When you sign up for web hosting, the first thing you will need to publish your website is a domain name. Domain names can be purchased from registrars such as Name.com and GoDaddy.com, but also can be purchased from the web hosting company themselves, such as Host Gator or FatCow. There are benefits to both methods, but one is not necessary better than the other. It all just depends on what perspective you look at it from.
Many hardcore web designers with over twenty domain names prefer to keep their domain names and hosting accounts separate. To keep the domains and hosting separate, you have to register the domain at a registrar such as GoDaddy, then point the name servers to your hosting account. This only requires about two minutes to do and it’s a very simple process. The benefit to using this model is that if you switch from one hosting company to another, your domains will not have to transfer anywhere and all you have to do is point the name servers to your new severs.
If the whole name server process is confusing, many web hosts also offer the ability to host your domain names in-house. This method is much easier to manage since your hosting and domains will be in one place, on one bill, and under one account. I personally host my domain names with my web hosting simply because it is easier to manage. Instead of keeping up with expiration dates, bills, and things of that nature with two companies, I only have to deal with one. The only problem with using this method is if you want to switch web hosting companies, you will have to transfer each and every domain to either the new hosting company or another registrar. I have about eight domain names on my account, so if I were to switch from FatCow to Host Gator or another hosting company, I would have to transfer each domain name as well.
If you are still unsure of which method is better, think about it in terms of this analogy. Think of hosting your domain names at an external registrar kind-of like renting out a storage unit and think of keeping your domains and hosting combined like storing things in a basement. If you have a storage unit that is ten miles from your house and you move to the other side of town, you don’t necessarily have to move those items out of the storage unit. To get to the storage unit from your new house, you have to go ten miles west instead of east, but it is still the same distance from your house and didn’t cause any hassle during the moving process. If you have those same items stored in your basement however, you will need to manually move them to either a storage unit in town (external registrar) or to your new house (hosting service).