Before I begin, let me just warn you that features and prices listed on this page can change at any time. They were correct at the time of writing, but to get the latest details, you should visit the websites.
It is possible to use your web host as domain registrar, but I recommend you keep these separate for a number of reasons:
- If you have a problem with your webhost and they close down your site (temporarily or permanently), it is difficult to get the site moved to a new host and will certainly take several days or even weeks. If you have the domain registered with a different company (registrar), you simply get new hosting somewhere else and change the Name Servers at your registrar. Your site can be back up in 24 hours or less.
- If your host goes out of business, you could have trouble getting your site back. With a separate registrar, you’d just get new hosting, upload your site backup and change the name servers in your registrar control panel. You’ll be back in business in 24 hours or less. Of course, this point is also true if your domain registrar goes out of business, which is why you need to choose one of the high profile domain registrars who have been in business for several years. That brings me onto my nomination for best Domain Registrar.
My recommended Domain Registrar is: NameCheap
The main reason I recommend NameCheap as a domain registrar is that I have used them for several years and never had a problem. I’ve moved domains in, moved them out, bought and cancelled domains. Everything worked as it should. NameCheap may not be the cheapest registrar out there, but then again, I wouldn’t trust my valuable domain names with the cheapest, as there is some truth in the “you get what you pay for” expression.
Features of NameCheap:
- They’ve been around since 2001 and now manage over 7 million domains.
- Domains can be registered from $3.99 per year.
- Free Whois guard protection for the first year.
- AD-Free URL & Email forwarding.
- Registrar lock prevents someone from stealing your domain.
- Intuitive control panel for managing multiple domains making it very easy to use.
You can find a full list of features on the Namecheap website.
My Recommended Web host is: StableHost – Read my comparison of Stablehost v Hostgator
Until recently I had been recommending Hostgator. However, in the last few months, they seem to have been going through major problems, and their forums are packed with complaints. Therefore, I am moving my own sites over to Stable host.
Stablehost features on Starter Hosting package (USD 4.95):
- Unlimited disk space.
- Unlimited bandwidth.
- 1 Website (upgrade hosting when you need to add another site)
- 25 MySQL connections.
- DDos Protection.
- 1 full CPU core.
- 99.9% uptime (see my comparison review for my experiences with uptime).
- 24/7/365 online support.
- Support Forum.
Stablehost offer different hosting packages. For those of you starting out, I'd recommend the Starter Shared Hosting. As you add more sites, you can upgrade to the Pro version (unlimited websites) at 8.95 per month, or the Platinum version for 29.95 per month.
Find out more about Stablehost here.
Both of these two have become more and more unreliable and I can no longer recommend them.
Connecting NameCheap Registrar with your Web Hosting Company
This is very easy. Here are the steps to follow:
- Buy your domain name at NameCheap.
- Order your web hosting at Stablehost. When you order, select option three, to update the nameservers on an existing domain, and enter the domain you bought on Namecheap in the space provided:
- Once your hosting has been set up on Stablehost, proceed to the next step.
- Now login to your control panel at Name Cheap. Click on Domain List in the left menu:
- You’ll see a list of your domains. Click on the Manage button to the right of the one you want to host at Stablehost.
- One the Domain Details screen, make sure you are on the Domain tab. Under Nameservers, select Custom DNS and then enter the two DNS given to you by Stablehost. They may be the same as mine in this screenshot:
- Once you’ve added these, you will need to click the check mark to save your settings:
OK, that will now take up to 24 hours (usually a lot less) to propagate, which means you have a few hours before you can work on your site.
Periodically, check your domain in a browser and you’ll see a message from your hosting company when it’s ready.
You can then go in and install WordPress.