Do You Know Where Your Domain Names Are?

By Mike Maddaloni on Tuesday, February 19, 2008 at 04:00 AM with 5 comments

“It’s 10 o’clock, do you know where your children are?” This was a brief TV spot I recall from childhood every evening just before 10 p.m. (of course my Mom didn’t have to worry about where I was because I was always at home, but I digress). I would like to take a spin on this phrase and apply it to something near and dear to me, domain names:

“It’s right now, do you know where your domain names are?”

In the last couple of weeks, I personally heard of 2 cases where owners of domain names realized they no longer had control of their domain names as they had expired and were in the hands of other entities. As a result, their Web sites and email accounts were disabled.

How do you avoid this? There are 2 ways to do so – take steps to properly manage your domain names yourself, or hire a professional to do so. As a full service Internet consultancy, this is a service I offer through Dunkirk Systems, LLC. However, if you have the time and interest to do so yourself, here are a few basic steps you can do yourself to manage your domains.

Know what you own

This may seem obvious, but it is vital not to overlook. As it is easy to acquire multiple domain names, it is just as easy to lose track of them. Maintain a list of the domain names, and add to it as you acquire others.

Know when they expire

Next to each domain name on your list, note their expiration date. I recommend to my clients to extend their registration to the maximum 10 years in advance, so you don’t have to worry about it every year. You can also put alerts in your calendar software to remind you to renew them, ideally well before they expire.

Know where they are registered

Ideally you should have all of your domain names together in 1 or maybe 2 registration accounts – it’s always good to have a backup account. Add the registrar’s name to your list, and store the login and passwords in a safe location.

Ensure contact information is accurate

Lookup your domain names in your registration account or with a 3rd party service like Domain Tools and see if your contact information is completely accurate. If not, update it. All of your information, especially your email address, should be correct, as to this email address you will receive renewal and other notices from your registrar.

These are basic and vital steps to managing an important asset to your business. Follow them, and then you can go back to worrying about your kids.

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