“Are you Master of your Domain?
“I am King of the County. You?”
“Lord of the Manor.”
“I’m Queen of the castle!”
Are you master of your domain? Do you even know who is listed as the owner of your domain? If you don’t, and especially if your domain is connected to your business, you owe it to yourself, and your business, to find out this information.
A lot of unscrupulous web designers will list themselves as contacts for domains that their clients actually own. Even if the web designer has purchased the domain on behalf of the client, this is wrong. There are several fields of information that can be pulled up when you do a WHOIS lookup. Among those are the following:
- Date of inception of domain
- Date WHOIS record was last updated
- Date domain expires
- Registrar and contact information
- Domain owner and contact information
We highly recommend BetterWHOIS to look up your domain information, but there are many WHOIS sites that can assist you with this. At Pixelita Designs, our practice is to list ourselves only as the Technical Contact — and then only if we have our client’s permission to do so. This ensures that they remain the rightful owner of the domain, but we are contacted regarding any site issues. This saves them from being bothered with technical aspects of site and domain management, especially if we are hosting them and/or they have signed a maintenance contract with us. In short, here’s how we believe the contact information should be filled out for a domain. Make sure that your domain information reflects a similar situation for yourself and your business.
- The client’s company name, address, telephone and email
- Admin Contact
- The client or client representative and its/their name, address, telephone and email. Although sometimes, this can just be a person’s title within the company or organization.
- Tech Contact
- We list ourselves as Technical Contact if we are hosting the client.
- Billing Contact
- Client or Client Representative. It is essential that current contact information is maintained because this is how the domain registrar contacts the domain’s owner to advise of impending domain expiration!
If your web designer or web developer has purchased your domain on your behalf, make sure that you contact them to arrange for transfer (or “push” as it’s known in the industry) of the domain to you or your company. Make sure to reimburse them for the costs associated with having purchased the domain. When transfer occurs, additional annual payment is required and the domain’s expiration is extended one year out. You can continue to retain your web developer as a Technical Contact if he or she is in agreement with this. But do make sure that your own contact information is listed under Owner and Billing Contact. And it’s usually wise to use something other than your domain-based email (such as a throwaway GMail or Hotmail account) for your contact information, since in the event of an outage or suspension of your domain or web hosting, you won’t receive that essential email.
Joni Mueller has been designing web sites for hire since 2003, when she first blew up her web host’s server by insisting on running Greymatter. Since then, Joni has designed for Blogger and Movable Type, TextPattern, WordPress and CMS Made Simple. She lives with her cat and shoe collection in a bucolic old section of Houston called Idylwood. For some strange reason, Joni likes to refer to herself in the third person. When she’s not working on web design, she’s ordering lawyers around. And blogging about it. Or both.