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Protecting domain names

Your website's domain name is one of the most important online assets you have. However, many people tend to overlook the importance of protecting a domain name once it has been registered.

This occasionally results in a domain name being stolen or re-registered by someone else. This month we list five of the most important steps you can take to help reduce the risk of this occurring.

1. Lock your domain name

This service is offered by most domain name registrars. Domain name locking automatically declines domain name transfer requests and prevents the changing of domain name settings until the domain name is first manually unlocked.

2. Protect your passwords

If someone gains access to the password you use to manage your domain name, that person can potentially unlock your domain and change its name server information so that your domain name points to someone else's website. Even worse, they could potentially transfer the domain name away from you. Choose passwords that consist of random combinations of upper and lower case characters and numbers. Store your password securely in hard copy format away from your computer.

3. Be aware of transfer requests

As part of a domain name transfer process, as the domain name owner, you would receive a transfer confirmation email. Be careful that you don't approve transfers unless you actually intend to do so and only when you are sure that the transfer request is legitimate.

4. Renew domains well before they expire

Renew your domain name through your registrar several months in advance. If you forget to renew your domain name, it will eventually become available for someone else to register. Don't necessarily rely upon your registrar sending you a renewal reminder.

5. Keep your contact details up-to-date

You need to specify your contact details when you register a domain name. Keep these details up-to-date. Without valid contact details, you won't be able to receive important information about your domain name such as renewal reminders. In particular, check that your email address is up-to-date because this is where correspondence regarding domain names is usually sent.

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