Domain Name Management
Why is Domain Name Management Important?
Losing a Domain Name could be disastrous
A Domain Name is one of the most important business assets. It is also a very strange one. It costs just a few dollars per year to renew a domain name. Make a simple mistake, forget to renew a domain, lose control of it and it may cost you hundreds if not thousands of dollars to get it back!
It is important that you keep track of your domain names so that they are always renewed at the proper time.
Do You Know Where Your Domains Point to?
When you have a domain portfolio containing hundreds or thousands of domains, it is often very difficult to know where each domain points to. You may have changed hosting providers and forgotten to change the name servers or you may have changed your name servers to the wrong ones and so on.
Keeping Track of Associated SSL Certificates
You may have SSL certificates associated with some of your domain names. It becomes necessary to keep track of the expiry dates of the SSL certificates too.
Do You have Bad Email Addresses in Your Domain Records?
The email addresses associated with your domain names are extremely important. If you are unable to receive emails to the registrant email address, you could lose control of your domain name. The Administrator email address is important because it is used to administer the domain account, reset your password and manage the DNS entries. The billing email address receives the domain renewal notices.
The Important Domain Name Records
Whois Records, Name Servers
The whois records of your domain name has to be accurate and up-to-date. This is important because you could lose the domain name if you use incorrect information in your whois records.
The NS records specify the address of the server that will respond to queries regarding your domain. These have to be accurate for your domain names to be able to serve web pages and accept emails.
DNS Settings, A Records, MX Records
Once you have specified the proper NS records, you also have to make sure that the named servers respond to queries about your domain. You will need to setup a valid A record (typically an IP address of the computer that will respond as your domain's host)
The MX records specify the email servers that will accept emails for your domain. If you don't want to receive emails for the domain you can leave these blank.
Domain Name Management Using a Spreadsheet
Spreadsheets can't do active tracking
You can always create a spreadsheet that contains all the information relating to your domains and monitor that information to make sure that you renew your domains properly. However, it is very difficult to use a spreadsheet to monitor dynamic data that could change at any time.
A server misconfiguration can case your domain to point to a wrong address. This is not a problem if this happens for a domain that has an active, live website. But if you have hundreds or thousands of parked domains, you may not realize the problem till much later.
Similar problems can also occur is your server is hacked.
Using a dedicated Domain Name Management Software
Domain Management Software can Automatically Track Domain Settings
Domain Name Management software can lookup whois records, check DNS, MX and SSL records and make the information available to you immediately. In most cases you will not need to manually enter any data.
This is a tremendous advantage over spreadsheets. You can even have the software send you alerts when something changes or have daily/ weekly/ monthly reports emailed to you.
Desktop Software or Online Application?
Desktop Software is Easy to get started with
The desktop versions are easy to get started with. You can start using a Windows / Mac OS X software within a few minutes of download. Desktop software is also easier to configure and will have fast interfaces.
Web server based solutions are more versatile
The web server versions require a little more initial work to setup and install. If you are not familiar with server installations, you will need to get a technical person to upload the files, specify a database and configure the application.
Once setup, the Web server version does have the advantage of being accessible from anywhere and from any browser enabled device. You are also not limited by the choice of your OS. It will work from Windows, Mac, iPhone, Android Phone, iPads etc.
Another advantage of web server based solutions is that they are "always on" and monitoring things, as opposed to desktop software that run only when your computer is switched on.