Why it’s a good idea to keep domain name and web host separate
There’s an expression that goes like this ‘Do not put all your eggs in one basket’. Why is that you say? Well if the basket breaks you lose everything.
Do this apply to domain name and hosting as well? I believe it does.
But first, let’s get the basics out of the way.
Domain name and hosting
First, I just want to be sure that we have the same understanding of domain and hosting.
Domain or a Domain name: Is the address of your website, like thewebsiteroad.com is the address to this site. A domain registrar will charge you an annual fee to use the domain name you have chosen. If you stop paying the annual fee, the domain can be bought by someone else.
Domain registrar: An organization that has been allowed to sell domain names to customers like me and you.
Website hosting: Is a service that allows you to make your website available on the internet. What happens is that the web host allows you to store your website files on their server. When someone then types in your domain name, they will be directed to the files on the server and have them presented in their web browser.
5 things to consider when buying domain name and hosting
You only need one account, one password to remember, only one customer support to call, etc. But let’s have a look at some of the pros and cons of keeping them separate before you make your final decision.
Let’s imagine that you end up having both your domain and hosting with the same provider. That means one account to get access to everything related to your website.
Your domain, which you probably spent ages to come up with, can quickly become a valuable part of your business since it represents your brand.
You will, or probably already have spent countless of hours designing and writing content for your website, and it’s all there on the servers of the web host.
If someone managed to hack that one account, you could, in fact, lose it all.
Although such a scenario might seem unrealistic, two accounts with two sets of passwords will definitely provide you with some added security.
Some companies are good at hosting and some are good as domain registrars, but I’ve yet to come across one that is really good at both.
By keeping your domain register separate from your hosting you can get the best from two worlds.
You can sign up with a host that has specialized in website hosting, and you could sign up with a domain registrar that has specialized in managing domains.
All your domains in one place
Although you might only have one domain today, you might have 10 in a month. The potential problem is that there is no hosting option that fits perfectly with every type of website.
As a result, you might want different web hosts for some of those 10 sites.
If you decide to stick with one domain registrar you have all your domains in one place making them easy to manage, even though you might be using several different hosting companies.
Furthermore, if you realize that your current host isn’t as good as you were expecting, you can easily switch host without worrying about transferring the domain as well (which is a bit more troublesome)
While browsing through different web hosts you’ll quickly realize that quite a few of them are offering domain names as a bundle deal. In fact, some even give you a domain name for free if you decide to use them as web host.
If you do go for the bundle deal that gives you a free domain for a year, you will eventually have to renew that domain when the year has passed. I can guarantee you that the renewal price is not free.
So, if you are planning to keep your domain name for more than a year, I would recommend that you check the renewal price and compare that with other domain registrars. It might actually turn out that dedicated domain registrars are cheaper over time.
Having everything in one place can also be pretty convenient, I will not deny that. Only one set of login information to remember, only one customer support to contact, and so on.
I can easily understand that convenience might be the most important factor for a lot of you.
But remember, if you end up with several domain names spread across several web hosts, that convenience benefit will quickly start to diminish.
To sum up, there’s no answer that fits everyone but I would suggest considering separating domain and host if you:
- You will be putting a lot of effort and money into building a brand around your domain
- Are expecting the website to become popular
- Are planning to have more than one domain
On the other hand, you could just as well go for having them with one provider if:
- The domain and website has a time frame of less than a year
- If convenience is all that matters
- If you’re just creating this one website