Knowing your domain’s registrant is just as important as knowing whose name is on the deed to your home. If you aren’t the domain registrant, you could lose access to your most valuable digital asset.
Are You the Domain Registrant?
You are the owner of your web domain only if you are listed as the domain registrant. For businesses and organizations, the registration should be in your organization’s name—not an employee’s name or marketing agency’s name. This ensures that the business retains control in the event of turnover or other changes.
The first step to learning the identity of your domain’s registrant is to visit ICANN’s WHOIS platform. Simply type in the web address of your organization to view the contact information for both the registrant and registrar of your domain.
It’s important to note that the contact information you see for the registrant on the WHOIS platform may not be indicative of the actual domain registrant. However, if you’ve simply forgotten the email account used to register the domain, this information could guide you to a speedy solution.
If you find the associated account, make sure that you can log in to your registrar’s domain administration portal. We recommend that you make a record of the registrar and login credentials associated with your domain for safe keeping.
However, the domain registrant’s information will often be protected by privacy services offered by the registrar. Or, worse, it could be wholly inaccurate. No matter what, it’s best to reach out to the registrar for more information.
The Implications of Domain Ownership
If you’re not the domain registrant of record, you could potentially face financial, technical, and legal fallout.
There are two common traps you could fall into when registering your domain:
The first occurs when a third-party developer registers a domain on your behalf without properly informing you of the implications. If the developer retains domain ownership and goes out of business or becomes unresponsive, your web presence could be at risk.
Another common problem arises when an employee’s personal account was used to make the registration. If the employee leaves the organization, what happens then?
Unfortunately, in both of these cases, your domain could be at risk of lapsing. This means that your website could become inaccessible, or the domain could be snapped up by domain speculators or competitors. The domain could also be transferred to a new registrar, which may make reclamation even more difficult.
Questions about your domain? Considering a new domain? Talk to us! We’ll make sure you start off on the right foot.