Technical Papers by Kevin Morrison
Who Should Manage Your Domain?
The domain name system is not hard to understand but yet those who are not technically savvy tend to rely on an agency or a web firm to manage it for them. There are pros and cons to this but first we need to understand how all this works so you have a solid understanding and know the risks that you are taking by not managing your own domain name.
A domain name is the human readable address that we use to define a website so we can find it in a browser. Many confuse the domain and the website and think that they are one in the same when they are not. Even though with many web hosting companies you can purchase and manage your domain in the control panel they setup for you. This is a convenience but it can and most of the time is something you pay extra for and in some cases a lot more!
You can think of a domain as the building your business is located in. You can look up a business or residence in the phone book and find out where it is. In the same way you type the domain name in the browser and through the servers that control the addressing of domains ICANN or "Internet Corporation for Assigning Names and Numbers" which is a collection of servers in banks all around the globe tells your ISP (Internet Service Provider) where to point you to find the correct website.
To take this one step further the actual website that a visitor sees when they type your domain in the browser can literally be hosted on any server in the world and does not have to be in the same location as your domain. Through the use of NameServers we are able to point the domain to the server where the websites pages are located. In fact a browser is not looking for the name of the domain but rather an IP address that has been assigned to the domain through the NameServers that it assigned to. So when you are told it will take 12 to 48 hours for your domain to propagate you now know that the reason for this is the ICANN must record the NameServers and what IP it needs to pass to the browser in order to to make the connection.
Enough of that though, lets get back to the topic at hand "Who Should Manage Your Domain"? The answer is very simple and straight forward, YOU should control and manage your own domain! Never rely on a third party to do this for you unless you have a written contract with the agency or firm. The main reason is that who ever controls the domain owns it, plain and simple and there is no grey area. trying to get a domain back from a crooked webmaster is impossible to do. Where possession is not 9/10 of the law it is 100% law.
I cannot tell you how many clients I have had that come to me telling me that their webmaster would not give them their domain. There is nothing I can do for them and the only recourse is to wait and hope that once the domain expires to purchase it before some low life company that buys and sells domains nabs it (this is normally what happens).
I had a client a few years ago dealing with this and the old webmaster told him if he wanted the domain he would have to pay him $5000 to buy it from him. When my client refused he registered the domain for ten years and he lost the name and we were forced to come up with a different domain.
Any web design agency that is worth their weight will help you understand this and will gladly help you setup a domain control panel with a reputable, reasonably priced domain business and show you how to purchase, setup and manage your domain's.
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