One of the big perks many web hosting companies are offering is a free domain name when you purchase one of their hosting plans. It certainly makes sense. You need a domain name for your website, so you might as well take care of both in one swoop—and with no extra cost. But it actually may be more beneficial for you to get your domain elsewhere and not with your web hosting company. Let’s look at why it may be better to keep these two separate.
It used to be that web hosting companies would give you the free domain for as long as you purchased your hosting from them. However, this type of offer seems to be disappearing in favor of just giving you a free domain for the first year. Then you have to pay their regular fee which can vary widely.
An even bigger reason for keeping your domain name and web hosting separate is the freedom you have to make changes down the road. If you decide to switch web hosting providers at a later date, it is often much easier to do so if your domain is managed at Go Daddy or some other third party domain name provider. While you can certainly transfer your domain elsewhere if it was purchased with your hosting, the process can sometimes be a headache depending on how helpful your current web host is.
I’ve done both—got the free domain with my hosting and have a bunch of domains at Go Daddy for other websites. And I’ve got to admit I enjoy the freedom of simply being able to change the nameserver pointers in the Go Daddy interface and copying my files to a new location when I want to change web hosting companies. The process is very easy and I’d certainly recommend it for those that plan on creating multiple websites.