I know from experience that people often confuse domain registration and web hosting, the 2 different services needed for a website.
Web hosting, on the other hand, is a service provided by companies maintaining the servers (computers) where your website code is physically located. The same company may provide both services, domain name registration and web hosting accounts, but purchasing one need not lock you in to the other. Decisions about web hosting should be guided by your site’s needs and the quality of the provider’s hosting services. For example, ChaosToClarity.com is registered with GoDaddy, but our website lives on BlueHost’s servers and we wouldn’t have it any other way.
1) Remember, it’s up to you to protect your web properties and, by extension, your business!
2) Use a reputable company for both services. Don’t use third party services and resellers, i.e., those companies who piggyback your site on theirs—being one step removed from your own site is misstep too often.
3) No matter who actually purchases the services (you or your web company), they MUST be in your name or you won’t technically own them. It’s tragic when a business puts tons of work into a wildly popular website or blog, only to discover that they don’t own the domain name and have no way to protect their investment or easily move to a different provider.
4) Last, but certainly not least, ensure that you have all the associated logins and passwords for each service.
If you want to learn more about how the Internet works, check out CommonCraft’s video: World Wide Web in Plain English.