Domain theft or domain hijacking is a serious problem because you can lose your domain name to a hacker. Not everyone is aware of this potential problem, although it’s becoming increasingly common. Domain thieves are a type of malicious hacker who can cause you all kinds of problems if you don’t take precautions to secure your domain name.
In the rest of today’s article, we will discuss how to secure your domain name and prevent it from being hijacked!
Why Domain Hijacking is So Dangerous
A domain name is hijacked when someone breaks into your account and takes control of your domain name. Some website owners only discover this has happened when they see a strange website in place of their own!
Once this occurs, it can be difficult to regain control of your domain. The hackers will usually cover their tracks well, and the domain may now be registered in any part of the world, with a different registrar. It’s definitely much easier to take preventative measures than to recover a stolen domain name!
Domain theft is not only a major inconvenience, it can damage any work you have put into your website and cause financial loss for your business. A domain hijacker may take control of your domain and website and then resell it quickly.
If your website is profitable, domain theft can be a truly serious problem. This can be the equivalent of having someone breaking into your physical store and stealing all of your assets and cash. In extreme situations, the domainer may have even more ambitious criminal plans, such as stealing your identity!
Another reason to be concerned about domain theft is that you could be held liable for any crimes that are committed using your domain name. If money is collected in your name, people who were ripped off will think you are the culprit. While in such cases you should be able to clear your name, though it can take lots of time and trouble.
How to Prevent Domain Theft
So what can you do to ensure that this nightmare never happens to you? If you take the following steps, you will greatly reduce the chances of a domain thief getting to you.
Use a Reputable Domain Registrar
Make sure you choose an experienced company with a good reputation when you register your domain name. You may see a promotion for a company you have never heard of, but it isn’t worth taking a chance just to save a few dollars!
A good domain name registrar will have ample security measures to protect your domain name. Of course, you have to do your part as well, but it starts with choosing the right company. You should also look for a company that offers around the clock support in case you ever have a problem.
There are a couple of excellent domain name registrars I can recommend.
They are one of the best known domain registrars around, and they have many services that can help you acquire and secure your domain name. They have domain auctions, and they also have domain backorder service where you can reserve a domain that’s not yet available (so you will be able to acquire it if it ever expires).
Namecheap is a company whose specialty is registering domain names, and they have a great reputation in the industry. Although Namecheap does not offer as many features compared to GoDaddy, but that’s exactly what makes them standout – the ease of use and user friendly domain control panel.
Both GoDaddy and Namecheap are recommended. Their prices are great and you can often find coupon codes that will allow you to register domains at very low prices.
Enable Domain Privacy
Domain privacy is also known as private whois. For a few extra dollars a year you can keep your personal information private. If you do not enable domain privacy, your personal information will be available to anyone who wants to look it up in the WHOIS directory. This doesn’t mean someone can steal it, but it does leave the door open for scammers who can easily contact you by email, phone or even direct mail!
Domain privacy is a free option with Namecheap, and with most other domain registrars, such as GoDaddy, it costs about $10 per year. This is still a good investment if you want to increase your privacy and security for your domain name.
Register your domain name with Namecheap and get private whois for FREE.
Never Let Your Domain Expire
Do not ever let your domain name expire! If you let your domain name expire, even for a short time, you will leave it open for “domainers” to grab it. Remember, there are many people who are waiting for good domain names to expire so that they can buy them.
Some even use automated programs to alert them the moment a domain becomes available. For this reason, you should be careful to renew your domain name before it expires.
Good domain name registrars such as GoDaddy and Namecheap always email you as early as 3 months before your domain name’s expiry date. So, make sure you renew your domain names as soon as you receive these early notifications. Do not wait. If you try to pay the fee after the expiration date, you may find that you’re too late!
Enable Domain Lock
Domain lock prevents unauthorized transfer of a domain name to another domain registrar. This is an option you will see on your domain registrar dashboard.
This is a screehshot of the domain locking screen in GoDaddy. You can easily lock or unlock a domain name.
You may have to unlock your domain for some reasons, such as changing the name servers or the contact information. When you do this, it’s very important to remember to re-lock it after you are done. Leaving your domain unlocked makes it easier for a domain thief to grab your domain!
Domain Name System Security Extensions (DNSSEC)
DNSSEC is an application that makes your domain name more secure. It stands for Domain Name System Security Extensions. This is a set of extensions that adds digital signatures to the DNS (Domain Name System) of a domain to increase security and prevent malicious attacks or attempts at domain theft.
This is something you can request from your registrar to increase security. Nothing can guarantee that your domain won’t b be hijacked, but DNSSEC helps prevent hackers from intercepting your traffic – that is, redirecting it from your site to theirs.
These steps we have shared here make it much harder for anyone to break into your site, steal your domain or cause other problems. If you love your domain name, make sure you review and apply the above steps as soon as possible.