Domainmonster.com Domain Editorials
Domain Registrars and Hosting
Lots of hosting companies are only to happy to give you a "free" domain name with your hosting package. I say free; of course, the cost of registration is included in your hosting fee. Nevertheless, it may be tempting to take such an offer. You can administrate everything in one place, you only have to deal with one company and make one payment… It seems like a good deal.
However, there are several reasons why registering your domain as part of one of these packages is a bad idea. First of all, looking for something like this is going to limit your choice of both host and of registrar. Hosting companies come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, and you really need to be concentrating on the features that matter, such as flexibility and ecommerce options if you need them. Believe it or not, not all registrars are the same, either: many have a terrible customer service record and most charge if you decide to switch registrar.
The other problem is that buying your Domain Name from a hosting company means that you're not buying from a specialist registrar. How good do you think the domain names side of their customer service is going to be? Can you rely on it being fantastic?
The most important reason to keep your hosting company and your domain registrar separate, however, is the matter of changing hosts. Supposing you discover that your host's customer service is not all it's cracked up to be, and you can never get hold of someone when you need them, let alone speak to the same person every time. What's more, they've put their monthly charges up. You decide enough is enough: it's time to switch hosting companies. However, when you read the small print, you discover either that you are going to be charged an extortionate fee for moving your domain name registry, or that you can't take it with you at all. Unless you stick with your current host, you lose your domain name and all the returning traffic you've carefully built up over the months.
Of course, you'd be having no such difficulties if you'd kept your domain registrar and your hosting company separate from the outset. For example, Domainmonster.com won't add any charges when you move your domain name to a Domainmonster account, or from your account to another registrar. It makes good sense to avoid tangling up your domain registration with your hosting; the fewer obligations you are tied into, the better.
A final word of warning: be very wary of what exactly is going on when you "transfer" your domain name to your host so that it directs to your site correctly. There have been instances of dishonest hosting companies actually taking control of Domain Names without their owners' knowledge. The way to avoid a situation like this is simply to make sure that your host is a reputable one with a good history of positive customer feedback.
By Natalie Catchpole