but not having a plot of land to build on.

To secure your domain, you will need to go through a domain registrar. There are a few domain registrars to choose from, but one of the most widely used is Google Domains. Google Domains provides affordable domain hosting which is very easily integrated with other Google features and services. For businesses looking to build their website, or update an old site, Google Domains provides an essential service with many convenient perks. Here is a breakdown of the role of a domain registrar, as well as the pros and cons of choosing Google Domains.

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What Does a Domain Registrar Do?

Your website’s domain is one-half of your address online. The domain is the alphanumeric, rhetorical name of your website (e.g. Ecwid.com). The other half of your address is your IP address. Users browsing the internet don’t need to know or care about your IP address to reach your website. However, their internet browsers do need to know the IP address.

This is because your domain and your IP address are linked together. When people search for your domain, it will be delivered to the corresponding IP address. When you want to register your domain, this process is facilitated by a registrar, like Google Domains. The registrar reserves the domain for you and also assigns its IP address. In essence, the domain registrar is where you go to secure your online real estate.

People usually refer to this process as “buying” a domain, but that phrasing is not technically accurate. When a domain is registered in your name, you do not fully own it. Rather, you are reserving it for a 10-year period, with the ability to renew your reservation at the end of the term. High-level domains are actually owned by a registry, which is a different entity than the registrar. However, this is a technicality that does not have much of a practical impact on your day-to-day operations. Once your domain is secured through the registrar, you are free to use it how you wish.

With this basic understanding of the role of a domain registrar covered, let’s take a look at what sets Google Domains apart.

What Do Google Domains Do?

The most basic service provided by Google Domains is, of course, the registration of your domain. Google Domains facilitates Domain Registration at an affordable rate, ranking as one of the most affordable registrars online. Google Domains also allows users to transfer existing domains from other registrars. This is a highly convenient option if you already have a website but are looking to update it. Rather than starting from scratch on a brand new site, you can simply transfer your existing domain to Google Domains.

Because Google Domains is powered by Google, it also offers easy integration with nearly all major hosting platforms. Google Domains is also highly compatible with WordPress, which is a highly popular and valuable tool when building a website. Google Domains is also accessible from a Google account, which most people already have. This means you can manage your Google Domains profile right alongside other Google services.

How to Register with Google Domains

Registering your domain with Google Domains is relatively straightforward and simple. To start, simply go to Google Domains and enter the domain name you’d like to register. If you’re attempting to transfer an existing domain, you should also see a “transfer” option below the search bar. Follow that link, and Google Domains will provide step-by-step transfer instructions.

After you enter your desired domain, Google will provide a list of viable domain extensions. Hopefully, your domain is available with the correct extension. If so, you can simply check out your domain by adding it to your cart. If it is not available, you will need to make small changes to find a usable domain.

Once everything is registered, you will be brought to your new Google Domains dashboard. Here, you can connect your domain to your host, and start customizing your new domain to your liking. The dashboard is very user-friendly and familiar to anyone who has used Google services before. There will be plenty of options to add certain features to your domain as you see fit. To better understand this, here is a breakdown of some of the pros and cons of Google Domains.

Google Domains Pros

Easy-to-understand interface and user experience

Google Domains has one major advantage that its competitors simply can’t match. It is a service provided by Google. Nearly everybody on the web has an existing, active Google account. Google.com is the most frequently visited website in the world. So, when it comes to using Google Domains, most users are already familiar with the interface.

Google Domains uses an interface that is similar to that of other popular Google services. The fact that Google Domains is accessed via a normal Google account is yet another convenience. There is no need to create a new account through a new website to register with Google Domains. Instead, Google Domains slots in next to your Gmail account.

Email customization

Speaking of Gmail, Google Domains is also great for email forwarding and email customization. When you use Google Domains, you can create up to 100 email aliases, and forward emails to and from your Gmail account through those aliases. This makes it easy to manage a wide variety of important communications all from one place.

Automatic verification

Another convenience of having Google Domains attached to your Google account is that it makes it easier to verify other services. Other Google products that you use alongside Google Domains are automatically verified because they are operating on a shared account. This can eliminate some minor headaches when you are optimizing your website.

Affordable and transparent pricing

Google Domains charges a flat, transparent rate for domain names. $12 for .com and .org names, and $60 for a .io name. The prices never change and there are no hidden fees or additional payment plans. For .com and .org names, in particular, Google Domains is also one of the most affordable options.

Great security and privacy

One of the ways in which Google Domains saves you money is through free privacy protection. The person who registers a domain is required to provide some personal information in the registration process. Details like your name and home address are essential for securing your “ownership” of the domain. Whereas other domain registrars charge a fee to hide this information from the public, Google Domains does so for free.

Google Domains, backed by the Google infrastructure, is also extremely secure and safe. Google uses two-factor authentication to add an extra layer of security to your account as well.

Google Domains Cons

No hosting

Some domain registrars also provide website hosting services, but Google Domains does not. A website host is responsible for storing the actual data that makes up your website, whereas the domain registrar reserves your control over it.

While Google Domains does not provide hosting on its own, it is very easy to integrate with other hosts. Google does offer Google Sites, which is a fairly decent website hosting platform. However, it is not as robust as some competitors.

Cheaper options for .io domain extensions

Most companies are fine with the standard .com or .org domain extensions. But another popular extension, especially in the tech industry, is .io. Google Domains charges a flat $60 fee for .io names, which is significantly more than their .com and .org rates. NameCheap, another registrar, only charges $32.88 per year for .io extensions, to name one example.

Lacking some extensions

This last con is not considered a problem for most people. Google Domains has access to most of the extensions that you’ll likely need for your business. However, there are domain registrars, like NameCheap, that offer a greater variety of extensions. However, Google Domains still has most of the essentials covered and should provide everything you need.

More About Domains

For most businesses, Google Domains is an excellent choice for a domain registrar. It offers everything you need in a familiar place, without the need to register a new account on a new website.

Knowing where to go to register your domain is just a single step in setting your company up for Ecommerce. Check out our guide on how to choose a domain for more helpful tips when it comes to this process.


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About the author

Max has been working in the ecommerce industry for the last six years helping brands to establish and level-up content marketing and SEO. Despite that, he has experience with entrepreneurship. He is a fiction writer in his free time.

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