How to Choose a Web Hosting Service and Domain Registrar

Whether you’re an avid website developer or a complete newbie on the scene, the process of choosing the right web hosting and domain registrar can become a bit overwhelming. With so many viable options available to us, making a final decision that is cost-effective and reliable can seem almost impossible.

Since our web hosting choice will affect the way our website will run, as well as affect our wallets, it is very important to engage in the necessary and quite thorough research needed to make the right decision.

Being aware of how grueling a task this inquiry could be, we’ve decided to help point out the things you’ll need to be on the lookout for when choosing a good web hosting service with domain name registration.

How to pick a web host?

To choose a good web hosting plan, you need to understand the site’s needs, and then, look for features or server specifications that you require. Then, don’t forget the quality of servers and the support offered. The last thing you need is a web host without customer support, so, here is what to look for in the first place;

Web hosting limitations and server features

Let’s begin by helping you choose the right web hosting service that will fit your budget. The first thing you’ll want to do is figure out what your hosting needs are.

You can figure that out by laying out what type of website you’ll be building, how complicated of a site it will be. And how much disk space and bandwidth do you need for your website.

Once you’ve figured that out, you may have come to the conclusion that you’re a complete novice that isn’t looking to create anything too out of the ordinary.

For the novice on the scene, we recommend using a shared hosting account, such as HostGator. What makes these shared hosting the best is that they are super affordable, don’t require extensive knowledge on maintaining the hosting, and work great for newer sites that aren’t receiving much traffic volume yet.

iPage offers a 45-day full money-back trial as well, making it a truly safe bet. As your site grows, you can always choose to upgrade to a VPS or dedicated hosting so you’ll never have to worry about feeling stuck in your shared hosting account.

However, if your blog plans happen to be a bit more advanced, then a few more factors will have to be taken into account when comparing hosting service providers. A huge aspect of a hosting provider is its server reliability.

A web hosting provider with a powerful server and 24/7 operating is the ideal choice. Stable network connections mean that your site will run into very few technical difficulties and very rarely be unavailable.

The features that your hosting service provides, are another huge aspect to take into consideration. Some of the key features to look out for are multiple add-on domains, e-commerce hosting, email features, and a 24/7 live chat support system.

Multiple add-on domains are great for the website developer that has a collection of domain names in their back pocket. If you happen to have an extensive assortment of domain names, then extra hosting space is a necessary feature.

Checking out how many domains you can add to your hosting account is a clever move to make before signing up for any hosting provider.

eCommerce-supported web hosting?

Next, you must ask yourself, “Will the website that I will be running on my hosting provider be an e-commerce site?” If your answer is yes, then the hosting provider that you choose should have adequate e-commerce features, SSL certification, and a dedicated IP.

After going through the list of necessary qualifications that your web hosting provider should have, you may, again, begin to feel overwhelmed by a number of choices displayed on your computer screen. This is when we like to let the Internet speak for itself, as the world of online reviews has served as a basis for many decision-making moments.

Web hosts offering free domains

Because getting a good web hosting plan is important, you shouldn’t neglect the dome name registration. If you register the domain separately, you may find issues with DNS management and technical things when needed. However, some web hosts offer the domain for free upon registration for any package. So, that makes things better, and there is no more need for configurations as everything will be added automatically and that’s helpful for beginners.

1. HostGator

HostGator is without a doubt a popular web host that provides free domain registration with every annual hosting plan. It includes free SSL, email accounts, cPanel, and lots of tools that professionals use for their blogs and sites.

On the other side, there is an optimized WordPress hosting that’s faster and works better than traditional shared hosting. So, you may look at those options if you’re planning to start a blog on WordPress.

For security and speed, HostGator is my recommended web host that you can count on. The 24/7 customer support helps a lot by phone or tickets, it’s not easy these days to get such fast assistance in the web hosting industry. In addition, HostGator offers monthly WordPress hosting plans for bloggers with more resources and traffic limits than other service providers.

2. InMotion

InMotion is one of the highest-ranking web hosting providers founded back in 2001, which means that they’ve been around for longer than a decade! The company provides the best hosting quality with both yearly billing cycles and even one monthly payment plan which is called “pro”.

For many, choosing domain registration and hosting with different companies is the right choice, but that’s only valid if the user knows how to manage the DSN and add records like Name, TXT, or changing the IP address. So, if you don’t know how to manage that, why would you risk the site if you add the required records the wrong way? Instead, get the domain and the hosting at once.

