When building a new website, perhaps the most important component, and definitely the first step, is choosing your domain name. This is an aspect you will want to choose wisely and carefully protect as it is your website name and first identifiable piece of your online presence. Though the possibilities for a domain name are virtually infinite, they are also limited to what is available. Keep in mind, duplicate domain names are not possible. Once you have that finalized, you’ll want to do everything you can to ensure it is untouchable by anyone other than yourself or designated people at your company. To secure and protect your domain name, follow these eight simple steps below.
What is a domain name?
A domain name is an identification string that defines a realm of administrative autonomy, authority or control within the Internet. Domain names are used in various networking contexts and for application-specific naming and addressing purposes. In general, a domain name identifies a network domain, or it represents an Internet Protocol (IP) resource, such as a personal computer used to access the Internet, a server computer hosting a web site, or the web site itself or any other service communicated via the Internet. In 2017, 330.6 million domain names had been registered.source: Wikipedia
1. Strategically Create the Most Appropriate Domain Name
Perhaps the first, most important step (and also the one that’s most fun) is deciding what your domain name should be. This takes careful planning and strategizing as it will become the name of your website, a large part of your branding and a very valuable asset to your company. It is the place you will send all online visitors. Many times, domain names are also printed on company marketing materials, social media channels and even merchandise, so you’ll want to choose wisely. You’ll also need to ensure that the domain name is not already taken as duplicates are not possible on the internet.
2. Select the Domain Type
There are a few types of domains available that you’ll need to choose from, though we’ll just mention the three most popular here. A .com is the most popular website domain type, though it technically was meant to indicate that the site had a commercial purpose. .Net typically indicates that your site is in the networking tech sector like an internet service provider or network operator. The initial intention of a .org was for a non-profit organization, though some companies outside this field do use it.
3. Ensure The Registrar is a Reliable & Lock It
There are many registrars to choose from, so make a well-educated and careful selection. To preserve the integrity of your site and protect it from hackers, you’ll want to also lock your domain through the registrar. If you’re part of a larger organization, there are many corporate-focused registrars that are extremely reputable. If you’re a smaller business, you may choose to go with a registrar that is simple to use and responsive to customers. However, you’ll want to ensure the retail registrar you select is large enough that it won’t go out of business as your site will go out with it. Once you’ve chosen your registrar and registered your domain name, make sure you lock it within your back-end manager, to avoid it being transferred to a different registrant.
4. Use a Strong Password for Your Domain Account
This one may sound obvious, but scammers guess passwords more frequently than you would expect. Craft a solid password that isn’t a real word and won’t easily be guessed by a hacker but is simple for you to remember. A strong password alone isn’t enough though. Installing anti-spyware and committing to keeping it up to date, adds an additional layer of protection and can give you piece of mind. When software, and especially spyware isn’t consistently updated, it leaves the software vulnerable. Consistently downloading the most recent version can help keep unwanted predators at bay.
5. Provide Accurate Contact Information
Providing accurate contact information to the registrar is critical. This is not a place for short cuts. Should malicious or suspicious attempts to get into your site be detected, the registrar will be able to notify you right away as long as your contact information is correct. Keep in mind, the contact information associated with your domain name, goes into WHOIS, which is publically available. Many registrars do offer additional privacy and security for a nominal fee that provides their information to WHOIS instead of your personal details.
6. Choose the Longest Period Possible for Registration/Renewal
If your wallet permits, select the longest amount of time available before needing to renew the registration of your site (this typically maxes out at 10 years). The longer you can stretch it, the better, as you won’t have to constantly remember to renew or otherwise lose your site. Many times, you can even set the domain name to automatically renew – which we highly recommend if available – so you don’t ever have to give it a second thought. (Don’t forget to also put a secondary payment method in case your credit card expires over an extended period of time).
7. Use HTTPS
You’ve probably seen this prefix fairly often when visiting different sites on the internet. That’s because it is another lock and security feature that exists to help keep customer data private and safe. Many people use an SSL or Secure Sockets Layer, which helps assure website owners that the information going from the web server to the browsers stay secured privately and improve your domain credibility.
8. Avoid Being Domain Swindled
If you are contacted in regards to your domain name, beware that it could possibly be a scam. Use your best judgement and when in doubt, ask questions. For example, should you receive an email in regards to your domain registration that doesn’t feel right, double check the sender and contact the domain registrar directly to confirm its authenticity. It is easy to fall prey to online cons that can have detrimental and irreversible consequences for your website and online reputation.
Should you decide to build a website, securing your domain is key. These steps above all are the necessary building blocks to ensure the foundation of your company’s site is solid and protected. Without it, you leave your website vulnerable to the unfortunate vast array of hackers and malicious scam artists who will happily take one of your most valuable assets – your online presence. Follow these crucial tips to ensure your domain name is simply yet seriously secured.