Most web hosts will run promos and offer free domain names to the customers when they buy web hosting services. Now in hindsight, it seems like an outstanding offer. There is no good reason to turn down a free domain name if you are inexperienced in web hosting. Some companies might even offer you exclusive services like a free domain for life.
So, is there any good reason you should turn down a joint package where you are getting a free domain name with your web host?
TL;DR: Yes. Registering a domain name through a web host gives the hosting service complete control over the domain. You want to keep these separate.
What Is the Importance of a Domain Name?
It doesn’t matter what kind of business you have or what type of website you have created. A domain name is one of the most valuable assets. This is a part of your brand identity. When people search for your business’s name, the domain name will help them see you as the top result. Ultimately, you want to be in complete control over your domain name. This is the best reason for keeping a domain and web hosting separate. When you bundle both of these services together, you create portability between the web hosting service and the domain.
If there is a spat between you and your web host, they might even hijack the domain name and keep it attached to the hosting account. This means, if you decide that you want to move your domain from the hosting services in the future, you will be unable to do so.
Know These Terms if You Are Learning the Basics of Web Hosting
Domain registrars keep a reservation of the domain names. This is an entirely separate service from hosting services. It will allow you to purchase a domain name, but you don’t get any other aspects of website hosting with the name.
Some of the most popular registrars online include Namecheap. These sites will give you domain names at a pretty attractive cost, and you can run your web hosting service in relation to the domain you buy from these registrars.
You need web hosts to make your website functional. While the domain name makes your website accessible by giving you a working URL, the web hosting actually makes the website operational.
There are plenty of web hosts who also work as domain registrar services and can provide you with free domain names. If you sign up for domain names with these registrars, they become your hosts and providers of domain names. You could get incentives and offers to register your domain name with these services. If you are new to web hosting, it might make complete sense to you.
Read on to find out all the difficulties you can run into when you use web hosting and a domain name in conjunction.
To Register or Not to Register?
As we have stated previously, you can always register your domain name through the web service host. For some people, it might seem like a very good idea to keep all of the things related to their website in the same place. You only have to maintain a single set of usernames and passwords, and you know which support team to get connected to when you run into issues with configuration or technicality.
But remember that you always have the option to register your domain name with a different service. You can simply say that to your web host while you are registering for the hosting service. There are several good reasons for doing this.
Keep Your Domain Name Secure
People run into problems with their web hosting services all the time. If you are at a spat with your web host and you want to move your website from this web hosting to another, you will also need to transfer the old domain name if you have it registered with your old web host.
Now, transferring domains is a very time-consuming and complicated task. Sometimes, your web host might even confiscate the domain if you decide to move on. Considering that a domain is a significant part of your brand identity and possibly the first search result users get as part of organic SEO, you don’t want that to happen. If your domain is registered with a different service, all you have to do is provide your DNS settings to the web host you are moving to.
Maintaining Multiple Websites Conveniently
As you grow the business, you might create multiple websites for different purposes—some for blogging, some for products or promotions, and finally, your main website.
So, if you have multiple websites, it makes sense that you buy the domains in only one place. You can simply go to the registrar and see the list of domain names you have bought. You can update the DNS settings as required and share them with whichever hosts you decide to host your website through.
Web hosts get attacked from time to time. If your host’s website is hacked or attacked, not only can the bad guys destroy the website, but they can also transfer the domain name away from the host and take control of it. It takes a long and uphill legal battle to prove that you are the owner of the domain and get all of it back.
If you can keep your domain name and web hosting separate, even if someone gets access to your website files, the domain name itself is completely safe. That is if you are not using the same username and password for every account.
Most companies that are specialized in web hosting and work as a registrar are not usually equally good at both. There are very few services that can provide you with equally good service in both of these areas. High-quality domain registrar services like Namecheap can offer you advanced DNS settings, affordable prices, and free Whois privacy protection which is something quite rare amongst domain registrars.
Whereas good web hosting services will provide you with a great way to manage files, create backups, create site lock up, and much more. You can get the best of both of these services by keeping your domain name and hosting separate.
