Your domain is your business.
Does your web designer/developer or web design company own your domain? If you did not register it yourself there is a good chance that they do. How about we take a look at why that is important and why your brand could potentially be in danger.
A domain is what you type into your web browser to access a website for example osowebproductions.com.
You never really “own” your domain name think of it more like a lease, just like you don’t own your phone number but rather lease it from a phone company and you pay a fee to use that phone number. To keep things simple we are going to use the word “own” for the purpose of this article.
Who owns the domain?
The person (or company) that owns the domain is whoever registered the domain in their name. Just because the domain is your company’s name does not mean it is registered in your name or that you have any rights to it. First step you need is to do is to check who owns the domain you can do this by using a Whois domain search tool and check the name under the Registrant Name.
Also check the following:
- Registrant name should be either your name or the full legal name of your business.
- Your address and phone number are current and correct.
- Email address is correct and working.
- The contact address of the website should be of those legally responsible for the business; officers, managers, owners or directors.
If there is a privacy protection system in place on your domain you will have to check that the service provider has the correct information. This varies depending on what domain service you use, however in most cases you should be able to access this information by logging into the account the domain was registered on. For example if your domain was purchased using GoDaddy log into your GoDaddy account and review all of your registration information. If your web designer or web host didn’t provide your with this information this might be a of some concern. Contact them and obtain this information ASAP.
If all of this information is in order than you can take a seat and relax you own your website!
If you are the owner of your domain and you have been locked out by whoever you hired to work on your site for whatever the reason might be don’t panic. Simply call the service provider and after verifying your information they will reset the password for you.
Are you not the owner of your domain?
Give up all hope is lost!!!
Ok I’m just kidding just trying to see if I still have your attention. Relax, take a deep breath and follow these steps.
Contact your website developer/designer.
A lot of times designers and developers have a lot of work on their hands and tend to neglect small things that should not be overlooked. Get in contact with your websites designer and simply request the information needed to change the domain ownership information. There are a lot of ethical business and loyal designers out there who will not give you any problems assuming you have kept a good relationship with them over time.
If your web designer owns your domain don’t panic. After all you paid them to setup your website. To prevent this from happening make sure that your contract between you and your designer specifically states who will be the owner of the domain. This should also include when and where they will be required to surrender the access to your website whether it will be after a certain amount of time, after a payment or on request.
My designer/developer evaporated.
So you cannot find them anywhere. Start with your registrar, contact them explain the situation and ask for help. If you don’t know your registrar and you can’t get in touch with your developer contact ICANN and follow the necessary steps
ICANN is the invisible giant when it comes to domain names. They control the domain registry small or large. But reaching them is not simple they make it very difficult and are not very accessible to the public. Understandably if they were not everyone would be reaching out to them to get possession of nike.com, google.com and other internet giants.
Find the needed information here : ICANN
I would recommend this to be absolutely the last resort because it will almost inevitably end with legal consequences.
Always remember step 1. Contact your designer and ask them for their help. Ideally, they will submit the transfer request and, in a few business days, the domain name will be all yours.
I can’t deal with this! My head hurts!
Do not worry luckily you came to the right place don’t hesitate to contact me. Weird thing is that I am for hire. I am also here just to answer the occasional question for free!
If you would like to know how I handle Web hosting you can find it on my FAQ.