Should you let your web developer register your domain name?

A macbook on a desk. Should you let your web developer register your domain name?

You’re starting a business, or you’re starting a personal website, and you need a website. You’re hiring someone to help you get the website online (probably a web designer or developer), and they’re offering their own hosting package. They’re also offering to register your domain name (hey, they’ve got a great deal where you get the domain name for free! Sounds good, right?). But, should you let your web developer register your domain name?

Why wouldn’t you do it yourself? Well, there are usually two main reasons – price, and it’s just easier to let them do it. Part of the “it’s easier” reason, is that you might not have done it before and it might feel daunting.

In my experience, those benefits just aren’t worth it. I’ll set out my thoughts below and explain that there’s a much better way that leaves you in control.

What’s a domain name? In case you don’t know, it’s the address someone types in to get to your website. Mine is, in case you didn’t know.

What, exactly, is the problem here?

If you let your web developer register your domain name then they might not be registering it in your or your business’s name.

That’s a problem. What if your web developer disappears? Or goes out of business? How are you going to get that domain name back off them? If that does happen then it can be extremely hard to get back control of your domain name.

If your domain name is coming up for renewal, and your web developer has vanished, then you run the risk of losing it completely. Why? Because if you can’t get that mess sorted out in time, then you’ll miss the chance to renew your domain name and someone could snap it up.

Even if your web developer does register the domain name themselves, but in your name, you still probably don’t have access to it. Not ideal.

Keeping control of your business (or personal) assets – your domain name is a business asset!

Domain name is your place, your stronghold, on the internet. It’s the place your fans or your customers go to find you. That’s important. Don’t lose control of it.

Your domain name is your place on the internet. It’s where your personal website, or your business website, lives. It’s your land where you can set up your stall and sell your wares, or host a platform to disseminate your views.

If you were buying a house and someone said “you’ve not bought a house before… I’m helping you sort your mortgage already, why don’t I buy the house for you? You can sit back and relax…”, it sounds like a good deal. What if that house you were buying was then actually bought in that other person’s name? You wouldn’t own the house…

It’s the same with your domain name. It’s where your business lives on the internet and you want to own that space. Your domain name is an asset for your business; stay in control of your assets.

The pros and cons of letting your web developer register your domain name

There are a couple of reasons you might choose to let your developer register your domain name. I’ll go through those below, and also cover why it’s not such a great deal.


Money drives a lot of things and people in the world. Presented with a good deal, most people will opt to save a little money. It’s not always that simple.

Your web developer (or designer) might offer to register your domain name for you as part of a larger package of creating the website and maintaining it etc. They might even say that the domain name is free for the first year. Free domain name, why not!

In reality, the domain name doesn’t cost very much in the first place, so the saving you’re making isn’t that great.

Domain names are also very easy to set up. Much easier than you’d imagine. Any good web designer or developer should be more than happy to guide you through purchasing a domain name yourself.

If you choose to let your web developer register your domain name for you because of price, it could end up costing you more in the future. Let’s say your web developer disappears (it does happen, as with any business). They had control over your domain name, and they registered it in their own name… It’s much more difficult, or in some cases it’s not even possible, to get that domain name back again.

Alternatively, let’s say you want to hire a different web developer in the future. You’ve then got to negotiate with your previous developer to transfer that domain name. Most web developers will be happy to assist in transferring it – the vast majority of people are upstanding and will do the right thing. But what happens if they don’t?

You might save a bit of money to begin with, but it’s not worth losing control of your bit of land on the internet. Keep control of your assets. It’s worth it in the long run.

It’s easier

As I’ve mentioned above, setting up a domain name is actually far easier than you’d imagine. Sure, you’d save yourself an hour of work, but the same problem applies… you could end up losing much more.

By registering it yourself, you’re keeping control of that important asset for your business. Your web developer should be more than happy to guide you through the process of buying that domain name if you’ve not done it before.

If you do need to switch web developers in future, or if you have a falling out with your current one, then you’re protected. You control the login details and easily hire someone else to manage it if you need to.

It might seem easier to let someone else register the domain name, but it could become much more difficult down the line.

A better way of working

Rather than letting your web developer register your domain name, there is a much better of working…

You set your own domain name up (there are lots of companies, called domain registrars, where you can do this easily), and you simply pay your web developer to set up the technical bits.

You can be paying your web developer to handle a few different parts as well… for example, you can pay them one monthly fee and they’ll manage your website and make sure it’s updated, they’ll manage your website hosting (you should set your website hosting up yourself as well, I’ve written a separate article about it), and they can manage your domain name (although there’s often not much to do once it’s all set up…).

That, to me, is a much better way. Keep control of your domain name.

Wondering where you can get your own domain name? Here’s a couple of domain registrars to get you started:


So, don’t forget – it’s much better that you keep hold of and own the assets for your business. Both domain names and website hosting are important. You can set up your own domain name, but still pay a web developer to administer the technical bits and keep everything running smoothly.

Don’t forget, I wrote a similar article about website hosting too and why you should remain in control of it.

P.S. Looking to set up your domain name as well as your hosting? Here’s a solution…

Wondering where a good place to get both top quality hosting and a domain name is?

With SiteGround.

As well as purchasing your website hosting from SiteGround, you can also purchase a domain name too during the same process.

SiteGround are officially recommended by WordPress. I recommend them to each client I have because I know the quality service they provide. They also have some pretty cost effective packages.

SiteGround. An amazing quality web hosting company offering high performance as well as cost effective solutions, all which are fast, secure and extremely well supported.

They’re also highly recommend for:

  1. The speed of their servers (website loading speed is important, both for your customers and because search engines prefer fast websites).
  2. The security of their service.
  3. The absolute top quality support they provide.

I’m an affiliate for SiteGround. I recommend their services because they’re the best I’ve used, and I continue to use them myself. If you click on SiteGround’s link in this article and decide to purchase on of their hosting plans, they’ll give me a small commission. It helps to keep the lights on around here!

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2 responses to “Should you let your web developer register your domain name?”

  1. Sam says:

    Hey Scott, thanks for this. As a dev I fully support clients having ownership of their domain (and other digital assets), but I’d add that often it’s worth them asking for their developer’s recommendations.
    Sites like GoDaddy are predatory and aren’t too popular in the community.
    While it comes down to preference, two I’ve seen widely recommended (and used personally) are Namecheap and Porkbun. No hidden renewal fees + free WHOIS protection from spammers.
    It’s also recommended to set up your domain and hosting in two different places – that way your registrar has less leverage if they mess up!

    • Scott Cole says:

      Hi Sam,

      I’ve heard a few things of GoDaddy recently myself; Namecheap are a good recommendation and I’ll check out Porkbun too as I’ve not used them yet.

      Couldn’t agree more with you on setting them up two different places – I had a recent project where it ended up being extremely beneficial to the firms downtime that the hosting and domain were with two separate companies!

      Thanks for what you’ve added to this. It’s much appreciated 🙂

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