A month and a half ago Google announced their new domain registration service, Google Domains. It’s still in beta so you need an invitation code to try it out. Luckily, I received an invitation just a couple days ago and it even came with a free one-year standard domain registration.
Search and Registration
A quick search shows my domain is taken, but Google first suggests available alternative TLDs and then gets creative with the words and spelling (rudeseaotter, magicotter, magicseaotter).
To test it out, and redeem my free registration, I just transferred a .COM domain I had registered with another pairNIC. Google guides you through the transfer, showing exactly what needs to be done at each step. From start to finish, my domain transfer took less than an hour.
By default, Google Domains offers to detect and import the current settings for your domain which will change your domain’s name servers to use Google’s. Here you can review your DNS records and make changes before continuing. If you opt not to import your settings your domain’s name servers will not be changed.
Domain Management Interface
Once the registration or transfer is complete, you’re provided with a very simple management interface. Google’s really trying to make things easy by promoting integration with third-party web and commerce services — currently, Shopify, Squarespace, Weebly, and Wix. Up to 100 email aliases can also be added to forward mail if you don’t have or want to deal with your own mail server.
Under settings you can extend your registration, update your contact information, enable or disable private registration, lock your domain, and generate a transfer authorization code.
On the advanced tab you can update your name servers and modify your DNS records.
Your domain’s DNS records are broken up into two sections: synthetic records and custom resource records. If you use Google Apps or App Engine, synthetic records allow you to quickly add the necessary records. Otherwise, your A, AAAA, CNAME, MX, NS, PTR, SPF, SRV, and TXT records can be added as custom resource records.
Despite being in beta, this is a solid service that already provides all the functionality I typically look for in a registrar. Some companies may offer a few more features, but the integration with other Google services is huge, especially if you’re using Google Cloud Platform.
Hopefully a Domains API will be coming soon.