John Chvatal is a web developer and photographer. He specializes in web development and photography for the aviation industry. In his free time he enjoys photographing aircraft, especially warbirds and flying with friends. He is also the founder and lead web developer at Trinity Aviation Solutions.

You may ask why I’m excited about Cloudflare’s domain registrar service? In and of itself, it is not revolutionary. However, when considering what else Cloudflare offers, I believe I can make the case as to why they have become my registrar of choice.

What is Cloudflare?

According to Wikipedia, Cloudflare, Inc. is a U.S. company that provides content delivery network services, DDoS mitigation, Internet security, and distributed domain name server services. Cloudflare’s services sit between the visitor and the Cloudflare user’s hosting provider, acting as a reverse proxy for websites. Cloudflare’s headquarters are in San Francisco, California, with additional offices in London,  Singapore,  Champaign, Austin, Boston and Washington, D.C.

History of Cloudflare Registrar

Last September (9/27/2018) Cloudflare announced Cloudflare Registrar. In the beginning, Cloudflare was looking for a more secure registrar after they nearly had some of their domains compromised. None met their requirements. So they built their own registrar.

A few customers noted the fact Cloudflare was running their own registrar. As a result of customers asking them about their domain registrar, Cloudflare launched their Custom Domain Protection product.

Through what they had learned from their Custom Domain Protection product for enterprise customers, Cloudflare developed a registrar product for individuals and small businesses.

Wholesale Web Domain Pricing

An annoying thing about many domain registrars is they lure you in with a hefty discount for the first year. Then they crank up the price when you renew your website domain.

The last renewal for the Trinity Aviation Solutions web domain cost me over $18. This does not even include domain privacy protection! That would be an additional $9.99 per year!

Cost to renew the Trinity Aviation Solutions domain and include domain privacy with Godaddy.
Cost to renew for one year the Trinity Aviation Solutions domain with Godaddy.

Cloudflare has promised to charge what the registry is charging for a particular top-level domain (TLD) and the ICANN fee. Cloudflare will not be marking up the price.

So for example… Verisign is the registry that controls the .com TLD. As of this publish date, Verisign charges $7.85 a year for a .com domain. There is also an ICANN fee of $0.18. This comes to a total of $8.03 per year at current prices!

WHOIS Domain Privacy

An annoying part about registering a domain is having your phone number, email, and address listed in ICANN’s WHOIS database. This opens you up to receiving unwanted spam in your email inbox, telemarketer calls, and junk mail.

Thankfully it does not have to be this way. Domain registrars offer domain privacy protection. Often for an additional fee. In the case of Godaddy, it costs me an additional $9.99 a year. Domain privacy protection adds a proxy address to the WHOIS database in place of your contact info. Thus hiding your contact info.

As a part of Cloudflare’s registrar service, domain privacy protection is included at no additional cost!

Hundreds of Top Level Domains

Quite frequently you will find many registrars only offer some of the available top-level domains. Cloudflare has stated they are committed to supporting all top-level domains. Their current focus is on country-specific TLDs.

Unfortunately for us aviation folk, the .aero TLD, is not currently supported by Cloudflare. I have a .aero TLD that costs close to $70 per year to maintain registration! There are only a few domain registrars that offer .aero domains. You do have to go through an approval process to even have the ability to purchase a .aero domain. It will be interesting to see how Cloudflare will deal with this or when they will support the .aero TLD.

Two Downsides to Cloudflare Registrar

Although temporary, Cloudflare does not currently offer new domain registration. They promise the ability to register new domains is coming.

At this time, you are only able to transfer domains you already have registered with other domain registrars. For those who want to save a few dollars on new web domains, I suggest you shop around for a deal. Then buy a domain from that registrar and transfer it to Cloudflare.

Without much effort, you should be able to purchase most domains for around $12 (for the first year). For new domains, you will likely have to wait upwards of 60 days before you can transfer the domain to Cloudflare. This is a security feature and varies from registrar to registrar.

Cloudflare Account Management

You are able to add members (administrators) to your Cloudflare account. However, you cannot specify what domains these members have access to. This is not an issue that will concern those who have only one or two domains though.

Why We Like Cloudflare Registrar

If I have yet to get your attention. Here is a list of reasons why we like Cloudflare registrar.

  • Web domains at wholesale pricing
  • Domain privacy protection
  • Easily invite members to manage your Cloudflare account
  • Added security and DDoS mitigation
  • Cloudflare CDN… which helps to speed up page load times

Unless there is a specific reason not to use Cloudflare CDN, we use it on every website we build. Combining the CDN and domain registrar into one account means one less account you will likely have to keep track of.

By using Cloudflare Registrar, the points of failure are also reduced from three (registrar, CDN, web host) to two (registrar/CDN and web host).

What domain registrar are you using? Are you using domain privacy protection? Let us know in the comments…