Knowledge Essentials - 3Essentials Hosting

Understanding terms: Domain Registration, Domain Hosting, Domain Transfer and Domain Delegation

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Many folks who are newbies to getting a website on the Internet are unfamiliar with what it takes to get there.  The most confusing aspects seems to be the seperation between the registration of the actual domain name itself, and the hosting of services (like a website or mail) for that domain.  This seperation, i.e. the fact that you can register your domain with one company, and host it with another leads to confusion, and leaves some rookies scratching their head.  The following discussion aims to clarify some of the gray area.

To get a site up on the Internet you first need to have your domain name (let's say "") registered with an Internet/Domain Name Registrar. "Registering" the domain name reserves it for your use (some people say you're "buying" the name, but in reality, it's more like leasing... it gets reserved for your exclusive use, for as long as you have it registered).  Registration runs for annual periods, and you can register for many years in advance (for example Coca-Cola probably has registered into the next millenium). When you register a name, it's reserved for your exclusive use, and you have to tell the Registrar what are the "nameservers" for the domain... i.e., those servers which can tell any user where the website or mail services for your domain are located or "hosted".

"Hosted"... that's our next term.  After you've registered the domain, you have to have some place to "host" those mail and web services (i.e., mail for "" or your website at  Purchasing a "hosting plan" with 3Essentials provides those services.  This means we carve out a space for you on one of our servers connected to the Internet which will host your website for any Internet visitor to see, and receive and hold email for you at that domain (  

Some people miss that this is a two step process: 1) register domain and 2) buy a hosting plan. But they are indeed two distinct activities.  And note, our "hosting plans" do not include domain registration.  We do offer domain registration, but it is purchased seperately from the hosting plan. 

You can register with us through our site at for as little as $9.99 per year for a domain registration. Note that during the process, you'll be asked for a 3Essentials account login (or to create one)... this is a login that is JUST for managing your domain registration, so it will not be the same as any other control panel login (or other) that you've already received from us with your hosting plan. As such, you'll want to select the option to create a login during that domain registration process.  And then keep a record of it somewhere... it's only for managing your domain registration, which typically you won't touch until next year when you go to renew it.

What ties your domain registration to your hosting is the "nameservers" listed with your domain registration... basically, they're the portion of your domain registration that points to your hosting provider.  When you register a domain through us, your nameservers will automatically be pointed to us (and you don't have to worry about "domain delegation" or "domain transfer").  However, if you already have your domain registered with another domain registrar, but you want to "host" the domain with us, you have two options (and this is where we'll explain the terms "domain delegation" and "domain transfer"):

1) DELEGATE DNS for the domain to us.
This keeps the domain registration for the domain with your current domain name registrar, and simply updates the DNS information associated with that domain to point to our nameservers.  Once this change is made, whenever someone goes to, it will come to our DNS servers for DNS name resolution, and our servers will resolve the name to our webservers.

You accomplish this by contacting your current domain registrar and asking them to delegate the domain to us by changing the nameserver information for that domain to our nameservers:

Most Domain Registrar's have an website area you log into to manage your domain registrations... that's where you'll find the nameserver entries for each domain you have registered with them.  This usually is a quick change and the update will replicate across Internet DNS in 24-72 hours.

2) TRANSFER the DOMAIN to us.
This means that responsibility for managing the domain registration transfers from your current registrar to us & our domain registration partner. 

We transfer domains for as low as $9.99, and that includes 1 year of domain registration.  You can initiate a transfer through our website:  and clicking the link for Transfer an existing domain.  Note that the domain transfer/management interface is seperate from our hosting, and as such the login is completely seperate.  If you haven't registered or transferred a domain name to us before, you'll need to select the option for "create new 3Essentials, Inc account" when you submit the transfer request.

Important note:  Domain registration transfers can take up to 4 weeks... it takes time for our registrar to work with your current registrar to coordinate on the transfer... including emailing the current domain registrant (owner) to confirm/approve the transfer.  As such, should you decide to transfer to us, we recommend you still do option 1, above, and delegate your domain to us first.  That way, hosting for your domain will be up and running on our servers, while the transfer is processing in the background.

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