Web Administrator's Guide
Monday, May 20, 2013
Who does my domain name belong to?
The simple answer is you (the individual or organization listed as the legal registrant of the name), regardless of who purchased the name for you.
According to the rules of ICANN, the governing body concerning domain names, domain names are never owned, they are leased in one-year increments. Domain names are leased by individuals and organizations from companies called registrars.
Generally, when a domain name is purchased, the name of the individual or organization who is the legal registrant (lessee) of the name is listed in conjunction with the name declaring them to be the lease owner of that name for the specified period of time.
Therefore, when a hosting company purchases a name on your behalf, you should be listed as the legal registrant of that name indicating that you are free to take the domain name to another provider when you cancel your services with the current provider.
To find out more about your domain name, go to who.is to see the current registration information for your domain name. Whoever is listed in the "Registrant Contact" section is the person or organization to which the name belongs. Whoever is listed in the "Technical Contact" section may often be the person or company responsible for managing the name for you.
It is not uncommon for all "Contacts" to have the same information and for that information to be other than your own. This just means that you may have had a particular person or company to purchase the name on your behalf. In most cases, and as is the case with us, even though the contact information is not yours, you are still the legal owner of the name and are free to take it with you when you cancel your services with the provider who is listed as the registrant.
See "Can I continue using my domain name after canceling my site?" for more information.