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Sannah Westerlund — 05/09/19

Important! How to protect your domain names

Today, a global online presence is imperative for successful companies in their work to build and protect their brands. Large sums are invested in websites, search engines, and other types of traffic-generating methods. Everything is based on your domain name, your online brand, which today is one of your company’s most valuable resources.

Considering how important the domain name is to your company, the question is raised: Are you doing everything you can to protect your domain name?

One of our most read blog posts of all time is “Help! Someone has registered my domain!”. The blog post is usually read by one of two reasons: either someone has lost their domain name, for one reason or another, or someone else has been quicker and registered the domain name they are interested in. In this post, we will focus on the case first mentioned and show how you protect your domain name – there are a number of common mistakes that, unfortunately, can lead to the loss of domain name.

Here are four common reasons as to why companies lose domain names:

  • Missed renewals
  • Contact information is not up to date
  • Lacking strategy
  • Domain hijacking

 

Missed renewals

Domains are yearly renewed licenses. If you miss renewing the domain name, and someone else registers it before you get around to doing so again, it is not all that certain that you are entitled to get the domain name back.

Measures to take:

  1. Collect all domains with one provider, preferably a domain agency that takes an overall responsibility and guarantees domain renewals.
  2. Ensure automatic renewals.

 

Contact information is not up to date

The importance of having up to date owner information and contact information for your domain name can not be stressed enough. We have, among other things, written about this earlier in the post “Who owns your domains?”.

The thing is, you risk losing your domain names if this information is not up to date. Partly because it is a requirement from ICANN (the highest governing body responsible for domain names), and partly because there can be important emails, demanding action, to the provided address – and if you do not get back to them within a certain time frame, well, then you can lose your domain name!

Measures to take:

  1. It is important to ensure that the owner information is not tied to specific persons, but that they are depersonalised.
  2. Hire a domain agency who are in complete control and that ensures that you always fulfil the specific requirements and thus do not risk losing your important domains.

 

Lacking strategy

Granted, this post is supposed to be about lost domain names, but the fact is that a common mistake we see among companies is that they are not proactive enough with regards to their domain registrations.

By implementing a smart strategy with regards to registrations, costs can be saved, and work efforts can be more effective. Considering the increasing statistics for brand infringement and digital fraud, it is well worth the proactivity to early on secure the domain names your company might be interested in, both here and now as well as a few years further down the road.

Measures to take:

  1. Create a clear strategy regarding which domain names need to be registered, as well as at what point. Do not let someone else get a hold of your digital brand.
  2. You should always aim to have .com as well as the country-code top-level domains for the countries you intend to be present in. Also, new top-level domains could be of interest, for example .agency if you are an agency.

Please feel free to read more about domain strategy here: Which domain names should I consider registering?

 

Domain hijacking

Domain names can be hijacked, or even stolen, if you are not careful. There are cases of domain hijackers “stealing” the domain by sending in a fraudulent request to transfer the domain, in order to trick the domain owner into giving them control over the name. There have also been cases where companies have unregistered an old domain name, thinking they no longer need it, but it has been the foundation for the owner email, which in turn has been used for other domain names. The imposters have then cheated their way to the other domain names by re-creating the owner email from the old domain.

Measures to take:

  1. Implementing Registrar Lock (or Domain Lock) can help prevent that your domain is mistakenly or illicitly transferred without your permission. When a domain is “locked” through this service, it can only be transferred when you have signed in to your account and unlocked it. While Registrar Lock will not protect you from someone who has access to your account, it can create additional obstacles for someone attempting to transfer the domain.
  2. Select a strong password for your account for your domain names, with two-factor authentication.
  3. Be careful about domain-related correspondence you do not recognise. If you are uncertain, contact your domain provider to verify any suspicious emails.
  4. Again, ensure that you have control over the owner information and that it is correct and up to date.

 

What more can you do to protect your domain name?

DNS is the system which ensures that the right domain names goes to the right IP-addresses.

DNSSEC is a security-addon which prevents manipulation of the domain name system, and through activating this, you can be sure that your domain name will not be “hijacked”. Thus, your website visitors are protected. DNSSEC should be used for the country-code top-level domains that support it, for example .se supports DNSSEC.

In order to avoid unnecessary downtime, it is important to consider the DNSs connected to the domain names. The domain name servers need to be secured so they have the appropriate capacity for your amount of traffic and for the response time to your visitors to be fast. Preferably you should have several name servers answering for domain name in parallel through Anycast-technology.

SSL Certificates are a hygiene factor for all websites today, and renewals of them should be ensured to avoid unnecessary risks such as your visitors being greeted by “Not Secure” when visiting your site.

Do you want to know more about how to protect your domains, and get advice on secure domain management? We have written a guide on the theme: Domain management – a best practice guide.

You are of course always welcome to contact one of our skilled domain experts, we are happy to help you! Email us at hello@dotkeeper.com, and we will be in touch!