When getting started with setting up your first website, there’s two key pieces you need. You’ll need to find a hosting service that will allow you to build and store your website file contents, but you’ll also need to secure the domain name registration. This allows you the exclusive rights to using this domain with your website and allowing you to set up emails.
When subscribing to a hosting service, you’ll generally notice an option to register a domain (or transfer that domain name you already have). It’s very common that hosting providers sell domain registrations as many clients would like to subscribe to one hosting service where everything is managed.
The Basics of Domain Registrations
Domain registrations are facilitated by using an accredited registrar. The registrar is a company that has gone through a validation process by the registry that manages the specific TLD (top level domain) that you are interested in. The most common buckets of these TLDs are generic TLDs (like .com, .net) and country specific TLDs (like .ca).
Some of the most popular registrars include GoDaddy, Moniker, Domain.com, Namecheap and Google Domains, all of which sell domain registrations.
While a domain registrar may specifically focus on this business alone, many, if not most, offer hosting packages and plans. Other registrars may specialize in hosting services and also provide domain registrations to provide a complete offering. In either situation, if they are a registrar, they have been granted authorization from the governing bodies that manages and maintains the ability to issue and manage domains per their policies. A common one is Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) that oversees a substantial number of the TLDs, whereas others, like Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA) are specifically for managing .ca domains.
Alternatively, there are hosting providers that have partnered with registrars. These hosting providers aren’t technically registrars themselves and instead they work alongside an accredited registrar to sell and manage domain registrations.
Advantages of Registering a Domain With Your Hosting Provider
Registering a domain with your hosting provider is convenient. You won’t have to manage two separate accounts and both your domain and hosting would be managed together. Whether you want to analyze traffic logs or check the privacy settings of your website’s domain, you can log in to the same account.
The host may offer discounted or free domain(s) with your purchase of a hosting package through them, so you can save money by bundling your services.
Configuring a domain is a breeze if you register it with your hosting provider. Once you’ve registered a domain, you’ll have to configure it to include the name servers of your hosting service. Nameservers represent the Internet Protocol (IP) addresses of the servers with which a website’s files are hosted. If you register a domain with your hosting provider, though, the name servers will likely be preconfigured.
If your domain isn’t working, you can seek assistance from your hosting provider. They’ll have full access to be able to assist in changing or updating any erroneous DNS records, or be able to troubleshoot things further. If the domain is registered elsewhere, the ability to for the hosting provide to help you, can be limited.
Registering a domain elsewhere, on the other hand, means you’ll have to handle managing and making changes to the nameservers or DNS records so that they match those of your hosting service’s server.
Disadvantages of Registering a Domain With Your Hosting Provider
If you have a registrar that is solely focused on that as their business, their interface and services are geared towards that part of the business. Many of them have been in the business of selling domain registrations for over a decade. During that time, conventional registrars have learned how to design user-friendly interfaces that their customers enjoy using.
When working with a hosting provider that also provides domain registrations to provide a complete offering, their interface may be less focused on the domain registration business and built more for the hosting needs of their customers. You’ll likely still have all the same fully featured needs with a domain registration to manage and maintain it, but it could be less user friendly than a business that focuses on this solely.
Some hosting providers you may find you could incur higher renewal fees after they’ve got you in with their teaser rate to register your domain. Those renewal rates particularly on some more unique TLDs can be substantially higher than a conventional registrar that offers low registration and renewal rates. But this isn’t always true, some hosts, like FullHost, offers extremely competitive rates on most domain TLDs, and at the time of writing this is offering the lowest renewal rates of $10.69 CAD per year.
Like anything, sometimes it is best to shop around, and ask the questions you need to know what you’ll pay now but also pay later.
When you have both your hosting and domain registration under one account, you’ll need to have greater safeguards in place to ensure only authorized people can get in, creating strong passwords and ensuring 2FA/MFA is enabled as FullHost offers so that no one unauthorized gets in to your account and locks you out of it.
When you are getting your website built by a professional web designer, they may also offer you the option to managing your domain registration through them and that they’ll purchase and manage this for you. From a convenience point of view, many may choose this route particularly if you are not very technically inclined.
Your domain registration is the lifeline for your organization or business and that is your brand. If you lose access to your brand, this could cause significant challenges to you in re-establishing your online presence. If your designer does not give you tools and access to managing your domain you could potentially find yourself in a difficult position if they all of a sudden stop responding to you or you make a decision to start working with another design agency.
While you can recover from a website disappearing, it’s less easy to recover from your domain name no longer being reachable. You may be unable to get access to your domain at all as the domain wasn’t registered in your name and that the registrar will not be able to hand you access to it. The domain could expire, and be picked up by domain grabbers that will try and sell it back to you for a significant margin.
No matter who you choose to host your website you are having built or preparing to build, or who you choose to register your domains with, trust is an important part of online business and this applies here. Find people you trust to work with, but ensure you have proper safeguards in place so that you are able to take things over if needed.
With FullHost, we bridge both worlds in that we are both a CIRA registrar and a host. We want you to be in control of your total relationship and if you need to, give you everything you need to be able to move your domain to another provider at any time. Additionally, with the lowest cost registration and renewals of .ca domain, you won’t need to check around to see who’s cheaper.