How to Prevent Sketchy Characters From Stealing Your Domain

Renewing a domain is sort of like changing transmission fluid. You’re pretty sure something bad will happen if you forget, but it’s rarely on your mind, so it’s an easy thing to overlook. Here are three reasons why you don’t want to overlook domain renewal, followed by five tips for keeping your domain secure.

Reasons to Make Sure You Renew Your Domain

You don’t want your domain turned into a porn site.

We’re not sure why, but folks in the porn industry love finding accidently expired domains like FunInJacksonCounty.com, buying them, and turning them into porn sites. This just happened to one of our clients - don’t let it happen to you. Renew your domain.

expired domains

Your email will go down.

Nothing ruins office productivity faster than having your email go down. Now imagine that you never get your email address back because some sketchy character bought it as soon as it expired. And in addition to all the inner-office chaos, none of your clients can contact you.

It’s expensive to fix

Most domain registrars give you a short grace period -  a few days - to renew after the initial expiration. After that, you sometimes get a second grace period, but at that point, there’s usually an additional fee to renew. At that point, you’ll wonder why you balked at paying $14.99 for a one-year renewal.
 

Now you know why you need to keep your domain renewed. Here are a few tips to help make the process foolproof.

 

5 Ways to Keep Your Domain Secure.

  1.  Make sure notifications go to the right person.

    Email notifications about domain renewal should go to someone who’s not likely to be gone in six months, or to someone who’s not vigilant about checking their email
  2. Renew for longer periods of time.

    Sure, $149 is a lot more than $14.99. But ten years of not worrying about your domain name is worth the hassle.
  3. Be careful what email address you use to register your domain.

    Let’s say you had a Hotmail address when you bought the domain… after all, you didn’t have your domain yet, so you couldn’t have email there. Five years later, your business is going strong, but your Hotmail account has been forgotten, shut down for inactivity, and re-purposed by someone else. Best case scenario is that they get your domain renewal notice and ignore it. Worst case is that they steal the domain out from under you. Also, make sure the email address isn't associated with a volunteer. Make it an organizational email address…one that you make sure is ALWAYS accessible, even if a volunteer is no longer around.
  4. Check your domain status. Do it now.

    Go to http://whois.domaintools.com/ to find out what email address was used to register your domain and when it expires. You can also see all the other information associated with your registration, which means that everyone else can, too. Your registrar can make that information private, but there’s an additional fee.
    whois domain tools
  5. Don't lose your registration login information. 

    Make sure the login is stored in a place with other mission-critical data. Maybe with your tax filings, articles of incorporation…somewhere that it can be accessed by more than one person should it be needed. And PLEASE use a good password.

     

To be frank, we recommend that clients don't manage their own domain at all. There's just too much risk for damage that can be done if the domain slips from your grasp. Let us handle it for you. 

Related: Why You Shouldn't Manage Your Domain

If you have any questions about domain renewal, give us a call! At Keystone, we're equally adept at IT consulting and marketing, and domain security is something we care about. In fact, we take care of all things domain related for most of our clients. One less business concern for them to worry about.