i agree with keeping your domain name provider separate from your hosting provider. though this may not always be the case. the only reason i advocate keeping the separation is because with a domain name provider, you are mainly concerned about cost. they compete based on pricing. i can`t really think about a value added service that you would be willing to pay more for. some domain providers might have WHOIS database access within their website, which can be found in numerous other places online. just run a google search and you will find many. another service i can think off is how much support are they offering in case you wanted to transfer your domain name, or mask it or have it forwarded to another domain name. in any case, all these functions are relatively easy and self explanatory.
with hosting, you need to make sure you are getting exactly what you need. here is where i think the research is necessary in terms of who to go with. if you are relatively new to website design and development, i would recommend going with a provider who has a good support channel for its customers. the more experience you gain, the less the support will make a difference in the long run. however in the short term stick to someone that can help you whenever you need the help.
try this comprehensive resource to hosting: http://web-hosting-review.toptenreviews.com/
i tend to agree with their assessment at least 70% of the time i`d say. i think they do a pretty good job of outlining the pros and cons of the hosting providers out there and highlight some of the best features of each. spend some reading their reviews and conduct additional research using google. read what other users have to say about the services as nothing beats first hand opinion. hope that helps.
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