Domain relocations

03 March 2023
Yesterday I was told by my registrar that they would no longer be supporting certain domain suffixes and hence would need to transfer some of my domains that use them to alternative hosting. This seems to be part of a major curtailment of what the hosting outfit provides and having had to look for alternatives the natural question is whether to continue using my existing provider at all. In short I will be but only because most of my domains have long-dated renewals so there is no rush to relocate them.

The registrars

I had thought about not naming names but it would be so easy to find out who I am talking about so there is no point causing confusion by not mentioning them. Ideally I would use just a single registrar but there isn't one that supports all the domain prefixes I have in use, and in any case decided to try out more than one new provider. I have one golden rule though: Never use the same hosting provider for both the domain and the underlying website it points to.


While 123-Reg is not the only registrar I have used previously it is the one that the vast majority of my domains are registered with and on the whole have been happy using them since march 2006. At times their backend systems have seemed to be a bit brittle as I have sometimes needed to raise tickets when registering certain domains or services but their technical support lot have been fairly prompt in sorting things out. The user interface also has its quirks but most of the time all I want to do is simple stuff like change DNS records and I know where most settings hide. However 123-Reg are the registrar who are discontinuing support for some of my domains A major problem with is the prices they now charge which has been rocketing in more recent years and this in turn is why since 2017 I have been letting domains expire. To be fair this is a problem with UK-based registrars in general rather than anything specific to 123-Reg, since at the very least there is the 20% mark-up of VAT whereas using an overseas host does not attract import duties in the same way that goods ordered from overseas do. The sheer number of services and domain prefixes that 123-Reg is discontinuing is also of concern as it suggests something major is happening to them.

Google Domains

I am sure Google has offered domain registrations alongside things such as Google Workspace but I only found out today that they now offer a full registrar service — apparently it only came out of beta just under twelve months ago and am surprised I did not notice it earlier. Since I already use quite a few paid-for Google services I decided to give their registrar service a try especially sinc prices seemed very competitive. One really nice feature of Google Domains is they don't charge for a year's renewal for inbound transfers, although this might be specific to UK domains, and include privacy protection as standard for domains that support it. They even provide SSL support with website forwarding which I had not come across before. One irritation is needing a domain that is neither slated for deletion nor is in production use, and of those in my portfolio only one has a suffix Google supports.


One of the domains I needed to relocate from 123-Reg is one that is not commonly supported and in searching for an alternative domain provider settled on Dynadot which so far seems reasonably good. Took a while to figure where web and email forwarding was configured but they seemed to have everything I am likley to need. What is surprising is the number of different domain suffixes they offer and many of them at extremely competitive prices — in fact they even offer some New Zealand prefixes at prices below what my New Zealand based registrar offers. They seem to be a domain auction broker as well but the domains I am planning on getting rid of are most likely not worth the hassle of putting under the hammer — the domain I have that would likely fetch something worthwhile are ones like and which for now I want to hang onto.

The domains themselves

One thing that surprised me was how broken the domain records of the domains I transferred today were, with none having a functional MX record and pretty much all the A records were stale ones that are no longer of any productive use — in fact at least one pointed towards an IP address that has been recycled for use by someone else, which has happened to me in the past. The domain I transferred to Google Domains for test purposes was and as it turned out this was still pointing towards the name-servers of an ISP I stopped using something like fifteen or so years ago; from memory I ended up bypassing them and going via Nominet direct in order to get the domain off their systems. Not that long ago I was looking over some of the domain records and some listed the postal address and telephone number of the desk in my former Ph.D research lab. My domain portfolio is in need of a clean-up but this is the sort of task that only gets done when something like needing to change providers forces it. At one point in the past I think there were as many as sixty domains on my 123-Reg account and possibly more but this was down to thirty as of yesterday, and of those nine had already been scheduled for cancellation and a further three are being considered for non-renewal. Almost all the others are not up for renewal until 2024 and beyond with one not due until 2026 so path of least resistance is to leave in place the ones that didn't need imminent moving. However I get the feeling that they may also discontinue NZ and EU domains some point soon so maybe should move those ones as well sooner rather than later.


While I have been using 123-Reg for a long time and expect to use it for sometime to come I get the impression it is starting to have issues so it is time to move on from them. They seems to have persistent trouble with the more exotic domain prefixes such as having to raise a ticket since the request auth code functionality is broken so I am going to relocate those domains in the neat future, but the others will leave in place until they are up for renewal.