A couple of hours ago, Cloudflare — the company that has helped me save thousands of dollars in hosting fee since 2011 — announced Cloudflare Registrar. Yes, Yes Yes! Heard that right.
✅ Many of the regular readers of my blogs already know the fact that I started as a blogger, grew up becoming an electrical engineer, and on the side always kept studying computer science — only to later find a career in software (web) development.
🤔If my recollection of lost isn’t misleading me, then I started writing blogs, content, sharing tips & tricks, and all of that about seventeen years ago. I kept growing serious about it every passing year, which is also why you find most of my portfolio around the core/theme/plugin development of WordPress — a blogging script turned CMS.
💯Over the course of these years, I have bought, sold (professionally), bid against, and owned many many domains. A little over a thousand to be precise. I still have a pretty decent domains portfolio.
Cloudflare Registrar: What’s Changed?
About seven years ago, when I moved my domain portfolio to Cloudflare it made so much sense. I think I can enlist a couple great advantages that I have experienced with Cloudflare in all these years
✅ No more waiting 24/48 hours when you change your DNS settings
✅ Security is top notch. Browser integrity checks keep the spam away
✅ Free SSL, did I mention the free SSL? Yes, free SSL, the free one, yes!
✅ Page rules for the win, always use HTTPS, cache no cache? No problem
😮 Thousands of dollars in hosting bills saved through aggressive caching
But while I enjoy all of these privileges with Cloudflare, I have had my fair share of issues with domain registrars. So, much so one time a hacker came this close to owning about a couple hundred domains from my account.
With a good idea on how to build a more secure registrar we asked our customers what they hated about their current registrar. Two phrases kept coming up: “bait and switch” and “endless upsell.” — Cloudflare
That’s 💯 true. All the time spent on figuring out what the price changes would look like five years down the road? — Makes a huge difference when you own a couple hundred let alone 1,000+ domain names (for professional domain sale purchase — which’s a good side project/income source for me).
If you’ve ever registered a domain, you know the drill. You get a discounted price when you first register, but with each renewal the price soars.
I do, I do, I do!!!
In the best cases we’ve found, it’s around two times the original offer. In the worst, it’s more than twenty times. It’s gross. That’s in addition to the constant upsells for other products that either should be included for free (for example, DNSSEC) or that you just don’t want (for example, worthless trusted site seals). — Cloudflare
Hitting the nail right at its head. 🛠️ 💅 🤣
The thing is, registering a domain is a commodity. There’s no meaningful difference between any of the existing mass market registrars. Each top level domain registry (TLDs like .com .org .info .io, etc) sets a wholesale price for registering a domain under them. These prices are known and remain relatively consistent over time.
This has been like this forever. But the game’s rigged by our beloved (read as super hateful) domain registrars that keep things in a sway of a mess.
All the registrar does is record you as the owner of a particular domain. That just involves sending some commands to an API. In other words, domain registrars are charging you for being a middle-man and delivering essentially no value to justify their markup. The more we looked at it, the more crazy the whole market looked to us.
You took the words out of my mouth…
The Cloudflare Registrar Promise
Cloudflare has promised something truly amazing. Been how long I have with this company, and after first hand experiencing the top-notch service they have provided to the web community, I have no doubt they’ll deliver.
What promise? Oh yeah, I forgot about that. Let me just quote them…
Here’s the promise of the Cloudflare Registrar: we’ll follow the best possible security practices and offer you the best possible price.
What do we mean by that?
1️⃣ From the security side, we promise we’ll allow you to enable two-factor authentication, we’ll lock your domain registration by default, and automatically enable best-practice security services like DNSSEC.
2️⃣From the price side, it’s even simpler: we promise to never charge you anything more than the wholesale price each TLD charges. That’s true the first year and it’s true every subsequent year. If you register your domain with Cloudflare Registrar you’ll always pay the wholesale price with no markup.
For instance, Verisign, which administers the .com TLD, currently charges $7.85 per year to register a .com domain. ICANN imposes a $0.18 per year fee on top of that for every domain registered. Today, if you transfer your .com domain to Cloudflare, that’s what we’ll charge you per year: $8.03/year. No markup. All we’re doing is pinging an API, there’s no incremental cost to us, so why should you have to pay more than wholesale?
Seriously, folks! I am sold. It’s too good to be real. But considering who’s claiming this, a company I have so much to like about, Cloudflare — I’ll just expect them to deliver as they always have.