What to Do If Your Domain Registrar Shuts Down
If you’re a business owner, blogger, or anyone hoping to reach a target audience, when your website goes down, it’s a big deal. There are situations where a website owner and the public at large cannot access the site.
This can happen for a number of reasons, such as a problem on your host’s servers. But, what happens if your domain registrar shuts down because it has gone out of business?
Steps to Take if Your Domain Registrar Shuts Down
It might seem like a nightmare scenario, but there is no need to panic. Normally, you will receive a notice that the domains will be transferred to another registrar, with ICANN’s blessing (the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers). Follow the instructions for an easy transfer. However, a registrar may fail to communicate and vanish in the night. Fortunately, you are most likely protected.
The nonprofit organization, ICANN, has your back. According to ICANN, in any scenario, it is always best to contact ICANN directly to intervene on your behalf. The domain registrars keep contracts with ICANN and are subject to “Contractual Compliance”. After filling out an online complaint, ICANN will investigate your issue and attempt to resolve it. Wait for any messages from ICANN, as they may have further instructions.
Why Do Domain Registrars Shut Down?
This scenario is not as far-fetched as one might think. In fact, in July 2017, Domain Incite reported that ICANN expected hundreds of domain registrars to go out of business between July 2017 and July 2018.
There are thousands of registrars, which are accredited to register domain names for websites. Cyrus Namazi, Vice President of ICANN, said that the expected loss of 250 registrars per quarter was due to oversaturation of “drop-catching”, a term used for purchasing domains immediately after they expire.
Due to costs, many of these registrars may not keep accreditations current. “With the model we have, I believe at the moment the total available market for these sought-after domains that these multifamily registrars are after is not able to withstand the thousands of accreditations that are there,” Namazi said. “We think the market has probably gone beyond what the available market is.”
Steps to Protect Yourself from Domain Registration Shutdown
You may not be able to prevent your domain registrar from going out of business, but there are steps you can take to ensure that a domain transfer is easy. Plan ahead by taking these steps:
- Use Your Own Name in Registration: Don’t let someone else register your website in their name, ie: your designer.
- Keep Your Information Up to Date: Don’t give your domain registrar a reason to shut you out. Make sure that all of your information is accurate and kept up to date.
- Keep Your Registration Fees Paid: This protects you and prevents your registrar from closing your website. If you’re making automatic payments, you’ll want to check annually to make sure that the credit card hasn’t expired. If you’re not making automatic payments, you should do so now.
You don’t need to worry if you follow these simple steps to protect yourself from registrar problems. However, if your registrar does shut down, don’t let it stop you in your tracks. Stay calm, and review any correspondence you might have received. Immediately get in touch with ICANN and they will walk you through any further action required.