Many people, particularly when they first get started in internet marketing, register their domains through their hosting company. The registration is often included in hosting plans and, on the surface at least, it seems like this would be an easy way to manage everything in one place. There are some good reasons to work with an independent domain registrar, however, which we’re going to discuss in this article.
The main reason you want to separate your domain registration and your hosting is so you can control your domain independently. If something happens with your host that requires you to move your site onto a different server, it can be very difficult (or even impossible) to redirect the domain when it’s registered with the same host. Using a separate registrar gives you more control over it, making it easy to redirect to a new host if necessary.
You don’t necessarily want to choose the cheapest domain registrar, but watch out for those that charge far more than necessary. You can typically register a .com, .net or .org domain for $8 to $15 per year. Don’t spend more than that unless you are getting some kind of extras that are worth the additional cost.
The really cheap registrars, on the other hand, sometimes offer the first year as a sort of “loss leader” – you pay very little for that initial year but the prices jump considerably when it’s time to renew. Always check the renewal costs when you find a deal that looks too good to be true.
When you register a domain, the registration details are public record. Some registrars offer a privacy feature that “cloaks” your name and address in the domain record. This is included with some registrars while others charge extra for it. If you’re concerned about your privacy, this is a good way to help protect it.
If you don’t use a privacy service on your domain, you’ll often receive “renewal” letters in the mail when the renewal dates are getting close. Most of these renewals are from other registrars – not the one you used – and they charge extremely high prices. They make the letters look official, hoping to trick people into transferring their registration – which is the result if you accept their offer.
If you get a renewal notice in the mail, always check to see if it’s from the same registrar that your domain is currently with. If not, stay away from these offers.