Who Owns Your Domain Name?

Web Developmenton January 10th, 2011No Comments

I spoke to quite a few prospective clients last week and found a common theme between all of them. 

Not one of the small businesses 
owned their domain name!

It shocks me to find small businesses that have put their trust in questionable web developers.  Who in turn, owns the business’s domain name.  The majority of businesses that are in this situation paid a small indepent web developer for a 3 – 5 page website (an issue for another blog post) and then pay a yearly fee.   Plus, they pay everytime they need anything changed on the site.  One client bought their website from SuperPages (an issue for another blog post) and SuperPages owns the domain name. 

What happens if your web developer
gets ran over by a train?

My first question is always, “What happens if your web developer gets ran over by a train?”  That may be a little out there.  So, maybe your web developer doesn’t get ran over by a train, but your relationship sours.  How do you get control of your domain name?  I’m serious, what would you do to get control of your domain and your website?   Most people respond by shrugging their shoulds and saying, “I don’t know.”   Now, I doubt this is much of an issue with the SuperPages.  But, it is a big issue with small web developers.  

You should own your domain name!

You should own your small business’s domain name and have easy access to it at any time.  Even if you let your web designer buy your domain name for you!  Just make sure they set it up in an account that is in your name.  Don’t forget to get the account’s username and password.   While were at it, you should have the username, password, and FTP access to your hosting account too.

Here’s a few quick tips…

  1. Buy your domain name yourself or at least make sure the domain is registered in an account that is in your name.
  2. Ensure you have the username and password for your account where your domain is registered.   Insist on knowing where your domain is registered and having control of the account!  It could be critical to change the password if your relationship with your web developer goes awry.
  3. Know where your site is hosted.  In fact, you should also have the username and password to this account.
  4. Get FTP login information.   The odds are you won’t use it, but there’s no legitimite reason for your developer not to give it to you. 

These simple tips will help save you from a lot of frustration you may experience if your web developer gets ran over by a train!

Jeff Brooks

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