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Help! My domain name is being held to ransom!

Help! My domain name is being held to ransom!

This is quite a serious topic and has complications for your business reputation online.  Over the course of this post, I talk about the different scenarios where your domain (and often website) is held to ransom.

Some of these scenarios – you have more control over than you may realise.  Others, where you need a third-party involved.

Let’s dive straight in.

Scenario 1 – MY RENEWAL FEE with my domain name registrar company HAS JUMPED UP – WHAT DO I DO?

There are some established companies who tempt you with the registering of your domain name at a cheap price for the first year and then suddenly go up to a ridiculous price at the time of renewal.

Firstly, if this is the case, don’t panic!

Next, check when your domain name is due for renewal – either by logging into your domain name registrar (DNR) website or by typing your web address into one of the tools – Nominet or Who.is.  After you’ve clarified when your domain expires, it’s time to choose a new company that have more reasonable and consistent domain name prices.  Create a Business Website recommends TSOHost and 123-reg.co.uk.

You can then request a transfer to them. You’ll need to request an AuthCode from your current DNR, to confirm the transfer from one registrar to another.

Scenario 2 – I RECEIVED A LETTER ASKING ME TO RENEW FOR A HUGE AMOUNT, DO I NEED TO DO THIS?

In the old days of the web, a registrant’s contact details used to be in the public domain. Often, registrants would receive what they thought were letters telling them to renew their domain names for extortionate amounts.

The only place you need to renew your domain name is with the domain name registrar, like TSOHost or 123-Reg for example, who your domain name is currently registered with. Unless you are wanting to move domain name registrars because they’ve hiked their prices (see scenario 1).

Be wary of any demands received in the post and indeed via email. If you’re unsure, get in touch with your current domain name registrar via their website. Most importantly, make sure you remember who you’ve registered your domain name with!

Scenario 3 – I NEED MY DOMAIN TRANSFERRING TO ME FROM MY FRIEND/FAMILY/WEB DESIGNER – HOW DO I DO THIS?

In the first instance, if responsibility for the website and domain name is being moved over to you, you will need to complete a Registrant Transfer to ensure the domain name is changed into your name or that of your business.

You can do this through your domain name registrar if they are accredited by Nominet. You’ll need to find out what their procedure is for doing this.

This depends hugely on the relationship you have with the person or company who has helped you set-up your website.  If things turn sour, or worse they disappear, you will need to bring in a third party to help resolve the issue.

If your web designer or friend has registered your domain name in their name you will need to contest the ownership of the domain name.

Why?

Because they own it if they’ve paid for it!  If you find yourself in this situation and the person who owns it, is refusing to release your business domain name to you, you can do this through Nominet’s Dispute Resolution Service.

Take a deep breath!

The first two scenarios are within your control.  In the first one, you’ll need to shop around to find reasonable charges and potentially have to move your domains to a new registrar.   The second scenario you need to login to your domain name registrar website to confirm if it does need renewing. The third scenario has the potential to cause the most headache and heartache, so if I can leave you with two pieces of advice with regards to domain names it is this…

  1. Always, always register your website domain name in your own name or that of your business/organisation!
  2. Never, ever, under any circumstances allow a web designer/friend to move your domain name from the place where you have bought it.
    If they say you need to for people to be able to see your website – this is wrong (and misleading)!  …and could potentially cost you more money having to transfer it back!

    The only information a web designer needs, and which they should be providing you with, is the Nameservers addresses that point your domain name to where your website is hosted!

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