Why You Need To Avoid Some Hosting Packages Offering Free or Cheap Domain Names

2011-01-10 by Roko Nastic

A domain name can be one of the most important aspects of a website or blog. The domain name could become a recognized symbol, or become associated with a particular brand and if that domain name had to be suddenly changed it could have severe repercussions for a well-established website.

Building a good reputation and spending years on customer relations and search engine optimization can suddenly count for very little if the domain name that everyone recognizes and trusts disappears into thin air – or even worse, gets hijacked by another company.

But how could this happen? In what horrible scenario would a beloved domain name end up on the scrapheap, unusable and consigned to a domain name purgatory? The following is a stern warning for anyone thinking of starting a website and for those that have a successful website and may already have made a grave error - without realizing what they have gotten themselves into.

Cheap Web Hosting Can Cost Money

Web hosting is big business and a highly competitive market. There are many web hosting companies that advertize very attractive packages and a lot of these deals will include free, or cheap, domain name registration.

This is a very appealing offer to potential website developers that may be new to the industry and like the sound of getting an all-in-one package deal. In many cases, these offers will be fine and there will be no future repercussions – but this may not always be the case.

It is absolutely essential that a thorough check is made of a potential hosting company before any decision is made. There are some incredible deals advertized and many people fail to check the history and performance of a particular web hosting company before they commit themselves.

Saving yourself a few dollars a month will mean nothing if the web host is unreliable, has a bad reputation and has servers that are constantly down – worst still, many cheap web hosts will suddenly disappear from existence without warning. Spending time and effort on a website that people cannot reach is hardly cost-effective, not to mention the loss of potential earnings – this loss will probably be far greater than the few dollars per month saved by opting for the cheap option. But this is not the main problem.

The problem occurs when you get fed up of the web hosting company’s lackluster service and finally decide to switch to a new, reliable host. Most good hosting companies will make it simple to transfer domain names to their servers, so this whole change should technically be of little concern. Think again.

Is Your Domain Name Really Yours?

To transfer a domain name, a web hosting company will need the Administrative Contact and Registrant Contact details – and in many cases you will need to be able to access and change the DNS (Domain Name Server) details.

The problem is that many web hosts offering free, and cheap, domain names as part of their package use their own company name to register the domain names. They also use their name for the admin contact and hardly ever allow any editing of the DNS details. This way they can ensure that they have all new customers trapped and unable to take their business elsewhere.

If you cannot verify that you are the registrant and administrator for your domain name you cannot transfer it to another web hosting company – well it may be possible, but it will require a lot of correspondence and a hefty admin fee, which will probably make the whole exchange a long and financially painful process.

This can be disastrous news for anyone that has built up an established domain name, or has a domain name that is the actual name of their company. To lose this domain name would be unthinkable, but this could well occur if you wish to change web hosts. The only options would be to ditch the domain name, stick with the unreliable web host, or hope that you can pressure the company to change the relevant details so you can switch – but this will undoubtedly not be a cheap affair.

Do Your Research and Avoid Being Trapped

If you are looking to establish a website, or blog, for the long-term and expect to require a domain name for some time to come – it is in your best interest to fully research any web host that is promoting an offer that sounds too good to be true.

Free domain names are very tempting but can easily end up costing you serious money, and loss of business, should you wish to change web host in the future. Always check the reputation of any potential web hosting company before you sign up. Ask to see their domain registration information, or panel, and make sure that they will be registering the domain name using your details and that you will have full administrative access to the DNS details. Or even better, register your domain name directly through the domain registrar. This way you won't get domain for free, but sometimes it is worth paying that little bit more for peace of mind.

This post was written by Roko Nastic of Webmaster Format. Visit WebmasterFormat to learn more about web hosting companies, domain names, webmastering and best DotNetNuke hosting providers.

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Roko Nastic

Roko Nastic


Roko Nastic is writer and editor at WebmasterFormat. He enjoys helping other webmasters and website owners succeed in creating better, faster and more profitable websites.

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