3. GoDaddy

This is a well-known and cheap web host with a free domain on every new account for yearly billing. The company is the biggest domain name registrar in the world, it offers the cheapest hosting plan for 3 years payment in advance, which costs $5.99 and the free domain is offered no matter if you choose one-year hosting or the 3 years billing cycle.

Why are these web hosts the best?

Of course, there are many web hosting companies and domain registration services, but I always recommend what I tried and found the best, compared to others. But sometimes, a long list or even the top 10 list may look confusing for many, so choosing the best service from the top 3 providers should be easier. Here is why the above companies work better for web hosting and domain names.

Affordable plans

The above services have been providing bloggers and web developers with some of the most affordable, highly functioning, and reliable hosting for years. This is especially true when compared to some of the biggest web hosting companies out there.

They’re also great for beginners and experts alike, they have three different services to choose from, ranging from shared, VPS, and dedicated hosting. Immediately, one of the key aspects that will draw you into InMotion, HostGator, and GoDaddy is the amazing price they offer. Every hosting provider offers an initial sign-up price that inevitably changes during the renewal period.

Other good features

For those of you planning on running an e-commerce site, the web hosts provide a multitude of e-commerce friendly hosting features, for example, they offer SSL support, dedicated IP, cube and Zen shopping carts, and Google Checkout. Even more, there is a full PayPal shopping cart hosting system for professionals.

Website developers that fancy themselves as the independent types will also be pleased to find out that these providers also feature easy-to-use hosting with a cPanel control panel. Thus, managing your services in a single space will save you from having to constantly call up tech support for any slight changes.

If you happen to be the kind of person that always insists on having a backup plan just in case the inevitable occurs, then the automatic remote backups that the system runs will be your Internet savior.

Whether a hacker somehow gains access to your site or a complete breakdown of all of your data occurs, the backups are there to ensure that not all of your data will be destroyed in the process. Although the backups don’t guarantee a complete restoration, you can at least rest assured that you won’t lose 100% of your site’s data.

Customer assistance

One of the most important aspects to take into account is the availability of the hosting company’s support team. The three providers feature 24/7 live support with a real person, not a computer or automated system. So if you ever find yourself in a real predicament, you’ll never feel like you’re out at sea without a paddle.

Choosing a domain name registrar

Now that you’ve gotten some clarity on how to choose a good web hosting provider, it’s finally time to move on to your domain name. For those of you who may not know, your domain name is the address that users will type in to get to your site.

Instead of typing in a long and hard-to-remember numerical code, domain names have made the process of accessing a site incredibly simple.

Anybody that knows how to operate a computer can buy a domain name. All you have to do to purchase one is to visit a domain registrar site, type in the name you want to purchase, and then pay the site’s fee.

However, you must be aware that although you may have a name in mind that you want to buy, it may not be available, as someone else may have already purchased it. If that happens to be the case, then your next best bet is to look for a different variation of that same name.

ICANN and domains

With that being said, choosing the right domain registrar depends on a few key factors. The main ones include whether the registrar is ICANN-accredited, how much control you have over the domain, pricing and contracts available, and how reliable their customer service is.

An ICANN accreditation is like an Internet stamp of approval, it’s good to know that it’s there. ICANN is a private organization that manages global domain names, making sure that each one is linked up with the appropriate IP address.

ICANN is responsible for delegating which companies have the right to sell top-level domains, also known as “.TLDs”. If a company has been ICANN approved, then you may rest assured that the registrar complies with the rules and regulations of selling and distributing domains.

For the user looking to register their domain, an ICANN accreditation means that you won’t run the risk of possibly losing your domain name. And if any complications ever do arise, you know that you will be treated with the full respect that you deserve as you work to find a solution.

The amount of control that you have over your purchased domain is another great feature to take into consideration. Being listed as the domain registrant is highly critical, especially when confronted with domain renewals and transfers. That’s because only the person listed in the WHOIS database can make such deliberate changes.

Therefore, domain control and WHOIS listing should certainly be noted as a top priority when deciding on the domain registrar of your choice.

The customer assistance for your domain

After sifting through these credentials, the ultimate decision lands on just how well the domain registrar handles its customer service. Whether their customer service is through phone support, live chat, and or email, being able to quickly get in contact with a support representative quickly and easily will save you a real headache in the future.

