Imagine having a well-established website (ecommerce or just a business page) only for someone to take it off your hands because you weren’t careful enough. Cybercrime isn’t going away anytime soon; in fact, it’s simply getting worse. According to Statista, bulk phishing, smishing, and ransomware are the most common types of cyber attacks in 2022, with business e-mail compromise following closely.
As a business owner with an online presence, you need to make sure your domain name security is at the highest level. In this article, we’ll show you how to secure a domain name and explain why you need domain name ownership protection.
How to Secure a Domain Name
Securing a domain name is not a one-time event like name registration, where you just complete some steps, and you’re done. There are several actions you can take, and you should always be on the lookout for new ways to achieve domain name security.
According to SiteLock, small and mid-sized businesses are exposed to about 228 million threats each month, with each cyberattack costing $25,000 per year on average. As a business owner, these numbers shouldn’t scare you away from owning a domain name, but they should alert you and showcase how important it is to boost your security.
Let’s go through some of the best practices for securing a domain name.
Best Ways to Secure a Domain Name
Choose a Reputable Domain Name Registrar
It matters where you register your domain name. An established registrar guarantees stability and offers advanced security features. While they might be pricier, accredited registrars are more likely to keep your domain secure.
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is in charge of accrediting registrars. If you don’t want to opt for a popular registrar like GoDaddy, Bluehost, or Hostinger, you can check out ICANN’s list of accredited registrars and start your search there.
Go All-In on Security Features
You might save a buck or two by not paying extra for domain protection, but you’ll expose yourself to risks that will end up costing much more. For example, GoDaddy offers full domain protection for $9.99 per year. With it, you can set up two-factor authentication and prevent others from making unauthorized changes.
You should also install an SSL certificate and keep your connections secure.
Assign Domain Ownership to the Business
Make sure to register a domain name with your company’s name rather than someone else’s. All you need is a disgruntled employee to claim ownership of the name if they are legal owners or representatives of the domain name.
Check out the information about your website in the domain name system (DNS) and see what is listed under contact information. Transfer usage rights to your corporate entity if needs be.
Check Registration Expiration Date
Most registrars offer the option to register your domain for a period of one to ten years. When the expiration date comes closer, you can renew your subscription and continue using the name. If you fail to do so, the name becomes available to the public once again.
Domain hijacking is the practice of finding unwary registrants and taking over a name as soon as its registration period expires. You can prevent it by keeping an eye on your expiration date or choosing the auto-renewal option.
TIP: When you receive an email about your domain name registration, make sure you double-check who you’re talking to. Cyberattacks often revolve around registrar impersonation to get sensitive information out of you and take over the name with your help.
Protect Yourself Against Cybersquatting
Cybersquatting is when someone registers a domain name that’s similar to yours but uses a different spelling or domain type. The goal of it is to confuse customers and make them click on a website thinking it’s you. From then on, hackers can spread malware, phish, or set up a fake ecommerce store.
While there are acts that protect you from cybersquatters, prevention is the best medicine. You can register aliases, i.e., domain names with a different top-level domain to your main one. If you want to take a step further, consider trademarking your domain name.
Keep Your Domain Locked
If you want to transfer your domain name to another registrar, you need to go to your control panel settings and unlock it. If you’re not in the transferring process, there’s no reason to have your domain name unlocked and make it vulnerable to potential attacks.
As always, security breaches can be as easy as learning someone’s password. Make sure to use strong passwords and switch them around ever so often. Two-factor authentication might be an additional step that’s boring to do every time, but it’s a powerful tool that lets systems ensure you’re the one making changes to your website.
Add Backup Payment Details
Try to add more than one payment method to your account settings on the registrar’s or hosting provider’s platform. When it’s time to renew your subscription, your primary payment method may fail to pay up, and your registration can expire without you knowing. Having a secondary method available minimizes the risk of losing your name.
Domain Name Security: Potential Risks
If you fail to react on time and don’t take precautionary measures, you’re leaving your website and domain name exposed to multiple risks. The most common threats to an unsecured domain name include:
- Transferring domains to an untrustworthy registrar,
- Changing DNS records,
- Changing the WHOIS contact information database,
- Hijacking expired domains,
- Breaching privacy,
- Losing control of the domain,
- Domain deletion.
Depending on the type of cybercrime (and its severity) you fall victim to, you may or may not be able to open disputes about the ownership of the domain name and its recovery. These disputes take time and money to resolve, and it’s something you should avoid going into.
Having a secure domain name is not something you need to put too much of your effort into. You need to stay vigilant, be wary of expiration dates and suspicious queries for sensitive information. The truth is, most registrars want to keep your domain name as safe as possible to ensure a reputable business. You can rely on their protection for the most part (provided you pay up).
Still, you need to take some extra steps, as laid out above, if you want to avoid the potential security risks we all face online. If you haven’t already chosen a domain name you want to secure, you can use our AI-powered domain name generator to get 1,000+ catchy name ideas for free.