Your website domain is your address on the internet (e.g.,, but many veterinary practices are confused about their domains and how to handle them. Not understanding how your domain works can cause you to lose it. Keep these six tips in mind:

  • Your domain is an important business asset. If you own the business, you should own the domain—not your brother-in-law, your receptionist, or even your website company. If you don’t control the domain, it doesn’t matter if you are the business owner; someone else will be able to use that domain for anything they want.
  • Know important information about your domain. Where is your domain registered? Who is the registrant on record? When does the domain expire? You can find the records for your domain on a WHOIS service. Your WHOIS record details all of your domain information. Make sure it is correct and up to date. It is also a good idea to print and save a copy for reference.
  • Know the terminology. Your domain is registered at a domain registrar. The owner of the domain is called the registrant. A registrar is a company, like GoDaddy or, that is accredited by the international organization in charge of web addresses to sell domains to individuals. Your WHOIS record will list both the name and the URL of your domain registrar. You will have an account at the registrar where you can manage your domain. Make sure you know how to access that account. Keep your account information in a safe place.
  • A registrar is different from a hosting company. This can be confusing because registrars offer a wide variety of services when you buy your domain name, and often act as hosting companies, too. A hosting account is the place where your digital website files are stored for availability on the internet. If your website provider hosts your site, you do not need a hosting account.
  • Authorize others to help manage your domain, if you wish. Your WHOIS record will list an administrative and technical contact in addition to the registrant. These can all be the registrant, or you can allow someone in your company to take one of the roles, like technical contact.
  • Keep your domain current. Your WHOIS record will show when your domain was first registered, the last time a change was made (like a renewal or change of hosting company) and, most importantly, your domain expiration date. Domains are registered for a particular period of time, usually between 1 and 10 years. During that time, only the registrant can control what happens to the domain. When it is time for renewal, the registrant and administrative contact will be notified by email. If you fail to renew your domain, you risk losing it to someone else. Each registrar has its own policy on registration grace periods. Make sure you know yours.

For help understanding your domain or managing your digital marketing services, contact the experts at Beyond Indigo Pets today!

Jeanne Pelletier is the chief operating officer of Beyond Indigo Pets.

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