Web Development

How to protect your Domain Registration

Unfortunately, people often fail to realize that domain names are an important intellectual property asset, or at the very least should be treated that way.

Ask yourself these questions;

Do you understand exactly what an Internet domain registration is?  Do you know who controls your domain registration?  Do you know in exactly what name your domain is registered?  Do you know what email address was provided to the registrar as a contact?  Do you know where to find the usernames and passwords for all the computer accounts associated with your domain and website hosting?  Do you know when your domain registration expires? Did you know that if someone else, like your web hosting company, was registered as the owner, you have absolutely no rights to your domain?

If the answer to even one of those questions is no, you need to take action!

Your domain registration is essentially your entry in the ‘phone book’ of the Internet.  If you lose control of it, or let it expire, there's a strong chance you will not be able to get it back.

Here are a few tips that will help you avoid losing your domain name.

  • Register your domain in the name of the organization, not any individual.
  • Create a separate account at the domain registrar / ISP for the organization.  Don't lump it in with the webmaster's other domains on one registrar account, even if you are listed as the domain owner.
  • Prepare an  envelope containing the registration details and the account names and passwords for your registrar and web host (ISP).  Place the envelope in a safe place with your other important personal or business papers.  This is an asset!
  • Establish a reliable tickler system to ensure that the registration is renewed annually well in advance of the deadline.
  • Confirm annually that the email address on file with the domain registrar is valid.  This is the address they will send reminders to when the registration is due!
  • I register all my domains annually rather than taking a small discount for longer registrations.  I'm more likely to lose track of registrations if multiple years go by.
  • Seriously consider registering at a registrar that does not do your hosting, or moving then to another registrar if they’re together now.  That way, if you have a dispute with your ISP over hosting, they have no control over domain and you can simply walk away with your backups and set up elsewhere.  Many people have lost their domains because the ISP refused to release them.

Remember that the price you pay for domain registration is not significant.  $10 – $20 – $30 per year is irrelevant given what is at stake.  Choose your domain registrar on reputation and reliability, not price.  I pay about twice the rate available from the big operators to register with a small operator with a good reputation.

You can use to check when your domain registration is going to expire.  Depending on how the registration was processed, it may also tell you who the registered owner is.

If you feel this advice was worth something to you, consider supporting (or joining) your local Rotary Club or making a small donation to The Rotary Foundation of Rotary International. Together, we can do great things!

The Rotary Foundation

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