Why should you own your domain name?

Owning your own domain name is crucial for website owners. Having third parties register it for you leaves you at their mercy if you decide to use another service. Be sure to limit access to it and have the proper fail safes in place in case your email goes down. A few small steps can ensure this is never a problem moving forward.

Beware third parties

I often find that clients have their domain name purchased through their web designer or developer’s business account. This poses several potential issues for the business owner in the future:

  1. If they purchased the domain name, they technically own it.
  2. They may not be willing to release the domain name if you decide to use a different provider.
  3. They may be willing to transfer it, but usually they drag their feet on this.

Transferring nightmare

Transferring a domain name can be a tedious task. Depending on the service used to register the domain name, it could take anywhere from a few hours to a few weeks. We always suggest that clients purchase their domain name from Godaddy. They allow you to easily transfer domains between Godaddy accounts. It also allows you to delegate access to another user, giving them the ability to do what they need without having the power to transfer your domain or perform any other malicious task. This is great if a web developer needs to point a record to another hosting company or you have an IT company helping you setup your email.

Keep it close

Think of your domain name like your social security number. You might need to give people access to it occasionally, but you never want it to leave your possession. It can lead to  world of issues if someone gets access to it maliciously.

Check your domain information

If you want to check what your current domain information is, Godaddy has an easy to use tool that shows you all of the public information. Simply go to the page and enter your domain to see what anyone else can see.

Domain Information Tool

Use a personal email account

If you use your domain’s email address and there is a problem in the future, you may not be able to retrieve any account confirmations or resets. Set the account up with a personal email like gmail. You can setup something like mycompanyname@gmail.com and have everything forwarded to your primary email address.

Setup auto renewal

Setting up auto renewal relieves a small portion of risk that your domain will expire. Be sure to always keep a valid credit card on file with your registrar. Many times, if you purchase your domain for multiple years at once, the card will be expired before the renewal time is up.

Keep an active credit card on file

Be sure to keep an active billing credit card on file for your account. Recently there was a client who had their domain name in Godaddy, and activated auto-renewal. This is a great step, but they received a new business credit card shortly after. They ignored all of the warning emails from Godaddy telling them their card was no longer valid. After a period of time, the domain was removed from their account and available to anyone for purchase. Another person purchased the domain and forwarded it to a pornography website. The client then had to purchase a new domain name and move forward getting it updated everywhere.

  1. All new business collateral needed to be reprinted (business cards, car magnets, flyers, etc)
  2. Update the new domain on all social media platforms
  3. Sift through all of the various review and rating websites like Yelp to change their domain
  4. Update all of their information with Google to try and not lose their SEO rankings
  5. Setup all new email addresses

This turned out to be quite an ordeal for the client and is not something you want happening to you.

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