Transferring a Domain vs. Changing Name Servers
If you have an existing domain when you sign up for hosting with HostGator, your domain name will need to be configured to work with your new hosting account by setting the name servers at your registrar. You can also optionally transfer your domain to HostGator so that both your domain name and web hosting are managed in the same place.
Since domain name registration is considered a separate service than web hosting, it is not required to register or transfer your domain to HostGator to use our hosting services. In fact, you have three options for when you wish to use HostGator as your webhost and have an existing domain.
Option 1: Change Your Name Servers at Existing Registrar
You can leave the domain registered where it is and change the name servers to point to HostGator. This would make it so that HostGator servers manage your DNS and you can make DNS changes directly from your hosting control panel. When using our name servers, your DNS records are automatically updated to reflect any domain-related changes, including addon domains and subdomains.For more information on changing DNS, please refer to the following article:
Option 2: Transfer Your Domain to HostGator
Another option is to transfer your domain to HostGator and use HostGator name servers to manage your DNS. This would make it so that you can manage your domain through HostGator and have your domain and hosting in one place.
HostGator will transfer one (1) domain name for FREE per newly purchased account. The one (1) free domain transfer is for your primary domain only (the domain you provided during signup) and must be a .com, .net or .org.
Option 3: Use Other Name Servers/DNS
While not recommended for most customers, it is also possible to use name servers somewhere else and just set the individual DNS records (A records, CNAME, MX, etc.) there. This is possible whether the domain is registered with HostGator or another registrar.
Since you are not using HostGator's name servers, when you make domain-related changes in your hosting control panel, the DNS does not automatically get updated. You would have to manually change the DNS records on your name servers to match whatever you set up in the hosting control panel.
Customers who use this option usually have complex DNS settings already established elsewhere and only want to change or add the records related to hosting on their existing name servers rather than recreating their existing DNS settings on HostGator name servers.
For more information on pointing your domain to HostGator while having your domain DNS managed elsewhere, please refer to the following article: