Rebel.com is a Canadian based ICANN accredited domain registrar (registered in Barbados). Besides providing domain name registrations they also offer e-mail and webhosting, but I have only used them as a domain registrar. They are from time to time running some pretty good promotions for both registrations and transfers, this is what initially caught my attention. After having used Rebel.com for about 18 months, I am now in the process of moving my few remaining domains away. All in all, I do not recommend Rebel.com. More details about my experiences are outlined below.
The control panel is “messy” and takes a while to get used to and figure out. Especially the WHOIS contact information manager is painful to work with and the entire control panel is calling for a major makeover. Instead of providing a smooth and easy to use control panel, it looks like it was mainly designed as an advertisement for add-on products such as WHOIS privacy and webhosting.
By default, domains are set to auto renew. Personally, I prefer to turn auto renew off, so I can decide manually if I want to keep a domain with a given registrar, transfer it to another registrar, or if I just want to let the domain expire. To turn auto renew off you must contact support. This is annoying and something you easily can forget to do until it is too late. Clearly, this feature could easily be integrated into the control panel like the majority of other registrars have done.Rebel.com will automatically charge the renewal fee 45 days prior to a domain’s expiry date unless auto renew is turned off. It looks like an attempt to get recurring customers through obscurity.
If you forget to renew a domain, they charge up to $100 in “processing fees” to reactivate the domain. This is an extremely high fee in comparison to other major registrars that charge a considerably lower fee.
I have both transferred domains in and out of Rebel.com. Transferring in was smooth and easy, but transferring out domains was more complicated. Firstly, getting the authorization code (EPP code) and unlocking the domain took a while to figure out and is not documented in their help section. Secondly, they do not provide an option to explicit accept the transfer on their end. Not even their support team is capable of accepting a transfer out request. As a result you have to wait a minimum of five days before ICANN will force a transfer. My experience from other major registrars is that a transfer can be completed within a couple of hours.
My experience with support is one of the more positive aspects. I have contacted support a couple of times through e-mail, and they responded fairly fast, even during weekends. However, at times it looked like I was getting canned responses not addressing my question. Unfortunately, the reason why I had to contact support in the first place has been because of the troublesome control panel…
- Fast response from support.
- Free DNS with full control.
- Attractive promotions from time to time.
- Reliable registrar.
- Registration and renewal costs are higher than other reputable registrars.
- “Messy” control panel missing several features.
- No free whois privacy (not even for the first year.)
- Auto renew is turned on by default, to turn it off a support ticket is required.
- Difficult and slow transfer out process.
In conclusion, my meeting with Rebel.com has been mixed and I will not recommend them. They offer a standard domain registration service and are trustworthy, but in comparison to other well established registrars such as NameCheap, NameSilo (affiliate link) etc. their domain service is more expensive, more troublesome, and with less features. Especially the hefty processing fees when reactivating expired domains nailed the coffin regarding my decision to move away all domains. I could be tempted to use them as a secondary registrar when they are running some good promotions, but only to transfer the domains out as fast as possible.