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How Do I Recover Access to My Domain?

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Have you forgotten where you originally purchased your domain? There’s an easy way to find where that domain resides. So, if you’re taking over marketing for an organization and they haven’t kept good records and you need to get control of their DNS records, or if you’re trying to launch a new website, the only way to get your new site live is to update the IP address and you have access domain settings.

Regardless of why you’re looking,  ICANN  Lookup  is the go-to source which will provide the name of the company the domain is registered to (who purchased it, typically) and the registrar’s name (GoDaddy, Hostgator, etc.)

ICANN Lookup provides the following information:

  • Domain name
  • Domain status (active or inactive)
  • Who the registrar is (e.g. GoDaddy, HostGator, etc.)
  • When it was last updated
  • Date it was created
  • When it expires

If you’re a small business owner and it’s your company listed as the owner, then it’s just a matter of remembering which email you would have used when you purchased your domain. If your registrar is GoDaddy, for example, try logging in and resetting your password. If that doesn’t work, call them up. They may be able to find your account by your phone number. You may have to provide validation but these companies have excellent customer service.

Hint: If you have a bad experience, hang up and call back so you get a different representative. Every company has a bad hire and every one of us has bad days so don’t give up. When we’ve called GoDaddy and didn’t get something resolved, we called back and ended up with a more experienced rep who had the knowledge to resolve the issue.

If you’re a larger corporation with multiple email addresses and individuals who potentially could have set this up, a good place to start is with your IT department. Typically all digital asset management and purchases go through them. They may have some master email addresses through which they purchase domains.

We’ve had to help plenty of clients track down domain information and only occasionally have we run into the issue of someone else having ownership. When that happens, cordial phone calls and emails are the first place to start and usually resolve the issue because most companies or individuals who purchased a domain on behalf of their clients didn’t do it out of malicious intent, rather they purchased it directly out of convenience. Typically they’re relieved to get it off their account.

If it’s your old marketing company’s name who appears in the ICANN Lookup directory you will need to contact them directly. Marketing companies do sometimes purchase domains on their client’s behalf. I don’t agree with their methodology because it puts them in control of your brand and your company’s digital assets. If that has happened to you, you’ll need to do the following:

  1. Set up your own account here (We’re a GoDaddy reseller so when you buy through us you’re supporting a small businessJ).
  • Contact your web company and have them transfer ownership of your domain using your new account credentials.  
  • Keep your login credentials secure by printing them out and keeping them in a safe or lock box. (It’s convenient, but do NOT keep a spreadsheet on your PC or laptop of passwords because when you’re hacked they’ll have access to all of your passwords!)
  • For fast access across multiple devices use something like LastPass (We don’t sell it, we’re just fans of this password management software).

Once you have access to your domain registrar, be sure to update all contact information and the credit card on file so you don’t ever lose your domain due to an expired card.

Oh, and while you’re at it – renew your domain for 10 years not just for the default 2 years. Why? Because duration of a domain renewal is a Google ranking factor. What that means is Google looks at websites who have purchased their domains for longer periods of time as more credible – credibility increases your website score and your website score determines where you will be listed in search results.  

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