I recently decided to create my own personal website. I'm a software engineer so I'm used to programming even though I have no particular web development knowledge.

The first step was to request a domain name for my website. One question bugs me a lot: several basic hosting companies offer free domain name the first year and then rent it for some euros a year. Who owns the domain name ? I guess the hosting company requested this domain name to some domain name authority. So if the domain name belongs to the hosting company, could I keep the same domain name when I want to change hosting company ? If not, it seems to me I am deeply tied with the hosting company.

3 Answers 3


You do have to be careful. Some hosting companies will own the domain name and you will be unable to transfer it should you change hosts. This is why I recommend one never to obtain their domain name from their hosting company. Should the hosting company go out of business, you may have a long struggle trying to obtain your domain name, too. Owning your domain name means you can move it to any host of your choosing at any time including your computer on your desktop.

Buying a domain name from a registrar is easy.


You have to read the terms and conditions of this offer. I can not say 100% it is true how to describe.

In the Czech Republic, you pay domain for 2 years. The web hosting company usually offer 1 year of the domain for free after year you pay half. They get more money from web hosting services then they have to pay for the domain.

At end of the day the domain is yours.


Domain names are managed by ICANN, an international organization based out of Santa Monica, California. Your registrar pays fees to ICANN and the processor (Verisign).

You are able to move your domain name to another registrar/hosting company. Transferring is minorly complicated at first, but once you've done it it's fairly easy. Your registrar should provide information on how to transfer your domain to another registrar.

  • This did not answer the question about who owns a domain name if it is provided "free" by a hosting company.
    – Steve
    Commented Apr 3, 2018 at 21:17
  • This is overly simplified and partially wrong. ICANN handles which TLDs exist and accredit gTLD registries (such as VeriSign for .COM) and registrars in gTLDs. ccTLDs are handled differently. Both registrars and registries pay fixed and variable amounts of money to ICANN. So you may say ICANN manages TLDs, but certainly not all domain names. Commented Apr 4, 2018 at 0:50

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