Your domain is your business website’s home turf and calling card rolled into one. Domain values depend on brand recognition, traffic, and maturity. If you’ve had your domain for a good bit of time and are generating decent traffic, your domain may be looking like a pretty good piece of property.
Unfortunately, that’s also when your domain is at its most attractive to scammers. There are some scammers that make a living stealing domains and selling them back to their owners or to the highest bidder. They use malicious methods to transfer the domain away from the rightful owner. And before you know it, you’ve been domain jacked.
But you can protect yourself from being domain jacked and protect your brand from this type of theft by beefing up your security with these easy steps.
Keep It Private
The default option when registering a domain is to have that information listed in online directories like WHOIS. If you’d like to keep your information off of those directories, you can sign up for a private registration. The registrar then uses a proxy for contact information and relays any messages to you.
Private domain registrations are an extra cost, but they can also be worth it. Domain registrations bring a lot of SPAM, as some spammers use directories to pick up new email addresses. Also, the more information a hacker has for your website, the more ammo they have when making nefarious plans. Phishing and brute attacks can all be put into place with information gleaned from a domain registration.
Lock It Down
Transferring a domain is a process. You have to give permission for it and then you need to give a secret code generated by your old registrar to your new one. But the first step to transferring a domain is unlocking it.
Every domain registrar has a transfer lock option. This prevents your domain from being transferred to another registrar or registrant without you logging into your account to set it in motion. It seems like a small thing, but a domain lock is important if you want to keep your domain at home. In most cases, domain lock is automatically on your account. But if you’ve accidentally turned it off, just log into your registrar and turn it back on.
Up until this point, we’ve talked a lot about someone taking your domain on purpose, but the truth is that most of the time a lost of a domain is from simple owner error. People lose their domains all of the time because they just forgot to renew it.
Almost always, your domain registrar will send you endless notifications when your website is up for renewal. I’ve had some start as early as six months out. And even if you still flake out on it, they’ll keep sending you messages about restoring your domain for up to a month after it expires. And only if you still fail to act will your domain be gone for good.
But there’s a way you can avoid all of that — turn on auto renewal for your domains. Instead of manually renewing another year, your registrar will just charge your card at each renewal. And you can go more step better by buying your domain for years at a time. A five-year domain registration can not only be a little cheaper than doing it one year at a time, it can also be more secure.