Domain transfers -- registration vs. hosting

Hi and Happy New Year’s Eve!
I am a trial DH member – hoping it works out to host one or more sites here. The below might be etter for a DH support person, but I thought I’d try the forum first.

My questions relate to domains I already own. I bought about a dozen (over the years) on GoDaddy, but most aren’t even parked anywhere - I may not do anything with them for a couple years. Only 3 are hosted elsewhere (2 on Weebly and 1 at Wix). . . but even the 3 “live” sites are like 1-2 pages, so I don’t mind ditching the actual content and starting over.

My questions:
a) I’m a newbie, and confused about semantics – are the main factors where my domain’s “registered” and “hosted,” or are there others?
b) Can DH host my sites and GoDaddy continue to be the registrar? What are any downsides (other than giving money to GoDaddy, which is a factor to a degree)?
c) If DH just hosts, where do I switch that? Is there an FAQ to walk me through this? The wiki’s confusing – I see options for “fully hosted” (which makes me think there are other options, and Google Hosted . . . and I love all the options, but it’s confusing.
d) If I do one or more registration transfers to DH, does each cost $9.99 (one time or annually)? I have like a dozen URLs and wouldn’t do that until I was sure I’d use DH for hosting. . . and $10 is a lot for the domains I’m not focused on right now.

Thank you so much!


A) You register the name with a registrar, once that is done you can host it elsewhere. There are a variety of ways to accomplish that, the simplest and most direct is to log in to the registrars site and change the “nameservers” for the domain to the nameservers of the host. Dreamhost’s nameservers are,, With ANY DNS change, and this is a DNS change, you will not get instant joy. There is a delay as your change propagates to nameservers around the world, since namesevers cache entries rather than look them up at host every time, this delay will be anywhere from a few minutes to 24 hours (maybe longer world-wide). Also not every nameserver gets the change at the same moment, so it’s possible your phone will get it sooner than your PC or vice versa.

B) Yes. There is no downside to have a different registrar. In fact some developers prefer to have there registrar separate so that if the host becomes completely inoperable they can log into the registrar and change the nameservers to a different host.

C) The basic procedure is log into godaddy and change the nameservers as discussed in A above. Basically you register the domain, and changing the nameservers says “Dreamhost’s nameserver is the master record for this domain” and “fully hosted” is what you want on the dreamhost side.

D) Dreamhost basically charges you 9.95 per year per domain to renew the domain, so that is an annual charge.

To TRANSFER the domain is a one-time charge, of 9.95 but that also EXTENDS the expiration by one year at the time of transfer. Although the transfer fee is a “one time” fee, it’s also renewing it for a year. Net result is there is no penalty for transferring.

I’d be inclined to keep the domain registration where it is for the moment. Not that GoDaddy has any advantage over DreamHost (I prefer Dreamhost) – but just because “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. Once your domain hosting has settled in here you might get a warm fuzzy feeling of host loyalty and decide to transfer the domain registration over, which you can do at your leisure. There will be no downtime with this approach as the DNS will already be pointed to Dreamhost and fully operable.

Don’t forget that all DH hosting plans come with 1 free lifetime domain registration. It means you can register a domain for free as long as you keep your hosting plan. Basically you get a credit every year which can be used to renew your domain registration.

Wow, this is super helpful – apologies for the delayed response (I thought I’d get an email reply alerting me to the responses on the board). Hope 2013 has begun well for everybody!