Like a kid in a candy shop, I was very excited to have a bit of downtime to move my development server to a new provider last weekend. I had already tested it on my business website for two years. The new webhost is faster, hassle-free backup restoration, and using the best in biz security. Did I mention the speedy? So shiny, geeky I know!
As part of my move, I had two clients I needed to move with me. While migrating, what caught me off guard, were issues with the domain vendor. Four years ago this was considered a great vendor, but there have been some changes under the hood.
There were so many goofy issues and gosh they were so doggone pleasant, but effective? An uphill battle, first was the live chat (think molasses in this case), repeated explanations on issues, never mind the disappearing support ticket I filled out – does that form even work? (Yup, not getting a holiday card from me.)
These domain vendor communications were spurred primarily by the seemingly random enforcement of a new ICANN policy – contact verification. Any change with a domain vendor (perhaps prompted by activity on the account) seems to generate the “verify contact” need (with little to no instructions.)
If you hadn’t responded to the email message “Immediate Verification required for exampledomain.com” (or worse you have the wrong email on file), the countdown starts for 15 days. Yikes!
After 15 days, a domain vendor will have a landing page instead, and your website is now offline. It can take 24 hours or so for your domain DNS settings to be reset (hope you have a copy, some do not keep a record of former settings.) Gulp!
Have You Verified Your Contact Information?
It used to be this was something you could safely ignore, now that is not the case.
WHOIS Data Reminder Policy (WDRP) – ICANN requires all ICANN-accredited Registrars to formally remind their customers once a year to review and update the contact information for their domain name.”
What Do You Need To Do?
Don’t worry, just make it a priority because your domain name is the most critical aspect of maintaining your website. Take 5 minutes to check, here is what you can do.
- Go to your website domain name vendor (Go Daddy, Namecheap, Hover, etc.). Not sure who it is? Look it up at the public WHOIS directory.
- After you login, look for the “Registrant” contact information (this defines you as the owner), make sure your email, address, and phone number are current. Make any necessary changes.
- Do the same thing for the “Administrator,” “Technical,” and “Billing” contact areas for your website. That will vary with each domain vendor on where this is located (if not obvious, check the help section.)
- You may get a verification email to verify your contact information if you changed anything – confirm your contact information. Sorry but sometimes these emails are as clear as mud, but somewhere there will be a link to click. Namecheap lists an example of their email.
Go forth my friend, and go check your contact details for your domain are a-okay! And, don’t ignore those yearly emails to verify your email etc, click the link!
Did you do it? Excellent, pat yourself on the back.
Extra Tip – Go Low Tech, Make a Paper Backup
Now for backup, print out your domain vendor info as to who it is, your login information and stick it in your file cabinet. Digital is great, but paper can “save your bacon” if your hardware goes on the fritz. Trust me, recovering your domain name and proving you are the owner is not fun (yes that happens way too much.)
Another Tip – Avoid Multi-Year Traps
Most times, this is rarely the best rate out there. They are expecting you don’t know the going rates (FYI $15 is about what you should expect yearly with privacy protection). Vendor quality can change from anything to new ownership to management (one vendor I know truly is getting better.)
How Did It Go?
Did you check your contact info with your domain vendor? How Did It Go? Let me know.