Who owns that domain name anyway?

By Michael Baxter on 20 October 2009 with tags Hosting and domain names

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Registering a domain name is akin to obtaining a license. As long as the domain name is kept current, you can continue to use it. Domain names are not able to be “owned” by any party. As a Utopia customer, all domain names have:

  • Registrar - that’s Utopia - the company that manages and bills you for domain names
  • Registrant - this is the current license holder of a domain name

It is important when registering a domain name that you pay particular attention to the name of the license holder. This name can be used legally to identify who holds the license. Where ever possible it should be a legal entity like a company name - even for clubs and societies.

From time to time you may come across a customer who has a domain name they wish to use but the current license holder is a person (rather than a legal entity) and therefore they cannot obtain the desired domain name to use for their own purposes. In this situation you must have your client complete a change of registrant form. This is a legal document that the existing and new license holders complete – a similar process to that of changing ownership of a car.

If you are not sure who owns a domain name simply use the domain search and WHOIS functionality on our website and you will see the registrant details.

Don't forget that domain names can be like personalised plates - they are unique. Encourage your customers to obtain domain names that match brand or product names and point these to their existing hosting.