02 Apr 2019
Who owns your domain name (SW)
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Earlier this year, we received a request from a customer to assist them gain ownership of their domain name. The domain was registered by a Good Samaritan who helped the company go online. Unfortunately, the person passed away tragically and in the process, the company has been affected because they’ve lost ownership of the domain name - as well as their hosting account.
From time to time, we receive requests from customers who wish to transfer domain name and hosting services to Extreme Web Technologies. These customers happen to be using domain names that have stopped working and are unable to reach their immediate provider for various reasons.
Some of the reasons we see include but not limited to are:
- Expiration of Domain Name
- Suspension of Web Hosting
- Technical issues with their provider
- Unreachable provider
- Death/loss of domain owner
In most cases, the customers are stranded when their provider is unreachable completely via email and phones. In some cases, the provider is a single person who is out of country. In other cases, the person who assisted them initially has passed away and did not hand over the necessary credentials to the customer to carry on with their domain name.
In all of these scenarios, it is next to impossible to assist because of the security procedures in place to verify identity. The domain or hosting owner is the person who registered, and the requesting person is unrecognized. These security procedures should be appreciated because they protect the customers domain and data from being taken over without authorization.
However, it also becomes an issue when the person holding it is actually providing it as a service to the actual end customer. These could be domain name resellers, web hosting providers, technical support companies or even web development agencies.
What can I do to prevent this from happening to me?
It is extremely important to ensure that when you register a domain and hosting; you should:
1) Confirm that the domain ownership belongs to you, as a person/individual or your company if you are employed somewhere.
- The registrant is the most important contact and should always belong to you or your company
- This can be checked through public domain ownership database called the WHOIS service. There are many, the most popular one we usually use is www.whois.sc.
- Your details should also be updated and kept accurate from time to time
2) Confirm that the domain registered by an employee acting for an organization has the organization mentioned in the whois as well as the payment be made by the company. This ensures the provider has issued the service and recognized the company as the owner. In the event of an employee leaving the firm, the provider can recognize and receive requests from the company to update the relevant data.
3) Confirm that you receive hosting credentials such as those for cPanel and periodically ensure they are accessible. You should also double or triple verify the email address registered is accurate in case you lose password and need to self service reset it when the provider is unreachable.
What is the worse that could happen?
Remember, that a domain name is linked to pretty much everything your organization can do on the internet — from email services, DNS settings to website data.
The worst thing that could happen is you’d loose ownership of the domain, and the recognized owner decides to halt your entire business.
You’d incur legal fees to try resolve the matter, such as those arising out of domain dispute. You could also incur fees to get hold of the person to try to obtain the domain name. And, during this entire process, you could suffer losses arising out of business operation being halted by not having access to your emails, website and other associated services.
Looking for domain registration?
Extreme Web Technologies is tzNIC's top accredited registrar serving thousands of customers since 2004. We employ best practices to ensure that your domain belongs to you, and send you reminders and notifications via email and SMS when your domain is due for renewal. Click here to register or transfer your domain name to us.