Who owns your Domain Name?

Unfortunately, most small businesses do not own their own Domain Name. Most small business owners don’t have the time or inclination to create and maintain their own web site, and contract a Web Design company to both register their Domain Name and create their Web Site. In the process, it’s common for the designer to register the Domain Name in their own name rather than the business’s name. They make themselves the “Registrant”, which means they own the Domain Name.

There’s nothing illegal about domain names being owned by others, but it is not desirable. Like a Trademark or a Registered Business Name, your Domain Name SHOULD be registered to YOU, not your web designer or an employee. Would you hire a lawyer to trademark your business name in HIS name? No. The lawyer would register the trademark on your behalf so that YOU own it. Your Domain Name should be the same. YOU should be the owner, the “Registrant”.

Why is this important? The typical scenario is that a company does not own it’s Domain Name. Perhaps they need to move their Web Site to another host, their web designer closes up shop, their web host goes down for an extended period, or they choose a new web designer. Each of these cases requires prompt attention by the Registrant. If the Registrant is no longer in business or is not cooperative, your site could be down for an extended period while you straighten out the mess.

It’s easy to tell who owns your domain name. You can visit any Registrar site, like Network Solutions or Better-Whois.com, and type in your domain name (without the “www.”). Whoever is listed as the “Registrant” owns your domain name. While you’re at it, take a look at the other people associated with your registration. Any of the people listed have some level of control over your site. Verify that each contact is correct and that all the contact information is correct. If YOU are not the Registrant, or the other contacts registered to your domain are no longer correct, we recommend you have this corrected now … before you need to later.

Who owns YOUR Domain Name?