Who owns your domain name?
Do you really own your domain name? You may be surprised!
This might seem like a silly question. Many businesses think they own their domain name, but when they try to access it – perhaps when they engage a new web developer, they realise that even though their domain name is registered in their name, someone else (usually the old web developer) is the only person with access to it.
If you don’t have access to your domain name, you don’t really own it! Scary thought isn’t it? You wouldn’t willingly hand over the only keys to your business to your landlord (or your web developer) would you? It’s your domain name (and business), so you should own it.
We have even seen cases where the domain name was actually registered in the web developer’s name. Or worse, in the name of a staff member who no longer worked for the developer. I once met a business owner whose domain name was registered in some other persons name altogether! It turned out they had the same developer, so I can only assume it was a mistake, but it took months to sort it out.
Who is the real owner of your domain name?
The “real owner” of your domain name is the person who has access to the email used to register it.
Many web developers will register a domain name in their re-seller account, which is fine as long as you, the owner of the domain name, are given login details so you or a future developer can log in and make necessary changes for a new website.
When we register a domain name for a client, the client is set up with their own account and their own unique username & password. It is always registered using their email address, with Online Influence as the tech contact.
How to secure your domain name.
You need to choose wisely the email address you use to register the domain. It should be an email address you are unlikely to ever stop using. This is important! When the domain name is up for renewal several emails will be sent to this email address to remind you. Domains renew every one or two years for .com.au but can be much longer for .com domain names. Many domain registrars will have auto renewal as the default option, but remember your credit card will expire every few years, so the email address you use is extremely important.
- To check on your Australian domain name details, go to Whois.auda.org.au. This will give you all the details on who exactly owns your domain name.
- To check on your non-Australian domain name details, go to Whois.domaintools.com
- If you don’t have login details to your domain name, ask your developer to set up an account in your name, with your best email and make sure they provide you with those login details.
- Keep these details in a safe place. For example, in a password protected spreadsheet on your desktop & on a USB (in case your computer crashes etc).
- Another way to safely protect passwords is with an online tool like LastPass. Every time you log into an account your own, you will be prompted to let LastPass remember the details. I have been using LastPass for several years and I love it.
To sum up, take ownership of your domain name and your business, make sure you (and only you) have ownership and access to your domain name. Keep your login details in a safe, secure place.