I wrote about my first experiences as a webmaster in this post. That experience taught me a valuable lesson in domain management and the importance of setting up the proper protocols for domain registration and renewal.
As my year of adjunct teaching at Samford wound down in the summer 2003, I never thought to change the contact information for my tsmmedia.com domain name.
I’d been told at some point that our Samford email addresses were good for life, so I’d moved my domain registration email to the Samford email address. My domain registrar wouldn’t let me use the Yahoo email address I was using at the time, and I was moving and couldn’t keep the ISP-provided email since I was moving to Oklahoma and changing ISPs.
One day in September I tried to log into my Samford email account and could not. I discovered that I could no longer access the email account. Turns out the “good for life” rule was for students/alumni, not faculty/staff, The person who’d said it was for life didn’t realize the exceptions-to-that-rule. And I had not bothered to confirm anything.
Shortly thereafter, I went in to update the site and move my domain, which was expiring in December. I discovered I couldn’t log into the website portal or move the domain because I couldn’t access the email which I’d connected to the registration. A catch-22. I couldn’t download my files, I couldn’t renew my domain, because I couldn’t prove that I was who I said I was through confirming an email sent to my old address.
Once my domain expired, I lost the website files and all the traffic that was coming to my site. I couldn’t repurchase the domain because someone immediately squatted on it and I wasn’t about to pay the ransom redemption price.
C’est la vie.
That taught me two hugely important lessons about domain ownership, domain registration, and website hosting. Keep the domain registration and hosting separate AND use email addresses that you can control, rather than an employer-issued email. Fortunately, it’s a lot easier to set up multiple email addresses today than it was in 2003.