I am often asked by clients of my blog setup service why I recommend registering a domain name with NameCheap when Bluehost the web hosting company I recommend gives new customers a free domain name for the first year.
It’s a reasonable question and I can totally understand why saying yes to the free domain name offer when starting a blog is enticing.
- You will save some money.
- There’s only one account area to manage and one password to remember
And setting up your blog will be easier to do since you don’t have to update nameserver settings which is difficult if you’re not techie.
But the devil is in the detail!
Just like anything in life, there are pros and cons.
I’ve listed the pros above.
Below, I will explain why in my opinion, registering a domain name (free or paid) with your web host is a bad idea.
Let’s start with the most important reason first – security.
When you register a domain name with your web host, free or paid …
If your web hosting account ever gets hacked (never say never!), the hacker also has access to your domain name, making it easy for those dirty little gremlins to steal your domain name by transferring it to another account.
This is a common tactic used by hackers known as Domain Hijacking or domain name theft.
In this article published at Forbes.com – a gentleman called Palbo Palatnik shares his true story about the devastating consequences his company suffered after Chinese hijackers stole his domain name.
Overnight, Palbo was losing thousands of dollars daily and the hackers had all of his traffic, and I’d hate to see that happen to you.
Domain hijacking is a very real thing that happens to ordinary people like you and me all the time and once stolen, getting your domain name back is a slow and costly legal process.
It’s also worth noting that hijacking works both ways. I mean, if you buy web hosting from your domain registrar and your account gets hacked …
The hacker will have access to your hosting account, making it super easy for them to hack your WordPress website – so I strongly urge you to keep your domain name and web hosting accounts separate …
That way, if your hosting account is hacked, your domain name is safe and vice versa, providing you don’t use the same username and password for both accounts. 😉
Trapped In a 60 Waiting Period
Just imagine this scenario.
You have invested weeks, likely months, of your time to find a profitable niche and choose the best domain name.
You sign up for web hosting and purchase a domain name from the same company – and now you’re ready to setup your new WordPress blog or website.
Without delay, you install WordPress. Add a nice premium theme and some essential plugins.
All good so far!
The site is loading fast and running smoothly.
You know you need to build an email list and publish your initial blog posts before you can begin driving traffic to the site. So …
You add an email opt-in form to your site and begin populating it with helpful content, and you launch.
For the first few weeks, the site continues to run smoothly. But then …
You notice that your blog is going offline a lot, and when the site is online it often loads slowly.
And when you attempt to upload new plugins, WordPress is showing an error message or even worse, on some occasions resulting in a temporary 500 internal server error.
Feeling doubtful about your choice of web host, you reach out to the support team for help.
72 hours later you’ve had no reply, so you get in touch with them again. This time they do get back to you, but with a half hearted response that provides no real solution to your problem.
So, you persevere for a few more days exchanging back and forth communications with the support team – and still – your ticket goes unresolved.
ENOUGH is ENOUGH, you say out loud in a moment of madness.
You decide to switch web hosts and transfer your domain name to a better domain registrar who values you as a customer. A company you can trust.
But wait! Not so fast tiger!
According to ICANN rules and regulations domain name transfers cannot be initiated for domains registered within the last 60 days, and no domain registrar or web hosting company has the power to bypass this regulation.
What does this mean for you?
Well, it varies between hosts.
Disreputable hosting companies can hold your domain name to ransom if you decide to take your custom elsewhere, but in most cases …
Providing the bad web host does not apply a restricted 60 day lockdown period during which time you cannot make any changes at all to your domain name settings, you should be able to cancel your hosting account without losing your domain name …
But unfortunately, you won’t be able to transfer your domain to the new host and cut all ties with the bad host until the 60 day waiting period has ended.
By keeping your domain name and web hosting accounts separate from day one, moving to a better web host is much easier …
All you have to do is migrate your website to a new server and update DNS settings without having to worry about transferring your domain name later, which takes time and costs money. 🙂
There are other reasons why you should consider keeping your domain and hosting accounts separate …
But personally, I don’t think they matter that much in the grand scheme of things compared to the reasons I have shared with you today.
For as long as I can remember, it’s always been considered best practise to keep your domain name and web hosting accounts separate, and it still is.
Knowing what you now know, what will you do?
Will you register a domain name and get web hosting from the same company?
Or will you keep the two accounts separate?
Let me know in the comments box below.