Are You Master of Your Domain?

Your Domain Name is an Important Business Asset

When you register a domain name, you get exclusive rights to that specific web address. As long as you renew the name on an ongoing basis, it cannot be used by anyone else. This provides a level of security and permanence for your online presence.


Why Your Web Designer (or IT Support Person) Should Not Have Custody of Your Domain Name

If you have custody of your domain name, you have full ownership and control over it. This means you have the authority to make decisions regarding the domain, such as where it points (the hosting provider), the associated email addresses, and any other configuration settings.

Allowing your web designer (or your IT support person) to have custody of your domain name can pose potential risks and challenges. Here are some reasons why it’s better to keep control of your domain name yourself.

Domain Ownership and Control

Legal Ownership: If your web designer (or IT support) owns the domain on your behalf, it may lead to legal and ownership issues. If a dispute arises between you and the web designer, it could be challenging to regain control of the domain.

Dependency and Relationship Issues: Relying on a third party for domain management makes you dependent on them. If your relationship with the web designer sours or they go out of business, you might face difficulties in maintaining or transferring your domain.

Regulatory Compliance: Owning and managing your domain ensures compliance with the legal and regulatory requirements related to domain ownership.

Transfer and Migration Challenges

Complex Transfer Process: If you need to switch web designers or move your website to a different hosting provider, the process becomes more complex if your domain is tied to your previous web designer’s account.

Flexibility and Mobility: When you have custody of your domain, you can easily transfer it to a different registrar or hosting provider if needed. This flexibility is important and makes it easier to switch hosting providers or change your email service without losing your online identity.

Renewal and Expiry Risks

Renewal Delays: If the web designer or IT support person forgets to renew your domain, your website will go offline and your emails will stop working, leading to potential loss of business and credibility.

Expiration Issues: Not only that, if there are issues with the designer’s business or they are unreachable or deceased when the domain is up for renewal, you may have to provide legal documentation to prove your identity and ownership of the domain name. And, depending on how long it’s been since the domain expired, you will have a to pay a reinstatement fee to regain control of your domain name. Or you could lose your domain name entirely.

Access and Control

Limited Configuration Options: You may have limited access to domain configuration settings if the web designer or IT support person controls the domain. This could restrict your ability to make necessary changes and optimizations.

Risk of Unauthorized Changes: Handing over control of your domain to someone else increases the risk of unauthorized changes, potentially impacting your website’s security and functionality.

Business Continuity: If your domain is essential for your business or personal brand, maintaining custody ensures business continuity. Losing control of your domain can lead to disruptions in website and email services, affecting your online presence and communication channels.

To avoid these issues, you should:

  • Register and manage your domain independently.
  • Ensure that you are listed as the registrant, administrative, billing, and technical contact.
  • If you work with a web designer or IT support person, you can grant them access to your account to manage the technical aspects, without transferring ownership of the domain. This way, you retain control and mitigate potential risks.

To maintain custody of your domain:

  • Keep your contact information up to date with the domain registrar.
  • Be aware of domain expiration dates and renew in a timely manner.
  • Keep a valid credit card on file at your domain registrar.

In summary, having custody of your domain name is vital for maintaining control, protecting your brand, and ensuring business continuity. This provides a range of benefits that contribute to your online presence and overall control of your digital identity.