When you setup a website for your small business, you want a name that is easy to remember and a webpage with a sleek appearance. You know that your website is the window that shows people who you are and what you do. Then, when you grow or your business changes, you might decide to change your name and start a new site. But wait! Don’t risk abandoning your old domain name just yet.
When you set up your Web presence, you choose a domain name, and it’s used in all of your URLs. Your URLs should all have the same domain name. (FYI: URL stands for uniform resource locator). For example, your business is making cakes that look like dogs. You choose CakedCanine.com as the domain of your business. Now your emails will be sent from TheBoss@CakedCanine.com. Then, you can start getting people to visit your cool dog cakes on the Web.
If you decide to look ahead, you might even buy domain names that sound like your own. It helps redirect traffic and keep customers from leaving because of misspelled words or typos.
After all, the domain name is what establishes the businesses presence and gives you a place to start growing. As you evolve the business, you may move into new areas and grow out of the dog-cake-only website. Wrap up your line for dogs and move on to caking parakeets, or you could do both. Whatever you end up doing, don’t give up on your old domain names.
Security Risks of Abandoning a Domain Name
In order to keep your domain name, you’ll have to keep paying for it each year. If you are someone who holds multiple domains, it can be a lot to track and pay for them all. If a domain renewal slips through the cracks, the domain is now abandoned.
Domain names will also get abandoned when a business changes its name or a company is restructured. Or, you might decide that a domain isn’t worth paying for to keep it up to date.
Your web hosting company should let you know when the renewal is coming up. After you decide to stop paying and the grace period passes, anyone can now buy your domain name.
On the surface, that doesn’t sound bad. You weren’t using the name and you no longer wanted to pay for it. But the issue is you don’t know who is going to take over that calling card. Bad actors love to buy abandoned domains to and re-register them with catch-all emails.
Click here to learn everything there is to know about “Catch-All” Emails
Let’s sum up what a “Catch-All” email is. Remember TheBoss@CakedCanine.com you were using? That was you. It’s possible that you also had separate emails for things like account information, sales, and support, as well as for James and Shauna on the same domain. If someone sends an email to someone at the previous domain owner’s business, it instead goes to the new owner of the domain name. With the old site in their hands now, they can read any emails that come in. They can also see information that you don’t want them to see.
The bad actor can also get into online services like James@CakedCanine.com. All they would have to do is change the password to get into that account.
Security experts have seen criminals try to claim abandoned domains to:
- access to private emails; read them.
- access past clients’ and former employees’ personal information
- take over personal user accounts (e.i. facebook, linkedIn) linked to old domain e-mail addresses
What to do with these Domain Names
Make sure you don’t let the renewal of a domain name get away, especially if you use it for an email. We didn’t even talk about pirates who look for business websites that haven’t been renewed so they can charge a lot of money to get them back.
When you move to a new domain address, tell all of your clients and vendors about the move so they are aware of it. Close any cloud-based user accounts associated with the old domain email address. Also, unsubscribe to email notifications that might share private information.
Not sure about your domain name registrations, renewals, and expiration dates? It can be hard to keep track of. The good news is, you don’t have to do this alone. An IT service provider can take care of this for you. Our experts can make sure you don’t abandon domain names. Or we can ensure you close associated accounts properly and privately.
Click here to schedule a free 15-minute meeting with Stan Kats, our Founder, and Chief Technologist.
STG IT Consulting Group proudly provides IT Service in Greater Los Angeles and the surrounding areas for all of your IT needs.