The other day I suddenly had the following thought: “What Happens If a Domain Registrar Goes Out of Business?”
This then led to the following related question “What Happens to the Domains Registered with a Domain Registrar That Goes Out of Business?”
I didn’t know the answer to these questions, so I did some research. This is what I learned:
When an ICANN accredited domain registrar goes out of business, another ICANN accredited domain registrar usually manages the domains that they managed earlier. Registrants using inaccurate email contact details or whois privacy can have issues as the new registrar is unable to contact them using email.
The new registrar may not be able to email the registrant if whois privacy was used as they do not know their email address.
Where possible, the new registrar sends notification that they are now the current registrar of the domain along with other information on how to continue management of the affected domains.
In this day and age, this will most likely be by email. For various reasons it is possible that the new registrar may not receive accurate contact details for the domain. And it is also possible that the email notification may be mistaken for spam or other unwanted emails.
How to Determine Contact Details for the Current Registrar
In this case, it is up to the customer to contact the current registrar. Below are steps to do to find out the contact details for the current registrar:
- Visit the WHOIS Lookup page at ICANN
- Enter the affected domain name
- Do the lookup
- Go down to the Raw Registry RDAP Response section
- Open or expand that section
- Look for IANA Registrar ID
- Note the associated identifier (usually a few digits)
- It is possible that the new Registrar’s name is specified a few lines later
- Visit the Accredited Registrars page at ICANN
- Go down to the Filter Accredited Registrars section
- Enter in the IANA Registrar ID identifier determined in an earlier step
- The associated Registrar name is displayed, click to select
- The click again outside that box to dismiss that information
- The click on the Apply button
- Details relating to this Registrar are displayed
- Ensure that the IANA Number matches up
- Copy paste the public contact information especially the email contact details (if you write down or type the information, typos are possible so using copy paste prevents this)
Contact the current registrar using the public contact information. You need to include enough information so that they can help you. I suggest by email. If no response is received, your next step is to send an email to ICANN at firstname.lastname@example.org – You can always forward ICANN the email you sent the new registrar with a cover note.
What If Your Domain Reseller Was Not an ICANN Accredited Domain Registrar?
If however, a domain reseller is not an ICANN accredited domain registrar it can get interesting. Normally a domain reseller will arrange to register the domain with an ICANN accredited domain registrar for you at the time of purchase.
However they might list themselves as the domain registrant rather than you. If they do this, you are not the current registrant. Therefore if the domain reseller goes out of business, you might not be able to prove to the current domain registrar that you were supposed to be the current registrant. That can get messy. In this case, you will need to contact the current domain registrar explaining the situation and asking for advice on how to proceed.
You can follow the process documented above to identify the contact details for the current domain registrar.
If however you were listed as the current registrant, make sure that the details recorded by them are correct so that you can be contacted. Especially the email details.
I recommend always dealing with an ICANN accredited domain registrar rather than a domain reseller.
How Many ICANN Accredited Registrars Are There?
There were 2,504 ICANN Accredited Registrars on August 28, 2021.
To determine the current number go to the Accredited Registrar page at ICANN. That link shows the first 20 Accredited Registrars along with a count. Click on the “See all Registrars” to be sure that all of them are included in the results. Note the number of results. This is the current number of ICANN Accredited Registrars as reported by ICANN.
How Much Do You Pay For Domain Registration and For Domain Renewals?
If you are not yet a Domain Cost Club member, you might be paying too much. Furthermore, if you are paying for domain privacy services, you are paying too much.
Domain Cost Club members pay nothing extra for domain privacy services whereas some domain registrars charge up to $14.95 per year per domain name for domain privacy services.
If you have ten domains that need domain privacy services, you could be spending up to $149.50 every year, just on domain privacy services alone. Ah, that hurts especially when you know that Domain Cost Club would have charged you the grand sum of $0.00 (zilch, zero) for their domain privacy services for domains registered with them.
I use Domain Cost Club for domain registrations, renewals and transfers. I been using them now for over six years. I find that they do the job and do it very cost effectively.
How Does Domain Cost Club Work?
This is a good question. I let them answer this question:
Domain Cost Club works like any other registrar; you pay for domains and we register them on your behalf at the TLD registry. Where we differ from other registrars is that we sell domains at-cost to our Club Members. Other registrars take the price they receive from the registry and mark up the registration price, like a middle man. Domain Cost Club aims to remove the middle man by giving you access to the same prices we get from the registry, the wholesale price. Whether you have many domains or just a few, Domain Cost Club has a Club Membership option for you!Source: Domain Cost Club Home Page
Domain Cost Club members can registrar and renew domain names using “wholesale” pricing. For a small annual fee, Domain Cost Club members can use their membership to registrar or renew domain names at the “wholesale” price.
Optionally if domain privacy services are also required, Domain Cost Club don’t currently charge extra for this service. Some other domain registrars are still charging up to $14.95 per year per domain name for this service, allthough some domain registrars like Domain Cost Club do not charge for this service. I think the ones that do are greedy.
Domain Cost Club charges “at-cost” pricing for domains registrared or renewed through them. This is the same price that domain registrars pay domain registries to registrar domains. Domain registries are the managers/owners of a domain extension. For example Verisign are the domain registries for the all domain names that use the well known and extremely popular .COM domain extension.
If you registrar or renew a domain with the .COM extension, Verisign get the wholesale price associated with that transaction. There is no escaping that.
Buy a membership to buy or renew up to a specified number of domains at the same wholesale prices that domain registrars pay.