The most preferable method of customer service for domain companies is usually through live chat or emails. You can easily spell out all of your domain account information without having the inconvenience of repeating yourself over and over again on a phone call.

Recommended domain name registrar

Some great domain registrars to look into for cheap deals range from one of the most recognizable brands, GoDaddy. In fact, the company has been known to throw together some amazingly cheap package deals with domain and web hosting as well as frequently having exclusive deals on domain registration.

GoDaddy’s customer service is also highly reliable, with representatives that will walk you through any problem you may face along the way. However, a real downside to GoDaddy’s domains is that the company does not offer free private registration.

What if you get web hosting and free domain included?

Once again, HostGator also proves to be a great resource to look into for registering your domain name. The company carries the ICANN accreditation with them, meaning that they are a safe and reliable source to register your domain with.

Along with that, privacy issues are also taken care of with this provider, as your domain is fully under your control. With this control, you are able to privatize your WHOIS information. So, spammers, telemarketers, and potential identity thieves will not have easy access to your information.

On the other hand, InMotion Hosting also offers a domain for free during the first year, With a 24/7-customer support team, the web host is always available to help you along the way. InMotion also offers a free new domain or transferred one, when you purchase a 12 or 24-month hosting plan – saving you loads of cash!

As you can see, finding a good web host and the domain registrar is far from a difficult process. When you become aware of the right components to look out for, choosing an affordable option no longer seems confusing. Although the web host and domain registrar options can seem quite endless.

The choices eventually boil down to the top few choices mentioned above. Overpaying for your blog hosting and domain needs should never be an option when a cheaper and highly efficient alternative, such as HostGator, is right there for the picking.

FAQs for choosing a web host

Should I register my domain name with my hosting company?

If you know how to manage the domain name and its configurations, then, registering it with your actual web host or separately won’t matter a lot. However, if you have no knowledge about managing domains and you think you’re going to mess with configurations, then, getting the domain with the same web host is better., and that’s because of ease of use and management, they can help anytime you ask for changes.

Can I register a domain name without hosting?

You can register the domain without paying for a web hosting plan with popular providers as they’re primarily services for web hosting, however, with domain registration services, that’s exactly what they do, they see domain only. Thus, if you need a domain name only, then, choose a registrar like GoDaddy, there is no need to buy a web hosting plan even if they offer that.

How do I permanently buy a domain name?

There is no way for registering a domain for life, you’re only allowed to renew the domain to keep it for yourself. That’s how the Internet works, the ICANN company that’s responsible for the domain name makes restrictions for that, so, anyone can buy a domain and pay upfront for 9 years upfront with some resellers, and then, he can enable automatic renewals.

So, when a year ends, a new one will be added to the domain name expiration date and so on. Even the most popular companies use this method, they enable automatic renewals for their domains to keep them.

How can I get a free domain and hosting?

Don’t just trust what people are saying, there is no way to get a domain and also hosting without paying the fees for ICANN and the server. However, some providers offer free trials or at low cost depending on their promotions.

For instance, you can try HostGator for one month and pay just $10.95 for verification that you’re not a scammer.

These companies spend lots of money for managing the data center and they rent hardware and even pay for every domain registration, so, if there are a domain and web hosting plan totally for free, think twice, there will be a catch., and there are many scammers who may add suspicious tools to your laptop once you click on their spam offers, so be careful

Does it matter who you register your domain name with?

In reality, there are advantages for registering a domain name with big ICANN accredited companies, also, choosing a trusted reseller will impact the uptime of the site in the future. So, yes, the company you choose for the domain registration adds a small benefit in the long term.

For example, some registration services offer premium DNS which accelerates the site loading time even with a fraction of the second. Moreover, getting free privacy protection is highly recommended and all in all, always look for a trusted domain registration service and not anyone.

Can I change my host and keep my domain name?

Even if you get the domain name from the same company that offers the hosting, you’re still the owner, so you can transfer it to another registrar or web host when you want. To move a domain from your actual web host, you’ll need the authorization code, and it requires approval from both the old registrar and the new one.

Avatar for Fathi Arfaoui
About Fathi Arfaoui

Fathi Arfaoui is a Physicist, Blogger and the founder of He shares Business, WordPress and Blogging tips to build a better blog and succeed online.

Disclosure: The recommendations on this page are my own based on my tests and analysis. We may earn a small commission from web hosts and other partners if you use my referral link to make a purchase. That’s what helps us to maintain the site and add fresh content, Thanks for your support.

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