Domain name ownership is important
Your domain name identifies your business on the internet. Whoever controls your domain can shut down your website or lose it for you altogether. This person is referred to as the registrant, often the person who purchased the domain name, it could be your web company, it could be an employee, it could be anyone. However, the person who should be in control of your domain should be someone trusted with high authority within the business, usually the owner.
How does it work?
You can update your domain details through Nominet, they own all of UK domains, you effectively lease your domain from them. From the Nominet website, you will find a ‘Registrar tag’ which indicated who owns the domain. Nominet have a variety of ways they can help you gain control of your domain, including a re-establish identity feature and a domain dispute procedure. In most cases, it’s a simple process of finding who owns your domain and asking them to transfer it across to yourself.
How do I get control of my domain?
When the domain is purchased the details entered should be of the desired owner, however this if often not the case and they remain in control of a web company or the websites creator. We will run through the whole process below:
Who has the domain?
- Luckily there is a helpful tool which can tell you who is in control of your domain called ‘WHOIS’. Open nominet.org.uk and click the WHOIS Lookup link and search for your domain.
You will be presented with a page of information for the domain which includes:
- Registrant: The name of the owner of the domain (may be hidden if domain privacy is active)
- Registrant type: The type of registration (individual or business/organisation).
- Registrant's address: This will either show the address registered to the account OR it will display the message "The registrant is a non-trading individual who has opted to have their address omitted from the WHOIS service" if domain privacy is active.
- Registrar: The company who the domain was registered by.
- Relevant dates: The dates the domain was registered/expires and was last updated on.
- Name servers: The nameservers of the domain (usually the nameservers of the company who is hosting the domain).
(Don’t worry if a lot of this information has little meaning to you, note it down or print it off as we will need this later.)
Time to take control
Now that we know who the domain is registered to if it is not yourself then continue to the step 3 below. If the details are your own then skip along to step 4.
The address and/or name match the WHOIS details.
Log in to Nominet to manage your domain using e-mail address you originally provided you by your web designer / whoever set the account up.
- Once logged in, you will get a page listing some options. If you don't or cannot find an account associated to that email then it is likely the domain you are trying to log in with isn't registered to this e-mail address. If so skip to step 4.
- You should be presented with a list of domain names, which will hopefully list yours.
- click into your domain to pull up the details, including a tab detailing the registrar tag
- Follow the on-page instructions to move your domain to a new registrar and have it fully under your control.
Congratulations you now have full control over your own domain!
4.a: The address and/or name match the WHOIS details but e-mail isn't working.
If the registrant name on the WHOIS lookup matches yours but no e-mail address you try works with nominet then you can go down the "Re-establish Identity" route. The re-establish identity process is only an option to the listed registrant of a domain name. This is where you can prove to nominet you are the domain owner by providing copies of documents with your name and address on it e.g. Utility bill + passport. This will cost you £10+VAT and can be started via https://secure.nominet.org.uk/flows/reestablish-identity.html. They will then determine if you are the valid owner and update the e-mail address to one of your choice. Once they have done this, you can jump back to step 3 above and follow the steps to move your domain to a new registrar.
4.b: The address and/or name don't match the WHOIS details.
Nominet understand for various reasons companies / induviduals can try to keep hold of your domain and therefore offer a domain retrieval service. It's a fairly straightforward 4 step process detailed fully on the Nominet website.
At identity we understand that this can be a stressful and time consuming process, if you're looking for assistance or domain hosting services please contact us on 01473 807014