Almost everywhere you look you’ll find web developers offering domain registration, usually alongside hosting as part of a package, or third party services like Yellow Pages offering “all in one” solutions. Bundling everything together saves you time, and potentially money, but there’s a reason Pixel Durham recommends you always buy your own domain.
Typically, when a web developer or marketing agency registers a domain for you, they do it using their own master account. This master account holds the registrations for all the sites they build. It makes much more sense from a management perspective to work that way. The downside is that they can’t simply hand over login information to clients, as doing so would give them access to everyone else’s accounts (not a great idea).
So what happens if the developer that holds your domain registration goes under, stops carrying on business, or drops off the radar?
The short answer is it’s not pretty – and sadly, it’s something we’ve seen countless times in the past.
You Can Be Left Helpless
If you find yourself in this unenviable position, you’ve just lost any sliver of domain management control you had. If your site goes down, or your hosting stops working, there’s nothing you can do, because the registration company will only speak to the person/company that holds the domain registration: your now-defunct web developer.
Now you’ve got no website, and likely no emails. If your business cards or stationery carry your domain, they’re now useless. If your business is reliant on your website (which most are these days), you’re in trouble. And if your website IS your business, the outlook couldn’t be worse.
How to Keep Yourself Safe
The good news is that one simple rule can help you to avoid this potential disaster: Always buy your own domains.
Treat a domain like a bank account. You wouldn’t let a stranger you barely know open your account, have access to all your details, and make it impossible to make withdrawals without going through them, would you? Of course not, so why would you do it with your website?
Buying a domain is easy. Choose a reputable domain registration company create an account, search for your desired domain and purchase it (if it’s available). When it’s time for your developers to create your website, either create a temporary password and give them access to your account, or, safer still, ask them for clear instructions on how you can make the necessary changes.
If things go wrong down the line you’re in a much better position. If disaster strikes, you can point the domain at a new hosting, have a developer create a holding page for you to inform your customers of a service interruption, or create a domain forwarder. These are all better options than kissing all your hard work goodbye forever.
Don’t Risk Losing Your Domain
Your domain is the key to your online presence, and you should do everything you can to keep that key safe. The vast majority of web developers will never cause any issues, but why take the chance? Always buy your own domain, it’ll make your life easier in the long run.
If you’re running into issues with your website, hosting, or domain management, Pixel Durham’s Website Management plan can help! Contact us today to discuss your problems, and find a solution that’ll get you back up and running in no time!