IT Outsourced  

Who's your daddy?

Most companies these days have a website, or are in the process of establishing some sort of presence on the web. People all over the world start up their computers and connect to the internet using some sort of browsing software. Popular browsers are Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, and Firefox. Often you use a search engine like google.ca to find websites that match your search but you can also type in a domain name of websites you see in various media. As a business owner there are three critical pieces of information you need to know about your presence on the web;

  • Who are you registered with (called a Registrar).
  • Who is the administration contact.
  • Who is the technical contact.

When you open a browser and type www.castanet.net, your computer requests an IP address of this domain. Occasionally you can run into localized issues with this, but generally, everybody will get the same information back. The Registrar determines who owns and controls a domain name and what information is given out when requested. There are several companies who provide registration services, with www.GoDaddy.com currently being the most popular. There are fees associated with domain registration and competition is very high. Registrations are usually annual. When you fail to pay your registration, you run the risk of someone taking control of your website. Once you lose that control there are processes in place where you can take control back, and you can even seize control of domain names via the court systems.

If changes are requested to the registration or payment is due, it is the administrative contact that deals with this. This is critical, since the administrative contact controls who makes changes to the website, and who controls the website. Where I work, we highly recommend that you maintain this control. Allowing an outside company to be listed as the administrative contact can jeopardize your website presence. Relationships change and the individual or company who set up your domain may no longer be available or reliable.

The technical contact is the person or company responsible for making changes to the records contained at the registrar about where your website is, and where things like your email go. The resource records direct traffic to various locations based on the type of information. Website hosting companies will often request an A Record for the domain. For instance, www.castanet.net is actually located at, which is the IP address of the domain. Emails to Castanet would go to a different location and be handled by different servers. Some of the records related to email flow can be very complicated and require high levels of knowledge.

It’s very important to manage your domain by paying your registration and maintaining the correct administrative contact information. Imagine driving to work one day and several billboards, and even the very building you work in, give false information about how to contact your company. If you have a website, you need to make sure the information presented is correct, and that you control access to it.

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About the Author

Mark Smed started as a self-employed consultant, integrating computers into small business in 1989.  The range of work expanded into installing networks and consulting with businesses on the fast paced changes in technology.  As his career progressed he taught Network Administration at a small business college and continued to build his base of clients. 

Today, Mark works for Northern Computer Inc. (http://www.northerncomputer.ca) as a consultant, specialist and technician.  His client base continues to grow and many of his clients have worked with him for over 10 years now.  In 2001, Mark joined the Network Professional Association (http://www.npa.org) and now sits on the board of directors and is responsible for publishing the Network Professional Journal for the association.

Mark can be reached at [email protected].

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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