Should you have the domain name you registered with the same company that is doing the hosting?
I think that is a bad idea and yet it happens all the time. It is simple and easy to do that but simple and easy can get you in a little hot water should something go south so you are better off using 2 different entities to handle each operation for you.
For starters I’ll give you my two cent thought process on how you can relate this to the real world.
What is a Domain registrar?
The domain registrar is where you bought your domain… well actually rented it as we do not own anything there. We lease the rights to the domain for a period of time depending on for how long we paid. Typically people pay for the domain registration for a year but if you are going to continue to use this domain long term you are better off paying for several years as that is better for SEO purposes but that is another story.
What is a Web Site Host?
Hosting is where your site is located, similar to renting an office in a building. The host is the building and the office (your business/site/domain) pays to occupy that space and be visible online. Usually you pay for the hosting on a monthly basis but that can also be done on an annual basis as well as you generally get a better price if you do it that way.
OK, so you have a domain and you want to put it up online and you need to choose a hosting service for that. You can go the easy route and take the offer that your domain registrar probably has as that is the easy way out or you can look for another hosting service and see what is out there.
I always use another host because if there is an issue with the hosting service you can easily just move the site and change the name servers and you are good to go. That actually happens a fair amount of time as there are issues with different hosts at different times. I am not going to call out any hosts but I can give you an example or two though.
At one point I had a network with a partner of over 1500 sites hosted with one company based in Tulsa, Oklahoma who say their servers are in Dallas. The company had some major issues and due to their lack of competence cost my partner and I close to $20,000.00. The owner actually got involved in the “fixing” process and we lost oodles of content and had to restore many of the sites.
If we had our domains with this host it would have been a pain to move everything from his poor hosting to a new hosting group but since we had our domains registered elsewhere, all we had to do was point the name servers to the new hosting service, install the back ups there and we were good to go. If we had the domains there we could have had issues with the host (this host does not offer domain registration). He could have made it hard to get the name servers changed, fought with us about the process etc.
It was just much cleaner to change name servers with the registrars and upload backups to the new host and the process was automated so it only took about 45 minutes of man hours to get handled.
OK, you don’t have 1500 domains, you only have 4 so what is the big deal?
That is probably a bigger deal actually. Our network was only a fraction of what we do online to earn so, although we took it in the shorts for the short term, we only lost about 2 weeks of partial revenue. If you are a small site owner and only have a few domains and those are your main income and this happens you’ll be eating ramen noodles for a month with a bottle of catchup as your seasoning.
Just as in your revenue streams you want diversification, you also want to keep your business landlord (host) different from your business (domain) to avoid any long term, or even short term, negative actions and to keep things open for you to make adjustments without having to jump through a zillion hoops.