Trustworthy Domain Registrars
A domain registrar has a single, simple job. Registering domain names and keeping the domain names active and pointing to the correct place using DNS. This really is not a complicated job. Yet there are some pretty bad domain name registrars that disappoint their customers on a regular basis.
Theres a number of ways a registrar can mess up your domain. they can make the domain inaccessible for a certain amount of time or for parts of the Internet if they mess up the DNS delegation.
They might also let your domain name expire without notifying you, and then some domain name squatter comes along and is able to purchase the domain from under you. This stupid mistake by the registrar can cost you thousands of dollars. These domain name squatters will charge you an arm and a leg just to get your domain name back, and your registrar cannot do anything about it at that point.
These are just a couple of examples of what a bad registrar can do. There are also registrars that consistently try to upsell you on other services, like their (over priced) web hosting packages. Other registrars charge for things that a good registrar provides for free, such as free email forwarding or free WHOIS privacy.
Instead of going with some no-name registrar, I recommend and personally use the following trusted registrars:
NameSilo are the folks I have been using for years. They are simple, cheap and trustworthy. Their support staff is knowledgable and quick to reply to any questions I have ever had.
They are cheap. Some registrars offer crazy loss-leader deals where they charge you 99 cents for a domain name. Those deals are good, but they only last for the first year, and then every following year the price is much higher than a trustworthy registrar like NameSilo. In the end the domain ends up being much more expensive if you go with one of these 99 cent deals. They are also simply a domain name registrar. They don't have a ton of other things that they do, so they won't constantly try to upsell you on stuff you don't need. Other companies use their domain name registration services as a gateway to sell you all these other over-priced services that you probably do not need.
With NameSilo there are no hidden fees, prices do not rise after the first year, and they do not have any shady business practices. I plan to continue using them for a long time.
NameCheap are another registrar. I have used them in the past and was always very happy with them. Like NameSilo, they are competent, trustworthy and reliable. The only reason I switched to NameSilo is that NameSilo tends to be slightly cheaper.
NameCheap have been around longer than NameSilo and are more widely known. They tend to be the most recommended registrar on tech web forums. This means that those who are tech savvy know and trust NameCheap more than any other domain registrar.
Gandi is another registrar that is loved by the tech savvy crowd. They are also based outside of the United States, which some people love due to privacy concerns or concerns about the US government seizing domains due to copyright reasons. I am no lawyer and cannot really speak to these concerns, but some people do believe their domain name is safer being registered by a company that is not based in the USA.
Gandi also offers a bit more with their domain names. They include a SSL certificate for the first year, and 5 email addresses. Be aware that Gandi does provide web hosting services, so there is a chance that they will try to sell you on those.
Gandi also tends to be more expensive than either NameCheap or NameSilo.
Registering your domain name with any of the above is a good idea. They are all trustworthy and have knowledgable staff. I personally use NameSilo because of their cheaper prices.