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Facts you should know about Domain Names

Domain Name Transfers can be very simple and take little time when you deal with the professionals at Sun Hosting.

Domain Name Transfers of Registrar can be extremely simple and will take little time when you deal with professionals.

Sun Hosting will take care of all your domain name transfer of registrar and all the technicals details for you, such as the DNS settings.

There are a few important issues you should know about the transfer of a domain name registrar.

At certain times, domain name management in some companies can be complex and, if done improperly, could potentially bring disastrous results to the organization.

This section of our site provides help that will help you avoid some of the pitfalls. Over the years, an increasing number of companies have discovered to their horror that their websites and/or corporate e-mail systems have suddenly stopped working.

Worse, all this happened without any warning, simply because of problems related with a corporate domain name. Even Microsoft hasn't been immune- a few years back, it was the subject of some ridicule when it failed to renew its domain on time. Some kind soul noticed that the domain had expired, and re-registered it on their behalf, before it could have been scooped up by some other party with a nefarious purpose.

On that occasion, Microsoft got lucky, but we are aware of instances where companies were victimized and their domain taken in hostage for astronomous sums of money.

Unfortunately, while we devote much time in the corporate sector to protecting our trademarks and other intellectual property assets, we often don't devote as much time to our corporate domain names. And this lack of ownership and responsibility can mean that mistakes can occur — often with devastating consequences.

For example, an organization that has multiple domain names based on a variety of trademarks, product and other corporate brands and identities, might not be aware that those domain names have all been registered under the names of several different individuals throughout the organization. The result is that domain name renewal notices could easily go astray, particularly as individuals leave the company or move on to other departments.

Miss a renewal and you could lose your domain
You should make sure that you properly manage these critical assets, particularly as you migrate more and more of your business processes to the Web. And the first step in guarding against potential problems is to understand where the risks lie. If you don't properly manage your domain name assets, you might be subject to:

  • Domain name slamming
  • Domain name blackmail
  • Domain name server (DNS) outage
  • DNS hacking
  • Domain name "slamming"
    Sadly, this is one of the most common problems, and with a bit of foresight and education, it is completely avoidable. It comes about innocently enough — someone in the organization receives an official-looking domain renewal notice, fills it out and mails it back. Except that it wasn't from your existing domain registrar — instead, it is from another registrar. And it isn't a renewal notice; it's a transfer authorization, allowing your domain name to be MOVED from your existing registrar to another one! You still own the domain name, but you are now dealing with a different company, one that might not provide the best domain name service and support as your current registrar. Worse, some of them will even change your domain's DNS settings to theirs, which will totally disable both your Web site and all your corporate emails!

    Sadly, there are a number of organizations in Canada who operate under this kind of questionable business practice. They prey upon the fact that most companies don't know who they have registered their domain names with, and often respond to such notices without a moment of thought.

    The impact can be quite annoying and costly. Once the transfer goes into effect, it is likely that all of your Web and e-mail configuration details will be lost completely. The result is that your Web site and e-mail systems will suddenly stop working altogether.

    Certainly this can lead to lost business and missed opportunities, not to mention the additional aggravation, time and effort spent by your support staff in solving the problem. Also, some of your clients, partners or suppliers might view this in a similar way as a disconnected phone line service that would say: "We are sorry, but the phone number you are trying to reach has been disconnected". A domain name error has the same chilling effect on a lot of people, especially the ones that have been using the Internet for a number of years.

    The solution you may ask? Know who your registrar is! Treat any correspondence from any other domain name registrar that you aren't familiar with with extreme suspicion! There is a lot of abuse in this segment of the Internet, and, as they say, it's buyer beware...

    Domain name blackmail
    Imagine receiving an irate call from a customer one day: they're extremely concerned, because suddenly your Web site is full of pornography. This is one of the more insidious risks of improper domain name management — you discover to your horror that you failed to renew a domain name on time. A third party in another country has immediately scooped up YOUR domain name, has linked it to a porn site, and is now demanding a significant sum of money from you in order to get it back. Unfortunately, these things happen for real. Far-fetched? Not at all. In 2003, even UNESCO, a division of the United Nations, suffered from such blackmail when it failed to renew its domain name on time.

