Years ago, when the internet was young, I purchased my first domain from InterNIC for about $70 a year. When the alternatives finally popped up, I switched my domain to Godaddy. As prices dropped, I ended up buying more domains through them for ideas and projects I developed. Eventually, I got tired of Godaddy’s shenanigans with pricing (increasing prices and having privacy as an add-on) and upselling everything, and after reviewing many technical forums, ended up switched everything to Namecheap where I even signed up for their shared hosting.
Things started well, but after a short while, the hosting ended up not being any better than Godaddy as all my sites became ridiculously slow as they oversold capacity. I finally made the jump to DigitalOcean, and the same site without any changes or optimizations jumped in performance about 60% based on the metrics reports I was running. No joke, people were pinging me asking what I changed to make my site run so much faster because they wanted to do the same.
I was annoyed that Namecheap refused to refund a partial credit on the hosting even though I wasn’t using it anymore despite their bait and switch caused the performance issues by overselling capacity. In the end, I didn’t fight, because it was cheap, I was beyond the credit card chargeback period, and I still had domains with them and didn’t like any of the other registrars out there enough (nor were the prices better) to make the switch.
On the domain side, their control panel was pretty confusing at first. Godaddy’s was more straight forward for managing DNS and records, so I had to constantly figure out what the Namecheap configuration equivalents were because it wasn’t straight forward. They updated their control panel, and things got easier, but it still wasn’t intuitive. I think a lot of my confusion came from them trying to default to their parking pages or their hosting.
I’d run into issues, and their support would always be good enough to help fix them. I then ran into an issue with setting up a txt record. The fix required them to manually enter the entry on their side due to a bug in their control panel that they still haven’t fixed to date. The bug was serious enough that if I made any changes to any of the domain settings (like adding another A/CNAME/MX record), it would undo their change and I’d have to file another ticket for them to complete the change.
All changes would take hours to propagate. Many of the services that validate DNS changes would not see them for hours or even a day. It hadn’t been a great experience, and now I’ve wanted to find a new registrar to replace Namecheap.
In 2018, CloudFlare announced their registrar service. I’ve patiently watched to see how reliable it is and finally ended up testing it last month with a domain for an existing project that’s in development. To say I was blown away was an understatement. The experience hasn’t been perfect, but the things that really matter are well executed.
I found Namecheap to be a bit deceptive in the transfer process. All other registrars I’ve used let you approve transfers instantly via a link in the notification email. Namecheap sent an email saying they received a request to transfer the domain and this is the text about approving/canceling:
I wanted to expedite the transfer only because I wanted to get the control panel cleared out to find out what’s left and what’s worth keeping and what domains I should let go. I reached out to their chat and learned that they implemented a dark pattern. I never clicked the link because I didn’t want to accidentally cancel an approved transfer as I had assumed it was a direct link to cancel.
It turns out that their support person confirmed the text is deceptive and the link opens a page lets you approve or cancel it:
Not cool Namecheap, but I digress. So let’s look at the pro’s and con’s of CloudFlare which elaborate why I’m switching to them.
- Price point is cheaper than everyone else since they sell wholesale.
- Transfers are painless.
- Control Panel is intuitive compared to both Namecheap and Godaddy’s. It allows for managing records quicker.
- DNS changes reflect instantly on all the third party domain verification services.
- Cloudflare offers free SSL on the domain level.
- Support responded in a few hours to an issue I had.
- Can’t register new domains directly at Cloudflare which requires purchasing a domain somewhere else and then waiting 60 days to transfer.
- Doesn’t support all the TLD domains yet.
- Can’t create custom nameservers without paying $200 a month, which was free with godaddy and namecheap.
Not bad for a cons list, so I migrated most of my domains over to Cloudflare, and it’s a win all the way around. They sell domains at cost, offer a ridiculously easy to use control panel where everything works. Even better are how quickly changes take effect, and third party services can validate the changes.
- DollarShaveClub is a ripoff and waste of time. Buy the blades from DorcoUSA.com direct and save even more money and get the blades faster. You’ll get more blades for your money and you get them a lot faster.
- The Dorco requires more passes for the shave even though it has more blades. It also sucks on the neck area and caused an ingrown hair.
- Even though the Dorco is a fraction of the cost, I prefer the the Gillette as it provides a better shave, lasts longer, and shaves closer.
The Long Version
After watching the hilarious viral video, I recently took advantage of DollarShaveClub through a deals site to give them a try. I’m wary of services that make me lazier but the prospect of saving money on expensive razors was too good to pass up. The premise of the service is you don’t need to remember buying your own razor blades and they’ll be cheaper than the Gillettes you’d buy at the store.
After signing up for the DollarShaveClub service, about two weeks later, I received a razor handle in the mail in a tiny cardboard envelope. Yes, that’s right, just a razor handle and no blades. While I’m all for giving businesses a second chance, there’s nothing convenient about having to remind the company that’s supposed to take the burden of remembering your blades to send you the blades, especially when you’re out of razor blades and they take two weeks to send them. I did send an e-mail to their customer service to alert them that the blades were missing and it took three days for them to respond. I don’t know their volume but that’s a long time for a response in internet time.
After inspecting the new “Executive” blades, I did some searching and found out that the blades were simply Dorco blades that they were reselling at a marked up premium. Dorco sells the cartridges in a 4 pack of blades. For some odd reason, DollarShaveClub removes one from the pack and sends you the pack with three and an empty slot.
Since my whole premise was saving money, I decided to explore Dorco directly. For the same price as two months worth of DollarShaveClub, which would equal 6 cartridges, I was able to buy 16 replacement cartridges. Additionally, I received the replacements in three days.
Dorco Pace6 vs Gillette Fusion ProGlide
I tried the Dorco Pace6 razor for two weeks. The verdict? It’s a decent razor. The handle is well designed and solid. My only complaint about the handle is that the base is really bulbous which makes it impossible to fit into my holder. The blades themselves only do a decent job overall. In comparing the Gillette vs. the Dorco, the Dorco requires more passes to do the shave even though it has an extra blade on it. They also absolutely suck shaving on my neck and have actually caused an ingrown hair. The Pace6 also does not provide as close a shave as the ProGlide so I have to shave more often. The Pace6 blade’s sharpness also doesn’t last as long as the ProGlide.
I’ve never had a cut, nick, or ingrown hair before with my ProGlide. After the negative experience, I’m sticking with the ProGlide even though it’s more money.