Please don’t buy your domains from a hosting company

Steve Zehngut - March 8, 2018

We see it all the time. We’re talking to a customer who has a problem with their hosting company. Their site is offline because the host is under attack, or has some sort of problem. Every host has downtime – it’s the nature of hosting. But in those moments, we’ll have people call us about changing hosts. The conversation goes like this:

Client: Hi, our website is down and I’m wondering if you can help us.

Zeek: Sure we can help you – do you have a backup of your site and is it located separately from your site?

Client: Yes, we have our files, our code, and our database all backed up. I’m wondering if you could help us move to another host.

Zeek: Absolutely, we can do that. Do you have access to your domain registrar’s site so we can point the domain to a new location?

Client: Well, see…that’s the problem. Our hosting company is also our registrar. And their servers are down. Can you help us?

That’s normally when we have to explain that just because registering your domain with a hosting company was easy, it’s not always a great idea.

So here’s why we tell people to buy their domain names in one place and run their hosting in a second spot.

It’s a lot easier for companies to be good at one thing.

If you approach a company that sells cell phones, you don’t normally think, “Hey, I bet they’re also good at refinancing my home loan.” Companies have enough work in front of them to get good at doing one thing. Asking them to be good at registering your domains and also at hosting is asking a lot. Normally one will be great, and the other will simply exist for people who like the convenience. But trust us – the convenience may not be all that convenient.

It’s a lot easier to point domains to new hosts when you can make changes.

If you’re having a single company manage both your domain names and your hosting accounts, and they go dark, guess what? You’re out of luck. You won’t be able to access their servers to re-point your domain to another hosting company. And if you can’t make changes to your DNS (the details of your domain name and where it points), you just have to sit around waiting for the company to come back online.

It’s a lot easier to manage your domains all in one place.

When you have a company focused on just domain registration, you can optimize that process – from billing dates, to payment methods, from your contact information being protected, to the details of where those domains send traffic.

It’s a lot harder to transfer domains from web hosts.

Some hosting companies make domain transfers really difficult and complicated. We once worked with a client who spent weeks in the process and it was painful. What’s worse is that if you ever decide you want to sell your site (and it’s domain), hosting companies can be much harder to navigate on domain name change of ownership (asking that the new owner have an account with them) than domain name registrars.

It’s a lot harder to hack everything if you have it split across two companies.

Let’s face it, the chances that someone will hack your domain registrar and your hosting company at the same time is ridiculously small. But if you have a hosting company do both, and they get hacked, someone can get access to everything, including your domains – and re-point them anywhere they want.

Good News

The good news when you work with Zeek is that we can take care of a lot of this for you. Whether you need help registering domain names, or helping you connect those domains to your new hosting account, we’re experts at making this happen.