People often wonder whether they “own” their domains and their websites.

You don’t own a web presence in the same way that you own a car or a building. First, a website is entirely dependent on its domain, and its domain is entirely dependent on a number of other things we’ll get to shortly. (Your website is also dependent on an internet connection—no internet, no website.)

A domain can be registered in one place while its website is hosted in another. Or a domain can be redirected automatically to another domain altogether. (The same with email accounts.) Often, people spend good money and endure website downtime “transferring” a domain from one registrar to another when all they really needed to do was point the domain elsewhere, which costs next to nothing and takes seconds.

And your domain name itself? You don’t really own that, either; you pay a hosting provider a monthly or yearly fee to look after it and make sure you retain exclusive rights to use it. For as long as you are paying for it, no one else on Earth can use your domain. If you stop paying for it, you risk losing it.

But wait, there’s more! The relative health, performance and longevity—which is to say, the value—of a domain depends on a number of components being properly managed. When does the domain renew? Is the website secure (does it have a little lock in the browser next to its name—absolutely essential these days)? When does that site security (otherwise known as SSL) renew? Does the site have Domain Privacy? When does that renew?

Note that the word “renew” in all these cases really means: “When does it expire if I or someone acting on my behalf fails to keep its bits and pieces up to date?” There are many, many people out there who failed to renew one or more of those components and had to pay a pretty penny to get it back—if they could get it back at all. Someone else could be waiting to pounce on your domain. If they do, it will be theirs for as long as they want to keep it.

Now for the very good news: Since you are reading this, chances are we are the service providers looking after your domain name at the very least, probably your emails, too (note that if your domain gets away from you, your email goes with it), and quite likely your website as well.

You do what you do. Managing the technicalities of your online presence including all its components is what we do. Which means you are in very good hands indeed.

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