January 9

Don’t listen to IT consultants: Here’s how to buy domain names in Singapore


Take it from me.

If you want to buy a domain name in Singapore, you’ll be better off doing it alone.

Yes, I know there are all the web design agencies that tell you about how they will do it for a low fee, and how they will guarantee that you will start ranking.

Forget it.

When we first started our sites, we were so budget conscious that we could barely afford someone else to buy the domain for us. So we did it ourselves. And we got hurt so badly that we swore,

We will never let this happen to someone else again.

Our experience

  1. We started by buying a domain on Siteground for $14.99, together with hosting from it, and then realised it was so slow
  2. We then moved to split it up to Namecheap as the domain name registrar, buying a domain name for $9.78, before we hosted on Siteground
  3. We realised Namecheap was slow, and then moved to buying on Google Domains for $20 each year.
  4. We also had a case where we bought over a domain we did not own, for $912 on Namecheap, and ended up going through the hassle of taking the case up to ICANN, the international regulator for domain names.

Below you can see the usual costs of our current site-building stack.

Item Cost per year (in USD) Why you need it
Site name, bought from domain registrar like Namecheap, GoDaddy (please don’t go here), Cloudflare or Google Domains $9.18 (Cloudflare) to $20 (Google Domains) It’s like your address, except on the internet
Hosting from places like Siteground, WPX, and Rocket.net Ranges from $156, to $300 for Rocket.net It’s like the land your house in the cyberspace is built on
Theme builder on WordPress like Thrive Themes $299 per year It gives you a plug and play option
The usual cost of getting your own site

But before that, let’s start with the myths.

Myth: I can’t do it myself

Yes you can. Don’t click on that first ad that advertises you a domain name, especially the one from GoDaddy. In fact, GoDaddy is so bad that people have called it SlowDaddy.

All you need to do is go to a domain registrar, and then buy it from them.

But you might be confused.

  1. What’s the difference between places like Wix, WordPress?
  2. What’s hosting?
  3. Is there a difference between the domain name registrar and the hosting?

Here’s the 3 basic steps.

  1. Buy a domain name from a registrar.
  2. Host the domain name
  3. Build the site either by coding it yourself, or using a content management platform like WordPress and Wix
Here's a simple analogy of how to imagine your own site
Here’s a simple analogy of how to imagine your own site

Imagine building a site from scratch, as building a house.

The domain name is the street address on the Internet. It allows people to find your site.

The hosting, is the land your house is on. That’s expensive.

Then the content management platform, like Wix, WordPress, is the architecture of your house.

Myth: I should go with the easiest, all in one solution

Um… only if you’re keen to keep moving your solutions as you scale your business.

The problem with doing this is that you’re trading a lot for convenience.

  1. You’re trading site speed.
  2. You’re trading the ability to customise your site, as you become more comfortable with the site building process.

GoDaddy would offer you hosting with your site name. Don’t take it, because it will be one of the slowest site speeds you will get.

Myth: I should go for site builders like Wix and Shopify

I would say,

Yes, if you’re very confident that you won’t want to custom-build other parts.

Having used both Wix and Shopify, we do agree that they are good all in one solutions. But if you want to add other parts, they often become difficult.

Imagine Wix and Shopify like an Apple iPhone, that offers you an easy to use solution to do (almost) everything.

WordPress is like an Android, with more customisations available.

We don’t recommend Wix or Squarespace.

Whilst those sites can be quick to plug and play, when you need more granular data like conversion rates or split A/B testing for your headlines or pages, it eventually becomes hard to figure out how to do that without breaking the site.

Myth: I should get a .sg domain

Only if you want people not to find you.

If you get .sg, you will face this problem. People will wonder,

  • is it .sg?
  • .com.sg?

Which one is it?

The .sg domain is not as great as you think it is. And you pay more.

On NameCheap, a .sg domain costs you $44.90 a year. The .com? $9.78.

When people don’t remember your site, they go to the default .com.

They won’t remember other things.

Here are some principles that will help.

Know what your site is for

In the broad universe of sites, there are three main purposes.

  1. Buying something (ecommerce sites)
  2. Showcasing something (public facing sites of your personal portfolio, or of charities, organisations etc.)
  3. Teaching something (content focused site)

Know your limits

But how good are you at building sites from scratch? If touching sites make you sweat, relax. You don’t have to.

With the vast majority of sites being built with theme builders on content management platforms like WordPress, you don’t have to make your own site today. Instead, you can depend on the plug and play nature of the theme builder, and drag and drop blocks as you’d like.

Split up the different things you need, so you choose the best in class

If you were building a house today, you wouldn’t get your architect to build the house too, right?

Your architect is only responsible for designing the house, and not necessarily for building it.

Instead, you would choose different people for:

  1. Registering your home address, like in Singapore, this would be the Singapore Police Post
  2. Ensuring your home address is safe, like using the proper security
  3. Building your home with the right person, like using reliable contractors

What we recommend in Singapore

But you’re probably here because you want to know what’s the best way to buy it in Singapore.

Here’s the tool-stack we personally use

Item Cost (USD per year) Why we choose this option
Buy the domain name on Cloudflare $9.15 Cloudflare offers one of the best support in terms of protecting your servers from
Host it on WPX.net $199 WPX offers one of the fastest hosting around
Use Thrive Themes $299 Thrive Themes is one of the best conversion focused WordPress theme builders
Our recommendation of how you should build it in Singapore
Cloudflare is probably the best for protecting your domain name against spambots
Cloudflare is probably the best for protecting your domain name against spambots

I like Cloudflare because of how it’s extremely transparent around its pricing.

Having used Siteground, WPX, and Rocket.net, we think WPX offers you a good balance between speed and price.

Although we use Rocket.net for liveyoungandwell.com, we did this because we wanted the fastest hosting behind our site.

But we think WPX will do, especially when you’re not too sure yet.

A confession though. We started with Siteground. Siteground is a good start, but it’s not a great scaleable solution, especially once your site gets traffic beyond 3000 per month, and when it starts having more than 50 pages. That’s when we started to see the site significantly slow.

Why WPX?

WPX has extremely good customer support, with the live chat function always on, and ensuring you speak to a real human, immediately, and not a robot.

You should try WPX.net for its best in class hosting
You should try WPX.net for its best in class hosting

Stop thinking, start doing

If you follow our advice, you could get your site up before the end of today.

Stop thinking, start doing.

Perfection isn’t the goal here.

It’s to make something happen.



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