Picking a Hosting Provider
From a Stack Exchange answer to the question: “Can I buy a cheap domain for a year and then move it to a registrar with cheaper renewal?”
Yes, you can register a domain with one registrar only to move it over to another registrar before the end of the (discounted) year. As long as you have not changed your contact information close to the timeframe in which you would like to conduct the transfer, you should have no problem.
However, the savings are generally not big enough to make it worthwhile to go through the extra trouble of transferring at the year’s end. I use 1&1’s hosting, but I like namecheap as a registrar (for reasons), so I keep all of my files/sites with 1&1, and use namecheap for my domain name registration on all new domains. If you imagine that you might want to use your domain name(s) long-term (past the end of your project—as it sounds like you do), you should research a registrar, and stick with them.
Some More on That…
Here is some additional advice from the EFF on picking a hosting provider.
sftp passwords are the same for 1&1. I wish I would have known that about 2–3 hours ago. That was a terrible waste of time. 😟