I have had clients that have lost their domains for the following reasons:
- Russian hackers took over the domain.
- The domain was taken over by a disgruntled customer of my client.
- Ignored the domain renewal reminders and didn’t pay.
- Never received the domain renewals as they were sent to an old email address, and didn’t pay.
- Paid a scam email thinking that was the domain renewal and didn’t pay the real domain renewal.
- Completely lost the login information for the registra.
- The business was sold or transferred but the domain was not.
All of these situations happened before I got involved. Once I got involved I have been able to recover the domain with the exception of the first two cases. I am not getting in the middle of a dispute or fighting Russian hackers. When the domain is completely lost the fastest course of action is to register a new domain.
The best course of action is to keep control of your domain.
Your domain belongs to you. Ideally it should be registered under your name and your credit card should be used for the renewals. The renewals should be set up to be automatic. You should pay the extra for privacy so you aren’t flooded with spam offers.
The email address that you use to register the domain should be an email address that you will always have access to. Keep in mind that many free email services will deactivate your email address if you don’t use it for an extended period of time. Your old hotmail or yahoo email address may become a spam honeypot that you no longer can access. You also don’t want to use a work email address as over the years you will likely switch jobs. Using an internet provider address (Comcast, AT&T, or RoadRunner) can also be an issue as you may move to an area not serviced by the same provider. I currently recommend that you use a personal gmail email address. Second choice is a personal Microsoft outlook email address or an Apple email address.
Document everything! Record the Registra (where you registered your domain) with your login information. Common Registras that I recommend today are namecheap.com or domain.com. Old school is networksolutions.com, which was the original and only registra in the US. If your domain is registered there, that is fine, but if you are just starting out choose another Registra. I recommend you avoid goDaddy.com but if you really want to use them, they get the job done.
Many website hosting and website building companies include domain registration when you first set up your domain. As the years go by you may end up changing your hosting or moving your website to a different platform. You still have to pay your domain registration fees. You may still do this through your web hosting company (for example bluehost.com) or you may have a separate bill from the Registra that the website building company used. Make sure you record and document this.
For some of my clients I have registered their domain for them and rebill them for the registration fees. This is not the ideal situation as I would much rather have my clients take care of their own domain registration fees directly. But sometimes at relationship like that may be best if it avoids the headache of reactivating a domain that is suspended for nonpayment.
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