The domain name is the heart and soul of your website. As such, it’s essential that you register your own domain name and not allow a third-party to register it for you. Unfortunately, many newcomers assume that it’s okay for their web host, web design company, or some other third-party to do it for them.
In some cases, no conflicts will arise, but other instances can result in some serious heartache.
Registering a Domain Name
The process for registering a domain name is relatively simple and straightforward. You create an account on an ICANN-certified registrar such as GoDaddy or NameCheap, find a domain name that’s currently not registered, add it to your shopping cart and checkout. You’ll be asked to enter your contact information, including your name, phone number, and street address. Once you are finished, the domain will be under your control.
Beware of Allowing Others to Register Your Domain Name!
Unless you’ve registered a domain name in the past, you may believe that it’s easier to have another person register it for you. This is a common practice involving web design and SEO firms, many of whom will gladly register domain names for their clients. But this creates several critical problems that can come back to haunt you in the long run.
- The biggest problem with allowing another person or entity to register your domain is the fact that you don’t legally own the domain. Unless you create a contract that explicitly states YOU are the owner of the domain, the person or entity whom registered the domain will retail legal ownership of it.
- You may allow your web designer to register your domain name, for instance, at which point he or she retains legal ownership of it. Nine out of ten times, nothing bad will happen, but there’s always the possibility of a disgruntled firm or worker trying to steal your domain name and use it for their own personal gain.
- If your web designer wishes to do so, he or she could change the nameservers associated with your domain name, pointing them to their own web host. This would essentially erase your website, replacing it with their own.
Of course, you can always attempt to retake a lost domain by filing a whois inaccuracy form with ICANN at http://www.icann.org/en/resources/compliance/complaints/whois/inaccuracy-form. Given the slow response time, however, it’s best to avoid situations like this in the first place by registering your own domain names.
How to Prevent Domain Name Ownership Problems
The easiest way to prevent domain name ownership discrepancies is to register domains under your own name. As long as you are listed at the registrant — and your contact information is correct and up to date – you will retail legal ownership of the domain name.
Have you encountered problems when registering your domain name(s)? Let us know in the comments section below!
Image attribution: https://www.flickr.com/photos/india_7/