Web Dev, Linux, WordPress & More

Master Your Domain Name!

by eric on August 7th, 2006 in: Other Stuff

Website owners: make sure that you own, and can manage, your domain name.

This may sound silly, but you’d be surprised how many website owners have no idea where their domain is registered and who really controls it.

Who is the Master of Your Domain?

If you have a website and own a domain name make sure you:

  • Know where your domain is registered
  • Are listed as the Administrative Contact on the domain
  • Have current contact information listed with the registrar so you’re notified of billing and expiration issues
  • Get a username and password to login and manage your account

Why is this Important?

whois for sewmyheadon.com

If you own the domain you should be able to:

  • Transfer your web hosting
  • Change domain ownership
  • Update domain contact information
  • Renew and extend your domain registration

How to Find Domain Information

Most registrars offer an easy way to lookup whois information, but the one that I use most often is: Whois Source.

Domain Horror Stories

Curse of the Expiring Domain

One of my customers registered their business domain through a host that didn’t monitor its expiration. Due to an oversight, the domain expired and was snapped up in minutes by a guy in China that offered to sell it back for several thousand dollars.

This poor, frustrated customer registered another name and moved her entire site to the new domain.

Aside from the obvious hassle of moving and setting up email accounts, the search engine traffic, and customer ramifications take a long time to recover from.

They even had to reprint all of their letterhead, brochures, etc. Argh!


Another customer registered their domain through a web designer, who registered it through the host he was using at the time. The domain was left in the designer’s name, meaning that he was the Administrative Contact on the whois record.

The web designer lost the login info to manage the domain and the original hosting company was gobbled up by another company that “didn’t have any access to domain management. ” So, changing the ownership or nameserver records was a frustrating, finger-pointing mess.

We were left with two possibilities:

  1. The designer (Admin Contact) could write to the registrar on company letterhead proving ownership of the domain so the login could be reset. Who knows how long this would have taken.
  2. Transfer the domain to another registrar where the customer could manage the domain.

We ended up tranferring the domain and the designer cooperated by forwarding the confirmation email to the customer so they could confirm the transfer. Since most domain transfers take 5 – 7 days to complete, we’re still in limbo until it goes through, but they’ll soon have control.

The Wrap

Do yourself a huge favor and make sure you are the master of your domain name. It may take a few minutes now, but it can save tons of time, and possibly money down the road.

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