Who really owns your website domain?

This may be a question that strikes a bad feeling through your spine if you’re not really sure.  But a very important question I ask when coming across a new client that wants an overhaul on their current site and transfer hosting companies.  A hosting company is a business that has large amounts of servers that store your site information, data, and files.  A hosting company can also register your domain name. Some well known hosting companies include MediaTemple, Register.com, GoDaddy, and 1and1.  I use 1and1 because they’ve been around for a number of years, and I’ve been hosting my websites with them for over six years without an issue. Their up-time is guaranteed at 99%, and they’re technical support is available 24/7.  This is important when trying to add features or get help on settings.

Now upon logging in to their current hosting website control panel (if they have access to it), I’m able to see who the site is actually registered to, who the technical contact is, and who the domain is registered to.  There has been a few occasions where the business I was working with had no direct access to their site or hosting company.  The reason why this is so important is that without being properly listed as the owner of a domain, the current registrar actually legally owns that domain URL.  Sure there can be some loopholes and legal tricks to fight this, but this is something that can be easily avoided.  Let me show you a few ways to look up and check your own information.

Visit a website called Whois.Net.  They offer free website look up information that shows the hosting company, domain creation date, last edited, expiration date, contact information and of course domain registration information.  See this screenshot below for the look up information for WordPress.org:

WordPress.org Lookup

By looking at the information above you can see the domain ownership information and contact information. There is more to see here and if you’re interested, click here to see the full description. It’s also worth mentioning that the information is open to the public to see. So if you don’t want people knowing where you live, real email address, and home phone number you may want setup a mailing address and separate contact information. Other free websites for looking up website information are Domain Tools and Network Solutions.  Both offer the same information as far as domain contact and ownership information.

Your homework from this post is to look up your own domain and see who is listed as the contact and owner.  If it isn’t you, contact your web designer or hosting company and be sure to have it updated with YOUR information.  If you have troubles or need help, give us a call and we’ll surely help. (888-603-1090).