[sf-lug] Domain Registrations

Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Thu Aug 11 11:47:43 PDT 2011

Quoting Jim Stockford (jim at well.com):

>     I started out using network solutions but have 
> changed over to using joker. I prefer the model 
> that the registrar of my domain names is __NOT__ 
> the same enterprise as that which hosts my stuff 
> (and mostly I host my stuff, but I've seen a lot 
> of people who are trapped into a hosting service 
> because they can't move their domain names to 
> another registrar--e.g. the person who set things 
> up is no longer available and the registrar 
> refuses to work with anyone not currently named 
> in their account records). 

The classic way that happens is that Bob registers a domain for
Alice, with the _intended_ result of it being Alice's.  Unfortunately,
Bob doesn't pay close attention, and ends up with his own name in the
Registrant field.  Years later, Alice attempts to assert control over
the domain in some way (i.e., repoint it to use other nameservers), and 
finds to her disappointment that it's considered to be not her domain
after all, but rather Bob's.  

Because that's what the Registrant is - the domain owner, who has
ultimate say over the domain as long as it continues to be registered.

In the scenario Jim talks about, what probably happens is that a
customer signs up with a hosting service and trusts to the hosting
service to register the domain for the customer, build and host DNS, and
set up HTTP virtual hosting.  Some years later, the customer attempts to
leave and finds out that he/she wasn't specified as Registrant of the
domain he/she 'bought' (i.e., paid money for), and instead the hosting
provider itself is named in that field.  The hosting provider is
therefore regarded for regulatory and legal purposes as the domain's
owner, and the customer finds himself/herself unable to move to
elsewhere (except by registering a different domain name and starting

Seen in that light, the problem isn't using your hosting company as your
registrar, but rather permitting that registrar to carry out the steps
of registering your domain on your behalf because you're too lazy to do
it yourself.  Take the ten minutes required to register your own domain;
all it takes is a Web browser and a credit cdar.  Choice of registrar
isn't the problem; it's permitting someone else to do it 'for you' and
naming himself/herself as owner in place of you.

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