I always tell my clients to set up their own domain name and web hosting accounts and pay for with their own credit card. I do not provide hosting. Here’s why I think you should not let your web developer (or any third party) own your web and domain name accounts.
1. You could get held hostage by your web developer
Your domain name and web hosting are too important to be in the hands of a third party. Your domain name is an important part of your brand’s identity, with SEO value that can’t easily be replaced. You might have put a lot of work into your website. Unless you’re doing offsite backups, all of that resides on your hosting. You or your business needs to control these, not a third party that can hold you hostage if you have a disagreement over payment terms or services.
2. Your web developer might go M.I.A.
Maybe you get along with your developer fine, but you never know what could happen to them. He or she could quit web development and become a monk and move to Tibet. They could get hit by a bus. You could lose control of your domain and website if any of these happen.
3. You might want to move your web business elsewhere
I’ve seen the awkward situation where a client wants to move away from a previous web developer who owns their web hosting and domain name. It’s a delicate situation. Will the developer happily provide you with a backup so you can move the site? Will they take the steps necessary to unlock the domain name and transfer it? Will they resist, delay, or even sabotage the process? Moving these resources from an existing developer is always a stressful process. Plus, it costs time and money to transfer the domain and hosting.
If you own the hosting and domain, you can do whatever you want with them, whenever you want. You don’t need to ask for permission from anyone and pray that they comply. And switching web developers is FREE.
4. You’re paying for a middleman
When you pay someone to host your domain and site for you, you’re paying for a middleman who will go out and purchase these from a third-party hosting company, probably with a markup. They might provide additional maintenance and help, and that’s fine, but you should pay for those services separately and not mix these with hosting.
In all fairness, I do know situations where developers control the web and domain name hosting and their clients are completely happy with them. That’s great. If you’re looking to launch a website though, you should consider the reasons above before deciding on your web and domain name hosting. – Brian