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Do you know who is hosting your domain?

Written by Margaret Shakibaie
Do you know who is hosting your domain?

Financially, registering your domain can be the smallest investment you make as part of the process of getting online, but it is perhaps the most important. Your domain name is the primary point in your website.

Can you confidently say that you know where their domain is registered and how to access the related dashboard?

Your domain is like the deeds to the land your house is built on. Loose the deeds and you’ve lost your house. Worst still imagine if the deeds were in someone else’s name.

We speak to a lot of clients that do not know where their domain is registered, and how they can manage their domain.

Domain Horror stories

Domain expires without you realising it

If you do not have access to the registrant email address, then you will not receive either the domain renewal notice or the invoice to renew the domain.  This can go unnoticed for a few years as often a credit card on file is charged for the renewal. When this credit card expires the process starts to go pear shaped.

We often see the following scenarios

  • If the domain is registered with a large organisation, where you are one of thousands, then it is unlikely they will actively look for you to ensure that you no longer need the domain.
  • If the domain is registered through a smaller domain reseller, and you no longer have an association with the organisation, it is unlikely that they will pursue the matter past the unpaid invoices.
  • If the domain is registered through a smaller domain reseller, and they have ceased to operate, the domain will simply expire.

Consequences: The domain expires, your website goes down, your emails stop working, and there is a possibility that someone else can buy your domain.

Cannot edit DNS entries

If you do not have access to the domain dashboard, then you will not be able to make changes to the DNS entries. You require access to your dashboard to be able to move both the web hosting and email hosting to another provider.

We often see the following

  • The domain is registered with a large organisation using an old email address that you can no longer access. In this case you need to contact the registrant to gain access with proof of identity.
  • The domain is registered with a large organisation using the registrant contact details of either the original web developer or ex-staff members. In this case you will need to prove that you are the domain owner to get access to the account and the domain dashboard.
  • The domain is registered to a third party, not your business. This means that you do not own the domain, rather the third-party business owns the domain. In this case you will need to negotiate with the third party to transfer ownership.

Consequences: You cannot make changes to the DNS settings, and as a result, you cannot move the hosting to another provider. In other words, if you have an old website, with no access to either the domain or the hosting, then you cannot load a new website.

Domain registrant sells the domain to your competition

At times shonky business operators might offer you a domain that uses keywords of your business services in the name. For example, plumbingbrisbane.com. This is usually under a lease arrangement.

As they own the domain, you have no claim on the domain and they can sell the rights to this domain to the highest bidder.

Consequence: You use this domain as your primary domain and build a strong SEO presence on this domain. When renewal comes, the renewal price increases according to their perceived value of the domain. They can also offer this domain to your competitor for a higher value, and as a result, all your hard-earned traffic will go to your competition.

Take back ownership of your domain

Check the contact details of your domain.

If you aren’t sure where your domain is registered then you can perform a WHOIS search.

For all .au domains, such as com.au; net.au domains

.AUDA look after the .au domain registrations and allows more control over the ownership of the domains.  To see the WHOIS details of your domain you can enter the details in the following link.

For .com .org .photography domains etc (gTLD or newTLD domain name)

The Generic Top Level Domains are managed by an international body, the IANA.

To see the WHOIS details of your gTLD domain you can enter the details in the following link. These domains, unlike the .au domains, allow for domain privacy. If this is the case, you will need to contact the domain registrant for the details.

Retrieve the Domain Password

To transfer the domain, you require the domain password, often called the EPP code. If you have access to the registrant’s email address than you can retrieve the domain password.

The .auda password recovery tool will email a password reset to the registrant contact email address. You can then reset the password and use this to transfer the domain to your new registrar.

If you have a .com etc domain, you will need to contact the registrar to retrieve the domain password.

We highly recommend that you keep your domain and your web hosting under one provider.

Transfer the domain

Once you have your domain password, and access to the registrant’s email address, you can now transfer the domain.

You can do this through the new registrar’s client portal or contact the new registrar to initiate the process.

Once the transfer is initiated, you will receive an email asking you to approve the transfer.  The transfer will not proceed without this approval given. Simply click on the link in the email to approve.

Transfers of .au domains will be transferred at no charge, with the expiry date remaining the same. Other gTLD domains will incur a 1-year renewal fee, with the renewal date moving forward by one year.

Your domain is like the deeds to your house

Your domain name is the primary point of your online presence. It is like the deeds to your house. It is essential that you know where your domain is registered.

Once lost, regaining ownership of your domain can be a frustrating process. For new clients that are using our website design services, or web hosting services, we will support you in this process of taking back ownership of your domain.  

We encourage our web hosting clients to transfer their domains to us under our domain reseller account. This ensures that the domains are kept safe in our client portal. Our clients can access their domains, including the domain password and dns settings at any time. This is important to us for transparency.  

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