Your domain name is a CRITICAL and hard-to-replace component of your web presence. Take steps to make sure you don’t lose it!
It seems like a great time for a Public Service Announcement. We’ve recently helped several clients work through some really messy situations where they almost lost their domain names. It is no fun I promise! But, it can be avoided!
If you lose control of your domain name you are at risk to lose:
- Your current website being accessible on that domain name
- Any rankings, SEO value, or links pointing to it
- Any email being sent to it
- Worst yet, someone could scoop the domain name and redirect to a different site or put up something nefarious
First, what is a domain name
Obvious right? A domain name is your address on the web, like limecuda.com or google.com
A domain is bought at what is called a “registrar” and has a yearly renewal fee. It can be confusing because the registrar may also provide website hosting, email hosting, and other services all wrapped into one. Sometimes the DNS is controlled at the registrar or at the webhost. However, they can be all separate services and look like for example…
Some common registrars are GoDaddy (we use and recommend), Google Domains, Hover, register.com, Network Solutions (avoid if possible), and NameCheap,
How to prevent losing your domain name
These are the most common issues we bump into…
- The email address connected to the registrar account is one that isn’t often checked or is using the email of a former employee
- The credit card has expired
- The domain isn’t set on auto-renew
- You didn’t realize you were paying for a domain name with that vendor (it is confusing as there is also sometimes separately: website hosting, email hosting, and DNS)
- Have in writing what legal entity or person owns the domain name
Alternatively, we’re happy to purchase / hold domain names on your behalf. This is a courtesy service (with a minimal fee to cover our cost) and means the domain is extremely safe and secure in our account. Whatever the route you choose, please treat your domain name like your birth certificate or some other irreplaceable document.
What to do if you’ve lost your domain name?
First, depending on the registrar you were using, there may be a grace period. GoDaddy is especially generous here while Network Solutions extorts you with a massive fee. Call up your registrar immediately and see what your options are. If someone has already scooped up the expired domain you may be able to negotiate them selling it back to you. I recommend using a service to negotiate on your behalf. There are lots of scammy domain squatters out there.
You may need to look for a replacement domain. Migrating email and website hosting to it will be painful but at some point it may be your only option.
Don’t lose that domain name! Please contact us if you want to chat through your options.
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