This may sound really ridiculous when you read this, but the number of clients I regularly meet or come across that do NOT own the domain name (website address) that they use to market their businesses is alarming!
The 3 main reasons to ensure that you own your own domains are:
- Legalities and rights – If a legal issue is EVER to arise with the person who OWNS your domain name, they have rights over that domain – you do not!
- Control, security and peace of mind – Owning your domain is a form of security for you. By owning your domain, it’s yours to do with as you please.
- Protection – Your brand is what you build and work very hard on to ensure you get “out there” and known. If someone else owns your domain, they have every right to sell the domain, renew the domain, and so on, which could throw all of your efforts over the weeks / months / years out of the window.
How do I know if I own my Domain Name?
It’s actually VERY easy! Follow these easy steps:
If you are the owner of a CO.ZA domain:
- Go to www.co.za
- Click on the link on the left hand side that reads “Whois (Registration Details)”.
- You will be presented with a page on which you can type your domain name into an input box. Type in ONLY the domain name i.e. without the www. OR the .co.za. I would, for example, type in “momtrepreneur”.
- Click the Enter button.
- Make sure YOUR name and details are next to the relevant “registrant” fields (the registrant is also the recorded legal owner of a domain name).
If you are the owner of a .com, .net, .biz, .org, info or most other domain extension **:
- Go to http://www.whois.com
- At the top of the page, you can type your domain name into an input box. Type in ONLY the domain name i.e. without the www. OR the extension e.g. “.com”.
- Make sure to have the correct extension’s checkbox checked before doing a search. So, for example, if you own www.ABC.org, make sure that you have the .org checkbox checked.
- Click “Search Now”.
- Click on your “Whois” link next to the domain name, which will have a cross next to it as it has already been purchased.
- You may be prompted to enter a security code in order to continue. Enter the code and click “Search”.
- The whois information will be displayed to you. Make sure that YOU are recorded as the Owner Contact.
** For any extensions not available to be checked on WHOIS.COM, try doing a Google Search to find the appropriate WHOIS checker. Alternatively, contact your hosting company and ask them to send you a copy of your WHOIS information in writing.
What to do if you DO NOT own your domain
Change it immediately by contacting your hosting company and check with them about the necessary steps involved. They should be able to assist you. If they are not, make sure that you get in touch with someone with a bit of ‘know how’ to get the exact process that you need to follow.
Whoever the domain has been registered to as the owner will need to be contacted as they legally have a right to that domain.
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