Switching Hosting Services Becomes Easier
If you are tired of the web hosting service’s customer support being inattentive, high renewal fees, or any other issues, you have to consider switching your hosting service for a better service.
For instance, many hosting providers offer domain names for free during the first year, but after the year has passed, you have to start paying the renewal fees and for the domain privacy protection. That is why acquiring your domain from registrars such as NameSilo or Namecheap is often the best choice you can make, simply because they offer domain names at really affordable prices that come with free domain privacy protection.
To help you find out which registrar is best for you, here is a domain comparison that should illustrate the benefits of each one of these great registrars mentioned.
You don’t want any damage or impact to come to your domain while this migration occurs. By keeping these two separate, all you need to do is take all the files from the old host and move them to the new host. After that, you can simply redirect the DNS settings of the domain by going to the registrar of the new host.
Possibility of Losing the Domain
Hosting services that also offer registration services can often present offers that tie the two together. If you decide that in the future you want to move your website out of this hosting, you could suddenly find out that the domain name has become more expensive. The domain could also be canceled altogether because the hosting service offered it to you as part of a packaged bundle.
By keeping your host and registrar separate, you are protecting yourself against any fallout in the future. This way, no company has a hold on your domain name, so they cannot force you to stay with their business.
Minimize Future Issues
While you are registering your website with a host, you don’t know whether they will be in business in five years. You don’t know if your domain registrar will be in business for the next ten years. When you keep these services separate, you are also making sure that in the future, if one of these companies goes out of business, your damage is minimum.
Some Tips to Remember While Buying Hosting and Domains
Now that we understand why it is essential to keep your domain name and web hosting separate, we still need to find an excellent solution to work out a balance. There are good web hosting providers like DreamHost that are global and SSD-based, which can give you free SSL encryption. These web hosting services also come with excellent customer care support and minimum downtimes. Know your hosting service before you decide to launch your website with them.
- While you are searching for a domain registrar like Namecheap, there are plenty of affordable services available, giving you rapid support and constant pricing. There are also guarantees of money back within a trial period.
- Namecheap is a pretty great site for domain registration. Not only are they highly rated for their excellent customer care, but they also have an excellent searching feature that will give you alternate domain names if the one you are looking for is not available.
- While it is ideal that you get a domain name that is entirely relevant to your business name, you want to go for the next best thing if the right one is not available. These services will also show you if the domain name you are looking for is unavailable right now but can be bought for a certain price.
- Look for both phone and email support when you are working with domain registrars and web hosting. Plenty of times, you will need very quick access to customer care to resolve issues. There is only so much you can wait for before the number of people bouncing off your website becomes huge, and it actually starts impacting your bottom line.
- There is, however, a little bit of a requirement to understand technical configurations if you want to get your server configured the right way. If you are not tech-savvy and do not want to deal with the technicalities of domain configuration or site configuration, you can also go for websites that provide you with a highly advanced UI devoid of any coding. Some of these services like WP Engine will take care of the technical parts in the background so you can focus on creating the best website you need.
We want to wrap this up by reiterating that there is no situation where you should consider keeping your domain name and web hosting under the same service. Purchase a web hosting service from a good provider and register a domain name with popular services like NameSilo or Namecheap. You can simply Google the highest-rated web hosting companies and read customer reviews to get into the details of the actual user experience before you decide.
Pretty much every web hosting service will provide you with free domain names but resist the temptation. They have nameservers that are in charge of domain direction to where you actually host your content. So, when you are actually registering a domain name via a domain registrar, you can decide which nameservers you want. Some of these servers will begin with ns1. So, if your web host is abc.com, the nameserver for your website will be ns1.abc.com.
If you are trying to find out detailed information about what are the nameserver addresses for your website, you can simply ask your web host to provide the details. This information is available in your account, but you can also get in touch with customer support, who will be able to help you with any queries you have.
This is the best practice of web hosting. Ultimately, keeping your domain name and web hosting separate will give you much more flexibility in choosing better hosting services when you think the current one cannot handle your requirements. It will save you plenty of money and time in the long run when you try to make sure your website is getting the most benefits out of your hosting service.