May 01, 2019
Why Your Church Needs to Own Your Website Domain Name, Part 1
If your church has a website, that means someone decided on a name (such as www.yournameofchurch.com) and had to register that domain name so your website has its text-based "address" on the internet. Sometimes when a church changes their webhost they'll find out they may own their website, but they don't actually own or control their domain name. What gives?
While it's best that the domain name is registered and paid by the church staff using church funds, sometimes this is not the case. Especially in the early days of the internet a well-meaning church attendee, let's call him Sam Volunteer, would suggest the church needed a website (which also requires that renewed-annually domain name) so he would set it up and perhaps even pay for it.
Fast forward a few years over many changes, and the church decides it's time to change the website to a new webhost and a new look (like OCS). The church wants to keep the same domain name and tells the domain registrar that their new website lives with the new webhost. The domain registrar tells them because Sam Volunteer gave his information and paid for it, he owns the domain name and is the only contact for the domain name, meaning Sam is the only person who can instruct them what to do. But Sam moved away quite some time back, no one's heard from him, and none of his contact information works.
What happens next is that the church must choose a different domain name and host their new website at that address. Church members will have to be informed of the new domain name, and search engines will pick up the change, too. Bottom line: the church will now be the owner of the domain name with the correct contact info, so they won't lose their domain name another way—which is covered in Part 2.