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I have a domain a.com registered with one hosting company together with a hosting package. This is where I normally have all my websites.

I now want to buy another domain, b.com from whois.com (cheaper offer) but want to use it with my regular hosting company.

How do I go about doing this? Can I leave the domain with whois and just make it send visitors to my normal hosting provider without the url changing? Or do I have to transfer it and if so how long does that take?

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Yes, you can have a domain name purchased with a registrar and have the site hosted somewhere else. Registration and hosting are 2 different things, and most hosting companies are not registrars; they deal with another company to purchase their domain names.

What a domain name does is to say "website a.com" = "IP 123.123.123.12".

How do I go about doing this? Can I leave the domain with whois and just make it send visitors to my normal hosting provider without the url changing?

On whois, you'll have to configure the DNS so that the domain name points to your hosting server.

Or do I have to transfer it and if so how long does that take?

You can transfer it, but it depends on the situation. If whois is cheaper and you don't mind managing both accounts, then you can keep both.

If I take GoDaddy as an example as they are both a hosting company and a registrar, when you transfer a domain name to them they will add a year of the domain name at their price, then continue to renew it at their price for the following years.

Transfering hosting and transfering a domain name are 2 separate things.

  • Further to this, a lot of people recommend keeping your domain hosting separate from your domain registration so your eggs aren't all in the same basket so to speak. If your hosting provider should have issues you would still be able to point your domain to a new provider. – Dave Feb 10 '18 at 13:01
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You can transfer the domain to your normal provider after 60 days, but you don't need to transfer it. In addition, transferring a domain costs an extra fee.

You can either use the forwarding option to forward your new domain to your other domain, or you can point your new domain to your hosting server using either Name Servers or an IP address.

  • "transferring a domain costs an extra fee" - the actual process of transferring the domain shouldn't cost anything (although some registrars do charge an admin fee for transferring away). The additional charge that is sometimes incurred is dependent on the Registry (ie. the TLD) and goes towards an additional years registration (which is the case with .com). – DocRoot Feb 11 '18 at 0:27
  • "use the forwarding option" - what do you mean by the "forwarding option"? If you are referring to framed forwarding that some registrars offer then this is not recommended. – DocRoot Feb 11 '18 at 0:31
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The other answers haven't really covered the specifics...

Can I leave the domain with whois and just make it send visitors to my normal hosting provider without the url changing?

Yes. You can either:

  1. Change the NAMESERVERS (NS records) on your domain at your new registrar (ie. "whois.com") to point to your existing host (assuming your host provides DNS services). Your host then handles the master DNS records for the domain. This is the easier option since your existing host will likely configure the necessary DNS records for you (A, CNAME, MX records etc.).

OR

  1. Create an A record in the master DNS records at your registrar (assuming the NAMESERVERS currently point to your new registrar) that points to the IP address of your host. This points all HTTP/S traffic to your host.

In both cases you will need to configure your existing host to accept requests at this domain. If this is the only domain on a new website then you can probably just state the domain name during account creation. If this is an existing website and you are wanting to point additional domains at it then you'll need to create an additional VirtualHost or ServerAlias (in cPanel speak this would be an Addon or Alias domain respectively.

Or do I have to transfer it and if so how long does that take?

No, you do not need to do this. The only convenience is having your billing in the same place, but that would seem to defeat the point of having registered it at a cheaper price at an alternative registrar to begin with. For some TLDs (notably .com) you will need to pay for an additional years+ registration at the time of transfer.

Transfer can take anywhere from minutes to several days. Delays can be compounded if you are also changing NAMESERVERS.

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