When you are a website owner, it is important that YOU keep control of your domain name. I cannot begin to tell you the problems that I have come across where a new client has let the previous webmaster or the original web designer procure their domain name for them. In the most serious cases, that person had done so under their own name tied to their own private registration account, where the client and real domain name owner had no access.
My top tip for domain security is that every website owner should manage and own their own domain name! It sounds easy to let someone else control this aspect of your website, but if you choose not to work with a web designer or webmaster in the future, you have lost all control of one of the most crucial elements of your web presence – your domain name.
Here are my recommendations for domain security:
1. Before you work with any designer or webmaster, purchase your own domain name and tie it to your credit card, your billing address, and your name using either GoDaddy or Network Solutions. I personally like GoDaddy as the domains are very inexpensive, the control panel easy to use, and they have an auto renew function. Your domain name registrar is not the same as your web host! In fact, your hosting can be at one provider and your domain at another.
2. Don’t let a new web host push you to move your domain registration to them. There is no benefit for you to do this. The hosting agent who encourages you, or misleads you, into believing that this is top priority, is simply looking for a domain registration commission every time you renew your domain.
3. Don’t let your webmaster control your domain name. You can let them manage the changes or additions needed, but don’t ever let them set up domains under their own personal account, with their name as domain administrator. They can be technical director, but not administrator.
4. Protect your domain name as you would your reputation! You never know what the future holds for whom you will use for your webmaster services. I can tell you “real life” stories of clients who have had to abandon their “bread and butter” domain name as the old webmaster either held the domain name hostage or refused to assist with access or transfer. If your name is not listed as the administrator on the domain registration, sometimes the only way to get back access to what you thought you owned, is expensive legal action and months of red tape. It is best to just be safe at the start and own your own domain name.