Few days ago, I was assisting a client update their domain name when we were faced with a familiar problem: the client did not know their domain registrar account password. This is a very common problem that can easily be avoided.
Here is a look at the stakes and solutions to handling your domain names.
Despite being cheap, losing your domain name is very costly
Today, registering a domain name is very cheap especially with numerous companies offering domain registrar services. One can easily register their domains for even 10 years. But why would one prefer to register a domain for 10 years? Let’s look at some of the reasons why it is not such a good idea.
Losing your domain name can result in:
- Wasting precious time looking for your registrar account login info
- No access to your website
- Damage reputation of your brand (this is determined by who is in control of your domain)
- Losing your search engine ranks
- No access to website emails
- Any materials associated with your domain name will lose its usefulness. This especially affects printed materials like flyers, brochures and business cards.
Why would you lose control of your domain if you register it for 10 years? Here are the answers
I have witnessed this situation many times. It occurs mainly when:
- Government departments are renamed or merged into new departments (in such a case the registrar is unsatisfied with reasons provided including those on an official letter head)
- Registrants have long left the company and are unwilling to cooperate (they probably left in unfriendly terms)
- Registrants used personal emails which they long abandoned or no longer remember passwords
- Registrants used emails accounts that were managed by service providers who have long ceased operations due to mergers, changes, and collapse or rebranded.
Fragile Institutional Memory
This situation was particularly painful to my client as:
- The domain name had been purchased 13 years ago for a period of 20 years. This is a very long period for any individual or business to keep track of their domain login information
- A lot of things will happen in 5 years- imagine how much would have changed in 20 years. People will have changed jobs, change computer hardware and software programs, retired and even die.
- The email account that was used to purchase the domain is currently unavailable due to a number of factors like company mergers or collapse. This will make it impossible to retrieve the reset link email form the registrar.
- Even with no big changes, how many people can have a record or even recall an email they got 5 years ago? Why about 10 or 20 years ago? (Will your company be able to even know who originally received the message 20 years ago?)
Advantages of buying your domain long term
- You will be able to secure your domain name and thus prevent any competitors from acquiring it
- You may get a good discount when buying your domain long term
- You will not have to spend time every year renewing your domain
… These advantages do not seem compelling enough with me!
Advantages of buying short term domains
- You will never forget important details like who bought the domain, email address used and the registrar. (If you forget, you can easily track down this information.)
- You will benefit form the ever reducing prices of domain registration and renewal.
- Issues like accidental expiry will not occur as you will be able to easily respond to registrars renewal emails.
Recommendations for domain name registration
- Only register your domain for 1 year and 2 years at most
- Get your trusted hosting company to register your domain on your behalf: this will enable them manage any renewals without having to depend on registrar reminders. It is however important to ensure you are listed as the administrative contact and your host as the technical contact.
- Purchase your domain using an email tied to a position like firstname.lastname@example.org rather than an individual mail like email@example.com as the main contact.
- Share the login information with a few individuals in your company and also show them how to retrieve such information
- If you are registering on your own, make sure to use a reputable registrar that is well known. Be careful of very cheap registrars (except GoDaddy with the .com 99 cent offers, because they are the World #1 Domain Registrar and they will do not to discredit because your domain name.)
- Use encrypted login-storage-retrieval software like the 1Password and AgileBits ( this is highly recommended to small firms and individuals as it may be difficult to implement in organisations that have complex policies)