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What Happens If a Domain Registrar Goes Out of Business?

What Happens If a Domain Registrar Goes Out of Business?

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:

  1. Visit the WHOIS Lookup page at ICANN
  2. Enter the affected domain name
  3. Do the lookup
  4. Go down to the Raw Registry RDAP Response section
  5. Open or expand that section
  6. Look for IANA Registrar ID
  7. Note the associated identifier (usually a few digits)
  8. It is possible that the new Registrar’s name is specified a few lines later
  9. Visit the Accredited Registrars page at ICANN
  10. Go down to the Filter Accredited Registrars section
  11. Enter in the IANA Registrar ID identifier determined in an earlier step
  12. The associated Registrar name is displayed, click to select
  13. The click again outside that box to dismiss that information
  14. The click on the Apply button
  15. Details relating to this Registrar are displayed
  16. Ensure that the IANA Number matches up
  17. 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 globalsupport@icann.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 2,505 ICANN Accredited Registrars on January 3, 2021.

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.

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Article by:
David from WorkFromHomeNotes.com
Hi, I'm David, the guy behind Work From Home Notes.

I work from home. I've written guides, reviews, tips and notes that help people work from home. I include my experiences of my work from home journey.

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