Domain and Hosting Issues can be Painful
Purchasing a domain name and hosting service can be mind-racking for many of us. Even those of us who are comfortable with web technologies feel certain pain points when dealing with hosting and domain names for our website. I’m including myself in this, because I’ve experienced a few domain name conundrums I wish to avoid in the future.
Let’s learn about some of the most common mistakes you can make when diving into the website world and how to avert the “nightmares” they can cause.
Two of the most common obstacles to setting up a website are:
- Purchasing a domain main.
- Finding the right hosting service.
Many of you sign up for your domain and hosting with the same company, which is the best way to go about it. However, things can get dicey once your one- or two-year contract is up and you decide to look for a new hosting service. Some people want to change hosts but leave their domain name where it is with the first host company.
Other times—out of a general lack of knowledge—some of you do things backward: you purchase a domain name first and then find a separate hosting service to host your website.
Both nightmare scenarios can lead to a disconnection between these essential components of your website: your domain name and hosting. Having a separate domain account and hosting account might not seem like a big deal, but it can cause some logistical headaches for you down the line.
I, however, like to keep things as simple and as uncomplicated as possible. Housing your domain and hosting plan under one account is the best way to keep all of your website ducks in a row. It helps you avoid confusion, disconnection, and running here and there to manage your online presence.
Shameless affiliate plug: SiteGround hosting is a great place to go for all of your domain and hosting needs. Hosting plans start at $3.95 per month and a domain name starts at $14.95.
Domain transfer blues
But what if you do find yourself in a situation where your hosting and domain name are in separate accounts? There are a couple of solutions to this issue. The first solution is domain transfer.
Let me be blunt: domain transfers suck. Especially if you have to initiate one for a web design client. It halts your design work and delays the project by days, even weeks depending on the situation.
One common domain transfer “nightmare” occurs when you purchase a domain through a registrar like Lucky Register or GoDaddy. Your website is hosted on a different platform, and you wish to combine the two accounts. This is probably the most common ordeal many people run into.
Solution #1: Transfer Domain
One solution is to transfer the domain you want to use from your current registrar to the new registrar at the new web host. Now, keep in mind that most hosting plans come with a free domain name as an incentive for signing up. In some ways, it might feel like a waste of money to ignore this benefit and keep using the old domain, but at least you can use that free domain name later down the road for another site if you end up finding a use for it.
Transferring your current domain name is the best solution to the problem of having two separate accounts. Transferring the domain ensures that everything is housed under one roof and will make your website easier to manage.
Loss of money and time
The downside of transferring your domain is the cost (some web hosts charge for the transfer) and also the downtime of when your website is limbo and can’t be accessed during the transfer. Losing time on your website project can cause crucial setbacks if not planned for in advance. And honestly, it looks crazy unprofessional when potential clients and customers attempt to access your site and they’re met with an ominous message declaring your site unavailable.
Domain transfers can take anywhere from 4 to 10 days to complete. While the transfer is in process, your domain has to remain unlocked, compromising your privacy. The registry data is not secure and anyone can view it.
This isn’t meant to scare you; it’s just a precaution. The amount of time the data is insecure won’t cause much if any disruption. In my experience with clients, the domain transfers go smoothly and there is no compromise of private information.
Holding Your Domain Hostage
Some registrars make it very difficult for you to transfer the domain (ask me how I know!) by lackluster customer support, crappy user interfaces, outdated help pages, and the desire to hang on to the revenue your yearly domain subscription generates.
Just think: if you take your domain elsewhere, the registrar no longer gets paid. Your domain is their bread and butter. They want to keep your business and will make you jump through all kinds of hoops to move your domain to a new host.
Solution #2: Point current domain to new DNS servers
A slightly less painful way to deal with having a domain name and hosting plan on different accounts it to point your current domain to your DNS servers at the new host.
DNS, or domain name system, transforms a domain name like “design.krystalandco.com” into an internet protocol (IP) address like 188.8.131.52 that computers use to identify each other on the network. Your computer uses a DNS server to look up the domain name you’re trying to access and resolves the domain name to the IP address.
In short, your web host provides your website with its own DNS settings. You can point your current domain to the new DNS settings and seamlessly redirect your domain to a new web host without the pain of transferring the domain itself.
I know this works for some people because they had already purchased their specific domain name for their business and don’t want to use a new one when all of their branding coordinates with that domain.
If you want to avoid the downtime and cost of transferring your domain to your current web host, a DNS redirect is a valid workaround. It’s a viable solution, but it still leaves you with two accounts to manage: your domain name account and your hosting account.
Solution #3: Sign up for your domain and web host together
If it were up to me, the best way out of this conundrum is to use your free domain with your web hosting package from the outset. Of course, the next question is how to choose the best hosting plan. That’s beyond the scope of this article, but take a look HERE, HERE, and HERE for web host reviews and ratings.
I personally recommend SiteGround hosting, and for the following reasons:
- Incredibly fast page load time (1.3 seconds vs. 4.7 seconds industry standard)
- Excellent performance and no server downtime
- Ability to handle large amounts of traffic
- Offer security patching for WordPress
- Incredible customer support (they actually pick up the phone!), including chat and support tickets
- Offer free and paid SSL certificates for a secure experience for your customers
Marshall Brain & Stephanie Crawford “How Domain Name Servers Work” 1 April 2000. HowStuffWorks.com. <http://computer.howstuffworks.com/dns.htm> 29 March 2017