Are you considering building your first website? Then you’ve likely looked into hosting packages. One thing you’ll find with many hosts like Bluehost is that you receive a free one-year domain registration with your account.
In addition to that, you can always add on new domain names by registering them through your host.
But is that really the best option? Some say yes; others preach caution. Below, we take a look at both sides of the argument.
Hosting vs. Domain Registration
Before we dive into the pros and cons, let’s consider for a moment the difference between purchasing web hosting and purchasing a domain name.
While you can get the two through the same company if you want to, you don’t have to. Each one is a separate piece of data for your website.
When you’re purchasing web hosting, you’re renting a space on a server to store your website’s files.
Your domain name is the address people use to access your website. However, a different domain registrar can always point your web address to the server your files are hosted on.
This allows you to buy your domain registration and your web hosting from different companies and still make the two work together.
Nuts and Bolts Media suggests thinking about your domain name like a phone’s SIM card. You can switch out the SIM card with a different one, and then the phone will work with a different phone number.
You can get your SIM and your phone from your phone company, or you can get a SIM from them and buy an unlocked phone elsewhere. Domain names and web hosting work the same way.
Now that we understand the difference, let’s jump into the pros and cons of using the same provider for your domain name and web host.
Pros of Registering Domains With your Web Host
So you have that free one-year domain registration with your hosting package? Here are a couple of reasons you should take advantage of it.
It Makes Set-Up Simple
The truth is, it’s easier to register your domain name with the same company that hosts your website, which is why many hosts offer this service.
For instance, there’s no need to change nameservers, which can be tricky if you’re not very tech-savvy. If you have no idea what I’m talking about when I say “nameservers,” then it’s going to be a lot easier for you to register your domain through your host without worrying about flipping through tons of tutorials until you find one that makes sense.
Because it’s easier and you don’t have to wait for the nameservers to redirect, your site can go up quicker.
It’s More Convenient
Yep, simplicity is convenient, but so is having all your website’s data in one location. When you register your domain name through your host, there’s only one account you have to access and one username-password combination to remember to manage the backend of your site.
If you have multiple sites and place all your data in the hands of one host, it makes it even easier to manage it all. There’s no racking your brain trying to remember which company hosts which domain.
I admittedly made that mistake a couple of years ago. Once I tracked down the registrar, I couldn’t access my account because I’d lost the login info and the details I needed to recover that login info.
It was a weird situation, and I found it much easier to have all my domains and hosting information in one place.
Technical Support Can Always Help
When the same technical support is there for you with your domain name and your web hosting, getting help can prove to be less of a hassle.
On the other hand, using two companies can complicate things. If you’re trying to sort out a problem in how the two connect, there may be a lot of back-and-forths where one company can help with one aspect but they can’t help with another.
Having everything in the same place means your hosting company has access to all pieces of your website so they can better assist you.
Cons of Registering Domains With your Web Host
I never really thought there would be cons to keeping all your website data in one place. I mean, it’s convenient and easy. But I recently ran across discussions arguing that you shouldn’t do this. Here’s why:
It’s Tougher to Transfer Your Domain
Let’s say you try out a hosting company and find that you don’t like it. However, you love your domain name and want to keep it.
If it’s registered through your host, you’ll have to undergo a time-consuming process of transferring your domain name before you leave your web host.
If your domain name is registered elsewhere, you just have to point it to a new server through your DNS settings.
It’s Not as Secure
The problem with entrusting one company with all your files is that they have control over everything. If your web host gets hacked and your domain name is registered through them, hackers can transfer the domain name away from your account.
If your domain and web hosting are separate, you’re less likely to have both hacked at the same time, which adds a layer of security to your site.
Your Web Host May Own Your Domain
This is something I heard a couple of times in my research, but I don’t actually know of web hosts who do this. Still, it’s good to watch out for.
The problem here is that when you buy a web hosting package, some hosts will register the domain name in their name.
Essentially, your package includes rental of the server space and domain name but not the ownership rights to the domain to do with it as you please.
This is not something I’d worry about too much if you’re using a reputable company. For instance, Bluehost says, “Subject to the terms of your domain registration agreement, you will retain ownership of your domain until the end of its registration period.”
With them, you can also transfer your domain away from Bluehost or to another person.
Just be sure to check the terms and conditions of any web host you’re registering through so you don’t run into this issue.
So, Which Route Should You Take?
This is a question that cannot be easily answered. I’m still a fan of putting all my information in one place because it’s easier for me, but you have to weigh the pros and cons yourself.
Do simplicity and convenience mean more to you than security?
Let me know in the comment section what you think. Will you register your domain name through your web host or not?