Eeeek – it happens! Web companies go out of business all the time, with so many having set up shop these past 10 years it’s not surprising small business owners occasionally become unstuck and can’t access their domain name or website to get it moved fast.
Here’s how to get your domain back in your control as soon as possible.
A while ago an old SEO client contacted me to ask if I could move their website to a new host as their developer who hosted their website, was closing down. A simple migration via the new hosting company, free of charge absolutely no problem, it’s free with the new hosting company fee.
We started the process and also moving the domain to the new host.
Alarm bells started ringing when they couldn’t provide cPanel access for migration as it was a shared account, so requested a full back up (which hosting company were happy to sort). Also assured the domain tag had been changed on the domain in order to move to new hosts.
The back up arrived and was sent to the hosts but the hosts realised the back up file name had been changed so couldn’t import the details. A quick email to the old company to request original file, simple enough…
The email bounced back!
The company literally closed its doors, removed their website and deleted their email accounts! No proper back up, but we had the domain right? NO! Name tags hadn’t been changed either and the hosting company of old developer wouldn’t budge on access to it. Here’s the important part…
Whois had the clients company name and trading address attached (super important!) so we were able to regain control of the domain (.co.uk) via nominet using the clients email address and a £12 fee. Luckily when I had first started working with the client 3 years ago I’d insisted that his domains had his contact details (not the developers that they had been set up with).
If you’re trying to gain control of a TLD (Top Level Domain like .com, .org etc.), the process may take a bit longer. You can first:
- Try and correct the Whois data yourself, you can search the ICANN database if you don’t know which registry your domain is with and attempt to contact them via telephone or email to get the details changed.
- File a Whois Complaint with ICANN
From the outset make sure your domains have YOUR contact details attached, particularly if you work with a third party. Your email address, postal address and name/company name so you don’t lose access. Even without the correct email address attached you can still gain control but there’s a process of proof, which takes much longer to verify with official documents. Take heed and check your domains!
Mine have the wrong details – what do I do??
Here’s where to check your domains, who they’re registered to and the contact details http://whois.domaintools.com/
If you have access to your domain via a hosting control panel such as UK2, Fasthosts, 123reg etc. you can login and update your details so they are correct. If you’re developer is using their contact details on your domain here’s a draft email for you to send their way.
I was checking my domains and noticed that the Registry Registrant ID details are incorrect, as are the Registry Admin ID.
Would you mind updating these to be:
My Business Address
My Business Contact Number
My Email Address
I’m very happy for the Tech ID to remain as your contact details.
Thanks for your attention in this matter,
Kind Regards, etc.
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