Today I'm starting the process of moving all my domain name registrations from GoDaddy to NameCheap. I have many domain names with GoDaddy and this process will probably take a long time, but I feel like it's worth it for a number of reasons.
The only thing I used GoDaddy for was domain name registration. Though they offer several other services, such as hosting, website generators, SSL certificates, and email, I found that the only thing I needed them for was for domain name registration. In fact, I found that almost all their services were overpriced.
In the beginning, I was able to repeatedly find GoDaddy coupons that would allow me to purchase a domain name for $0.99 for the first year. When I was first starting out, that savings really added up quick! But over the past couple years, GoDaddy has been cracking down coupon abusers (like me!) and now it's not possible to use those coupons with my existing account. If you're willing to have a bunch of different email addresses to sign up for multiple GoDaddy accounts, you can still find those $0.99 coupons if you just Google it, but I've found that the time and hassle involved in keeping track of all that isn't worth it for me. So now I just have to pay the normal price for domain names and renewals, which is $14.99 per domain name per year with GoDaddy.
NameCheap, on the other hand, is only $10.29 per domain name per year with NameCheap. This may not seem like a lot, but it adds up if you have a ton of domain names.
If you're looking for cheaper/better providers for any of GoDaddy's services, here's what I recommend:
Digital Ocean - Starts at $5/month - If you go with Digital Ocean, you'll need to be familiar with Setting Up Apache Config File and SSL Certificate for Multi Domain and Subdomain Usage on Same Server
Website Generators/Content Management System
October CMS - Free - The goto platform for CMS has historically been Wordpress, but did you know hackers can hack a brand new installation of wordpress on a brand new Linux machine in less than 10 minutes? October CMS is based on Laravel, which is my favorite PHP framework.
Let's Encrypt - Free - If you go this route, you should read How To Secure Apache with SSL Certificate from Let's Encrypt on Ubuntu 14.04 and Hardening (Increasing Security) for SSL on Ubuntu 14.04 and Apache2
Company Branded Email
Zoho - Free - This company took over the free company-branded-email market once Google Apps decided to start charging for their services. Of course, I still like Google Apps for Business very much (and I still use it for some of my domain names), but Zoho has proven itself to be a great Google Apps alternative.
After logging in to NameCheap, you'll see this at the bottom of every single page:
I love that you can chat with a live person at any time and that it's linked directly to your account so you don't have to go through the annoying phonecall router at GoDaddy.
GoDaddy's website just feels dirty and disjointed to me. I feel like they've been working on it to make it better, but it still feels like they're trapped with an outdated and disconnected user experience.
NameCheap, on the other hand, is very clean and simple. I love businesses like this. It reminds of me of the Digital Ocean or Stripe of domain registries. For those people who don't spend a lot of time configuring DNS settings or setting up new domain names, that might not be a big deal, but for me, it's very important. I like to feel at ease when I'm on a website and NameCheap has a good balanace between cleanliness and functionality.
Additionally, I just like NameCheap's image and leadership better. In all honesty, I don't really know anything about NameCheap's CEO or their advertising campaigns. But that's how I like it. GoDaddy, on the other hand, is quite brazen with their advertising campaigns and the fact that I know about GoDaddy's CEO (and not in a good way) means that I just feel like GoDaddy is a lot more shadey. I feel better going with NameCheap.
How to Switch
Since the majority of my domain names are actively being used on GoDaddy, transferring over can be a bit of a headache because it could take the website offline during the transfer. To minimize the downtime, here are some tutorials links from NameCheap:
To transfer a domain over to NameCheap, you'll have to purchase an additional year's registration which will be added to the time you've already bought through the other provider. For example, if you have a domain name with Godaddy that expired January 1, 2020, you'll have to pay about $10 to transfer the domain over to NameCheap, but that $10 will give you another year on your registration so that your domain name expiration would be pushed back to January 1, 2021. I confirmed this with by chatting with Inna Nedostupenko with NameCheap. I love that chat feature!