Hi; just getting started with hosting; forgive ignorance.
I have a domain name registered with Melbourne IT; I would like to use a free hosting service. Rather than transfer the registration to the hosting service, is it right that I can in general host with one provider, and just delegate the domain from Melbourne IT by providing two name servers and an IP address? So that when a user types www.thedomain.com, it transparently is redirected to the host?
Is it that simple? If so, are there any disadvantages to doing so?
disadvantages: you have to maintain two business relationships. There are two potential points of failure on access.
advantages: If your web host goes belly up you can point the name to a different provider. If your name host goes under you don't have to rebuild your site when you sort the domain name out.
The most common problem that I have seen with people having the domain and hosting managed by the same company forgetting that they need to renew two separate contracts when they expire and end up with a domain and no site. It is a suprisingly common problem.
What you describe is how name forwarding should be handled but I have come across companies that don't let you do that but simply host a frameset locally which contains the page that you are hosting elsewhere. Make sure that you know what you are signing up for before parting with any money.
Hint: make your own diary record of the renewal dates, Mr Murphy dictates that any vital email reminder will be zapped by your spam filter.
In short yes, you can have these separate relationships with your registrar and host. At any given time, if you are switching hosting, you can simply contact them and request that they change your nameservers.
Melbourne IT is a big registrar and is likely to be assimilated by another bigger registrar before it goes under.