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Do you know who controls your domain?

What’s your home address? Do you own your house or do you rent it? Do you know who to call when your house needs maintenance?

Chances are you know the answers to these basic questions. As a website owner in the digital age, it is equally important that every webmaster and primary website content manager know the answer to these questions concerning your web address:

  • What is your primary domain?

    • This is the main domain you market for people to locate your website (example: madebyspeak.com).

    • Do you have any other domains that point to your primary domain? These are called subdomains, and when you type them into your browser they redirect to the primary (example: speakcreative.com redirects to madebyspeak.com). 

  • Does your organization own and manage your domain(s)?

    • If yes, do you know the login information to access your domain?

    • If no, what is the contact information of the company you trust to manage your domain?

  • Does your organization manage the DNS records associated with your domain?

    • If yes, do you know the login information to access your DNS records?

    • If no, what is the contact information of the company you trust to manage your DNS records?

If you are hesitating at all in answering these questions, you need to immediately learn who controls your domain. Without your domain registration staying up to date, you are at risk of losing your domain. Consequently, your website will go down and your email will be inaccessible.

To avoid an emergency situation, read along. 

Do you know who controls your domain?

As mentioned above, think of your domain as a house. The domain encompasses your web address, your functioning email records, and much more.

Please don’t ever assume that a nameless, faceless “someone” in your organization has access to your organization’s domain. The person responsible for your domain is like the deed owner of a home. If the homeowner doesn’t pay the “mortgage” on time, you will lose your house. If they leave your organization without officially giving you the “deed” to the house, you will be locked out of your house.

Learn the essentials of controlling your domain

The Domain Registrar houses your domain safely and protects it from those who might want to steal it out from under you. The primary contact person with the domain registrar is known as the Domain Registrant, and they are the person who pays the yearly fee allowing you to retain ownership of your domain.

The Domain Registrant also controls where your DNS Records live, by indicating the Nameservers set for your domain name. A Nameserver is the official place where your DNS Zone file or DNS Records live.

DNS is the Internet’s traffic manager. DNS Records determine where different types of traffic are sent. A Mail Exchanger Record (or MX Record) tells servers where to send your email. An Address Record (A Record) tells servers where to look for your website. So if you need to change your mail provider or your have moved your website to a different location, updating DNS Records makes that change happen. Back to our house analogy – if you move to a new home, you have to update your mailing address with the post office to ensure you get your mail. Similarly, updating your DNS Records causes traffic to be directed to your new email provider or website location. 

How is all this information managed? 

Sometimes your Domain Registrar also hosts your Nameservers, but not always. If your Domain Registrar hosts your Nameservers, everything about your domain is managed in one, neat place. The Domain Registrant will have one login to access to manage these items: the domain’s contact information, the domain’s yearly renewal, and the domain’s DNS records.

If your Domain Registrar tells you that your domain’s DNS records are not hosted with them, this means that you potentially have a second login on another site. This is not necessarily a bad thing, as long as you know how to login to gain control of the DNS records, or you know who manages the DNS records on your behalf.

How do I find out when my domain expires?

  1. Go to https://who.is/ and type in your domain URL

  2. Look at the Important Dates section to find the “Expires on” date

How do I find out who controls my domain as the Domain Registrant?

  1. Go to https://who.is/ and type in your domain URL

  2. Look at the Registrar Data and look for the Domain Registrant. The email listed is the person who either purchased the domain or currently manages it with the Domain Registrar.

    • If the Domain Registrant is someone in your organization, immediately contact them to make sure they have access to the domain.

    • If the Domain Registrant shows a generic organization email like [email protected], you might want to email them directly and ask who in your organization manages this email. They are the ones who receive the yearly domain renewal reminder and can log in and access the domain.

    • If the Domain Registrant says “Private Listing,” then whoever manages your domain opted for Private Registry, which protects your domain registrant’s contact information from being public.

    • If the Domain Registrant email is [email protected], it is possible that Speak Creative controls your yearly domain renewal and your DNS records. If you are unsure, please don’t hesitate to contact us today, and we can confirm for you.

      • If our email is listed as your Domain Registrant and we do not control your yearly domain renewal, the person who manages your domain within your organization will need to adjust this back into his or her name and email, or your organization risks losing essential information concerning your domain renewal.

What if I don’t know where my domain is registered?

  1. Go to https://who.is/ and type in your domain URL

  2. Look at the Registrar Info and look for the name of the company where your domain was purchased.

    • Common options include: Network Solutions, GoDaddy, SRSplus, domain.com, etc. On their websites you can log in to manage your account and find your domain.

    • If the Registrar Info shows SRSplus and the Domain Registrant email is [email protected], Speak controls your yearly domain renewal and your DNS records. You don’t have anything to worry about; we’ll take care of it for you.

It is very important to know who your Domain Registrar is. Many times people will purchase cheap domains off relatively unknown sites. These sites are resellers of the bigger companies, and they can be hard to track down. Your best bet is to search for the invoices you get for domain renewal and contact those who you are paying for help in accessing your domain.

How do I find out who controls my DNS records?

  1. Go to https://who.is/ and type in your domain URL

  2. Look at the Nameservers section.

    • If your Nameservers are pointing to NS.RACKSPACE.COM and NS2.RACKSPACE.COM, Speak manages your DNS records.

    • If your Nameservers are pointing elsewhere, most likely your records are held in the same place where your domain is registered.

Please note, there are instances where Speak may manage your DNS records, but we are NOT the Domain Registrant for your domain. This means that you are ultimately in control of renewing your domain year after year, but we manage the technical aspects of your email and domain.

How Speak can help:

It looks like my organization controls the domain and/or the DNS records, but I would prefer to have Speak manage all of this.

We understand that this upkeep can be technically challenging and stressful. This is why we offer the service of controlling the domains and DNS records for our clients. Our SiteWrench Support team would be more than happy to assist you in transferring your domains into our care and allowing us to manage your DNS Records. We will become the primary Domain Registrant and take on the responsibility for managing your domain. The management for your domain costs $20 a year per domain. That’s a small fee to pay for peace of mind! Also, rest assured that if you ever choose to leave us, we will always release your domain back to you.

Please note: if we manage your DNS records, you will not be able to access them directly. If you ever need to update your DNS records while we control your records, simply reach out to us via support tickets or email us at [email protected]. Our team will be ready to assist between Monday-Thursday 7am - 5pm, and Fridays from 7am - 11am.

Speak controls my domain and/or DNS records, but I’d like to gain control again.

That is no problem. Our SiteWrench Support team can assist you in getting your domain or DNS Records transferred back into your control. Please note the times associated with these requests:

  • If we need to transfer the domain back into your care, please budget at least 10-14 days for this process, per the iCANN regulations. During this time the DNS records cannot be adjusted.

  • If we control your DNS records and you prefer to gain control of them, then we need to change the domain’s Nameservers. This change can take anywhere from 24-48 hours to fully propagate.

I’m not really sure about any of this ...

If you’re still confused, please reach out to our SiteWrench Support team at [email protected]. We can point you in the right direction and help you find out who your domain registrant is. We can confirm for you if Speak controls your domain and/or DNS records.

Just remember: if you don’t know who controls your domain, assume that no one else in your organization knows either. Avoid an emergency and keep a close watch on your domain, or let us handle it for you!

Posted by Nicole Davis at 9:00 AM