Many web hosting companies offer a free domain name for the first year when you create a new web hosting account …
And I get asked all the time by customers of my blog setup service if it’s okay to use the free domain name for their WordPress blog.
I always advise against it.
Granted, you’ll save a few dollars, and a little time too since the web host takes care of domain name settings for you.
But the disadvantages of registering a domain name (free or paid) with your web host, outweigh the advantages.
3 Rock Solid Reasons To Keep Domain and Web Hosting Accounts Separate
For most people, keeping domain names and web hosting under one roof seems like a logical thing to do.
It means there’s only ONE client area to login to, ONE password to remember, and ONE customer support team to contact in times of emergency.
Makes sense when you think about it that way, doesn’t it?
But just take a moment to imagine this common scenario.
You’ve decided to start an online business because you want time and financial freedom to live life on your own terms.
You’ve spent weeks, possibly months, doing market research. You’ve narrowed down a long list of potential niches to just one profitable blog topic that you feel passionate about – and you’ve found a great dot com domain name that’s available.
You’ve worked hard to develop your business idea.
And now, it’s time to register your domain name and setup a blog, so you turn to Google looking for the best web hosting.
You find a web host that looks okay. Prices are reasonable. Reviews are pretty good. And they offer a free domain name too.
So you create a web hosting account and happily accept the free domain name offered to you as an incentive for signing up.
To get started you install WordPress. Add a nice theme to the site. Install some plugins. And publish 5 or 6 blog posts that took a lot of time and effort to create.
You’re happy with the web host to begin with, but after just a week or two you start to notice that your blog goes offline a lot. And when it is online, the site loads slowly and the server crashes when you try uploading more plugins.
You reach out to your web host for support, only to find that it takes several days to get a response and even then, customer service is poor. You get half hearted replies and many of your tickets go unresolved.
Feeling frustrated and let down, you decide to move your blog to a better web hosting company.
But wait … not so fast …
Reason #1: You’re Trapped In a 60 Day Lock Down Period
Determined by ICANN policy, newly registered domain names (free or paid) cannot be transferred to another registrar within 60 days of initiation, and web hosting providers have no way to bypass the regulation.
That means you’re stuck with a bad web host until the lock down period has passed because if you cancel your web hosting account, you’ll lose your domain name.
But if you keep your domain and web hosting accounts separate, switching to a better web host is easier. You just update domain name settings to point to the new web host.
Reason #2: Domain Transfers Can Be Technical and Time Consuming
After a bad customer experience with the old web host, it’s likely that you’ll want to move your domain name to a trusted registrar once the 60 day lock down period has ended, but you’ll need to be patient.
Transferring a domain name from one registrar to another can take anything from 30 minutes to 8 days. In my experience, it’s usually 5 days on average.
More importantly, if tech isn’t your strong point, the transfer process can be difficult and without proper planning, after the transfer is complete you’ll experience website downtime that can be avoided by keeping your domain name and web hosting accounts separate.
Reason #3: Easier For Hackers To Steal Your Domain Name
More than 5000 WordPress websites get hacked everyday, and your blog is no exception.
Those dirty little gremlins (hackers) don’t care how new or old a website is, or if it makes money, they’ll hack it anyway just for fun.
When you register a domain name with your web host, and your web hosting account gets hacked, the hacker also has access to your domain name making it easy for them to change ownership and transfer it to another registrar.
But if your domain name is kept separate from your web host, and your hosting account is hacked, your domain name is safe providing you don’t use the same username and password for both accounts.
Domain name theft, also know as domain hijacking, is a real and devastating thing that happens to ordinary people like you and me all the time. And once stolen, it’s a difficult and costly process to prove that you are the rightful owner of the domain name.
Best Place To Register a Domain Name
There are hundreds of domain registrars on the web but I personally use and always recommend NameCheap. Their prices are slightly lower compared to other leading registrars like GoDaddy, and they provide excellent customer support.
Also, with security features including 2-factor authorization and instant notification of account changes, you’ll never have to worry about some dirty little hacker stealing your domain name.
Recommended Places To Get The Best Web Hosting
During my 8+ years online I’ve used several different web hosts and there’s only two that I wholeheartedly recommend.
Bluehost – perfect for anyone just starting a blog-based online business for the first time and on a budget .
Customer support is well above average and from a technical standpoint I’ve personally never experienced any server related issues with the service.
The only thing I don’t like about Bluehost is their decision to discontinue ticket support which makes it difficult for me to contact Bluehost on behalf of my customers when needed, but they do provide excellent 24/7 live chat and phone support, so it’s no biggie.
SiteGround – I personally use SiteGround for my own online business and I can highly recommend the service to you.
Even if you’re starting a blog for the first time, if your budget allows, start with SiteGround. They have the fastest load times on the web for shared hosting accounts …
And in my experience, customer service is the BEST with tickets being answered within the hour (usually less), or live chat if you prefer to speak with someone right away.
If you are just starting a blog-based online business for the first time, I totally understand why you’d be tempted to register a free domain name for your blog when you sign up for web hosting, but I urge you to think carefully.
Your domain name is your brand and good domain names are hard to find – don’t run the risk of losing yours for the sake of saving a few dollars.
Kerry – The Blog Mechanic
P.S. Find this post useful? Share it social media. Let’s put a stop to domain hijacking once and for all. 🙂