free domain name offer

Should I take the free domain offer when buying hosting?

These days, most hosting plans come with a freebee that sounds too good to pass up. One of the fist steps when buying a hosting plan is an invitation to ether register or transfer a domain name.

Why do hosting companies offer a free domain name?

Disclaimer! This blog post is based on my personal experience and in no way legal advise. If you want to take advantage of a free offer then go for it. You have my blessing. 🙂

The short answer: Most people who buy shared hosting simply don’t want to go trough the hustle of moving a domain name to a different registrar. Although it is not difficult, it is somewhat time consuming and because of that, once a domain is registered with a certain company there is a good chance that it stays registered with them.

If you look at the fine print you quickly notice why they offer that domain for free. First of all, the domain if free only for the first year. After that, the renewal fee is often much higher than you would pay if you’d register with a discount domain registrar like namesilo

Disclaimer: If you register a domain name via the above link or ad then TLD Bin receives a small comission from namesilo.com

Can I transfer my domain to a different registrar?

Yes. Any domain name that is older than six weeks is eligible to be transferred do any registrar you want to. The process is not difficult and YouTube has plenty of videos that explain the process in detail.

Basically, these are the steps to transfer a domain:

  1. Unlock domain and get code
  2. Go to new registrar and enter code
  3. Wait a few days for the transfer to complete

I have often transferred domains in the past to get better service. When I had hosting and domain names with the same company, they would give me so-so support. When I had the domain names with a different registrar I would get better and faster service. The reason for this based on the fact that if my domain is registered elsewhere, I can simply change the name server and within 48 hours or less point my website to a new host.

Hosting companies don’t want to lose a customer and based on my experience, provide better service to accounts which do not host the domain name(s) with them. I should admit that my experience is based on “how it was” about 10 years ago. Things might be better now but I very much doubt it. After all, they are trying hard to give you a new domain “for free” so it seems that nothing might have changed.

free domain name offer

Please remember that if the support from your web host is not as you expect, moving the domain name away from them might change things. I guess it depends on the host so it’s up to you to do a bit of research and ask questions before you sign up. As you might already know, webhosting companies are very friendly to new customers. Anything you ask usually gets the “yes we can” answer and once you sign up, tech support will get back to you via email ….

True story

Just last week I was asked to set up a small experimental hosting account with a well-known hosting provider. Upon checking their offer, I saw that they include 100 websites and 100 or more SQL databases with the “in the middle” plan. When I read that this also includes one free SSL certificate, I began to wonder. What good is just one SSL certificate if you give me the option to host up to 100 pages? This was especially puzzling since “Let’s Encrypt” is giving away free SSL certificates for years now and many, including myself, are using them.

I pretended to be dumb (which is kind of true anyway) and after a few minutes of asking the friendly tech support person I was told that an exception could be made for me meaning that if I need more than one SSL certificate, they’d add it. While that was interesting I was still curious how long that would take? My host let’s me add my own SSL certificate and upon entering my email and URL, an SLL certificate will be added in about two minutes.

What does an SSL certificate do?

Before SSL certificates became a requirement (or Google would bury your site), a URL started with http://domainname.com but once SSL certificates became the norm, almost all URLs begin with https (instead of http). the “s” stands for secure which means that the web login is encrypted. Essentially, you can log into your bank and provide your card number with confidence since https protects that data from falling into the wrong hands of which the internet has many.

By comparison, when thieves mimic a bank or similar website, they try tricking you into entering your info at a website that “seems to be secure” but is not. If you follow a link that looks like your bank but only masquerades as such, your date will go to someplace else than you expect and soon, trouble will follow. Therefore, never follow a link and rely on your browser to verify the actual company name and URL.
If your bank is the Toronto First Savings Bank (imaginary name) and their website is https//:torontofirstsovingsbank.com then you are in trouble. sovings is not the same as savings.

Those are just a few examples of why we must continue to educate ourselves in order to stay up to date with how business is done on the web. It all begins with the domain name. If you take a free one then understand the pluses and minuses. If you know how to transfer it away when the time is right then by all means go for it. If your web host treats you well, then there is no harm in having the domain registration at the same company which hosts the web sites. I how ever do not do this.

Are you separating domain names and web hosting and if so, do you have additional advise for my readers? If so, let us know. Thank you for your time.

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