Domain names are critical to an organization since they are used for company websites, emails, and other resources on the internet. A domain name is used to identify or brand a company on the internet and in most cases is the same or like the legal name of the organization.  Domain names are registered and renewed through registrars such as Godaddy.com.  However, in many cases, the owner of the domain name is not the company owner, but rather the hosting provider or web developer. This situation could result in very bad consequences for the business later.

There are at least four contacts that are associated with a domain name registration: owner, administrator, technical, and billing.  I have encountered many situations where the business owner is not listed as any of those contacts.  Instead, the hosting provider or web developer is listed. What makes matters worse is that many business owners do not have the credentials to login and access their domain name registration with their registrar.  They completely rely on the hosting provider or their web developer and therefore, have no control of their domain name and legally do not own it.

You, the business owner, should have your contact information listed as the owner of the domain name.  That will establish you on record as being the owner of the domain name. You should designate someone to be the administrator if not yourself. The administrator is a backup contact that emails will be sent to from the registrar. The technical contact can be the web developer or hosting provider. This contact is also a backup contact for the registrar.  The technical contact should not have administrator or owner privileges to the domain name (e.g., they cannot change name servers without the owner’s or administrator’s permission). The billing contact could be someone designated to handle company billing and will be responsible for renewing the domain name yearly.  Do not blindly allow the hosting provider or web developer to register, renew, or manage your domain name registration without your oversight.

Not having control of your domain name could result in losing it later.  I have seen that very thing happen to companies.  A disgruntled web developer, for example, could refuse to make changes and therefore, hold your domain name hostage.  They could refuse to make the requested changes to the name server, for example, so that you can move the company’s website to another web developer or hosting provider.

Ensure that you have access to your domain name registration with the registrar.  Are you able to sign in to your domain name registration?  If not, then you need to get that access as soon as possible.  The business owner or at least the administrator should be able to access the domain name registration account to make changes.  The owner and administrator should have full control of the domain name registration.

Having access and ensuring ownership of your domain name is not just to protect yourself from a malicious web developer or hosting provider.  It also protects you from a situation where something happens to your web developer or hosting provider.  It also protects you from the situation where the web developer is inaccessible, e.g., on vacation.  So always ensure that you have full control and access to your domain name registration.

Contact Reggie at 215.362.0967 if you have any questions or need help with your domain name registration.  I would be more than happy to assist you.  Feel free to contact me if you need a website for your business as well.

Reggie’s PC Resources offers domain name registration servers at http://domains.rpcr.com.