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Jennifer Kyrnin

Reader Question: How can I get my domain back?

By May 23, 2008

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Question?
otelynx asks:

"A couple of years ago, I purchased a domain name.....fourpeaksranch.com. Someone that I knew offered to design a website for me and also arranged for hosting. This person "Sam" took care of all updating, etc. About 6 months or so ago, Sam unexpectedly died in a motorcycle accident.

I would like to revamp my website and probably redesign it altogether, especially since the nature of the business has changed. The kicker is: I am unable to contact the host (they are not answering emails and the phone number has been disconnected)!! What to do?? Am I out of luck? Will my domain name and site just languish on the web forever??"

My Thoughts
What you'll need to do is find out who is handling the domain name registration. When you purchased the domain, how did you go about getting the domain? Do you have any records of the transaction, such as proof of the purchase? That's the first thing you're going to have to find - so that you can prove to the domain registrar that you do own the domain.

When I do a whois lookup on your domain, I see that the domain is owned by Carol Martin - I'm guessing this is you. If this isn't you, you'll definitely need the proof of purchase, and even with that you may have trouble. The domain registration is provided by NameCheap.com. With this information and your proof of ownership (assuming you can find it) I would do the following:

  1. First I would contact NameCheap.com to find out how you can regain access to your domain.
  2. While you're contacting them, you can start looking for a new hosting provider, since your existing one isn't answering your calls.
  3. Once you have a new hosting provider, you will want to transfer the domain hosting from your existing host to your new host. Your hosting provider and NameCheap.com should be able to help you do that.
  4. Finally, I would make sure that you have all the information about accessing your Website and domain from now on. It may be easy to get the hosting moved, but it probably won't be - so you won't want this problem to happen again.

More Hosting and Domain Resources

Has this happened to you?
Have you lost your domain or had to transfer away from a Web host that was no longer responding? How did you handle it? Was it difficult to solve or did you get it fixed quickly? Do you have any advice for Carol in how she can solve this problem? Let her know in the comments or respond to her post in the forum.

Comments
May 23, 2008 at 10:58 am
(1) Dean says:

I had a similar situation a few years ago. I was doing a site for a Philadelphia mummers club, southphillyvikings.com. I had purchased the domain from a cheap host which also provided the hosting. They went out of business almost overnight.
I saw in the whois that the accredited registrar was bizcn, a Chinese registrar. Their website was in Chinese, so I really couldn’t understand it very well.
By luck, I just caught a guy from the original host and he gave a name and email to a reseller in the Phillipines where the contact had taken over the original hosts domain names management. That gentleman was very helpful, but it still wasn’t easy. I finally managed to get the domain name and hosting transferred after a lot of research and angst.

May 24, 2008 at 8:06 am
(2) Ken B says:

It has been my experiance in the past where I was designing a website for Non Profit society here in BC Canada. We originally used a “.CA” Domain under a local server who we paid to purchase our domain name for us.

When we were a little wiser and the domain was almost expired, we went to transfer it to another server. This is when we discoverd that the server held the name and controled the domain. It would cost us several thousand to move.

Fine, so we let it expire there on that server. We went to buy it again & saw that the server had purchased the domain again. Being a buisness person, he would sell it to us for 1,000 times what he had paid (or he would host us again at a special price).

We smiled and changed the “.CA” to “.COM” and the group continued with a web presence with minimal interuption or expense. I suppose the lesson here is flexability.

May 24, 2008 at 10:12 pm
(3) Rob Malgieri says:

If you are the registrant listed,all you have to do is:

1) set up an account at a new, reputable registrar, like GoDaddy (not plugging them, it’s just the one I use).
2) Through your new registrar, request the transfer of the domain to them.
3) Find a new host for your site
4) Change the name servers at your new registrar to the new host servers once the registration transfer is complete.

That should do it. A good registrar will help you work through any technicalities, like not having the user name and password for the old registrar (i.e., NameCheap.com).

You always have to be careful when registering domains with places that offer really cheap prices. They could be registering the domain in their name instead of yours, which means you don’t own it. If it seems to good to be true, it probably is.

November 1, 2011 at 7:38 am
(4) Giles fertility says:

this is exactly what I was looking for – my web chap has also done a vanishing act!

September 14, 2012 at 2:48 am
(5) Naeem says:

I am having problem, we are running a registered no-profit organization and Tax Payer, we registered a .org domain, after couple of months we asked th guy to give us domain rights(control) but he refused to give us our domain, now what please help me is any way to get our domain back,.

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