Care and Feeding of Your Domain Name

Register your website nameYour domain name is yours regardless of where you host your website or where you have registered your domain name. You want to keep your domain renewed, with current contact info, and avoid scammers. This article explains how to keep your domain name happy, healthy, and yours.

Note: If you are like many people and are confused by the difference between domain registration and web hosting, please read this blog article.

What is a Domain Name?

The Domain Name is the part of the website address that typically follows the “www.” Not only do you see it in website addresses but also after the “@” sign in email addresses. Choosing a good domain nameĀ  is the first step to take before you start building a website. If you already have a website you like but want to change the name, consider buying a new domain name and creating a Redirect or an Alias. HostBaby will be happy to help you set this up and there is no cost (other than the annual registration of the domain name).

Where Should I Buy My Domain Name?

There are many domain name registrars from which to choose. Well-known ones include Namecheap, Enom, Network Solutions, and others. Shop around for a competitive price. Also, take a moment to see if how easy it is to contact the registrar. Some may offer good deals but have either difficult to navigate websites or have no live support. HostBaby offers competitive pricing and we are available 7 days a week.

Behold the power of WHOIS!

WHOIS is the tool which will help you find out a bunch of stuff including:
A. is a domain name available for purchase?
B. when is the domain name set to expire?
C. which company is the domain registrar?
D. where is the website hosted?

A. Is a Domain Name Available for Purchase?
There are many WHOIS tools available. A simple, bare-bones WHOIS tool is available at HostBaby.
http://hostbaby.com/whois.php
Another can be found here: http://whois.domaintools.com/

When using the tool, be sure to only enter in the domain name. Do not include the “www.” If the response is “No match found”, “this domain name is not registered”, etc., that means no one in the world has purchased the domain name and it is available for your purchase.

B. When is the Domain Name set to Expire?
Domain names typically are purchased one year at a time. To find out when your domain name will expire, use a WHOIS tool (see above) to check the domain name expiration date. If your domain name is getting close (within a month or two) of expiration, you should renew your domain ASAP to avoid expiration.

Customers who host their website and register their domain name with HostBaby have the benefit of one-stop-shopping. We can set your domain up to automatically renew so you don’t have to worry about forgetting and letting your domain name expire. Give us a call if you have questions.

C. Which Company is the Domain Registrar?
This question is important because, since you only renew once a year at most, it is easy to forget where your domain is registered. It may be the same company as your web host, but it may not be. Use a WHOIS tool (above) and note the “Domain Registrar” or “Registration Service Provider”. That is the company you need to contact in order to renew your domain name.

Note: Beware of scammers! There are unfortunately a number of unscrupulous companies out there that may attempt to swindle you by claiming your domain is about to expire and pressure you to send them money in order to keep your domain. Do not send money to any company unless you first verify they are indeed your registrar. HostBaby customers may call us any time to verify their registrar, expiration date, etc.
More info:
http://blog.hostbaby.com/2010/03/domain-names-what-you-need-to-know/
http://hostbaby.org/wiki/Domain_Scams_-_Domain_Registry_of_America

D. Where is the Website Hosted?
Websites may be hosted by the same company as the domain registrar, but not necessarily. Using the WHOIS command you may verify where the website is currently hosted. Review the entries for “Name Server” and/or “DNS”. That will tell you where the particular domain name’s website is hosted. For example, websites hosted with HostBaby will have Nameservers of “ns1.hostbaby.com” and “ns2.hostbaby.com“.

Keeping your Domain Contact Information Current

It is important to keep your contact information current on your domain name registration. Folks who have had the same domain name for several years may no longer have the same email address they had when they first registered their domain name. This can become an issue when you need to renew your domain and you have forgotten your domain registrar login information. It is also an issue if you ever want to transfer your domain name to a new domain registrar.

You can usually check the current contact information using the WHOIS command above. Check the “Administrative Contact” and verify the email address is correct. If it is outdated or if it is hidden, contact your registrar.

Hiding your WHOIS information

Be default, WHOIS information about the registrant (you) is available for anyone in the world to see. That may include your name, phone number, email address, and street address. If you wish to hide this information, you can order WHOIS Security from your domain registrar. Some registrars charge a fee for this. HostBaby offers this feature for free; just give us a call.

Transferring your Domain Registration to Hostbaby

Customers who host their websites with Hostbaby may decide to transfer domain registration to HostBaby if it isn’t there already. Our prices are competitive and we’re ready to help you 7 days a week. Here is a help file explaining how to transfer your domain registration to Hostbaby.

Conclusion

To make sure your website and email works consistently and flawlessly, be sure to:
A. Keep track of who your domain registrar is
B. Keep record of your domain registrar login info (if applicable)
C. Keep your domain name contact info up to date
D. Keep track of your domain name expiration date and don’t let it expire
E. Treat any email or actual mail asking you to renew your domain with suspicion

Downdload free guide: 10 website optimization tips

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