Porkbun is an ICANN-accredited domain registrar based out of Portland, Oregon. Their primary pitch is making the domain registration process easy, enjoyable, and affordable.
Does Porkbun hold up to their mission of being an “amazingly awesome” domain registrar? We recently tried them out. Here’s our full PorkBun review with pros, cons, and alternatives.
Pros of Porkbun
Here are some of the advantages that I found using Porkbun over their direct competitors in the domain registration industry.
Straightforward Search + Bulk Search Process
Porkbun makes good on its promise of a satisfying experience, especially when it comes to their domain search functionality.
Their interface is clean, easy to navigate, and straightforward. Even with their extra bit of branding flair (like the Oink! in the search bar), their function and usability aren’t compromised — which is excellent.
They also make it incredibly easy to search for domains in bulk, which is helpful if you’re looking for several domains at once. You can search for up to 1000 domains at once, and automatically add the available ones to your cart.
While Porkbun does offer complementary products (such as website builder and hosting — more on that in a bit), their design has no upsells, cross-sells, or visual clutter. There’s no distraction form the main action, which is to search and register for a domain, and the checkout process is quick and easy to complete.
Pricing (Transparency and Value)
There’s nothing more frustrating than going to a domain registrar and having to hunt for pricing information. Porkbun is 100% transparent with their pricing. Their domain page as an extensive list of pricing for all of their available top level domains (TLDs), and even has it broken out into registration, renewal, and transfer pricing.
There are no hidden fees, unexpected add-ons, or any surprises. In a space where pricing policies can be, well, less straightforward than website owners may want, Porkbun’s clarity and transparency is refreshing.
They bundle WHOIS privacy protection for free with all domains. They also provide free Let’s Encrypt SSL certificates for all domains as well.
Porkbun also competes well with other registrars in terms of value. Their domains are on the cheaper end across most TLDs, and their renewals also tend to be less expensive than most providers.
Variety of Top Level Domains (TLDs)
Now that ICANN allows more TLDs outside of generic .com/.net/.org, website owners have to make sure their domain registrar has all of the variations they need (especially if you’re buying in bulk). Porkbun offers a ton of TLD options that go beyond generic domains, from country-specific domains for international use to category-specific, like technology, real estate, etc. As of 2020, they have more than 440 available, so you can find that unique, great domain that you’ve imagined.
Upsells aren’t inherently annoying or bad. But so many domain registrars make the mistake of bombarding customers with direct sales tactics that they do become annoying.
Porkbun is not one of these domain registrars. They position themselves as a small team who cares about making the domain purchasing experience enjoyable — and they deliver.
While they do offer complementary products such as websites and hosting, they keep them in the background.
You can add them from the main navigation (which is accessible from the homepage and from your account), but at no point are you bombarded with pop-ups or forced to navigate through upsells while trying to buy a domain.
Easy Domain Management
Another pro of Porkbun is how easy it is to manage your domain once you register it. Check out how simple their domain management interface is.
Again, there aren’t any bells or whistles… and that’s fine. They’re not needed. The interface is easy to navigate, even if you have no domain management experience.
It breaks down everything you need in one place, and gives you the opportunity to add on complementary products from a convenience place. If you want to add simple email forwarding or URL forwarding, you can do that quickly. If you want to simply renew your domain, you can do that quickly too. Everything is all together.
It’s important to remember that a domain is not a website. It’s not email or any other service. It’s merely your address online. It helps people locate where your property is by telling browsers/email/etc where to go to get whatever it wants (website files, emails, images, data, etc).
Porkbun provides an all-in-one approach with complementary products. You can bundle your domain, website builder, hosting, and email and do it all from their platform.
And while I personally prefer to separate my hosting and domains to provide an extra layer of control & reliability in addition to cost savings, many website owners prefer to have them bundled for convenience.
Another element we liked about Porkbun’s complementary products: their transparency in how they work. Check out this note they have on their shared hosting packages:
This disclaimer applies to ALL shared hosting providers (even the best ones, because you’re “sharing” a hosting environment), but not many call it out so explicitly. It’s refreshing to see Porkbun be so clear, especially with something that isn’t even their main product.
Cons of Porkbun
There are a lot of Porkbun reviews online. Most are either super-negative or super-sunny and wonderful. I try to balance and find the actual disadvantages of a company…and who those disadvantages would apply to. Everyone has different needs & goals. Your goal as a customer is to be aware of those and find a company that matches your goals. Here’s some of Porkbun’s downsides.
Lack of Onboarding
Through and through, Porkbun is a solid domain registrar. There wasn’t much we could find that we would consider a solid “con”. If there’s one thing that stood out to us as something that could be better, it’s their onboarding.
With all software, there comes a point where you wonder, “What’s next?” Porkbun is lacking in providing that guidance and direction.
While the domain registration and management interface is simple, if you have no experience setting up your domain, Porkbun doesn’t exactly give you the next steps on how to do it.
They do have an extensive knowledge base that covers domain connection. They also have great customer support. But you have to seek out the information yourself.
If you have domain management experience, this probably doesn’t matter to you. But if you need a step-by-step process to follow, Porkbun leaves something to be desired. In other words, you still need to know how email forwarding, URL forwarding, email hosting, web hosting, and other aspects of domains work.
Deep Discounting & Bundling
Now, on the flip side of Porkbun’s “consistently cheap” approach is that they don’t really do deep discounting at purchase like GoDaddy or other large registrars. For those who like to bulk purchase domains or grab “just in case” 99c domains…Porkbun won’t make a lot of sense.
Additionally, since domain registration is their main focus, they have a hard time competing with the convenience of hosting companies / website builders who will often bundle a free domain with a purchase of a subscription.
Since a domain name doesn’t do a whole lot on its own, Porkbun does have to make an extra case as to why you should keep your domain separate from your preferred website builder / hosting. I prefer to keep my domains separate because I own a lot and I like to have the just-in-case option to quickly migrate my site. But that approach doesn’t make a whole lot of sense for a single domain owner who prefers the convenience and simplicity of using a free domain from a good hosting company or website builder.
- Want a very simple domain purchasing process
- Don’t need a ton guidance on how to set up / manage your domain or can manage it yourself with an intuitive platform
- Want to save on domain registration renewals
- Are looking for complementary products you can customize to your own needs
…. Porkbun could be a good choice for you. Go sign up for Porkbun here.
However, if you’re…
- Have no experience getting online
- Need detailed steps on how to set up / manage your domain
- Want to keep your hosting / website separate from your domain
Find a domain starting at $0.88
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All the best on the project!
Porkbun is a great independent registrar with a seamless, wonderful purchase experience. They do lack complementary products though.
Operating System: All
Application Category: Domain Registration