Welcome Aboard Cloudflare, My New Registrar of Choice

July 21, 2023 | By Paul Mackenzie Ross | Filed in: tech.

When I first set up a presence on the world wide web it was via a Demon Internet. In 1998 my web address was mackenzieross.demon.net and my first ever homepage, complete with a digital hit counter, ended up being dedicated to my love of the Opel Manta, now a rare and classic car.

By 2000 I wanted to get serious, so I purchased the domain name MantaWorld.com and since then I’ve not seen a month go by where I don’t pay for domain name registration. I now manage a few dozen domain names for my business, this personal site, a few long-term projects, and for my friends, family, and clients too.

Back in 2000 I was¬† a budding web designer, so I had multiple subscriptions to Cre@te, NetMag, and Computer Arts magazines; I just couldn’t get enough knowledge on my love of all things design and internet. All these mags had prominent ads for registrars, hosting, etc. I chose EasySpace back in the day because they were, funnily enough, easy, and their ads were all over the industry mags I was reading.

123-Reg

Within a few years of me starting on my lifelong domain name buying habit, EasySpace changed hands and I decided to find a better registrar. Some time in the early 2000s I switched to 123-Reg.

All was good for a couple decades until a few odd things happened;

First up, 123-Reg “gave away” free domain names. For every .co.uk I owned, they stuck a .uk TLD in my cart, for no cost, and added it to my portfolio. I didn’t have any use for them, not even protecting any brands, because I was old school .co.uk and .com not the new .uk

Whilst this “giving away” of domain names was “OK” quite a lot of people publicly complained that they were being given domains they didn’t ask for. On principle this was much like the outrage as when U2 gave everyone with an iTunes account a free copy of their new LP “Songs of Innocence” back in 2014. How dare they give their album away for nothing! There was quite the public uproar! I didn’t bother listening to mine, I was far too deep into ambient and dub to play U2 at the time.

The second 123-Reg debacle was when they added additional services in everyone’s basket and my employer’s account had multiple accounts of being charged for services they did not add to their baskets. It wasn’t much, just a couple of quid, but when you have multiple domains registered, it soon added up, and was an additional cost of around 20%. We quickly complained, as did many others, and were reimbursed.

Strangely, this was the second part of the problem with the “free” .uk domains – even if it didn’t bother you that you had another TLD in your portfolio for every other .co.uk domain you already owned, the second year they charged for renewing. THAT was the straw that broke the back of the more tolerant domain name owners.

But then there was a THIRD big public problem with 123-Reg – they were acquired by US giant GoDaddy and, when they switched infrastructure, hundreds if not thousands of clients took to Twitter to register their dissatisfaction with the lack of reliable service. Punters were unable to login to their 123-Reg control panels and conduct the vital work required that comes with domain name management (Pointing to the correct CDN, website IP, MX records, managing DMARC and DKIM etc…)

Google Domains

I remained a loyal 123-Reg customer through all these issues for twenty years. The thing that really pushed me over the edge was the proliferation of TV ads from 123-Reg owner GoDaddy. They were rather annoying. I realised I was no longer in the realm of the geek and now rubbing shoulders with the mainstream – I wanted something more exclusive and “techy” than that.

So I started migrating to the quietly confident Google Domains.

My choice here was Google’s huge technical infrastructure, free domain anonymity, and that all important modesty of not shouting about their service on the TV. What was an ultra bonus was the fact that they were so much cheaper than 123-Reg – I made no money on reselling domain names, so this was an opportunity to make a small gain on reselling, even at a modest price.

No sooner had I migrated a couple of .com domains a colleague pointed out the news that Squarespace had acquired the whole Google Domains business. Google had quietly offloaded their service and I felt I was now at the mercy of a profiteer once again.

Sullenly, I went on the hunt again for a modest, technically adept, great value for money domain name registrar – I chose Cloudflare.

Cloudflare

I first heard about Cloudflare when I saw their logo on cPanel many years ago. To me it was yet another service amidst all the other unused services on cPanel РI use less than 5% of the controls on a cPanel  dashboard, configuring only the most necessary services.

But then a few years ago I started using Cloudflare independently to manage CDN and DNS for many clients. Then they were integrated into my employer’s hosting system and Kinsta had me point all my domains to Cloudflare IPs to get the benefit of their services on business hosting.

I was pretty happy with Cloudflare, and even used their Warp service for streaming on my mobile.

So when I discovered that Cloudflare domains were even better value than Google Domains, I leapt at the opportunity to migrate once again.

And here I am, the morning after a mass migration of .co.uk TLDs and I’m very happy with the service already.

So welcome aboard, Cloudflare, here’s to many more years of hassle-free, technically competent domain name registration.


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