If you have a domain name registered through ICANN (the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers), you could lose it without realising it.
ICANN is the domain authority that manages largely US-based and international top level domains (TLDs) such as .com, .net and .org.
In January 2014, ICANN introduced new rules for domain registrars that means all domain owners now must periodically validate their emails to prove they are the rightful owners of domains.
Previously, owners of such domains would receive Whois notification emails asking them to check that their domain registrar information was correct. The Whois database is a public list of all global domains and it gives the details of domain owners, registrars and administrators.
Previous emails sent to owners would follow a domain registration, precede a renewal date or follow a change of ownership information, but as long as the information was correct, no response was needed.
Now, if you do not respond to such emails within 15 days, your domain will be suspended by ICANN. There’s nothing your registrar can do. Only you can resolve the situation. So, if you have had a website on a .com domain for years and you suddenly ignore a notification, your website is likely to disappear.
How to protect yourself from losing your domain
First, check all domains owned by you, or your company. Check the registered owner details, especially the email address listed for the owner. Make sure this email is valid – that’s where ICANN will send notification emails.
If your domain becomes suspended, here’s what you should do
Go into your registrar account (where you registered the domain) and log into the management screen for the domain. Edit the details of the registered owner and save – making changes if necessary.
When you save the changes, the registered owner will receive a verification email from your registrar, asking for a verification link to be clicked. This is the owner’s way of proving they are the owner.
You can read more about this here.