You shouldn't have any trouble with this. But if you want your domains to continue being secure from wondering eyes (whois) you'll have to continue to have them registered with whoever you already registered them with, but you can still host those domains from DH.
If you decide to transfer your domains to DH, you'll have to unlock them on the original "manage-domains" control panel and input the nameserver info ( to ns1.dreamhost.com, etc..). Yea, it sucks that you have to wait 60 days, I'm still waiting to transfer one of mine...
... To be sure you understand, :
please register this .com/.net/.org/.info domain for FREE!
I already own this domain and will change my nameservers to DreamHost's.
Okay, so you type in a domain name like itbvideo.com. Now if I didn't yet own this domain name, I would select the first option to have DH register the .com for free. But if I already owned that domain name (which I do) then I would select the second option and would change nameservers to DH after setting up my DH web hosting account.
I would also like to change my registrar to be DreamHost, and renew for one year.
(Please change your nameservers (to ns1.dreamhost.com, etc..) before the transfer.
Domains must be unlocked and not created in the last 60 days to transfer.)
Auth code for .org/.info transfers (get from current registrar):
You said you got your domains registered at another place so you could have the "whois" data private. If you selected the third option, then you would be transferring the domain registration to DH and host the domain from DH. But you don't want this because, as you said, DH doesn't offer the secure "whois" service.
You can absolutely set up on L3 (or any of them) with a free domain name (which is what I would do... it's free). Then after your account is activated, you can ad another domain and change the nameservers where the domain's registered so it points to your DH server. You can have unlimited domain names and subdomain names with DH, but they only give you one free domain registration.
So yes, you're correct, you don't want to change the registrar. The place you originally registered the domains with is the registrar. They give you the private "whois" service so you want to stay with them.
On your free domain name with DH, yes that data will show up on whois. You can edit what appears there though but yea, I think the name field has to stay.. Not too sure about this though.
No reason you can't have multiple domains pointing to the same nameservers. DH allows you to have unlimited domain names, whether registered with them or not.
Hope this helps.
When you sign up, use the coupon code: comeandgetit
It'll save you $55 on all the plans except the monthly ones (which will save you $50). I'd appreciate it (cuz then I get credit for it too to help pay for my monthly service...