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domain name

Your Domain Name

The shocking news

If you currently have a website, it’s very possible that your .com (domain name) may not be YOUR dot.com. In other words, you might not be the legal owner of your own domain name! If that’s the case, whoever is the owner has control of your website and online presence. If you decide you want to work with someone else to update your website, or lower your hosting costs, this would make it difficult, as you would have to gain legal ownership of your domain to make any of these changes.

First, a primer

A website contains 3 elements:

1. Your dot.com, .org, .net, etc (domain name)
2. Your website
3. A hosting company, which “hosts” the website.

Your dot.com points to
your website, which is located on a computer, owned by a hosting company. Cost: about $15/year for domain name and about $5 - $11/month for hosting.

Best case to worst case scenarios

my dot com
Best:
-
You have not registered your dot.com yet. Best to set it up when you set up your hosting account.

- You registered your dot.com, but have not pointed it to a website yet.

- You registered your dot.com, and someone else built a website for you. Since you registered the name, you have control over it. You can log in and change some information if needed.

Worst:
-
Someone else (or a company, such as yellow pages) built your website and registered your domain name. They are then the legal owner, and it’s questionable if you can even get the domain name from them.

- Someone else (or company) built your website, registered your domain name and put a privacy on it. In this case, you can’t see who the legal owner is.

Who owns your domain name?

who owns your domain
If you currently have a website, and are unsure who owns the domain name, this is how to find the legal owner.

Step 1. Go to: https://whois.icann.org and type in your domain name.

Step 2. Look at your whois information. It will look like the whois record below for our company.

I have
red highlighted the Registrant and Admin Names and blue highlighted the Registrant and Admin email addresses. All information must be your information and your email address must be your current email address!

If there is a Privacy on your domain name, you will not be able to see the Registrant or Admin.
Domain Name: YOUR DOMAIN NAME.COM (or .net, .org, etc)

THE FOLLOWING IS ABOUT 1/3 WAY DOWN

Registry Registrant ID:
Registrant Name: Your Name
Registrant Organization: Your Company Name
Registrant Street: Your Street Address
Registrant City: Your City
Registrant State/Province: Your State/province
Registrant Postal Code: Your zipcode
Registrant Country: US
Registrant Phone: Your Phone
Registrant Phone Ext:
Registrant Fax:
Registrant Fax Ext:
Registrant Email: Your Email Address
Registry Admin ID:
Admin Name: Your Name
Admin Organization: Your Company Name
Admin Street: Your Street Address
Admin City: Your City
Admin State/Province: Your State/province
Admin Postal Code: Your Zipcode
Admin Country: US
Admin Phone: Your Phone
Admin Phone Ext:
Admin Fax:
Admin Fax Ext:
Admin Email: Your Email Address

What to do

domain name help
If someone else owns your domain, you can ask them to either give you the domain’s web address and password, and you can update the information yourself, OR ask them to update the Registrant and Admin to your information. In some cases, they may resist, as it could cost them some long term income.

Alternately, you can find out where the domain is registered (domain registrar), talk to that company, and find out from them how to change the domain information to you. You can find that information near the top of the whois, discussed above.

If you don’t succeed in gaining legal ownership of your domain name, here’s an option. If you have a fairly new website without a lot of incoming links from other sites, you might consider a new domain name. If you are going to have a new website done, then it’s best to work with your web designer to set up the new domain along with the new website. It’s a more streamlined process that way. Backlink.com can give you incoming link information.
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