Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Who Really Owns Your Domain Name?

When it comes to domain names, there are certain things you (as the owner) need to be aware of. It is so easy nowadays to buy a domain and have it online within minutes. Sounds great, doesn't it? For the short term it is.

The problems I've seen with domain names have nothing to do with how much they cost or the website behind them. The real price you pay for a domain comes when it's time to renew, or worse, when you want to move the domain to another host or registrar.

One of the biggest mistakes people make when buying a domain is using the wrong contact information. For example, a restaurant owner has their web designer register the name "". The designer buys the domain and adds THEIR name to the registration information instead of the owner. Big mistake. Why?

Well, if the restaurant owner and designer part ways for whatever reason the domain name is legally owned by the designer. Even if the owner and designer part on good terms, it could be a headache for the owner to renew or move his domain name. Let's say the designer moves across the country and changes careers - needless to say he may become hard to track down in order to administer the domain. If the owner and designer part on bad terms it could be extremely difficult or impossible for the owner to get his name back.

One thing to remember...if you have a domain name, it is VITAL to have your name associated with it right from the start. In order to do ANYTHING with your domain, your name must be associated with it otherwise the registrar won't even deal with you.

Registrars will ONLY deal with the person listed in the contact information for the domain. I have witnessed firsthand the "horror stories" of clients who either lost their domain or experienced extensive downtime while they attempted to figure out who actually owned their domain. If the contact information had been correct from the start there would have been no problems at all.

If you would like to know who owns your domain, a good place to start is here: Enter your domain name in the "Whois Lookup" field. The very first thing it tells you is who's providing the registration service. Then you can see all the contact information associated with your domain.

The Registrant and Administrative Contacts are the most important ones check. If these two contacts do not have your name and you are (or should be) the owner of the domain, I recommend fixing this now while time is on your side instead of waiting for a crisis (which will happen eventually).

Should you need any assistance with this, please let me know!

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