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January 4, 2012

Cindy Penchina, President

iStock 000007677184XSmall resized 600For the second time in the past month, someone has asked me if it's ok to give their domain name account to their web developer, or to their IT support company.

Well, that all depends on what they mean by “giving” them the account.

When you register your domain name, you do so with a domain registrar company. Sites like GoDaddy.com, Network Solutions, Register.com and many others allow you to purchase your domain name and then manage how it is used. Most often, you would need to manage your account when building or moving your web site, or setting up your email service.

Let’s talk about your web site….

Your web site can be hosted with a web hosting company while your domain name is registered through a totally different service.

When your site is ready to be launched, you need to log into your domain registrar acount and change some information there so that when people type www.YOURWEBSITE.com into their browser, it goes to the servers where your site lives. Often, it’s the name server information that you change and each web hosting company has their own name servers.

So, why would your web developer need access to your domain registrar? Most likely they need to change the name server information so your domain name now points to your new web hosting service or some similar information.

Ok, so back to our original question…..

Should you give your domain name account to your web developer or IT vendor? The answer is definitely “NO.”

It’s ok to give ACCESS to your account for help making the changes on your behalf if you’re comfortable with that, but there is no reason why anyone should be taking ownership of your account. If you give your account over to someone else, they basically own your domain name. Your domain name is too important of an asset to just give away. No matter how much you trust your vendor, you should always retain ownership of your domain name.

Some domain registrar services have tools that let you decide who might have access to your account, or you can simply change your password right after your vendor completes whatever changes they need to make. But, be wary of any company that insists on moving your domain name to their account.

Our company, Hudson Fusion, builds and maintains web sites mostly in Westchester, NY, Fairfield, CT, and the surrounding areas. We’ve designed and developed small business websites for over 15 years. Each year, we get at least 5 calls from people who unknowingly gave away their domain names, or never owned them in the first place. Their previous web designer registered their domain name in THEIR name and then later disappeared. Sometimes, when there was a dispute about the project, the domain name was held “hostage.” Don’t let this happen to you. Protect your domain name and your business by making sure your domain name belongs to you.