Short answer to keeping your domain name safely in your grasp is:

  • Make sure you know which company you bought the domain name with (the Registrar) , or who your website designer bought it with e.g. 123 reg.
  • Be sure you can login
  • Make sure it is set to “Auto-renew”
  • Your card on the account must be active, in date and have money in the account pay the renewal fee
  • Ensure you are the Registered owner (The Registrant)
    Server has stopped responding

How important is you domain name?

It is the kingpin that holds together your website and email, so if your email and website have both stopped working you might see an error instead of your website: e.g. page not found error or server stopped responding error.

How do you know if your domain name has stopped working?

Your website and email will no longer be available. You will see error messages if you try to use your email on an email client like Outlook or 365. It may say ‘unable to connect’ or prompt for a password.
Your website will not be available. ‘This webpage is not available’ Browsers will not be able to connect to your website even though the site may still be on your hosting account.  When you buy a domain name, you buy it for at least a year and can even buy some for up to 10 years. You might buy it from a company like 123-reg or Go Daddy, Namescheap etc, there have been over 4000 domain name registrars over the years you could have bought your domain name from, but only half of these companies are still active.

How can you check who your domain registrar is?

These 2 sites will show you who the registrar is (the company that s, that the domain was purchased from, the domain expiry date (renewal date) and the name servers that this domain points to (for your website and email)   nominet.uk. and  whois.domaintools.com

In my years of working as a web designer, some of the most desperate and urgent work I have carried out has been helping a new client whose domain name has stopped working for them.

Did you buy your domain name along time ago?

If you did, your domain name may have been moved to a different registrar. You may not recognise e-mail reminders arriving in your inbox from your new company to let you know it has been taken over, and then when you come to login to renew your domain with the old company you find it is no longer there…. or another common scenario is that you no longer have the email address used to login with.

Who is listed as the owner (Registrant) of your domain name?

Years ago, website designers registered domain names with their own details, partly because there were often no other options and many clients did not want to do it themselves and did not trust online purchasing. So, web designers could be the official owners aka Registrant. If someone else has bought the domain for you, do check that you are the registered owner, even if they are the admin contact that pays the renewal fee to the host registrar.

Reminders about Domain Expiry

30 days before your domain is due to expire, the registrar will send reminders which may let you/the admin know that your domain is set to auto renew. If you do not renew it by the expiry date you will still have 30 days grace. ICANN adopted the Expired Registration Recovery Policy (ERRP), registries must offer a Redemption Grace Period (“RGP”) of 30 days immediately following the deletion of a registration, during which time the deleted registration may be restored by the registrar that deleted it. If your card fails or something goes a bit wrong, you have time to sort it out before your domain will be available to others.

Are you thinking of buying a new domain name?

Domain name registrations grew massively due to Covid in 2020, 2021, and 2022 (438.4 million domains were registered as of 31 Dec 2021) with businesses moving online.  .com is the most common one worldwide at  approximately  37% but there are many other suffixes that can be used such as .uk .net .org. .biz  in fact there are over 280 different types.

Is it better to buy .com or .co.uk?

I am asked this question most often by clients starting out and looking to buy their first domain name . I always advise my clients to buy .co.uk for a business that is located and sells their services and products in the UK. However, if the .co.uk is taken, we may end up looking at alternatives and various permutations of the name. Sometimes a .uk is a good alternative or .com may be suggested.

.co.uk domains are much quicker and easier to manage  when it comes to making changes and transfers. Plus it is usually cheaper;  Registrars will often transfer .co.uk domain names  without charging a fee, but will often impose a charge if it is such as .com or .biz.

Is it cheaper to buy .co.uk than .com?

Most registrars will charge somewhere between £9 and £25 annual renewal fee for .co.uk. but a domain with .com extension is likely to start at £25 and although initial registration and first year fees may be low, this may significantly increase later on. Some other suffixes may be significantly more. Always worth checking what the fees will be after the first year.

Trust levels are higher in the UK  for .co.uk

According to Brandwise, 93% of British internet users prefer to visit a .co.uk website and prefer to use a .co.uk website when buying online. Read more here

DNS Checker can show where your domain is and where it points to.

https://dnschecker.org/ A great site to check the IP address your domain points to. This is really useful when migrating websites to new hosts and making changes to the name server records or Zone records for the website or the email account. I also look on this site when a new client doesn’t know where their domain or email is hosted.

If you need help, feel free to get in touch.