The website domain name that you register when you setting up a website is an important business asset. It’s important to look after it, know how to manage it, and make sure it stays current by renewing it.
It’s possible that over time that information has been lost and now you have no idea where your domain is registered or how to log in to your domain registrar. You might not even know what domain names you have registered (some businesses own several, or own multiple variations of their main domain name e.g. .com, .nz, .com.au etc.).
This could have been avoided by keeping a simple domain record (as a spreadsheet), listing all your registered domains, where they were registered and when they are due to expire. But, and you already know this, hindsight is a wonderful thing.
Don’t despair, there is hope – it’s just going to take a little detective work.
Use a WHOIS service to look up your domain details
To start with, you need to know where your domain is registered. There are many free WHOIS services online that can give you that information, however most of the main ones (like whois.net) can’t help with NZ domains. For NZ domains (e.g. .co.nz or .nz) use the local DNC lookup service (click here).
This service will provide you with the publicly available information about the domain, including when it is due to expire and where it is registered (see screenshots below).
1 – Enter your domain name (1) and click the search button (2).
2 – You should see your domain name come up in the list (showing as registered) – click the More Details link.
3 – You can view information about your domain, including the date it is due to expire (1) and the domain registrar it is currently with (2). Take note of the domain owner’s details such as contact email address.
The main thing you want to learn is where it is registered, as you’ll need to approach them to ask about getting access to manage the domain. Sometimes it’s not obvious from the name showing on the lookup who the registrar is so you may need to google the name to track down the registrar.
It’s also worth making a note of the email address on the registration record for the owner’s details, particularly the email address, as that is most likely where the registrar will send the UDAI (domain password), which you can use to move your domain to the cheapest domain registrar in New Zealand.
Once you know the name of the registrar, contact them (email or phone) to explain your situation and that you have lost your login. If you have access to the owner’s email address on record they may offer to send the UDAI (allowing you to transfer your domain name somewhere else, like our cheaper registration and renewal service.
When you have your domain name (or domain names) sorted be sure to setup a spreadsheet record that is available to key staff, and that everything is under the control of the business. Update your domain so that it is registered to the owner of the business, and the contact details are linked to the business, not personal (which you could potentially lose access to).
How do I get back control of my domain name?
Unfortunately, it’s not always smooth sailing. Maybe someone no longer with the business registered the domain name and now, for whatever reason, are refusing to hand over the “keys”. Maybe they’re holding you to ransom, wanting a big payout in exchange for the domain name. What can you do? If negotiations have failed you can appeal to the DNC (for NZ domains – .co.nz, .nz etc.) – visit their website to learn more.
These awkward and frustrating situations do happen from time to time – another reminder why it’s very important to look after your business website domain name, and be very careful if someone requests your UDAI (the domain password, which can be used to transfer your domain, and take over control).
When you transfer your domain to our registry (cheapest domain prices in New Zealand) you can do it all yourself online, without any need to disclose your UDAI to someone else. You can learn more about how to transfer your domain here.