If you’re responsible for maintaining one or more websites, it’s a good habit to review your hosting and domain name accounts at least once a year, and sometimes more often. Here are some issues you should be looking for:
- For domain names, there are three types of contacts (Admnistrative, Technical, and Billing). Many times, webmasters or IT companies use their own contact information as shortcuts when they’re setting up the domain name service. This leaves them in control of your domain, rather than you. Make sure that at least two different people with different email addresses are set up as your domain name contacts, and that they’re people you trust (pro tip: one of them should be you!)
- Domain name registration, web site hosting, and email hosting are three different types of services. A domain name registrar (or sometimes a broker for a domain name registrar) controls where your domain name “points to.” Your domain name might be managed by a different company than the one that hosts your website. If your domain name expires and somehow you’re not notified, you could actually lose it.
- Things expire and auto-renew. If your domain name service or web site hosting service expires and you don’t renew it, you could be in a world of trouble. Similarly, if you have something set to auto-renew, you could inadvertently be charged for something that you don’t really need. This especially hurts if you were “smart” and paid the lower rate for a year’s worth of service when you first set up your website (and the band broke up a week after the website went live).
- New “TLDs” (top-level domains) are always being invented, from “dot-family” to “dot-coffee” to a few that are probably not safe for work. If you’ve got “yourcompany.com” and someone else has “yourcompany.coffee,” would this be a problem for you? You might want to reserve a couple of extra domain names for your company even if you don’t have plans to use them right away.