Be the Master of your own Domain:
Designing a website is a relatively simple task when compared to the job of gaining or re-gaining control of your domain name.
In owning a website, you should certainly own your domain name. To simplify the web site construction process, some hosting companies and web designers act on your behalf to register your domain name for you. The usual downside to this process is that the hosting company or web design technically owns your domain.
Transferring a domain to another registrar is quite simple and only requires the receipt of a transfer code from the current registrant. Sounds easy, but most times it’s not. This article will help you regain control and become the master of your own domain…name. Let’s start from scratch…
Registrant vs. Registrar:
You as the domain owner are considered the registrant. The company you buy the domain from is called the registrar.
The first step in building any website is to register your desired domain name. It’s an easy process once you understand the basics. The place where you register your domain name is called the “domain name registrar“. The registrar business used to be dominated by companies like Network Solutions, but over the years many other ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) approved registrars have appeared offering low cost domain name registration services. For it’s sheer simplicity and household name familiarity, we recommend using GoDaddy as your domain name registrar.
Why GoDaddy in particular? We like them because they now have a “Pro” program for webmasters which allows you to own your own domain name order your personal account yet allow access to a webmaster to administer all the sticky technical data settings. If working with our company, just open your account, register the desired domain name and pay. That’s it. Tell us the domain name or email account associated with the domain and our Pro account can connect to your account.
Beware of the upsell:
One caveat of GoDaddy is their aggressive services up-sell process. Once you select a domain name, they will try to sell you everything they offer. Skip the up-sell and proceed directly to your cart. You should leave GoDaddy paying just under $15.00 for a one year domain name registration. BTW, all domain names are billed annually until you decide to cancel. If you need other GoDaddy provided services, they can be added at a later date. Never buy GoDaddy hosting. Fair warning.
The Dreaded Locked Down Domain:
If you already have an operating website and your web designer registered the domain, you could be in for a tough slog in getting control of your domain. Some companies like Yellowbook / Hibu keep tight control of your domain name. Why? Because it prevents you from leaving their overpriced services. A quick look at Consumer Affairs dot com by doing a google search for “Hibu complaints” currently shown an overall score of 1 star out of 5 and 266 complaints filed. This is considered domain name hell. They only way out is to completely cancel your Hibu services at which point their user agreement states that they will release the domain. They use contact privacy which requires them to unlock and enable transfer. So in their case or with similar companies you need to go to GoDaddy, open and account, initiate a transfer and hope they respond after you cancel your services.
Regaining Control of Your Domain:
So far we can see that starting from scratch with a new domain is the easiest. So how do you regain control of your domain name once someone else has it? The first step is to find out WHO has it. This can be done with a simple “whois” search that can be performed on almost any domain name registrar site. Here is GoDaddy’s whois page link: https://www.godaddy.com/whois
The “whois ” gives you all the owner details you need. These details are broken into three main sections; the Registrant contact (typically YOU), the Administrative contact (you or your Web Designer) and the Technical contact (you or your Hosting Company / Web Designer). You can be all three if you like. If you are sneaky and don’t want anyone to know who owns your domain name, you can opt to buy the extra “private registration” upsell. Private registrations in my humble opinion indicate an untrustworthy site that I’d rather not do business with and thus avoid.
Private registration add another layer of complexity because most domain name owner have no idea how to access their privacy websites to receive transfer requests. I’ve personally found these the most challenging of all domain transfers. Many times the negotiations can go on for weeks or months as the party who currently owns the domain refuses or continually fails to respond. Regardless, I take these jobs on regular and have yet to be thwarted.
Beware of Domain Squatters:
Of course if you have failed to update your credit card or allowed your domain to lapse, regaining your domain become nearly impossible, especially if it is acquired by a domain squatter. This is why we also recommend that you renew for 5 to 10 years in advance rather than annually.
In many cases even an amicable domain name transfer can go sour if the current owner has the domain inadvertently “Locked”. This can be discovered in the “whois” record by looking for the domain status. Here is an example of a locked domain:
Domain Status: clientTransferProhibited http://icann.org/epp#clientTransferProhibited
If this is the case, call the current owner and kindly ask him to unlock the domain so it can transferred away.
Persistence Pays Off:
Domain transfers rarely go smoothly on the first attempt. Even second attempts fail if everyone is not on the same page. If you’re lucky, the third is the charm if all your ducks are in a row. It can be a confusing process and time sensitive. If your transfer sits uncompleted for over 30 days, GoDaddy will cancel the transfer. They won’t automatically issue a refund for the transfer fee, but if you contact their support team (live chat works well) and you know your support PIN, they will quickly refund and restart the transfer process for you.
If you are having problems regaining your domain name, please feel free to CONTACT US and we’ll help your get back your domain name.