Moving a domain

Posted on 2014-01-26
Last Modified: 2014-02-10
Hi, I took over supporting a small business at the weekend.

They had two domains set up for emails which weren't working. First domain hasn't existed for years, the second is due to expire in two weeks time.

1and1 host the domain and they say that the "owners" (my client's former web designers/SEO) have left instructions that the domain be cancelled when it expires. I thought this rather ridiculous at first to go the bother of cancelling it, however, they host about 20 sites on their 1and1 account, and maybe they needed to cancel so it would not auto renew.

Anyway, I have been on to Nominet to change the details on the WHOIS to show my clients as the owners, and show their address and email address. That sorts out the emails as Nominet can change the tags.

However, we cannot access their web files that have obviously been paid for and they want to charge us £150 to move the files.

Fair enough I wouldn't give my clients access to their webserver files, as there are several sites hosted there, but is this company obliged to transfer the files free of charge, or give us access to an FTP site to copy them?

I will be speaking to the clients on Tuesday and just want to either say pay the £150 or sort it out.

Thanks for any help. My main area is network support and only have a few clients who share hosting with me, so I am inexperienced in this.
Question by:bill2013
LVL 52

Expert Comment

by:Scott Fell, EE MVE
ID: 39810486
> but is this company obliged to transfer the files free of charge, or give us access to an FTP site to copy them?

It depends on what is in the contract and the backstory.  

Just have your client's pay the $150 and your clean.

Next, get the domain name registered with a registrar like godaddy or networksolutions.  From there, park the domain and point the a record to the webserver and mx to the mail server.  This is a much better set up for everybody.  Make sure the client has the 'keys' do the registrar account.

<<edit>>  (have a contract)

Author Comment

ID: 39810499
Thanks Scott, I suppose £150 is ok, I just didn't to tell them to pay it if they didn't have to.
LVL 19

Expert Comment

ID: 39810506
$ 150 to move files, what files do you mean? The websites?
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LVL 83

Expert Comment

by:Dave Baldwin
ID: 39810534
If you and they do not have FTP access, you should probably pay the £150 to make sure the files don't just disappear before you can figure out something better to do.  And like Scott said, the contract and/or agreement determines what they are required to do.

I'm curious about you saying that Nominet can change the domain ownership.  As far as I know, you can't do that without the permission of the current owner.  If it expires, you have to buy it when it does to make it 'yours'.  Expired domains are often sold at pretty high prices.

Author Comment

ID: 39810634
Dave, I've spoken to Nominet a few times on Friday, filled out an online form and received this in their email reply:

"Thank you for sending over your documentation yesterday.

I have now accepted your request to re-establish your identity and I have amended the email address on the record to Diane’s as requested. I have sent you a separate email with a link to set up your password.

There are a couple of things that you need to do when you are logged in. In the first instance you will need to amend the registrant name to show as the full name of the limited company......"

What did go in our favour was my client's address was the original address on Nominet's files.

Although I am working from limited information, it looks like the domain was set up four years ago. The web company came along 2 years ago and said your  we website is rubbish, pay us £700 a month for web support and SEO and we will bring you in more business than you can handle. They change to domain to their ownership, and when the company cancels the  service they think, "***** you, we'll ***** you."

On Tuesday I'll see if they have any contract information on file, and what they have paid for and when it expires.

At least, it's a so cannot be fully lost for 90 days, unlike .com's which are 28 days (I think, according to godaddy),

However, if we get to the expiry date, I can see the web guys coming up with some very creative charges.
LVL 83

Expert Comment

by:Dave Baldwin
ID: 39810664
You're lucky you have something to work with to get it changed back.  This is often a lost cause without something to justify your request.  Nominet must be the domain registrar for that domain name.  ??

£700 a month is a ridiculously high fee for a small business web site.
LVL 58

Accepted Solution

Gary earned 500 total points
ID: 39810672
Nominet is the 'governing' body for all .uk domain registrations - you can't register a domain with them (as an end user)

Get in touch with whoever your domain registrar is and change any passwords etc and renew it now.

Luckily Nominet are siding with you so you shouldn't have any problems getting control over the domain.
If you do not have access to the registrar because the ex web dev company have changed them then you will need to contact them to prove to them that 'you' are the legal owner of the site
(You would not likely be able to transfer it to another registrar as it is nearing renewal - and there would be no reason to though as Scott has pointed out GoDaddy is a good one for all domain admin)

Author Comment

ID: 39810697
£700 a month is a ridiculously high fee for a small business web site.

Par for the course. I'm told. I have a client whose network I support, who spends £800 a month with an SEO company and probably gets a couple of extra sales a week from having a good ranking. One months profit from the extra sales is more than enough to cover a years SEO fees,

Obviously the law of diminishing returns means it's success is finite and this gets cancelled.

Author Closing Comment

ID: 39847130
All moved and running now, thanks

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