We’ve run across this scenario many times: a business owner needs a website so they hire a designer/builder. The designer kindly offers to handle purchasing the URL, and oh! They can host the site too! Wahoo, right?
If someone else registers your URL (your website name or domain), then they own it. This can be a problem if you ever decide to make changes without them.
Now, there are some very professional web designers out there who will relinquish the URL without argument. But there are also those out there who won’t. We’ve seen the difficult ones run the gamut from taking years (!!) to approve the site transfer….to those who argue the point…and those who never hand over ownership of the domain.
If you own the domain, then you own the site, because you get to decide where that domain is pointed.
Allow me to explain. Some big host names are GoDaddy, Hostgator, and Bluehost. (Hint: we are no longer recommending GoDaddy). A website host is a server with all of your website files, images, and so on.
The URL is registered with a registrar (all of the hosting companies can act as registrar as well) and then you point it to the proper server.
Say for example your designer set up your site to be hosted at Host Company #1. But you want a new site, so your new designer creates a new site at Host Company #2. All you do is log into the account where the URL is registered, point it to Host Company #2 and voila! Your site is changed. All of this was possible because you retained ownership of your domain.
If your designer offers to host your site, that can be a good thing. For one, they are on hand to monitor your site and help keep things running smoothly. Do they earn money on that hosting? Sometimes yes. But usually you don’t pay much more than you would buying your own hosting, and having the professional oversight can be a very good thing. We recommend you check out hosting prices and compare, then decide for yourself.
But no matter what, please try to get ownership of your domain.
If you need help initiating a transfer, contact us and we’ll be happy to help!