One thing that I make sure all of my clients do before we get started on a website project is to find out where their domain name is hosted and who owns it.
Now if you are reading this blog post, you are probably thinking to yourself..."hmmmm, I wonder where my domain is hosted, and who owns it..?"
You would be surprised at the number of clients that engaged a third-party to set up their original website (sometimes many, many years ago) and they do not know how to access their domain or who owns it.
Unfortunately for the majority of my small business clients, we find out that the third-party they engaged originally actually registered their personal name and/or company name against the domain and sometimes transferring that over will cost you money because technically - that person owns the domain.
"What do you mean? you ask yourself...."That can't be right, can it? It is my business and I asked them to set this up for me, I should own it!"
I come across these sorts of comments A LOT. Now if you find that you don't actually own your own domain name, here are some handy tips.
1) Firstly do a search to find out if you are based in Australia type in this website to your web browser: https://whois.auda.org.au/. The easiest way to use this tool is to type in your domain name into the search bar and press search.
When the results come back, you are looking for these things:
a) Registrar Name (this is where the domain is hosted - for example, I purchased my domain name through Rocketspark and they host with an IT company named Tucows
b) Registrant Contact Name (this is the person who owns the domain name, i.e. when the domain was first registered and first set up, this was the name used). Check - do you know that person?
c) Registrant: (this is the company name of who owns the domain name) Check - is the domain name in your company name, or is it in someone else's?
Registrant ID: (usually this is the ABN) Check - is this your ABN?
It is important to note that only the business owner can own the .com.au domain address. Now this is a good thing - however, other people can still purchase and own the .com domain address which can be a real pain.
So, what can you do if you find that the domain name is in fact registered in someone else's name?
2) Contact the individual or company that owns your domain name. They may be really friendly and just change the details of ownership.
3) If the third party asks for money for the domain name - weigh this up and make sure you safeguard yourself against any future issues. I have been through this with a few clients and some third parties can be really nasty. Weigh up if it is just better to walk away.
Here is my number one tip
1) When registering your new domain name ALWAYS buy the .com AND .com.au domain name when registering a new website
You see - when you set up your small business, you are so excited and sometimes forget about the really important, smaller details that might affect you down the track.
If you are needing help finding your domain name and transferring it from one provider to Rocketspark, please feel free to reach out to me. I would be happy to help.
Oh - and I always make sure my client's domain name is in their name.
Handy links and additional reading: