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Here is where you need to be a good consumer and know a little more about process.
You are owner of your domain name and owner of your website. Although most people grant their website designer or website administrator power to control all of this, and although most people do not understand technicalities of domains and hosting packages, you should still have all details readily available.
If you have a business website and delegated any of work involved in setting it up to another person, you should still maintain complete control over its future.
Whether you or someone else purchases domain name for your website (the www.yourname.com), make certain that you have contact details from company it was purchased from, and corresponding username and password to access control over domain's use. Most importantly, make sure you are listed as registered owner of website, not person or company that is creating your website for you. All registered domains have four contact individuals listed on Internet. Your web administrator can be listed as technical contact or administrative contact but you need to be listed as registered owner. This way, if any changes are made to status of domain, you are informed as well, and you should be notified when domain name is about to expire.
This is how my friends’ website was “stolen”. He was not listed as owner, and design company that was listed as owner went out of business. When domain name expired (remember, you purchase these for a limited time and then have to renew), owner did not know it and that particular domain name became available for anyone else to purchase – legally. Thus, my friends website was not really stolen. He was victim of ignorance.
George McKee writes a twice-monthly, computer and Internet related article in the Algarve Resident, a newspaper for the English speaking residents of the Algarve region of Portugal. He also operates, with his business partner, http://www.grafica-link.com, a web hosting and design firm in southern Portugal. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or at his little corner of the website http://www.graficalink.com/bytedoctor.htm