Your website’s domain name is important. It’s an address. It’s an identity. It’s printed all over your business cards, brochures, ads, social media accounts, and so on! What would happen if one day, you realized you lost it? Someone else has stolen it. Your website won’t work without it. What would you do now?
While instances of domain name scamming or theft are rare, one instance is one instance too many. Do you know the best ways of protecting your domain name?
Make sure it’s registered in your name.
Most domain name registrars will register your domain name in your name. This is important. The name listed as the registrant is the one who makes the final decision as to what to do with the domain name. For example, if your name is listed as the registrant for your domain, you have the authority to move it from one registrar to another, to renew it, or to cancel it. A few registrars, however, aren’t so trustworthy. You can register your domain name with them, but they list themselves as the registrant. Sure, they’ll remember to charge you, but they technically own your domain name. Don’t let that happen to you. Ask first if you can specify who is listed as registrant. This will allow you to have control over your own domain name.
Make sure it’s locked.
Domain names can be locked with the registrar. This simply means that the domain name can’t be moved unless it’s first unlocked. The benefit of this is that someone else can’t come along—pretending to be you—and move your domain name. It must be unlocked first by the registrar.
Ignore solicitations that look like invoices.
Because it’s public information who has registered a domain name, some companies will send you solicitations that look like invoices, asking for you to renew your domain name. Unsuspecting people sometimes respond to these, thinking they’re simply renewing their domain name. Instead, they’ve paid someone else to transfer their domain name away. While these solicitations just happen, you can protect your domain name by not responding to them. Remember who your registrar is, and only respond to notices from them. If you have any questions, always check with your registrar first before taking action.
It’s easy to protect yourself.
Doing a little homework before selecting a domain name registrar can help you find a reputable one. If you’re in doubt, ask your designer, developer, or marketer for recommendations. Once you’ve registered, keep your domain name safe by keeping it locked unless you’re moving it, and only renew with your current registrar. You’ll be happy to keep your own domain name for years to come.