This is the archived version of edition 1 of the Good Web Hosting Info (GWHI) Newsletter, published Nov 4/2003.

Most web hosts offer domain registration. Some web hosts even offer cheap domain registration. And isn't it convenient to register your domain with your web host, so you only have one company to relate to instead of two?

Sure it is. Still, it is not a good idea too register your domain with your web host. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that you should avoid web hosts who are offering domain registration. It makes perfect business sense for them, web hosting customers need domains so offering domain registration means more profit from their existing customers. It does not in any way indicate that their web hosting services are not of top quality.

Your domain name is your web identity. Without your domain name, your web presence is no longer under your control. You should have as close to 100% control over your domain name as possible. Why does this exclude using your web host as domain registrar?

Moving your website to a new web host

Imagine that your web host have serious problems with their servers. Your website is more down than up, and you want to move to a new web host. You can find a new web host within a few hours, then all that is left is moving your website.

Moving your website to a new web host is a 2-step process.

  1. Upload your website to your new web host's server.
  2. Change your DNS (domain name servers) to point to your new web host's domain name servers.

Step 1 can be done without involving your old web host, as long as you have a copy of your website on your computer. Step 2 may involve your web host, if you registered your domain name with them.

Let's first explain why DNS is so important

DNS means domain name servers. Domain name servers make it possible to access your website via a domain name. (f.ex. example.com).

If you host your website with Example Host (made-up name), you will typically use the addresses ns1.examplehost.com and ns2.examplehost.com as your DNS.

When somebody follows a link to your domain, their request will go to your domain name servers, who will forward the request to the server your website is physically located on. Then the server will serve your website to the visitor.

Your domain name servers are the access point to your domain and website. So controlling which domain name servers you are using means controlling access to your domain and website.

Bad things can happen

If you registered your domain with your web host, one of the following scenarios will happen.

  1. You have to contact your old web host to make them change your web servers. Depending on their speed, it takes from a few hours to many days to make them do that. To avoid this in the future, you will also want to tranfer your domain to a new registrar.
  2. You have to transfer your domain from your old web host to a new domain registrar. This process must be approved by the previous registrar (your old web host), and will likely take several days, maybe even weeks.
  3. Your web host registered your domain in their name. The domain is legally theirs. That is really bad. You can try to buy the domain from them, or redirect the traffic from your old domain to a new domain. An emergency domain change like this will result in lost visitors and lost money.

All three scenarios are causing unnecessary downtime, from a few hours extra to several weeks in addition to lost business.

How to avoid unnecessary downtime and lost business

This would have been avoided if you registered your domain with a decent domain registrar like Domain Direct.

Let's say you decide to start a new website, and find that Akashik offers a perfect hosting plan for your project.

Akashik does not offer domain registration, so you use Domain Direct to register your domain. If you, for any reason, would like to move your website to a new web host, you can change your DNS within minutes. All you have to do is log in to your domain control panel and update your DNS to those specified by your new web host.

This is the archived version of edition 1 of the Good Web Hosting Info (GWHI) Newsletter, published Nov 4/2003.