DOMAIN NAME BASICS
- only register domains for yourself
- create and use accounts that only you have access to
- register domains as an individual and not connected to any company or organization
- don’t have any business partners, someone building your website, etc.
…congratulations! You probably won’t end up in a tricky situation regarding who owns your domains.
Most people never give their domain name a second thought after registration. It’s one of those things that may cross your mind or prompt you to log in once a year, but as we see on a fairly frequent basis, things can become difficult or downright intense, pretty quickly. Many don’t even know where their domains are registered because someone else handled the task.
For assistance reviewing your domain details or purchasing a new domain, call (909) 483-6909.
The legal owner of a domain name is the person and/or organization listed as the domain’s registrant or owner contact. Domains typically have four contacts: registrant/owner, admin, technical, and billing. These can be the same person or different people.
For most types of domain names, you can check the contacts listed and the name of the company where your domain is registered using a WHOIS lookup at WHOIS.com
The legal owner is not:
- The person or people whose names are the admin, technical, or billing contacts for the domain.
- The person who used to be listed as the registrant/owner (but it’s since been changed to your name).
- The registrar with which you register the domain name unless they put their own details for the registrant contact, which is bad business practice and not allowed under many domain extensions, but still happens…
- The web hosting provider you use to host your website.
- The person who paid for the domain.
- The person you hired to build and/or manage your website for you.
- A person who owns or has access to the account in which the domain resides.
- The company or organization you work for, if not also listed in the registrant contact information (though this can be tricky).
- A company or organization with the same name as the domain, if it’s not registered to them. (However, if they have a trademark or other rights to the name, they can come after you and potentially take it.)
- Your business partner or another person who is or was running a company, club, or other organization with you if their name isn’t listed as the registrant contact.
- A brokerage service used when buying/transferring the domain.
If a domain is registered by an ex-web designer (or an ex-employee), you can protect your company domains:
- ensure that the organization’s name and contact information are on the account and on the domain registrant contacts, especially the registrant/owner one.
- ensure that the email address to access the account is one accessible by more than one person, e.g. firstname.lastname@example.org, rather than email@example.com.
- make a list of organizational assets that includes domain names and their access details.
Then, if communications fail or the web designer closes the business or an employee leaves, you won’t get a rude awakening that there’s a problem when the website goes down and email stops working… because the domain renewal couldn’t be billed to a deactivated credit card and expired months ago.
If you hire an agency or web designer that needs access to your domains, make them a Technical Contact. In some cases, you can create a separate username and password. If you’re not sure how to do this, request assistance from your Registrar (such as GoDaddy or Network Solutions).
This will allow access to your DNS (Domain Name Server) to point to your web hosting account. It will not allow access to your billing or registrant details.
Need help? (909) 483-6909