There are two main components to your website: your domain name and web hosting. Your domain name is the URL and the address people type in their browsers to reach your website. A hosting plan provides you with space to put your website on. You then take all the files pertaining to your website and upload them to your web host.
The Free Hosting Temptation
Most web hosting providers offer free registration of at least one domain, when you sign up with them. How wise is it to register a domain with your host? While not utilizing this convenience may sound criminal, you could be doing injustice to yourself.
I am not saying that all web hosts that offer free domain registration are not good, as even some of the best hosts offer this service. This all-in-one solution of having everything at one place seems ideal for many marketers and makes perfect business sense to them.
Keeping Your Domain Under Your Control
Experienced webmasters suggest separating the domain registrar from hosting. If there is an issue with your web hosting provider, you still have control over your domain and can shift to a different host, without this move affecting your website in terms of downtime or loss of visitors.
The one critical aspect of maintaining a website is to ensure you have control over all aspects of your web presence at all times. Your domain name is your identity on the web and excluding it from being part of your web hosting provider ensures you have full control.
Why Your Host Should Not Be Your Domain Registrar
Moving your website can be a hassle – Placing all your eggs in one basket is never a good idea. Having your host as a domain registrar can prove to be a hassle when moving your website to a new host. This situation can arise if you are unhappy with your host a few months down the line. Moving your website involves changing web servers and this can take time with some hosts, sometimes even days. While it easy to transfer the domain name when purchased from a registrar, it is not always so when dealing with a hosting company. If your domain registrar is separate, then you just need to point the DNS to your new host and you are all set to go.
Problem when transferring domain name to a new registrar – If you wish to transfer your domain name to a new registrar, your host has to give the approval and with some hosts it may even take weeks.
Domain name not registered on your name – In the worst case scenario, there are some web hosts that register the domain in their name and the domain is legally theirs. Most webmasters may not know about these terms that limit ownership.
You are at the host’s mercy – In some cases, all these issues can lead to losing your domain name to the hosting provider, if you wish to shift to a new registrar or shift hosting. In a situation where you do not wish to give up your domain name, you may have to stick to the host unwillingly on their terms and conditions, so as not to lose your domain.
While there are web hosts that offer excellent service and with whom shifting a domain name can be a breeze, there is always the risk of landing yourself in a tight spot with the wrong host. To play it safe, the ideal situation would be to separate the two and trust your domain with a domain name registrar.
If you really do not want to let go of the free domain name offer, make sure you do so with a site that is not critical to your business and with a host that has been around for a long time and has a great reputation.