Leaving Google Domains for Porkbun

An unexpected move by Big G prompts me to speed up an exodus I’d already considered.


Note: This post also appears on dev.to.

Out of the clear blue yesterday came an announcement that Squarespace had agreed to buy Google Domains from Google’s parent company.

Having been a satisfied customer of Google Domains for several years, I was not pleased — but, fortunately, I’d already suspected something like this might happen someday, so I had an exit strategy ready to go.

(Incidentally, my discomfort with this surprising news was by no means unusual among my fellow nerds.)

I’d long admired Google Domains’ technical excellence, transparent pricing, and (relatively) good GUI; but Google is infamous for shutting down even popular projects, so I knew I needed to be ready in case Google Domains ever wound up on the death list.

More on that shortly, after I clear up one item which may otherwise seem to blunt the impact of this event. That’s because, in this case, Google isn’t killing Google Domains. It’s selling it — to a company that typically charges quite a bit more.

“Oh,” you might say, “but didn’t the announcement promise that, once the deal had gone through, pricing wouldn’t change right away for existing Google Domains customers?” Yep, it sure did:

Under the terms of the agreement, Squarespace will honor all existing Google Domains customers’ renewal prices for at least 12 months following the closing of the transaction . . .

And that sounds fine, but let’s finish that sentence:

. . . as well as provide additional incentives to encourage Google Domains customers to build a website with Squarespace and adopt other Squarespace offerings.

Alert! Upsells incoming! Those with PTSD from hosting companies like GoDaddy and Bluehost — not to mention “We’re so cheap in the first year (so we can screw you thereafter)” come-ons from cell service providers — should shield yourselves!

Uh, no. Just no. Not now; not ever.

(Besides: as a web dev nerd, I have a general objection to the Squarespaces of the world, as you might have detected in 2021’s “Easy-peasy.”)

Anyway, back to that aforementioned exit strategy . . .

I’d noticed that, whenever people on Hacker News debate the merits and demerits of various domain registrars, one called Porkbun seemed to get a lot of love. After doing some research of my own and confirming that Porkbun looked like a good choice, I decided to give it a try.

At the time, I had three different domains on Google Domains but I’d never actually used one of those domains for anything, so transferring it to Porkbun proved a pretty safe way to sample the experience. Porkbun’s marketing is perhaps a little too playful for my old-curmudgeon-like tastes, but the company does the real domains-handling stuff quite well, and at very fair pricing that I’ve found about as transparent as Google’s has been. Moreover, the people behind it seem to be genuinely nice, honest folks.

So, after getting wind yesterday of the Google Domains sale, I promptly moved the other two domains — including the one on which you’re reading this — to Porkbun.

I’m not getting a dime to say this; but, if you, too, need to find a domain registrar (even if you couldn’t care less about what’s happening with Google Domains), I can highly recommend Porkbun.

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