A client of mine bought his website from a website developer but for various reasons (poor customer service, expensive hosting, difficult to customize, etc) he was considering moving to another provider. When we investigated more closely it turns out that he may not own his website address. It is registered in the name of his developer and there is no apparent way to move the registration. Now legally it may be that he can force a transfer but the developer certainly does not make it easy.
If you are considering buying a domain (website address) make sure you do it with a registrar who gives you complete control over how it is used. I use DirectNIC who were recommended to me by a web guru friend. They are slightly more expensive than some ($15 a year per name) but through a control panel I can “point” visitors to any host that I chose for my site. Its simple and it gives me complete freedom to change my website host whenever I wish.
Of course, if you don’t get a move-on and quickly buy the domain name you love, you may find it is already taken. That happened to me last year. I came up with a great site name but waited a week before deciding to register it. In that time it was gone.
E-Commerce news has an interesting article about the huge number of name registrations and the concern of future shortages of good names.