One degree of separation: hosting with another service provider

You could decide to host a website and email with a service provider different from the one with whom you registered your domain name.

There are a number of reasons to consider this, but it could simply be that you get a better hosting plan from the second provider.

This splitting is actually really easy to achieve. All you will likely need to do is change the domain name’s nameservers. This is done on a domain by domain basis, so if you have multiple domain names in your registration account, you can delegate each of their websites to a different hosting provider, depending upon what you need to achieve.

You can think of the nameservers as being rather like reception in a busy office block, where their job is to point you to the exact location — the IP address — of a specific unit, and route visitors to it.

In this case, your domain name can stay with its original registrar, but your new Web host will handle the detail work: they become the location of the metaphorical reception desk.

As far as you’re concerned, you’ll probably just be switching what look like two domain names (because really that’s what they are) for two others. Your new Web host will provide you with their nameserver addresses when you sign up to their plan. They may try to put you under gentle pressure to transfer your domain to them too, but this is rarely necessary: all you need to do is point your domain name to their nameservers.  

Changing nameservers is very straightforward. Back in your domain name account, look for a page or tab labelled something like Advanced Domain Settings, under which you should find section about Nameservers. You’ll know you’ve found the right controls if you see a setting that looks a little like ns.123-reg.co.uk (it’s usually the ns. bit that’s the giveaway). The wording may vary, and don’t worry if the language isn’t completely clear: Web hosts can be a bit loose in their terminology.Edit and save, and the change should take effect within a couple of hours.

The point to remember is that the registration and Web hosting accounts are two separate services with subscriptions that need to be maintained. It’s extremely unlikely that your domain name and website will become detached unless your domain name falls out of registration.

Within your Web hosting control panel, you will also find tools to set up email accounts. In the next section we’ll look at how and why you might separate these.