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Give Domain Registration Information a Second Thought

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Lee Hodgson

Lee Hodgson

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Lee Hodgson where domain name registration is made easy. Industry knowledge, and personal advice come together to help you secure the best possible home on the Web.

Lee Hodgson has written 18 articles for DomainInformer.
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Enter Honest and Complete Registration Information

WHOIS data is very poorly protected by privacy laws, and is in fact available for any company to buy for $10,000 or less. So many people are tempted to enter bogus registration information to avoid getting spammed. You should resist this temptation for two reasons:

  • Registrars have clauses in their registration agreements stating that all registration information must be truthful and complete. The registrars even have the right to take the name back from you if you enter bogus information.
  • More importantly, the registration information you enter is used by the registrar to contact you. If you are listed as 'Mickey Mouse' and your e-mail address is [email protected], don't expect to get contacted, even if your name is about to expire.

Choose the E-mail Address Carefully

Many registrars will use the e-mail address you supply as the sole method of contacting you. Make sure the e-mail address is typed properly, in operation the day you perform the registration, and is still in operation when your initial registration expires.

Therefore you should avoid using a "temporary" e-mail address. What is meant by "temporary"? Anything you won't be using in a year or two can be considered temporary. For instance, most people use e-mail addresses supplied by their ISP. Six months down the line they get a new cable modem from a different ISP and forget that their old e-mail address will no longer work.

Where can you get a more permanent e-mail address? There are countless companies that will provide you with a permanent home for your e-mail, many of them web-based e-mail providers such as Hotmail or Yahoo.

The main danger with these types of web-based accounts is that people forget to check them regularly. If an important e-mail comes through to an account you never check, it is worse than getting bounced back to the sender, because the domain registration company will believe you have received and read the e-mail sent by them.

Secondly, many companies offer "life-time" e-mail addresses, only to go bankrupt a week later.

An alternative is to purchase a POP3 mailbox and attach it to your new domain name. If you registered, you could set up a POP mailbox called [email protected]. With e-mail aliases, you can set up other e-mail addresses, such as [email protected] for no extra charge. Not only do these custom e-mail addresses look impressive on business cards, they also guarantee you have a permanent mailbox for as long as you want to use the domain name.

The caveat with this method is that a mailbox attached to your domain name may be "cut off" soon after the domain's expiry date. So the domain registrar may be trying to contact you at this vital time but unable to get through. So the golden rule is if you a use a mailbox attached to your domain, you must renew on or before the expiry date.

Remember, the registration company will need to contact you near the end of the domain name's initial registration period in order to remind you to renew it. If you don't have a valid e-mail address and check it regularly, you are in grave danger of losing your domain name.

Use a Safe Password

Most registrars will ask you to provide a password alongside the actual registration information. By doing so, you can manage your name later on using a web-based domain management system. Whilst web-based access is extremely convenient, it is also a potential security risk. The password is the only thing stopping hackers accessing your name.

The golden rule with passwords is: They should be easy to remember by the owner but impossible for a 3rd party to guess. Remember, if someone guesses your password, they can manage your domain name and potentially steal it from you. Here are some do's and dont's for producing memorable but unguessable passwords:

Do use a minimum of six characters, preferably eight or more. Passwords less than six characters are just not long enough to be considered safe.

Do use a mixture of letters and numbers.

Do use a mixture of upper and lower case letters.

Don't use the domain name as the password. e.g. if the domain is don't use SpeakEasy as the password.

Don't use your first or last name as the password. Remember, for any domain name, the first and last names of the registrant are easily obtainable using a simple WHOIS look-up tool.

Don't use the name of the registration company you bought the name from. Hackers will think of that!

Don't use common, every day words e.g. "love", "domain", "name", "password", "guess". Hackers will have a list of these types of words and try them first.

Use a Company Name Only If Appropriate

.Com domain names are open for both companies and individuals to register. This is why you will be asked for both an organization and an individual's name during the registration process.

If you're registering the name for a company, list the company name in full. The individual should be someone within the company with authority, not just anyone in the IT department.

If you are an individual, do not enter a made-up company name. If you have to type something, make it clear this registration is for personal use e.g. "N/A", "None", "Personal Registration" etc. If you enter a company name, whether real or not, you are assigning registration rights to that company. If the company doesn't exist, you might find it very difficult in the future to transfer the name to a new owner or even perform updates to the registration information, especially if the registrar being used relies on faxed letterheads from the current owners to perform changes or transfers of ownership.

Keep The Registration Information Up-To-Date

In these days where people change phone numbers and e-mail addresses regularly, remember to keep your registration information updated at all times. This is as important as entering accurate information in the first place.

Final Tips

As soon as you complete a domain registration, keep the following information safe:

  • Domain name you registered.
  • Registration date.
  • Domain expiration date (e.g. if you registered for a period of 1 year, 1 year on from registration date).
  • The contact details (URL, e-mail address) of the registration company that performed the registration. If the registrar doesn't contact you before the expiration date, then you must contact them. It's your domain name at risk if you don't.

Article provided exclusively by DomainGuru. No reprints are allowed unless expressly stated in writing.

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