There is a typical scenario that happens out in the world for new business owners. You launch a business and you’re trying to get online as quickly as possible. A friend knows a friend, you hand them a few hundred dollars, and voila – you’re online! Somehow they registered your domain, purchased hosting and then built the website.
If this describes your situation I am not here to shame you. There is nothing wrong with what you did. However, there are some things you need to know. Let’s first start with the basics.
What Is a Domain?
A domain/domain name is your address on the internet. The Digital Capital Company’s is mydigitalcapital.com. In order to visit my company on the internet, you simply type this address in a website browser such as Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Internet Explorer, or Microsoft Edge.
Your domain is a major digital asset that you should own and maintain control of. One of the first things potential customers/clients do is search for your company online to learn more about it. Imagine what could happen if someone was able to take control of your online presence – loss of revenue, non-budgeted cost to rebuild, public relations disaster and more.
Key Considerations When Purchasing a Domain
A registrar is a company that offers domain registration services. In other words, whether the address you want is available or not. GoDaddy is a commonly known registrar. There are hundreds of registrars available such as Namecheap, eNom, Hover, and even Google Domains. There is no right or wrong answer in choosing a registrar, but all companies have their pros and cons.
No matter which registrar you select, they will ask you for three types of contacts: Registrant, Admin and Technical. The key contact type here is Registrant. The name listed as the Registrant is owner of the domain.
What if you hired someone to handle this for you?
In the scenario I first mentioned at the beginning of this post there are a couple of possibilities:
- The person you paid bought the domain with your money and listed THEIR name as the Registrant.
- The person you paid bought the domain with your money and listed YOUR name as the Registrant.
What if you don’t know where your domain is registered or who is the registrant?
When a company such as GoDaddy becomes a registrar they are required to receive an accreditation from ICANN. ICANN’s WHOIS Lookup allows anyone to search the database to find out the registered owner.
To use the WHOIS Lookup CLICK HERE. In the box where it says ‘Enter a domain’ type mydigitalcapital.com and then click on the blue ‘Lookup’ button. You’ll also need to navigate through their captcha spam test. As you can see below, my name and LLC are listed for the Registrant, Admin and Tech contacts.
Let’s pretend I’m not a web developer. In this scenario, I would keep my name as Registrant and Admin Contacts, but I would list my web developer’s name and information as the Tech Contact.
When you scroll down a bit further, you’ll see the registrar’s information. It clearly shows the registrar for my website address is GoDaddy.com, LLC.
What if you find the registrar in a search but you can’t see the registrant name?
This scenario occurs when someone purchases something called domain privacy. It hides your personal information from the public with the intention to avoid things like domain-related spam. This isn’t a bad thing, but it does make it more complicated to find if your web friend or you are the owner. When a domain has privacy it may look something like this:
Using GoDaddy as a Registrar
While GoDaddy isn’t my first choice for services such as hosting or email I do like their domain features. They allow you to easily own and control your domain, as well as allow access to extra people when necessary.
GoDaddy has a ‘Delegate Access’ feature which allows you to essentially say, “you are approved and I’m giving you access to manage my domain for as long as I decide.” This feature is fantastic when you need to give access to someone such as a web developer to manage the technical details of your website.
You don’t have to give out your own username and password, the delegate who is receiving permission to use your account uses THEIR username/password. This is a good security decision. If you decide to change to a different provider, you simply ‘Revoke Access’ and re-delegate access to the new person.
If you aren’t sure about the status of your domain you are not alone. Two out of every three clients I start working with have no idea about most of the details about their website. If you would like to graduate from feeling uninformed to empowered and in control, contact us today.