This article is about what happens if a domain registrar goes out of business. This looks at how you may get your domain back and move it to another registrar.
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 email@example.com – 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 2,547 ICANN Accredited Registrars on April 7, 2022.
Is the number of ICANN Accredited Registrars stable over time?
Yes the number of ICANN Accredited Registrars remains stable over time. It’s been between 2,500 and 3,000 for the past while when I looked.
|Date||Number of ICANN Accredited Registrars|
|April 7, 2022||2,547|
|August 28, 2021||2,504|
How can I find out the number of current ICANN Accredited Registrars?
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.
Out of over two thousand ICANN Accredited Registrars, I deal with Domain Cost Club. I outline some of the reasons why I like them in my Domain Cost Club review.
Furthermore, I don’t expect new domain extensions (eg XYZ, GREEN and many more) to do really well as mentioned in my Are New Domain Extensions Worth It article.