Your domain name is your personal or professional identity on the Internet and contains your most important information – such as your website, store or contact information. There are a number of commonly practiced errors that may cause domains to be exploited, hijacked, expired or deleted from Internet world.
The three most common causes of domain name loss, and how to counter them, include:
1. Domain Name Expiration
If you don’t pay your property mortgage, your bank or mortgage lender will take your property. Likewise, if you don’t continue to renew your domain name your registrar will take the domain name back.
• Remember Your Domain Name Expiration Dates: Domain names are issued in increments of 1 year, up to a 10-year term. It is very important that you keep an eye on your domain name expiration dates. Once expired or deleted, someone else may own it and you will lose it forever. A simple solution is to enter your expiration date into your calendar program a month before expiration, so you can remember to renew it with plenty of time before expiration.
• Renew for a Longer Period of Time: Your best course of action is to renew your domain name for a longer period of time. It is difficult to manage domain renewal frequently, and everyone’s memory is prone to error; therefore, it is always advisable that domain names be renewed for longer periods of time, so that you avoid an opportunity to miss the expiration date. Consider renewing for a 10-year term, rather than 1-year terms every year.
• Opt for Snail-mail Renewal Notifications: See if your registrar can use traditional mail reminders, if possible. Generally, domain registrars do not send expiration notices through postal mail, but international registrars sometimes do which can be a distinct benefit in remembering to renew.
• Don’t Let Renewals Get Stuck In Your Spam Folder: Add your registrar domain name to your spam filter approved list. This will help you not miss any important emails from your domain name registrar, thus nullifying any chances to renew.
2. Domain Name Hijacking (Also Known As Stolen Domain Name)
Domain names can be hijacked, or stolen, if you are not careful. But there are a number of easy steps you can take to prevent your domain name from being stolen:
• Choose a Strong Password: While creating accounts for your domain registration, always choose complex and passwords with mixed characters, numbers, upper- and lower-case letters and special characters (such as $ or & or *) which may not be easy to guess or try. In addition, use a strong password on the email account that you associate with your domain name registrations as this is often the only communication channel registrars will use to confirm domain name changes.
• Use Domain Lock at Your Registrar: This is a very handy utility. Always register your domain name to a registrar who provides domain lock utility. This will keep your domain safe.
• Avoid Replying to Email Inquiries: It is always advisable that you avoid replying to people with whom you do not recognize. If you’re not interested in selling the domain, there’s no need to reply at all. If you are, make sure the email is coming from a reputable source (like a real domain name that resolves in a web browser) before you reply.
3. Inappropriate, Inaccurate or Outdated Registrar Contact Details
If your domain name registrar can’t get in touch with you, they can’t remind you to renew.
• Keep Your Contact Information Up-to-Date: Always maintain your registrar contact information updated and accurate. Keeping your contact information up to date is critical because this is the only way that you and your domain name registrar can maintain communication with you related to your domain registrations.
• Avoid Using Email Accounts That Can Expire: Free email accounts may expire or get deleted if you do not use them for a longer period of time. A hacker can recreate your email address account upon your expiration and then change the administrative passwords and other details at your domain name registrar.
A number of mistakes — whether you make voluntarily or involuntarily — may cause your domain name to be lost through expiration, hijacking or both. However, making yourself familiar with those common errors and using these simple effective preventive measures can save you from this.
• Remember Your Domain Name Expiration Dates
• Renew for a Longer Period of Time
• Opt for Snail-mail Renewal Notifications
• Don’t Let Renewals Get Stuck In Your Spam Folder
• Choose a Strong Password
• Use Domain Lock at Your Registrar
• Avoid Replying to Email Inquiries
• Keep Your Contact Information Up-to-Date
• Avoid Using Email Accounts That Can Expire
[Photo credit: Cobstone]