Creating/Migrating your website? Things to Know Part 1

Several key aspects of the "website technology" are often overlooked when creating / migrating your website. Without understanding some of the basics, your 'launch' could turn into a major headache. Knowing the details up front helps planning and execution go as smoothly as possible and prevents future headaches. Today's post is about Domain Registration.

Domain Registration

Do you own your domain? Seems like a simple question, but numerous times I have encountered situations where the domain is not owned by person or company that the domain is used by. Perhaps the domain was registered by someone no longer with the organization or a web developer that originally helped you launch your first site.

This can lead to several difficult scenarios.

  1. Your domain may be expiring and you are unable to renew it. Even worse, it has already expired and getting it back could become a costly venture if someone else snatched it up.
    NOTE: domain hijacking is a real threat, be cautious when giving out domain registration information.
  2. You are unable to update the contact info (WHOIS). This can be important when trying to obtain an SSL certificate for example.
  3. You are unable to update the NameServer (NS) information. This may be needed if you change DNS Service providers.

Often trying to rectify this situation can be difficult and frustrating. If you are lucky, you have login information to the registrar's portal (eg. Network Solutions, GoDaddy, EasyDNS to name a few) to update the WHOIS. Hopefully you are still on friendly terms with the original registrant and can work with them to transfer the domain ownership. If you find yourself really stuck, most providers have a documented process in place for just this type of scenario. Do not hesitate to contact their support as well and explain the situation.

If you are registering a new domain you should do so in a way to avoid the scenarios described above in the future. Do not use a "personal" account for a new company domain. Create an account for the company so the credentials can be passed along should you leave the organization. The domain transfer process can be painful to both parties involved, so why not avoid it?

Make sure you own your own domain and you keep your WHOIS information up-to-date!