Is your website being held hostage?

Over the years we have encountered several situations when redeveloping client’s websites. One is when the previous webdeveloper has bought a domain name on behalf of a client and registered it in their own name. This is not illegal or even unscrupulous as long as they are willing to hand over the domain should the client wish to change hosts or engage a different webdeveloper.domain hostage

The situation becomes an issue when a webdeveloper refuses to hand over the domain and keeps control of it. There will be reasons like “it’s not our policy” or “the domain name is rented”. The later is true in a way as the domain names are leased through ICANN. Having said that your domain has value and it has more value to you than anyone else.

If your domain is registered to anyone else you do not own it.

Every webdeveloper knows this and most will be acting in your best interests. However there are stories out there on the web (so they must be true) of developers who have held domains for “ransom”. One such story is where a developer charged £5k to released a domain, and the client paid it.

In short:

  • If you are starting an online business or even putting a web presence up for an existing business it is vital that you register the domain in your name so that you retain control of it!
  • If you have a domain you can check the registrant details through Whois.
  • If you are engaging a webdeveloper or website builder make sure that you own the website they develop and it is imperative that you retain control of the domain name.