    The impact is quite devastating. Customers, suppliers and business partners immediately question their business relationship with you. Incalculable PR damage has been done, not to mention the fact that all your e-mail addresses are also not working anymore. The solution? Once you've lost control and ownership of your domain name, there isn't much that you can do short of paying the blackmail that is being demanded of you.

    You could launch a court action but that will be costly and time consuming. In the meantime, your customers and business partners are looking at some unseemly material. To avoid the problem, keep your online domain name registration information current and up to date. Check to see when your domain names are expiring, and renew them ahead of time. Consider renewing your domain names for several years in advance.

    Domain name server (DNS) outages
    Even if you avoid domain name blackmail and domain name slamming, you might still find that one day your website is no longer reachable, and people are telling you that e-mail sent to you is coming back with a rejection notice. What has gone wrong? Perhaps there are problems with the "DNS servers" that manage your domain names. The company that provides you with your domain name, and hence DNS service, has suffered an outage or a serious problem. Again, the impact can be severe, particularly as the Internet becomes more and more critical to your business operations.

    The thing to keep in mind is that unless you provide your own DNS servers (a rare circumstance for most companies) your website's URL and e-mail addresses are totally reliant upon the quality of the DNS service provided by your domain name registrar. If they do not have redundant (multiple) DNS servers, then a problem on their system will cause your website and e-mail addresses to stop working completely.

    The solution is straightforward – make sure that you choose a DNS provider that has multiple name servers on different networks in different locations, and has a reputation for quality and reliability. On all counts, Sun Hosting meets and exceeds all those criteria.

    DNS hacking
    Your domain name settings could be hacked if the company that hosts your DNS has inadequate security, or if you don't have adequate security over the accounts that are used to manage your domains. The impact can be severe, particularly if trade secrets or confidential information is sent through e-mail, and is redirected to a third party as a result of the hack. Not to mention the PR problem if your website is defaced in some way or if someone has put pronographic material on your homepage, as some companies have been victimized in the past.

    It's not that hard to have this problem occur. Someone could easily gain access to the account that is used to manage your domain names, either by guessing the user ID and password for the account, or by accessing that information somehow from a corporate document. Solution: Keep your domain name (s) login safe and secure, and follow proper password selection techniques. Choose a domain name registrar that provides ACL (Access Control Lists) capabilities so that you can restrict access to your domain name settings to a specific Internet address only.

    Corporate domain name management
    Given the potential problems with your domain name assets, what should you be doing? The answer is simple: manage your domain name assets with the same respect that you would any other critical corporate resource. This means that you should consider centralizing management and control of your domain names if you have not already done so, perhaps within your legal or accounting department. Make sure that you are using a reliable and credible DNS provider that provides maximum uptime. Ensure that you subject your domain name management accounts to proper security procedures. And renew all domain names on a regular and consistent basis.

    You might even consider outsourcing your corporate domain name management to a company that specializes in corporate domain name service. After all, the issue of domain name management and DNS can be highly specialized and unique. Given this, it might make sense to entrust it to an expert. There are far too many things that can go wrong, with significant consequences, to simply try and do it yourself and hope for the best. The benefits from such a service could be impressive.

    Some companies engaged in this kind of service can supply you with a domain name management control panel that lets you easily reconfigure your domain name settings, so that your e-mail or website can be easily redirected if ever you should have any web server problems. A bulk "WHOIS editor" lets you establish the same registration for all of your domain names, whether you have only a few or hundreds.

    Multiple redundant DNS servers ensure that your website and e-mail addresses are all reachable, even if portions of the Internet suffer from an outage. You should consider undertaking an audit of your domain name resources to determine if you are at risk from some of the problems identified in this section. You should know exactly what you own, who the domain names are registered with, and whose people's names they are registered under.

    The bottom line is this: as your business becomes more and more reliant upon the Internet, you've got to take the time to take care of one of the most important aspects of your online presence. Sun Hosting is a full domain name registrar and transfer agent for all Internet domain name extensions in the .com, .net, .org, .ca, .biz, .us or any other Internet domain name in existence today or at a future date.

    Disponible en français: Hébergement Web Canada    

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