8 Important Steps To Protect Your Domain Name 

Your domain name is an essential business asset that lives at the heart of your business. It gives life to your website and email. Lose your domain, and you’ve got a painful road to recovery.  

To be clear, your domain name is NOT your website. Your website is the set of pages that loads up when people browse your domain name. Those web pages can be copied to any domain name. Websites are easy to replace. Trying to recover a domain name you’ve lost control of is very difficult and sometimes impossible.  

Years ago, we had a high-profile Client lose her domain name. Before she could get it back, a bad actor in Latvia bought it and turned it into a porn site! Even though the domain name had nothing to do with pornography, they were banking on the popularity of the domain to get traffic and rank. She ended up having to get a new domain name. That meant updating her email address in countless places, changing all her print materials (business cards, rack cards, brochures, etc.), dealing with not getting important notifications which were going to her old email address, and trying to do password recoveries without being able to get the recovery emails.  

Around the same time, there was a popular local web developer who went out of business (and disappeared). Sadly, all the websites he created had domain names registered in HIS name. Several businesses lost their domain names. A few went through the time-consuming, difficult process of pleading with domain registrars to convince them that they should be given the domain name. It didn’t work.  

Sadly, every year, we have cases where Clients almost lose their domain name.  

Protecting your domain name is ESSENTIAL for your business. Here are 8 important steps you need to take to protect your domain name: 

  1. Use a Good Domain Registrar. There’s a lot of bad domain registrars out there: charge for “extras” that others include (like domain forwarding, DNS hosting), have difficult user interfaces, terrible customer support (no phone number or online chat) and  
    Here are a few we recommend: GoDaddy, NameSilo (who we use), NamesCheap, and their prices are competitive, have great customer service.  
  1. Keep Your Credentials Safe. Use a strong password that is only used for your domain registrar. We use a password manager that generates strong passwords for us and keeps them safely stored. As an added layer of protection, setup “2 Factor Authentication” to prevent others from breaking into your account. Again, our password manager makes that simple for us.  
  1. Don’t Share Your Credentials. You (and your business Partners) are the only ones who should have the ability to login to your domain registrar…not even web designer/host. Good domain registrars offer something called “delegate access” (or similar) whereby you can share limited access to work with your domain without sharing your credentials.  
  1. Register with a permanent, non-domain email address.  We’ve seen two scenarios come up rather often:  
    (1) They register with an email that uses the same domain they’ve just registered. This is bad because if your domain expires, your email no longer works. 
    (2) someone has registered with an email they no longer have access to (commonly, we see this with @rogers.com and @sympatico.ca addresses when people move or change internet providers). This is bad for two reasons: password recoveries don’t work and you don’t get the domain renewal emails.  
  1. Keep Contact Info Up To Date. Associated to every domain are several different contact types: 
    Registrant. The legal owner of the domain. This MUST BE YOU: name, address, phone number, and email.  
    Administrative. Gets important notifications like domain renewals and transfer approvals.  
    Billing. This contact is responsible for accounting related activities like payment.  
    Technical. This contact is responsible for technical aspects of your domain (updating DNS, name servers, etc.) 
    Often, all 4 contacts are in the business owner’s name. Don’t do otherwise unless you have a specific reason to. If your web designer/host asks you to make them the technical contact, that’s fine. Just remember that if you change providers, update your domain accordingly.  
  1. Put A Transfer Lock On Your Domain. Sometimes, domain names get transferred from one domain registrar to another (e.g., if you’re with a bad registrar, you need to transfer it to a good one ASAP). Sometimes, unscrupulous actors (there are bad web designers out there!) try to transfer your domain away from you. To help protect against this, you can setup what is called a “transfer lock” which is an added layer of protection. Different registrars will call this by different names and how it works can differ but essentially before a domain can be transferred, the admin contact has to authorize it.  
  1. Watch Out For Domain Renewal Spam. If you’re not using “domain privacy”, then it’s very easy for anyone to get your contact info and domain expiry date. There are unscrupulous domain registrars that send you urgent, official notices (commonly in the mail) that trick people into changing their registrar to them, at grossly inflated prices.  
    An easy way to help protect yourself from this is to turn on domain privacy. It’s usually just a small annual fee and some registrars, like NameSilo, offer it for free. With domain privacy turned on, your contact info is hidden from unscrupulous eyes.  
  1. Take renewal emails seriously! Several times a year, our website monitoring system lets us know a domain has expired and we’re on the phone helping a panicked Client find their domain registrar login info! A good domain registrar will send you several emails warning you of an upcoming domain renewal. For added protection, turn on “auto renewal” so you don’t have to worry about your website and email going down.  

This may all be technical mumbo-jumbo to you. Nevertheless, these are important steps you need to take to protect your domain name. If you’re not sure about any of this, reach out to us and we’ll help you get protected.  

This may all be technical mumbo-jumbo to you. Nevertheless, these are important steps you need to take to protect your domain name. If you’re not sure about any of this, reach out to us and we’ll help you get protected.  

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