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Who owns your domain?

Who owns your domain?
By Stephen Brust

Why should I know who the registrar of my domain is, and why do I keep getting renewal notices from different companies?

I want to address some issues regarding domain name registration.  I have been building websites since 2000 and am still concerned that clients don’t know who owns or who the registrar is for their domain name. 

Hold-on -  maybe I should back up for a moment and explain what a domain name actually is. 

Stephen Brust, Webkat Design

There are 3 main components to have a website and it being on the World Wide Web.  First you need a domain name, second a hosting account and third the actual website.  Okay so what does that all mean?  Here is a simpler way to look at it. Your domain name ( is just like the address to your home, like 123 Elm Street, the hosting is the land your home sits on, and the website is your home.  Hopefully that makes it a little easier.

All of these must be purchased, for most people or companies the website could be a one time purchase.  But the domain name and hosting are typically purchased yearly.  

Important things you must do when purchasing your domain name and or hosting please, please keep the documentation in a safe place.  If someone like the web designer has purchased these for you, make sure you are the registrant and that you have ALL the documentation (login – username & password, etc.), most don’t.

This is where the problems begin, it is all too common for us to be hired and for the client to have NO idea what or where the documentation is. At times the previous designer has gone out of business or won’t play nice because they are leaving their services.  This can become a nightmare and can slow down the process and or kill the project because the company or client now doesn’t own their domain name like they thought.  

Going back to the analogy of our homes, you wouldn’t leave your keys to the house with a stranger or unprotected right?  You would also check your mortgage documents for accuracy right? You would make sure you were the named owner right?  Please forgive me, I am just trying to beat you up, just protect you and your interests.  We have encountered these scenarios several times over the years and seems to be increasing not decreasing.  

Okay so you got this right? Okay so now comes a letter in the mail from a company like ABC Domain Registry of USA.  It says your domain name is up for renewal and if you just sign the paper enclosed and mail a check for $50 your domain will be renewed.  STOP!!!  Did you check your domain documents to see if you are registered or hosting with this company? Probably not!! Companies like ABC are hoping you don’t check your documents.  Because what just happened was you just transferred your account over to them.  Control and money, their fees are usually 5X the amount of what you were paying.

We have over 100 domains registered and we get their letter sent to us for every domain.  I get clients that we have instructed on how to handle their documents so as these notices come in they will call us first and ask “did we switch companies?” 

Remember this is all about your companies or your personal livelihood.  Be cautious, keep your document in a safe place, with easy access and as with anything ask questions before signing any document.

If you have any question regarding website development, design or marketing please give us a call or send us an email.

As always thank you for your support.  

Stephen Brust
Webkat Design, llc