May 04, 2017

Why Maintaining Domain Ownership Matters

Domains

Most people have heard about domains, but do you understand what they control and why they are important to your business? When you buy a domain name, like www.harwooddesign.co, you're really just buying the ability for your clients to have an easy-to-remember way to 1) access your site and b) contact you through a custom email. This article does not dive into the technical gibberish of how domains work, but rather the significance they can have on your business.

As a business owner or website owner, you always need to make sure that you are the one who owns your domain and it is in an account you manage. This is imperative. There are some developers who insist that your domain and your hosting have to be housed under the same account but this is bogus. Your domain can point to any hosting account you like. While for some it might be tidier for them to be together, but this is not necessary. What is important though is that at the end of the day, do you have control of your online presence and electronic communication?

What do domains control?

Websites

Your domain connects your domain to your website files through the A records. Your website can be accessed through the website IP such as 196.168.2.1, but who wants to remember all of those numbers? Your domain enables the user to have a more user friendly way to access your site. Your domain and hosting do not have to be under the same account, so if you control your domain you can control where you domain is pointed. For example, let's say your relationship with your current webmaster has gone south and a new company is building you a website. If you control your domain you do not have to go through your old company to launch your new site. All you have to do is swap out the IP address in your DNS zone files, and it will direct your users to the new site. By maintaining ownership and control of your domain, you can control the relationships. 


Emails

The ability for you to set up a custom email and to receive emails that have your domain (like info@harwooddesign.co) is controlled through your domain's MX records. The emails themselves are often hosted on another account (Google's G-Suite, Microsoft Office 360), but the connection that ties the domain to the email hosting is through the domain. If you don't control your domain someone else has the ability to control your emails. I don't know about you but I find that prospect frightening. 


Other

For the purpose of this article, the biggest things a business owner needs to know is that your domain controls the connection to your website and the ability to send emails from a custom domain. The domain also controls other bits of information like validation tags, but for a decision maker that is not as imperative.


Why this is important

Most of the time, relationships are fine and life hums away at a lovey pace. But imagine a situation where you can't control your website and you don't have access to your email. That's frightening. By always maintaining ownership of your domain you will never face that reality. For some, they are not as lucky. 

If you have to entrust someone to purchase your domain for you, just have them set it up in a separate account. This way, you can easily swap out the primary email on the account and then you are good to go.


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