Technology Advisor Blog

Important Notice Regarding Your Domain Name(s)

Posted by Ann Westerheim on 6/4/18 2:15 PM

Internet WHOISA few clients have asked us about recent notifications received from Network Solutions (and others):    "Action Required: Notice Regarding Your Domain Name(s)".  In this day and age, we recommend that all users stay alert when opening email, and we welcome questions about the legitimacy of received mail - better safe than sorry!

This notification states as follows:

"This notification is being sent to you as a contractual requirement of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) WHOIS policy. When you registered your domain with us, you agreed to keep your contact information in Account Manager current, and the WHOIS policy mandates that we ask you to verify and/or update this information periodically. Further, ICANN requires us to remind you that providing inaccurate or dated contact information may be grounds for domain name cancellation."

In this case the message IS legitimate, and we always recommend as an extra precaution that you go straight to the website in question (in this case, the company you registered your domain name with, typically Network Solutions), rather than clicking through the link in the website.  Yes, we just said the email was "real", but as a "best practice", don't follow links in emails when you don't have to. 

You don't have to reply to the email, it's just a reminder to check that the current information is still valid, and to update it as necessary.

ICANN (the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) is a non-profit organization committed to maintaining a number of databases associated with domain names.   ICANN is committed to maintaining the WHOIS directory, which is a directory of contacts associated with all domain names - much like a telephone book.  In order for the information to be useful, it must be up to date, and anyone who registers a domain name must agree to keep the information up to date.  Domain name registrants, businesses, individuals, consumers, and law enforcement are all stakeholders in this directory.

As part of your contractual agreements when you registered your domain name, you agreed to keep the contact information accurate and current.  If you use a private registration, you must keep the contact information current at your registrar.   Note that all your renewal notices, etc, will be sent to the current contact on file, so its also in YOUR interest to keep the information current.  Even if you have a credit card on file for automatic renewal, if the card expires or gets replaced, without out accurate contact information you won't get the notification and you could lose your domain name.  

To look up your own information, go to the Network Solutions WHOIS lookup tool.  The Registrant organization should be your company name (not an employee or webmaster! - this is VERY important!  Does the business own the domain name, or does the employee or webmaster who set it up own it?  Make sure this is correct!.  Also check that the registrant, administrative, and technical contacts are all current.  

Check the WHOIS Primer for more information on the role of ICANN and the WHOIS directory.

 

 

 

Tags: eMail, Internet, web site

DNS - What you don't know CAN hurt you!

Posted by Ann Westerheim on 5/2/11 10:32 AM

Twice in the past month we received panicked calls from clients - "Help! Our email stopped working and we can't get any emails!" It turns out in both cases, the problem was the result of someone making updates to a web site and making unintended changes to DNS. 

While it's not important for users to know what all the tech jargon means, its VERY important to never make changes that you don't understand.  DNS stands for Domain Name Service.  It's the database of addresses that make the Internet work.  If you type www.ekaru.com into a browser, it's the master directory that tells your computer what IP address to find us at ("A" record").  If you send an email to info@ekaru.com, then a different IP address is used to find us ("mx" record").  Your computer understands IP address, not names.

Your domain name registration establishes the legal ownership of your domain name.  You should double check that the registration is in the name of your company or an owner of the business, and not any other employee or outside consultant.

Your name servers tell the world where your IP addresses are stored, so people can find you when they look up your domain name.  The most common mistake we see, is that when people make changes to their website without understanding how DNS works they often change their name servers without realizing that the "mx" records will break and mail won't be delivered.  It's ok to change name servers, but you must then copy your custom DNS records from your old name servers.

As a general rule, NEVER make changes to DNS unless you 100% understand what you're doing.  If someone else is working on your web site, make sure they understand your DNS records before giving them access to your registration.

By the way, the tool we use to check DNS records (and highly recommend!) is www.dnsstuff.com.  It's the first place we look when we get a call from a customer who can't access their email when their Internet access is working fine.

Tags: DNS, web site, e-Mail

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