Occasionally we get that call with the customer panicking saying that everything is down and they can’t see their website or get their email. The first thing we check in this instance is if the domain is expired. This can happen due to people not owning their own domain and as such, not getting the renewal notice from their registrar (company that the domain was purchased from)

Another time we see this is when we go to put a site live and cannot point the DNS because the company or organization does not actually own their domain and they can’t get into their own settings.

Why is this important

Aside from any potential downtime on your website & email, it is important to own your domain, like it is important to have your name on your bank account. Whomever owns you domain needs to be with your company forever. Which is likely the owner

How to tell who owns your domain

The best way to tell who owns your domain is by doing a WHOIS search (pronounced who is). This will tell you who the registrar is (company that sold the domain) and who the administrative contact is. This should be you or someone on your team that will always be there.

What to do if you are not in control of your own domain

If the relationship is amicable with the current owner of your domain you can ask them to make sure it is unlocked at the registrar and to provide you with an EPP key. You can then goto a registrar of your choice and initiate a transfer. Once the transfer has been initiated, the current owner of the domain will be sent a link to approve or deny the transfer.

If the person who registered the domain is no longer around or the relationship is sour, you will need to prove that you own your domain by faxing in some sort of proof. Depending on the TLD (top level domain i.e. .com, .net, .ca, etc) some registrars have different protocols on domain disputes.

Still confused?

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