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What does Squarespace Buying Google Domains Mean for WordPress Users?

The digital world moves fast, and sometimes things happen that take you completely by surprise! Just a couple of weeks ago, news hit of Squarespace buying Google Domains – and I, for one, was shocked! Google Domains is my favorite way to purchase domains (it’s even featured on my Website Toolkit Page!) Its simplicity is like a breath of fresh air compared to other domain registry services that can be cluttered and confusing. So, if you’re a fellow fan and wondering what the Squarespace purchase of Google Domains sale means for you, let’s discuss it in this blog post! We’ll cover the ins and outs of the deal, what you can expect to change, and how to prepare for the transition.


So, what happened with Google Domains and Squarespace?


Google Domains was initially introduced in 2014 but stayed in a beta phase for a LONG time – it didn’t “officially” launch until 2022. As things associated with Google tend to do, it picked up quite a bit of steam and became the go-to for so many people who wanted a better way to purchase and manage domain names, Google Workspace, and other Google systems all in one place. Over all those years in business, Google racked up over 10 million domains. After the sale (finalized in the third quarter of 2023), Squarespace will officially own and maintain all of them.


Why did Google sell Google Domains?


Obviously, Google Domains was pretty dang great, so why did Google decide to sell it? It’s not actually all that uncommon for Google to shut down or sell a product, even if it’s something that’s somewhat successful. They’re a huge company with tons of different objectives, and they’re constantly making shifts and adjustments to support products that serve their current mission and weed out the rest. So don’t worry! It doesn’t mean anything is wrong with the domains you’ve been buying from Google; they’ve just decided to get out of the domain business and sell it to Squarespace instead. Fun fact: After the sale, Squarespace will become one of the biggest domain providers, next to services like GoDaddy and Namecheap.


Here’s what happens if you bought your domain through Google


According to Google’s official statement, “There is no immediate impact on your Google Domains account.” The fine print is that this is only the case for a little while. Transitioning everything over to Squarespace will be a gradual and time-consuming process, and the two companies have also agreed that for one year after the sale, Squarespace won’t switch up any pricing plans for Google Domain customers. If you have recurring payments for a Google Workspace that you set up alongside your domain, then the billing information will transfer to Squarespace sometime after the sale is official. After that initial one-year period, you might see changes to domain pricing and packages offered through Squarespace. 


What does the Squarespace purchase of Google Domains mean for WordPress users?


If you’re a longtime WordPress user who bought your domain through Google, you might wonder what this means for you. We all chose WordPress for its flexibility, customization options, SEO capability, and all of those great features that set it apart from all-in-one services like Squarespace. So, if Squarespace becomes the Domain Registry for Squarespace users, what does that mean long term? Just like with WordPress plugins, security, and hosting, this is something you’ll want to evaluate and make changes to as needed. Let’s do a Q&A-style deep-dive on all the details.


If I have a Google domain, will I have to host my website on SquareSpace now?


One of the most significant differences between WordPress and Squarespace for websites is the freedom to host your website anywhere. Hosting is one of the biggest factors that can affect your website speed, security, and reliability, and it’s nice to be able to choose for yourself with WordPress. Squarespace, on the other hand, is a managed hosting provider. If you have a Squarespace website, you’re locked into a relatively closed system for building and hosting your website. 

So, if you have a Google Domain, will you have to move your website to Squarespace now? No. Technically speaking, the domain registry part of Squarespace is a standalone service. Squarespace’s FAQs mention that you can have a domain registered with Squarespace and forward or point it to another site. However, they also say that if you’re moving your site to another provider, they recommend you transfer your domain to them instead.


When Squarespace buys Google Domains, will my domain stop working?


Absolutely not! Google Domains is a massive registry, and Squarespace is making a HUGE move by purchasing all the domains that Google currently oversees. The last thing they want to do is shut down a ton of websites the moment the sale goes through. So don’t panic! Your website and domain won’t be affected by the migration to Squarespace. There will be a slow data transition as Squarespace takes over more and more of Google Domain’s business, but the process should be seamless and well-communicated. You’ll likely get emails about the transition and what you can expect before it takes place.


Will my domain cost more?


Not right away. Google and Squarespace have agreed that Squarespace won’t fiddle with Google Domains’ pricing structure for 12 months after the paperwork is signed. After that, I would expect the pricing to go up. Currently, Google Domains charges about $12 per year for each domain, which is pretty typical for the market. In contrast, Squarespace domains cost a pretty penny – between $20-$70 for each domain. So, in another year or so, you’ll probably see a higher domain renewal bill for your website if you stick with Squarespace.


Will there be changes in terms of customer support or service?


Yes. As Squarespace takes over Google Domains, they’ll handle all of the billing, customer service, and maintenance. On the bright side, Squarespace has pretty decent customer service!

On the techy side, you should note that there will be potentially meaningful changes as Google Domain names move to Squarespace’s Domain Name System (DNS). A DNS connects your domain name to your web server. Every domain registrar has their own, and they’re not all equally powerful and fast when it comes to page loading times. Squarespace’s DNS is OK, but you will be losing out on Google’s Cloud DNS, which was excellent – that’s going away as Google gets out of the domain business. 


I have a Google Domain. What should I do to prepare for the Squarespace takeover?


If you’re comfortable transitioning to Squarespace’s DNS and eventually shifting to their domain pricing structure, then you don’t need to do anything! Even if you don’t want to be stuck with Squarespace long-term, you don’t have to worry about switching things up by a specific deadline. If you’d like to get ahead of the sale and take your domain elsewhere before Squarespace takes charge, you have until the third quarter to do so! After all, it’s your domain – you can transfer it to whichever domain registry you’d like. If you’re determined to make the switch ASAP, consider switching over the Namecheap for the time being. It’s not perfect, but if you really don’t want to be on Squarespace, it’s dependable and inexpensive.


To sum it up, even though the announcement that Squarespace is buying Google Domains was a big surprise to the digital community, rest assured that WordPress users will have live domains throughout the process! Over time, you’ll see gradual changes in customer service, pricing, and the systems you use to manage your domain. If you’d rather avoid working with Squarespace, you have plenty of time to transfer your domain to another registry before the deal with Google is official and you see any price increases or changes in service!


Need help migrating your domain now that Squarespace is buying Google Domains?


When you’re busy working with your own clients, keeping up with updates and changes on your WordPress website can be overwhelming. If the techy details are filling up too much of your to-do list, our team provides ongoing monthly maintenance services to ensure your site runs smoothly no matter what happens in the digital world. Let us handle the tech – book a call to chat today!


Steph O'Keefe, SEO strategist and WordPress designer sitting at desk wearing a white shirt in Raleigh, NC.

I'm Steph!

I'm the Founder and creative Director behind Southern Creative, a.k.a. your SEO strategist and web designer.

My passion is crafting websites rooted in strategy so you can put your focus where your heart is while we launch your dream website that shows up online.