May 09, 2019
Why Your Church Needs to Own Your Website Domain Name, Part 2
If you missed Part 1 of "Why Your Church Needs to Own Your Website Domain Name," be sure to catch up here.
In our last post, we covered why it's so important for a church to own their website domain name. When a church registers and annually pays a domain registrar, they'll be considered the owner of the domain and their contact information will be up to date. Why is contact info is so important?
Sometimes we'll get a call from one of our clients that their website has disappeared and in its place is a notification from the domain registrar that their domain name has expired. But they never were notified! As their webhost, while we host their church website, we aren't a domain registrar so they have to contact the registrar to submit payment and get that "address" to their website working again for another year. When they contact the registrar they find this may not be so easy for two possible reasons:
1) A now-deleted church email account was the contact with the domain registrar, so the renewal notifications were never received by the church. Registrars usually give you a lot of advance email notice. They want you to renew! But if the contact was the youth pastor's church email and he's moved on to a new church months ago, the email account was likely deleted. If you own the domain name, you can always login with the registrar to keep your contact info updated. But if you don't own it...well, see number 2.
2) If you missed the last post, we talked about the early days of the internet when a well-meaning church attendee, let's call him Sam Volunteer, would suggest the church needed a website (which also requires that domain name) so he would set it up and perhaps even pay for it. So he owns the domain name and is the only contact, meaning Sam is the only person who got the renewal email. But Sam moved away quite some time back, no one's heard from him, and none of his contact information works.
In the case of Problem 1, the church still owns the domain name. They can contact the registrar, pay to restore that "address," and the church website will be found on the internet again. They can even get the email changed so they'll be notified when it needs to be renewed next year.
In the case of Problem 2, it's a similar problem to our last post, Part 1. Sam Volunteer owns the domain name, so unless Sam can be contacted, the church will have to select a new domain name. This will ensure they keep control over its use and renewal.
One last thing: domain names can be renewed for more than a year at a time. A multi-year renewal can save the yearly confusion that this might cause.