You’ve been anxiously waiting for your new website to be built by your web design company and it’s finally ready to launch. All they need you to do is to log into your domain account and change a few settings.
The problem is you don’t have an account! Your domain was registered by your old web hosting company for you, but only they have access to it because it’s on their account. Hopefully you still have a good working relationship with them…
What exactly is a domain? A domain is your website’s url destination – for instance Google’s http://www.google.com domain is google.com. It’s essentially your website’s virtual street address. In order to set up your business’ website, someone needs to register for that address (like filing for an address change with the post office).
Many web design/hosting companies will offer to purchase a domain on your behalf when you have a new website built and you don’t already have a domain purchased. This brings a few benefits, like not having to remember one more username and password combo, and not having to remember to renew your domain each year.
The benefits of convenience are far outweighed by the potential to lose access to your domain (and therefore your business’ website) because you simply didn’t register it yourself and don’t have the key to access it.
What happens when you want a new website 5 years down the road and the company that registered your domain is no longer in business? What do you do when your relationship with your web company sours and you want to leave, but they refuse or drag their feet when it comes to transferring your domain into your name?
Unfortunately, these things can and do happen. Usually your only option is to purchase a new domain, which doesn’t have the same branding or internet presence as your old domain name. You have to start over.
Save yourself a potential headache when you get a new domain for your website and register it yourself. It’s easy! There are many different companies to register through, including namecheap.com and godaddy.com, and the process is relatively simple. The few minutes you spend today can potentially save you a lot of time down the road.