123-reg approaching 3,2,1,0

23 April 2023
It was not that long ago that I had to move several of my domains off my long-time registrar 123-reg, and in response to further changes to their services I have today transferred another batch of domains from them to Google Domains. I am still far from abandoning 123-reg completely but things are really moving in that direction as I am losing faith in the hosting service as a whole

Small but critical features

As part of an upgrade of their email system they will no longer be providing catch-all email forwarding, which is a pain as I have no single list of all the name handles I use with each domain, and the only way I could see to guarantee continued service was to relocate all domains used for email to Google Domains. In addition the number of email forwarders will be significantly less generous than the current system, which although would in itself not affect me when taken in context of the other recent service reductions has the optics of a provider in decline. To be fair 123-reg still has very good technical support but the only times I have ever needed to use it can all be traced back to faults with the back-end systems, such as getting authorisation codes for transferring .eu and .nz domains because I had the suspicion these might also be withdrawn at some point as well.

Features table

One benefit of the mass transfer of domains is clearing out all the out-of-date contact details, although in practice the only times the postal addresses were used was an attempted fraud where a transfer form was disguised as a renewal reminder. However these days I am making a general if not exactly thorough effort at consolidating all contact details out there with my London apartment.

The bottom line

The final nail is prices — for whatever reason 123-reg is a lot more expensive than Google Domains and the latter also throws in things like privacy protection for free. Once the current batch of transfers has completed almost all the domains left with 123-reg that are not tagged for cancellation are ones that either I have registered on the behalf of others or Google Domains does not yet support — and I am considering transferring the latter ones to Dynadot if such support is not introduced by the time they are up for renewal. At the moment I use a total of five registrars and sooner or later will be looking to reduce this to two or three, and 123-reg will not be my main registrar if it survives this reduction at all.