Network Solutions, LLC, is a business that specializes in providing domain registration, website construction, mobile website development, and other features aimed at small business websites. NetworkSolutions is also a Web.com company, acquired by Web.com in 2011. This merger resulted in a streamlining of services, helping the company focus on small businesses and individuals. In 2007, NetworkSolutions was in the top five providers of web domains for clients, offering 6,659,150 domain registrations for clients. NetworkSolutions, unlike by many domain registrars, offers extensive pay-per-click and SEO services, helping clients who purchase a website push their presence to the front pages of the most important search engines. The company also offers customers the chance to get a domain, even if it’s registered to someone else. On Network Solutions’ website, customers can make an offer to buy the desired domain name from the current owner or make a bid on expired domains.
- Number of TLDs available
- Security features
- Mobile app
- Customer support
- ICANN accreditation
Number of TLDs Available
Network Solutions offers literally hundreds of Top Level Domains including international domain names. This is a high number to choose from, compared to several companies who are limited to under 100 domains and those that only cover the most popular domains, such as .com, .co, .edu, .org, .net and .info.
Network Solutions offers customers what they call a Private Security Bundle. This bundle consists of:
- Private (WHOIS) Registration: protects your personal information by not listing it on public databases
- SiteLock Premium: automatically detects and removes malware, up to 2x faster load time (with CDN) and prevents Common Hacks such as SQLi, XSS and more
- Premium DNS: protects your content from hackers and DDOS attacks
- Email Masking: a private registration email address that changes every 10 days, filters messages for spam and forwards them to your designated email account.
These services are more holistic than many domain registrars, who only offer private (WHOIS) registration alone. Some also offer different features but separately at individual prices, which may come out to be more. Once again, price transparency is an issue, because Network Solutions puts an asterisk next to the yearly fee to indicate the price is for the first year only. The price as listed is $9.99/year for a .com domain-which is the same as many domain registrar competitors. For alternate domains like .net and .nyc, privacy protection prices can be more expensive depending on the particular extension, ranging from as low as $1.99/year to as much as $67.19/year.
Network Solutions is one of the few companies that have created a mobile app that allows you to manage your domains from your smart device. This app is called ActivSync, which synchronizes your iphone or Android device with real-time access to Network Solutions' webmail or Outlook® email, calendars and contacts for $1.99/month. There is also ActivSync for BlackBerry devices, which offers the same features at $9.99/month. The average rating for iOS users is 2.5/5 stars and slightly higher for Android at 3.5/5 stars.
The one disadvantage is that to find the app, one must Google "Network Solutions app" because it is not visible on the company's website site map. They can do better with making their app more easy to find. Monthly app prices may be more than some customers are willing to pay, as it may add to the list of other monthly billing expenses using Network Solutions. The fact that they offer app capability is superior to most domain registrar companies, who do not.
Network Solutions offers 3 forms of customer support: email, a Help Center and telephone. Unlike many domain registrars who offer 4-5 types of customer service, including additional options, such as Live Chat and Forums, Network Solutions sticks to an online Help Center (where you can type in any question), email and phone. However, they offer customers a variety of phone support numbers to meet your specific needs. If you need help completing your order, you can call Network Solution's toll-free number or their international customer support number.
- Other TLD prices
- ICANN fees
- Bulk price
- Cross selling
- Simple domain transfer policies
If you want to buy a .com domain,Network Solutions charges $2.95/year. This, however, is not transparent. The $2.95/year price is only for an introductory period of one year. After the first year, the price moves up to $37.99/year. Due to the change in price being hidden in fine print on another 'Applicable Promotions' page that one has to squint to read after reading the asterisk statement under the shopping cart that says $2.95/year, the manner in which pricing is presented comes across as deceptive.
Other TLD Prices
NetworkSolutions offers alternate Top Level domains (.net, .co, .org, .info, etc) at various prices depending on the particular extension. For example, a .xyz name costs $15.99/year while a .me domain costs $27.99/year. These prices are more expensive than the .com domains and are on par with competitors who offer a large amount of domains.
Also unique is that Network Solutions offers customers international domain names. These domain names are highly expensive, ranging from as low as $14.99 to as high as $99.99. These prices for exotic domains are relatively reasonable compared to other sites, where prices are higher.
All domain name registrars have to pay an annual fee to ICANN (18 cents) for each domain name registered through them. Compared to some domain name providers includes this fee in their advertised cost, Network Solutions does the same. When checking out on their site, an ICANN fee is not transparent at all, concluding that they include the fee in the cost. Other companies don't include the fee but tells you this through a small print notice at the bottom of their home pages.
Network Solutions does not offer a discount for buying more than one domain together. They do offer a discount on particular domains. For example, if you purchase both a .com domain and a .me domain together, you get 20% off the .me domain price. This is inferior to domain registrars that offer hundreds of domain names because certain companies give you a discount when you buy a large amount of domains (i.e. 100 for 10% off) before getting a discount.
One other disadvantage is that once you select your domain name, Network Solutions' site will not allow you to remove the item from your cart if you decide not to purchase it. It has a remove feature but when you try and click on it, it is inactive. This appears to be an attempt to force buyers to continue the buyer's process. This may irritate potential customers or cause them to leave altogether.
Network Solutions consumers go through several additional screens of sales pitches in order to buy a domain name. The total number of upsells is 3.
The first upsell occurs when you search for a domain and it is available. Network automatically adds it to your cart and asks if you want other domain extensions to the name you selected. For example, if you chose a .com name it asks if you want a .me name along with a list of any available extensions to add to your purchase, such as .xyz and .nyc.
The second upsell consists of Domain protection. It is an "in your face" Pop up screen that give you 2 choices: activate Domain protection or Waive it. It is presented in a way to incite fear in the customer that they won't be safe is they don't opt in for the feature.
The third upsell is SSL Secure Domain feature for an introductory price of $1.99 for the first month and renews at $5.99/month thereafter. (The pricing for this is embedded in the small print). This is also an entire page that you must go through before being able to pay for your domain.
Compared to other companies, the number of upsells is slightly more than the average upsells previously reviewed, which typically amount to 2 total upsells.
Simple Domain Transfer Policies
If customers want to transfer their domain to another registrar for whatever reason, Network Solutions clearly outlines the necessary steps to successfully complete the transfer on their Help Center page. It does appear, due to the lengthy list of things that can go wrong that can cause transfers to be delayed or failed, such as a 30 -day transfer lock on the Domain Name, it appears that they are making it difficult to switch registrars if you become dissatisfied by holding names hostage in an effort to not only avoid losing business, but to use up the introductory price period so that the monthly increase kicks in, giving them more income before the customer leaves. This is a huge disadvantage to customers.