Wednesday, April 12th 2017 Business
In life, in general, it’s seen as productive to … condense. When we go grocery shopping most of us get the bulk of our items from one place, it’s generally cheaper and less stressful than going to 3-4 different stores for different things. Likewise, a lot of online business owners flock to things like Co-Schedule* and Buffer to send out our social media posts to all platforms instead of having to go to each site and send them out manually. It saves us time and makes life easier, therefore making a lot more sense than the alternatives.
So, in turn, it seems like it would make a whole lot of sense, when it comes to your website, to purchase your domain and hosting from the same place. One less company to deal with, one less login to remember, etc. However, when it comes to your domain and hosting, especially when you have a business, the exact opposite of the ‘condensing’ idea is true.
It follows the old ideas of not ‘putting all your eggs in one basket’ or ‘don’t bet all of your money on the same racehorse’, and it’s amoung one of the reason that large companies have different investors. You never want to give one entity absolute control of your business, and at the very lowest form of that, we have your domain and hosting.
The reality is that it’s fairly easy to buy a domain, even easier to buy hosting, and it’s quite simple to switch them out if you decide to. However, if you’ve put a ton of money or time into a site, into your brand, then ideally most of us would be against the idea of being forced to change that but buying your domain and hosting from the same company puts you at that exact risk.
Quick lesson: A nameserver is what tells your domain what hosting to use. If you don’t have the right nameservers assigned to your domain, then your nameservers won’t be able to point your domain to the place where all of your files are, therefore your site would not be accessible.
What could possibly go wrong?
Let’s assume that you’ve registered your domain and hosting from the same company. Say you’ve been with them for two years, and they’ve just been bought out by someone else, and you’ve noticed a decline in service. It’s affected your business, and they’ve seemed to do nothing about it despite contacting customer support a few things, so you want to take your site elsewhere.
Now let’s say you’re not especially tech savvy, so you contact your host and tell them you’ve loved being with them but you want to move as their services can no longer meet the needs you have. You request a backup and the steps in order to do so. They stop responding to your emails, or your calls.
You hire someone else to help you. They’re able to get a backup of your site, but when trying to move your domain name you’ve discovered that the new company is requiring information from you that your old company won’t give you. You say screw it and decide to at least keep your domain with them. In order to do that you’d need to switch the nameservers to point to your new host… but your old company won’t let you. They say you have to be hosted with them to change your nameservers.
Your options are now to go back to them and deal with their shitty service and how it affects your business or to start over with another domain. Both will cost you money you don’t have, and have adverse effects for your company and your clients.
Same as before… registered your domain and hosting from the same company, been with them awhile, service has started decline and you want to move. This time though it’s a little bit more serious and your hosting is incredibly slow and sometimes your site doesn’t even load at all. However, you’re pretty tech savvy, so you know how to do all of this, and you’re not worried.
Now say you’ve also moved residence recently, you got the option to rent (or buy, look at you, movin on up!) an awesome house and you moved into said house 2 weeks ago. Being the tech savvy person you are, you know it’s really important to keep the address updated on your domain registration because it being wrong is actually illegal, so you change it as soon as you’re in the new house.
Once you’re settled in, you go to move your domain and hosting, you move your hosting just fine but you find out that since you recently changed your information on your account you can’t move your domain until 60 days after the changes you made. Which means, you still have roughly 45 days to go, and the company won’t let you switch your nameservers to your new host because they know you’re moving and they don’t like that.
Your options are now to start over with a new domain, wait 45 days with no site, or go back to their hosting.
In both scenarios, if your website/business is what puts a roof over your head, or you’ve put a ton of time into it, you’re probably going to end up moving back, because you don’t have another option that won’t great affect your business/work/site.
Let’s be realistic here, Anna…
So, the likelihood of something like that happening is really low, though, right? Get a company everyone knows about and they’d never do something like that…
Google, ‘GoDaddy domain hostage‘ – go ahead, I’ll wait.
Now some of these results are user-error or overreaction, and I’ll be the first to admit that, but spend a little bit of time researching it and you’ll find horror stories about the things people have been through – and not just with Godaddy.
Furthermore, reading the terms of service for some hosting companies regarding domains, in general, gives me nightmares. I’ve seen some that don’t allow you to transfer your site at all, some that don’t allow access to your files, some that require insane fees to transfer domain names, and plenty of others. While you should be reading the terms of service for whatever company you allow to control your site, regardless, I think we can all acknowledge that most of us don’t.
The underlying idea though, is, why risk it if you don’t have to? Better safe than sorry. (Really, really, really sorry.)
Singularly registering your domain somewhere has very little risk. Domains are – for the most part – cheap, and the companies selling them don’t make a ton of money off of them. So, if you want to move they have very little reason to restrict you from doing so.
You having an additional $120/yr+ hosting account with them, however, is a whole different story.
The best way to protect your online business is to make sure the only person who has complete control over it, is you, and seperating your domain and hosting is one of the easiest ways to do it.