Where should I buy my domain name and hosting?
In this post I will try to shed some light on the age-old question:
What is the best domain name & hosting provider?
Before I start a new project, I get a lot of preliminary questions from clients and one of them is always about domain name and hosting. For a lot of clients, this is such an overwhelming subject due to the number of options out there and the seemingly low differentiation of these alternatives. Clients generally take initiative and do research on it but then end up getting even more confused than they initially were.
So let’s take this step by step.
Let’s start with what a domain name is, as I get a lot of questions about what the difference between a domain name and hosting is. In its absolute simplest definition, a domain name is what you type into the address bar of your browser when you are visiting a website. Naturally, this needs to be a unique name for each website on the Internet. When you buy a domain name like www.example.com you are only purchasing that name; it does not come with a server space where you can store your website files.
Domain names are typically purchased on an annual basis and renewed once the term is over. All domain name providers offer an option to set your domain name to auto renewal, which helps you secure that name indefinitely (as long as your payment method is not out of date). This is a good practice, as you don’t want to lose your domain name to someone else once your term is up and you have already established a name for yourself under that domain.
Buying a domain name is a very simple transaction and there is virtually no difference where you buy your domain name. Some providers have better pricing and offer better rates if you purchase for a longer period of time. You can usually lock down a domain name for cheaper if you pay upfront for 2-3 years. If you intend to stay in business long term, I recommend this approach.
Like I mentioned above, when you buy a domain name, you are only buying the name itself, not the web space to store your website. This is where hosting comes in. Think of hosting as your computer’s hard disk where you store all your files. Websites are essentially a collection of files and images that need to live somewhere. But it can’t just be anywhere. These spaces need to be up and running 24/7, constantly maintained and backed up to assure fast, secure and uninterrupted service. Technically speaking, anyone can turn their computer into a web server and host websites and other files on it. However, this is not practical and to do this right is quite costly. Not to mention the security risks and bandwidth issues. This is why we rely on professional hosting providers whose job is to have their servers always up and running no matter what.
Unlike buying a domain name, it does make a difference where you buy your hosting. I wrote another post about the best WordPress hosting alternatives a while ago where I compared different options based on factors such as price, load time and average rating. Your hosting affects everything from your website speed to service quality.
All hosting providers offer tiered packages for to their customers. In my experience, most small businesses need the basic package for starters. It is always easy to upgrade if you need more bandwidth along the way. The type of hosting you need also depends on what platform you are using to power your website.
According to W3Techs, almost 30% of the Internet is powered by WordPress. This is an incredible number! And for good reason. WordPress provides a stable environment with a built in Content Management System and endless number of plugins for pretty much every need.
Over 90% of the websites that I build use WordPress. Over the years I have experimented with different hosting providers and tried a lot of options out there to see what is the best alternative. I have settled on Siteground as my go-to provider for WordPress hosting, as they offer unrivalled website speed for WordPress at an incredible price point.
As a general rule, I recommend that clients buy their domain name and hosting from the same place. This is not a must-do but I believe that it is good practice to have everything under one account. It makes things a lot easier to manage and make changes much quicker. Now if you already have a domain name from a different provider but would still like to buy your hosting from Siteground, you can absolutely do this.
It is also important to note that there are a lot of other domain and hosting providers out there that offer excellent service other than Siteground including GoDaddy, inMotion Hosting, Blue Host etc. All I wanted to do with this post was to provide some information based on several years of trial & error. As always if you have any questions about domain name and hosting, please feel free to contact me.