Avoid Domain Hostage

Avoid hostage domain name and website hosting situations

There are two vital pieces of information any website owner should know:

  1. Domain name information – If you have a website, you‚ have probably registered a .com name (or one of many other dot somethings) for your business. A domain name registrar such as GoDaddy or Network Solutions keeps records of the domain name, who owns it, and where it points to. As you develop your business and your website, the domain name itself really becomes more important.
  2. Website hosting information – Your website is usually stored on a computer in a remote location, referred to as a Server. This is where all of your files actually reside and get served to Internet browsers. This service is managed by a hosting company or managed by the person/company who built/manages your website. Most hosting services provide you with some type of Control Panel to manage your account and FTP information so you access your site files.
    Avoiding hostage situations

Does this sound familiar?

  • The person in charge of your website moves away, is totally unresponsive to requests, or the company managing your site goes out of business, taking all your website information with them.
  • You started a business with a partner and the relationship has gone sour. The partner is holding the domain name and access to your website for ransom.
  • You’re unhappy with performance of your existing website manager and bring on a new person/company. The previous site manager becomes disgruntled and threatens to take down your website or demands a sum of money.

We see these situations with our clients on a monthly basis. It slows progress, is an emotional and financial drain for the parties involved, and occasionally even involves legal action.

There are a few simple things you can do to avoid finding yourself in these situations.

  1. Have everything registered in your name – Many people find registering a domain name and hosting an intimidating process, especially if they’re unfamiliar with the Internet. Have someone you trust help walk you through the process to register these for you in your name. If it’s for your business and you have a partner, include that information as well during the registration. Most importantly, if you have a third party consultant or business register the name for you, make sure you’re listed as the main or administrative contact.  If there is ever any disputes, you can call your domain registrar or hosting company and verify you are the rightful owner.
  2. Keep records of the login information – Keep printed records of your registration info. Should anything happen with the parties involved or your email disappears, you’l be able to access your site. Know your domain registrar and web host company, and all related login information.
  3. To be sure your website is registered in your name, do a WHOIS lookup for your domain name on whois.net. If it isn’t, contact your website manager or business partner to make that happen.
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