One of the most common problems that arises for us when we are ready to put a new website live for a client is knowing where their domain is. Believe it or not, many people do not have a clue where their domain is registered, who manages or how to login if they do know where it is…and this is a big problem.
Why is it a problem?
Your domain name is one of the most critical parts of your brand. Your emails use it, your website uses it and all online traffic will be going to it when they look for your business. It is possible the single most important part of your marketing arsenal. Not to mention, there will be a whole load of critical support services linked to it, such as analytics to measure traffic, search console to help with search and all of your DNS records which will help avoid your emails going into spam and validating your business is who it says it is.
So knowing where your domain is and how to access it is, without a doubt, business critical.
But can’t you put my new website live without access to the domain? After all, my existing website is already live…
In short, no! Attached to your domain name are DNS records. What are these? They are the digital signposts that tell any service using your domain name which server to go to. For example, when you setup email at yourdomain.com and someone sends you an email, the email goes to the central domain registry, finds the records against your domain and that tells them which server IP address to direct the email to. Without this the email cannot go anywhere. And your website works in the exact same way. If someone types yourdomain.com into the browser, the first thing that happens is the browser goes onto the internet, finds the nearest DNS hub and finds the record for yourdomain.com to find which server IP address to find the actual website at. Without this your website cannot be found.
When a new website is ready then you will need to change the server which you are pointing your domain to, because your new website will almost certainly be on a different server to your existing one – and if you didn’t have a website before then there won’t be a previous server even listed. In order to update this access to your domain is required.
What do I do if I don’t know where my domain is?
Finding out where your domain name is held is critical. If you have an IT supplier that supports yours business, or an existing website provider, they should know as they will have needed to set this up for you when they implemented your support services. Sometimes they don’t though and in these cases there are online searches that can be performed, such as a WhoIs lookup, which often can highlight which provider your domain is registered with (for example, GoDaddy, 123-reg, Ionos, etc.).
What is the best option for managing my domain?
Many of our clients at Idio have transferred their domain to us to manage for them, so that they don’t need to worry about where it is. What are the benefits of this?
- We manage it all for you, so you don’t need to worry
- We have years of experience working with domains and DNS so know exactly what we are doing
- If, in the future, you need to move suppliers we can easily transfer it to them (or a domain registry of your choice)
- We charge renewal costs at cost price – no markups – and we also get a reseller discount so it will usually cost you less than the market price
If you are going through a website redesign and you aren’t sure where your domain is, get searching early in the process. Definitely do not leave it to the last minute as this will certainly delay your go live of your new website.
The earlier you have access to the domain the better so that you can be prepared to launch your brand new website exactly when you want it!