Let’s start first with defining the terms of web hosting and domain registration and how are they the two main elements of running a website successfully.
Web host is an account on a server that can store and serve website files via the Internet. Basically, it’s a file storage. Imaging Dropbox, but something that stores sites and serves them to the Internet.
Domain registration is leasing a human-readable word (e.g., amazon.com) that directs people to specific website files via a browser.
As an analogy, a domain is an “address” on the Internet. Hosting is the “land” or space where your website files live.
Now, let’s go over the reasons to keep domain and hosting separated.
1. Holding your domain or hosting as a hostage
A lot of hosting and domain registrar services tie the two together in a really obnoxious way.
Want to cancel just the hosting part? Oh your domain is now twice more expensive, or we might accidentally cancel your domain too since it is a “bundle”.
It’s easy to prevent when you separate your domain registration and the web host, so this leverage can’t be applied on you.
2. In you want to switch your web host provider
It’s easier to leave web hosting with fewer service commitments.
If your host is frequently giving you downtimes, support is poor, renewal cost is high and so on, in such cases it’ll be easy for you to change your host without affecting your domain. Just move your files to new host and point your DNS settings.
3. Separated file management and security
Usually, companies specialize in one or the other. There aren’t companies that excels in domains and web hosting, together.
The best domain registrar services provide privacy, sub-accounts, advanced DNS settings and etc. While the finest web hosting companies provide better file management, site-lock, backups and etc. So, it makes a good balance between your domain and hosting accounts.
4. If your website or account got hacked
Assume that you’ve registered domain with your web host. What if your hosting account or website gets hacked or something bad happens to your website or host ? For example, someone has stolen your files and even domain, injected malware or hosting company has locked your account. That time you’ll lose access to your domain dashboard too.
If you keep your domain and hosting separate, then you can probably solve these issues without affecting your domain. You still will be able to access your domain dashboard and control it from there.
5. Take control over multiple domains
Suppose you have multiple domains and you’re using different web hosts for them. So, It will be easier for you to keep all your domains at one place, under one belt, as you can take control over multiple domains from the same account.
6. Separation of concerns
Would your hosting service be here in 5 years? And the domain provider?
When you separate your web host and registrar, you lowering your risk of complete outage.
If you are considering a website project, then it’s critical to understand the difference between domain registration and web hosting and the way they work together but also act like different products.
A domain is critical to any website project — whether you go with a hosting company or bundled services.