If you’re looking to get a website up and running for your illustration business you should register your domain name with a different provider than your web hosting. There are a couple of reasons to do so which I’ll talk about in this post.
Last year I had to change web hosting for my main portfolio site . . . and it was a pain in the butt to say the least. The reasons is, my domain name was also registered through my web host, which meant that all my accounts were tied to one place. The changeover had to be carefully orchestrated to minimize website downtime as well as to keep my domain-related email account still active and able to receive incoming messages. The many headaches I went through could have easily been avoided had I kept the two separated and known the benefits.
You have more freedom
When your domain name is registered through a separate provider, you can switch your web hosts a lot easier. All you have to do is set up your new website at your new host, point your domain name to it when its completed, and then cancel service at your old host. Minimum downtime, minimum aggravation. Conversely, when everything’s all tied to the same account, there can be a lot of drama and uncertainty during the cancellation process—especially if your host also handles your email. This avoids that.
It’s a lot cheaper
Typically, when you sign up for a hosting plan, a lot of sites will throw in a free—or heavily discounted—domain registration. The catch is, when it comes time to renew the domain a year or two later, the fee will be significantly higher than if you went through a separate dedicated domain registrar. This will save you money in the long run.
The ideal setup
So, I’d recommend securing hosting from one place like InMotion Hosting or WP Engine (or other places listed on my Resources page or using a portfolio site like Squarespace) and then registering your domain name separately through a place like NameCheap or other discount registrars. You can even flow your domain-related email through Google Apps too, which adds a further layer of distance. That way everything is separate and you can easily move your site around if need be. No muss, no fuss!