Domain Names – who controls yours?

Martin Jarvis

Control your own domain

Are you a website owner? Do you have complete control over your domain name?

Registering a domain name is an easy process these days. There are many domain name registrars (123-reg.co.uk, godaddy.com to name just a few) who are authorised to manage the reservation of domain names, and each offers a quick, easy and usually cheap way of securing your chosen domain name.

Many website developers and web builder packages offer to do this on behalf of the client. When you’re busy getting your business up and running, or when you feel this is something too technical to handle yourself, it’s tempting just to let somebody else do this for you.

However, there are pitfalls! This really does only take a few minutes, and it’s so much better if you do it yourself. Here’s a few reasons why…

Why should I register Domain Name myself?

  1. It’s YOUR domain. If you register it yourself, you have complete control over where that domain points. If you fall out with your developer, want to get the site re-designed by somebody else, or just want to switch your hosting at any time, then you can do it without having to get in touch with them¹
  2. What if the person who registered it on your behalf goes AWOL when it is due for renewal? Domain name registrations typically need to be renewed every 2-5 years. Do you really want to risk your domain name expiring (bringing your site down), or worse, somebody else being able to purchase your domain name?
  3. What if you run many domains? You might not think this is likely when you register your first domain, but eventually you are likely to want to register a few variants on your original domain name (perhaps get the .co.uk and .eu as well as the .com) or perhaps some different domain names altogether. It is better to have these all registered in the same place, in your name, where you can see them and control them conveniently, rather than having them registered all over the place. You’ll get a much better idea of when payments are due

How can I register my own Domain Name?

  1. Take a look at a few domain registrars (such as 123-reg.co.uk, godaddy.com, fasthosts.co.uk) and search for the domain name(s) you want to register
  2. The registrar will show whether your domain name is available, and whether other, similar domain names, are available
  3. Check the price – most offer a choice of registration periods from 1-5 years – and choose the registrar that suits you
  4. Buy the domain and make sure your details (particularly your email address) are correct
  5. You’ll then need to point your domain name at the ‘name server’ that contains details of where your site is hosted. If your site is already hosted somewhere you should be able to get the name server details from your current web host. If your site is under development your website developer will be able to tell you what these values should be

Can I change the Domain Registrar for my website?

Yes, but it can take a little while.

You’ll need to first obtain an authentication code from your existing registrar and remove any domain lock that has been placed on the domain. This should be fairly easy to find by looking around your registration account.

Note: If you don’t currently have access to the registrar account for your website, then it may be worth asking your website developer. If they did this on your behalf they will need to carry out the above step first, before you continue with the steps below.

Then, you’ll need to go to your new registrar, tell them you own the domain and want to register it with them, then supply your authentication code.

This whole process may take a number of days – and of course relies on you being able to contact the person who has access to your domain registration.

Footnote 1 : Switching Your Website Hosting?

If you are just switching your hosting but want to retain your existing website, then you’ll need to get your existing host to provide you with your website files and database (if any) so that you can move them to your new host. You might already have FTP or control panel access to your server to do this yourself, but if not you’ll have to ask your existing host!

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Categories: Newsletter Tips, What I have learned today

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