When signing up for a web hosting account, be sure to take advantage of the promotional items. Many hosting companies offer free domain names to entice new customers to sign up. Along with your hosting, you should be getting a free domain name. A domain name cost about $10 a year. So that means you are getting a $10 discount upfront on your hosting plan.
What happens if you wish to change web host?
Don’t worry, your domain name won’t be stuck with your hosting company. But you must transfer your domain name out to your favorite registrar (like GoDaddy or NameCheap) after you sign up for your hosting. The domain is free – it is given to you. You should have full control over the domain name. The only way to regain control is to request for a transfer. Send a support ticket to your hosting company, mentioning that you would like the domain to be transferred to your registrar. They will revert with the transfer instructions.
Once the domain has been transferred out, remember to change your domain name servers to point back to your servers. Otherwise, you will experience down time.
A domain name can become a very valuable brand. So even though it’s offered to you free of charge, don’t just register for any domain name. Make sure you pick one that suits your business.
You can make as many searches as you like on the web hosting site to see if the names that you want are available. Try to choose domain names that contain your primary keywords in it. For example, if you are selling “basketball shoes”, you may wish to register something like “basketballshoes dot com”. Always choose a dot com extension if it’s available. A dot net or dot org will do as well, but they are not really meant for commercial sites.
After you have transferred the domain name to your registrar, you can switch hosting companies any time you like.
To do so, start by signing up for a new hosting account. Don’t terminate your existing hosting account yet. Transfer all the files and databases to the new server. Sometimes, if you give the login details to the support department of the new company, they may even transfer everything for you. Test out the site on the new server. If everything works out fine, it’s time to make changes to your domain name servers (DNS).
Go to your registrar, and make a request to change the DNS. You have to modify at least two fields – the primary DNS and the secondary DNS. Once the changes have been made, the site migration will take place. Do be patient and allow up to 48 hours for the information to be updated. If the domain name still point to your old server after 48 hours, recheck the DNS, and send an email to your registrar to see what could have gone wrong.
Usually, when done correctly, the domain name will point to the new site within a few hours.