When you set up a new website, there are two main things that you need to have in place. First, register your domain name, and second, you need web hosting. The domain name is the URL of your site.
On this page, for example, the domain name is “Digital.com.” Web hosting is the actual server where the files for your site are stored, which are accessed by people through their web browsers when they type in your domain name.
To get started, decide whether you should have your domain name registered with the same company that you have your site hosted with. This is certainly possible, and even quite popular, but it isn’t a requirement.
Read on to learn more about this option so you can decide what the best course of action is for you. In this article, get answers to common questions, including:
- How does domain registration work?
- What are the pros and cons of using one company for hosting and domain registration?
- What do you do if you want to keep domain registration and hosting separate?
- How Domain Registration Works
- Pros and Cons of Staying With One Company for Hosting and Domain Registration
- What If You Want to Keep You Domain Registrar and Web Host Separate?
- What Should You Do Next?
How Domain Registration Works
Domain name registration is the process by which you buy a specific domain for your website. When making the purchase, you specify what the website is, which is your site name ― Digital, in this site’s case ― and the top-level domain ― .com, in this site’s case.
Once you choose a domain name and confirm it’s available, you can register it to your name or your company’s name.
There are thousands of different domain name registration companies. No matter which one you choose, they collect your information, and the payment, so that they can verify that you’re the owner of the domain.
They then file this ownership with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), which is responsible for tracking who owns what domains. In most cases, you are buying the domain name for a period of one or more years. This prevents anyone else from using that domain name as long as you own it.
Pros and Cons of Staying With One Company for Hosting and Domain Registration
Since you need to buy web hosting and a domain at the same time, it can be convenient to buy them both from the same company. Almost all of the best web hosting companies can help you with domain name registration as well. You can register multiple domains from one hosting account without a problem.
The question is, however, whether that’s a good idea for your company or not. Read through the pros and cons of using just one company for both registering your domain and hosting your site:
Pros of Using One Company for Hosting and Domain Registration
Combining multiple related services with one company can be very beneficial. The following are some of the different reasons why companies often choose to use their web hosting company as their domain name registrar.
In many cases, you can get your domain registered for the first year for either free or very inexpensive if you also use that company for hosting. This can give you great savings when just starting out.
All of your website bills are in one convenient place when you have these two services combined with one company. This helps to reduce the risk of forgetting to pay your domain name registration renewal fees, which could put your site at risk.
No Need to Update Nameservers
If you register your domain with the hosting company you’re using, they have the nameservers set up correctly by default in most cases.
Single Trusted Company
Once you have a hosting company that you can trust, it may make sense to let them help you with your domain name registration as well. It can be difficult to find companies that you can trust, so combining services with one can be a good idea.
Cons of Using One Company for Hosting and Domain Registration
While there are some benefits to keeping these two services combined with one company, there are also some downsides. Take a moment to read through some of the most important reasons why you might want to keep them separated.
Single Point of Failure
If you have both of these services handled by one company, and the company has problems, it’s much more difficult to get your site back online. The problems could include going out of business, getting hacked, getting infected with malware, and much more.
Difficult to Transfer
If you want to transfer your site’s hosting but not the domain name, the company can make it more difficult. They may even make you pay extra to keep the domain name in place.
Specialization Locks Them to One Area
Web hosting companies typically specialize just in web hosting, even though they can provide domain name registration services. Having a separate company that specializes in domain name registration ensures that you always have experts in these separate specific areas to get the best service possible.
If your website gets hacked and your domain is registered with the same company, your site is at more risk. While you eventually can get control of your site back, it may take longer with the two services combined in some cases.
Difficult to Manage Multiple Sites
If you run more than one site, you may want to have more than one hosting provider. If that’s the case, it’s easier to keep your domain names registered with a separate company that makes it easy to keep track of everything.
What If You Want to Keep You Domain Registrar and Web Host Separate?
If you decide that you want to keep your domain name registrar and web hosting provider separate, you shouldn’t have any trouble at all. If you’re starting a new site, you want to find the best domain name registrar and buy the domain you want.
Once you have that, you look for the best web hosting company for your needs and create an account.
Once you have both accounts set up, update the nameservers that the domain points to. The nameservers are provided by your web hosting company, typically in a welcome email. Take the two nameservers that they provide and update them in your domain’s settings.
Every domain name registrar has a different setup for how this is done, so don’t hesitate to reach out to their customer support to get assistance if you can’t figure it out. Once this is done, your domain points to your new web hosting provider and you can start building your site like normal.
What Should You Do Next?
The next thing you need to do is decide if you want to keep your domain name registered with your hosting company, or if you want to keep them separate. In most cases, it won’t make a huge difference which one you choose.
Overall, however, there are some important advantages to keeping these two services separate, so if you don’t mind the slight inconvenience, that is typically the best route to take.